Cruiseport Boston wrapped up what it called a successful 2015 cruise season Sunday with its final port of call this week.
There were 114 calls this season by 29 ships resulting in 328,305 passengers. The cruise port also welcomed a port call by Royal Caribbean’s Liberty of the Seas, which was the largest ship to ever call Boston, carrying 3,634 guests.
The 2015 season saw the introduction of another way for cruise passengers to sail to Bermuda with the addition of Holland America Line’s itinerary to Hamilton on the MS Veendam. The Veendam joined Norwegian Cruise Line’s Norwegian Dawn, which already sails to King’s Wharf, Bermuda.
“More and more people are beginning to recognize that not only is Boston a great port of call destination, but that they can also take cruises out of Boston and enjoy a growing variety of destinations,” said Massport CEO Thomas P. Glynn. “Our thriving cruise business boosts our regional economy and provides good-paying blue collar jobs. Its success would not be achievable without the hard-working men and women at Cruiseport Boston.”
Cruise operations at Massport provide over 950 direct jobs; generate nearly $80 million in economic impact each year; and $25 million in annual local, state, and federal tax revenue.
Massport’s Acting Port Director Lisa Wieland says that every time a ship visits Boston as a port of call, the passengers and crew are supporting local businesses and jobs. “For many of our visiting passengers, this is their first time in Boston and they’ll come back again to stay a little longer so that they can explore the rich history of our region, our championship sports teams, award-winning restaurants, and beautiful sights,” said Wieland. “Boston is New England’s homeport and is a quick drive for thousands of cruise passengers who choose not to fly, or cannot afford the expense of flying a family to Florida. This makes Cruiseport Boston an ideal starting point for cruises to Bermuda, Canada/New England, and several transatlantic itineraries.”
Six new ships had their maiden calls to Cruiseport Boston this season: Oceania Marina, Liberty of the Seas, AIDA Diva, Regal Princess, and Celebrity Eclipse. In July, Cruiseport Boston helped Cunard Line celebrate its 175th anniversary calling Boston during the Queen Mary 2’s first call of the season. Boston and Cunard Line have a special history going back to 1840, when the city was the first U.S. port called by Cunard Line when the Brittania left Liverpool on its historic inaugural transatlantic voyage.
“Over the last ten years or so, as ships began to call more often within the region, cruise lines began to recognize the significance of the Canada/New England itineraries and how they are great way to view the beautiful fall foliage,” said Wieland. “Canada/New England is now a successful market for six months of the year—May to October—and continues to grow, with several ports on the itinerary receiving guest satisfaction ratings among the highest in the world.”
The 2016 season kicks off next April with Holland American Line’s Veendam sailing a Canada/New England itinerary. Approximately 330,000 passengers are expected next season with 119 ship calls on 32 ships through mid-November.
Eight ships will make their maiden call to Boston in 2016: Disney Magic; two new ships from Royal Caribbean, Navigator of the Seas and Anthem of the Seas—with a guest capacity of 4,180; Regent’s Seven Seas Mariner; Azamara Quest; Holland America Line’s Zuiderdam; Oceana Cruises’ Sirena; and Viking Cruises’ Viking Star. Ponant Yacht Cruises will also have two itineraries departing from Boston: a 10-day roundtrip Boston/Lunenbourg, Canada/Bar Harbor/Salem/Newport/New York/Martha’s Vineyard on September 10 and an eight-day Boston to Colon on October 9th. Also next year, three vessels will be overnighting in Boston: Fred Olsen’s Balmoral on May 6, Azamara Quest on October 5, and Viking Star on October 11.