The Maryland Port Administration (MPA) today announced that Norwegian Cruise Lines (NCL), the third largest cruise operator in the world, will begin offering cruises from the Port of Baltimore in 2008.  NCL will become the second cruise line operating out of the new South Locust Point cruise terminal that opened last year. The NCL ship, Norwegian Majesty, will offer 10 seven-day cruises from Baltimore to Bermuda from June through August 2008.

“This is a great day for the port, the city of Baltimore and the state of Maryland,” said Governor Martin O’Malley.  “We are delighted to welcome Norwegian Cruise Lines for what we hope is the beginning of a long, successful relationship. Norwegian clearly recognizes the unique strengths that Baltimore brings as a cruise departure port. From having a new, easily accessible cruise terminal to the many restaurants, shopping, and entertainment venues in this area, Baltimore has many options for visiting cruise travelers.”

The cruise terminal’s unique location makes it very accessible. It is about 200 yards off I-95, 2.5 miles from Baltimore’s Inner Harbor, 10 miles from BWI Thurgood Marshall Airport, 20 miles from Annapolis, and about 40 miles from Washington, DC. Last year, approximately 125,000 passengers embarked or debarked from Baltimore.

About 270 direct jobs are created each time a cruise ship visits the Port. These jobs include transportation, security, travel agents, and operations. The State’s economic impact last year from cruising was about $56 million. This includes hotels, dining, entertainment, and shopping.

“NCL will offer its largest Bermuda deployment ever in 2008, featuring departures from five East coast cities,” said Andy Stuart, NCL’s executive vice president of marketing, sales and passenger services. “We are pleased to include a series of seven-day cruises from Baltimore aboard Norwegian Majesty and look forward to utilizing the city’s new 60,000 square foot cruise terminal.”

Departure dates for 2008 cruises from Baltimore to Bermuda on the Norwegian Majesty are June 21, June 28, July 5, July 12, July 19, July 26, August 2, August 9, August 16, and August 23. Dates may change, so the public is encouraged to check with NCL to confirm.