Governor Martin O’Malley announced today that for the third consecutive year, the Port of Baltimore has surpassed its record for most cruise passengers in one year. Sunday’s sailing of the Carnival Pride on a seven-day cruise to the Bahamas included 2,295  passengers. 

That cruise pushed the number of passengers that have left on a cruise from Baltimore in 2011 to 212,821 on 89 cruises, which exceeds the previous record of 210,549 passengers on 90 cruises set in 2010.

“In these tough economic times, there is no more important goal we share than creating jobs and advancing innovation in Maryland,” said Governor O’Malley. “Since beginning year-round cruises three years ago, and since we’ve introduced our new state-of-the-art boarding bridge, the Port has seen a remarkable increase in cruise business, which is good news for jobs and provides a boost to our State’s tourism industry. These actions together with the construction of our new berth help to secure the long-term economic future of the Port.”

This year the Port of Baltimore has a record of 105 cruises offered by Carnival, Celebrity, and Royal Caribbean. Carnival and Royal Caribbean offer year-round schedules. 

Cruises sail to the Bahamas, Bermuda, Caribbean, and New England/Canada. Recently Carnival signed a new five-year extension to continue offering year-round cruises from Baltimore. 

The first two years are financially guaranteed and there are three one-year options.  

Last month it was announced that the Port of Baltimore handled the fifth-largest amount of cruise passengers among East Coast cruise ports in 2010.   

Baltimore’s fifth-place position is one better than it ranked in 2009.  Nationally, the port ranked 12th (up from 14th).    

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. The total economic value to the State of Maryland of cruising from the Port of Baltimore is about $90 million. 

Approximately 200 direct jobs in Maryland are generated by cruise activity. 

Baltimore is within a six hour drive of 40 million people.  It is the closest East Coast drive-to port from Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Indianapolis and Chicago and is within a three-hour drive from the New York City metro area. The Cruise Maryland terminal is 2.5 miles from Baltimore’s world famous Inner Harbor and 10 miles from BWI Thurgood Marshall Airport. 

Maryland’s median household income of $70,545 is the highest in the U.S.  Baltimore is also located within a four-hour drive of eight of the ten wealthiest counties in the U.S.   The Baltimore-Washington DC-Northern Virginia region is recognized as one of the most affluent in the nation.