|In a surprise home port switch, Royal Caribbean has decided to move its 2004 New York base from Manhattan, across the Hudson, to Bayonne, New Jersey.|
The company will operate two ships out of the region next spring and summer: the 3,114-passenger Voyager of the Seas, which will sail an unusual alternating schedule of five-night Atlantic Canada and nine-night Caribbean voyages, and the 48,563-ton Nordic Empress, which will offer six- and eight-night Bermuda cruises. Celebrity Cruises, sister line to Royal Caribbean, will continue to sail its Bermuda itineraries from Manhattan.
Voyager of the Seas and Nordic Empress will be based at the former Bayonne Military Ocean Terminal (which has been renamed the Peninsula at Bayonne Harbor), a 430-acre man-made point-of-land that extends into the Hudson River. For the first season, anyway, Royal Caribbean will operate out of existing structures though there are future plans to build a new cruise terminal.
While the move may seem sudden, Adam Goldstein, Royal Caribbean's executive vice president, in a press conference to launch the company's new Serenade of the Seas last summer, actually alluded to a certain disquiet about embarkation and disembarkation at Manhattan's cruise terminal.
Indeed, Royal Caribbean isn't the first cruise line to seek out alternative options.
The World's Leading Cruise Lines alliance of Carnival Corp.-owned cruise lines (including Cunard Line, P&O Cruises, Carnival, Costa, Holland America and Seabourn) had, in May 2003, formed the New York Cruise Line Alliance. The organization is in negotiations to build a new cruise terminal facility in Brooklyn.