Cruise Maryland and the Port of Baltimore had their biggest month ever in October, anchored by regular homeporting from Carnival Cruise Line and Royal Caribbean International, plus a host of transit calls from the likes of Silversea, AIDA, Hapag-Lloyd and Azamara.
“Azamara was here for three days; imagine the economic impact to the region,” said Cindy Burman, marketing manager at Cruise Maryland.
The port signed a five-year extension agreement with Carnival in 2016, in addition to a three-year deal with Royal Caribbean, with an option for two more.
“We’re excited about that and there is absolutely room to grow,” said Burman. “They are here only two days of the week, so there are five days left. We are always talking to other cruise lines; hopefully we have something that fits for them and us.”
With more ships on the orderbooks than ever, Baltimore could be near the top of the list for another homeported vessel in North America.
Located in one of the wealthiest areas in the country, Baltimore is also a port complex right on Interstate 95 and has loads of cheap parking.
The port has separate lots for Carnival and Royal, and has a third lot ready, should another cruise line join the homeporting fray.
Baltimore has made a number of recent improvements, including a VIP room for check-ins, which is part of the conversation in getting bigger ships. There is also a new public address system going in and new check-in counters have recently been installed. For 2017, an enclosed waiting area for disembarking guests waiting for rides will be built.
Burman also organized what she called travel agent awareness events at the port on non-cruise days, bringing in hundreds of regional agents to learn about the port. Those awareness events also partner with a cruise line, with line representatives on hand to talk about product offerings.
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