The Port of Baltimore handled the fifth-largest amount of cruise passengers among East Coast cruise ports in 2010, according to recently released numbers from the Cruise Lines International Association.  Baltimore’s fifth-place slot is one better than it ranked in 2009.  Nationally, the port ranked 12th (up from 14th) after a record-breaking 2010 cruise year that resulted in 210,549 people sailing from the port onboard 90 cruises. 

“Baltimore’s growing cruise business is a real success story for our state,” said Governor Martin O’Malley.  “Our momentum is built upon having a cruise terminal with a unique location with plenty of onsite parking right off Interstate 95.  This allows for easy access and attracts people from up and down the East Coast and from the Midwest.  As a city, Baltimore is convenient, accessible and provides great hospitality for travelers before and after their cruise.   These characteristics are key reasons why Carnival Cruise Lines and Royal Caribbean International make Baltimore a home for their ships.”

In improving to its current ranking, Baltimore surpassed Jacksonville (approximately 174,000) and Alaska (approximately 128,000) for embarking cruise passengers in 2010.  The top five cruise ports on the East Coast for passengers in 2010 were Miami, Port Everglades, Port Canaveral, New York, and Baltimore.       

In 2011 the Port of Baltimore has a new record of 112 year-round cruises offered by Carnival, Celebrity, and Royal Caribbean.   Cruises sail to the Bahamas, Bermuda, Caribbean, and New England/Canada.  Recently, Carnival signed a new five-year extension to continue offering cruises from Baltimore.  The first two years are financially guaranteed and there are three one-year options.  

Earlier this year, the Port of Baltimore began using a state-of-the-art, climate-controlled enclosed passenger boarding bridge.  The bridge is mobile and flexible to accommodate various sized cruise ships.   

In the last three years, Baltimore has seen a marked increase in its number of cruise passengers.  In 2009, its first year of year-round cruising, more than 167,000 passengers sailed on 81 cruises.  In 2008, about 61,000 people sailed on 27 cruises that operated in the spring, summer and fall.  

About 500 jobs in Maryland are generated by the port’s cruise business.  The economic impact is about $90 million.