Maryland’s own "Fun Ship" will continue sailing from the Helen Delich Bentley Port of Baltimore as Carnival Cruise Line has agreed to a contract extension through December 2018 with three one-year options, according to the Maryland Port Administration. The deal means Carnival’s Baltimore-based ship, the Carnival Pride, will continue offering five to 13-day year-round cruises to the Caribbean and Bahamas.

 “We are thrilled to continue our relationship with Carnival,” said Governor Larry Hogan in a prepared statement.  “Since returning to Maryland last year with a newly renovated ship, Carnival continues to attract people from all over the Mid-Atlantic who come to the Port of Baltimore for the vacation of a lifetime."

The Carnival Pride began sailing a year-round cruise schedule from the Port of Baltimore in 2009. The ship left Maryland in the fall of 2014 and returned in March 2015 after undergoing a multimillion dollar renovation that included new dining and entertainment options as well as new emission technologies.

In 2015, nearly 200,000 passengers sailed on 90 cruises from the Port of Baltimore.

According to the port administration, approximately 500 jobs are generated by cruise activity in Maryland, including 220 direct jobs at the Port of Baltimore. Additionally, Maryland benefits from $90 million in economic activity generated by cruise activities.  The economic value to Maryland takes into consideration such factors as local spending, hotels, dining and entertainment.

The Port of Baltimore’s cruise terminal is 2.5 miles from Baltimore’s Inner Harbor and 10 miles from BWI Thurgood Marshall Airport. Maryland’s median household income of $70,004 is the highest in the U.S. Baltimore is also located within a four-hour drive of some of the wealthiest counties in the U.S. The Baltimore-Washington DC-Northern Virginia region is recognized as one of the most populated and affluent in the nation.