Cruiseport Boston did it again, setting a new passenger record for a fourth straight year. The Massachusetts Port Authority (Massport) announced today the 2010 cruise season finished with 322,161 passengers, a seven percent increase over 2009.  In October, officials unveiled the $11 million makeover of the Black Falcon Cruise Terminal, which modernized it from a vintage World War I military warehouse, into a hip new point of departure for ocean-going vacationers. The critical renovations were needed to keep pace with Boston’s growing cruise industry and to ensure the continued economic benefits that cruising brings to the region.

“The increase in cruise passenger traffic is much higher than expected this year, and we are extremely pleased,’’ said Mike Leone, Massport’s Director of the Port. “Going into the season, we expected about 305,000 passengers, but the all-inclusive benefits of cruising and competitive market in Boston gave vacationers great value for their dollar. Our new Cruiseport facility will enhance the customer experience and provide a stylish new welcome mat for port of call visitors stopping in Boston for the day.”

The 2010 season brought 111 ship calls to Cruiseport Boston’s Black Falcon Terminal, which is also up seven percent from last year. The record number of passengers this year follows three previous years of solid growth: 12 percent in 2007, 15 percent in 2008, and 11 percent in 2009.

Massport also celebrated a major milestone in May when the one millionth passenger embarked on a cruise from Cruiseport Boston. The lucky passenger boarded Norwegian Cruise Line’s Norwegian Spirit destined for Bermuda.

The main highlight of the year, however, was the completion of the terminal renovation which enhanced aesthetics and passenger amenities, and created more than 60,000 square feet of new space within the building. The largest part of the work constructed a separate departure area on the unused level of the terminal’s third floor which now allows for the simultaneous handling of disembarking passengers and those waiting to board a ship.

Further underscoring the popularity of Boston’s cruise business, next season the 2,200-passenger Norwegian Dawn one of Norwegian Cruise Lines’ newest and largest ships, will start sailing the Boston-Bermuda itinerary. The ship is 10 percent bigger Norwegian Spirit and is the third upgrade to Boston in just four years by the cruise line. Also next year Cunard’s newest ship Queen Elizabeth will make her maiden visit to Boston on Sep. 22.

Cruiseport Boston serves as an economic engine for the region. According to a 2010 report by the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), cruise industry spending generated about 7,157 jobs and $407 million in income for Massachusetts’ workers through direct, indirect, and induced impact in 2009. It is estimated that passengers and crew spent $22 million in Boston in 2009. Massachusetts accounted for more than $459 million in cruise industry direct spending, a 6 percent increase over 2008.

Cruiseport Boston’s 2011 season runs from April through October offering an attractive mix of cruises to Bermuda, Canada & New England, Europe and the Caribbean. Cruiseport Boston’s business is roughly 60 percent port of call and 40 percent originating cruise.