The Port of Miami set a new world record for cruise traffic in Fiscal Year 2009-2010 with approximately 4.15 million passengers traveling through the Port over the last year.  Port officials attributed an especially strong summer season to the record numbers as dollar conscious vacationers opted for cruise vacations as a way to get high value for their travel budget.

“For the third year in a row, the Port of Miami has set a world mark for passenger traffic,” said Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Alvarez. “We are pleased that even in a time of economic difficulty, cruise traffic continues to grow.”

The Port of Miami processed 4,145,053 passengers October 1, 2009 through September 30, 2010 compared to 4,110,100 for the same period last year.  These numbers were boosted by a particularly strong fourth quarter performance with passenger traffic up nearly 10 percent year over year for the July-September period.

The strong summer season included the arrival of Norwegian Cruise Lines’ new, mega-ship, the Norwegian Epic, which inaugurated 7-day Caribbean cruises from the Port of Miami in July. This month, the Port of Miami kicks off its 2010-2011 cruise season with two additional new ships in the line-up:  The Celebrity Eclipse, Celebrity Cruises’ latest upscale and widely acclaimed Solstice-class vessel arriving November 13 and the Marina, Oceania Cruises’ new ship, which will be christened in Miami on February 5.

Additionally, Costa Cruises will return to the Port of Miami after an absence of several years when the Atlantica arrives in January.

“The 2010-2011 cruise season is shaping up to be another strong one for the Port of Miami,” Port of Miami Director Bill Johnson said.  “Four new vessels over a seven-month span position our port well for an excellent season with new ships and exciting itineraries.  We are looking forward to again welcoming millions of cruise passengers—both those new to cruise vacations and the multitude of repeat cruise customers that have made Miami The Cruise Capital of the World.”