The Maryland Port Administration (MPA) announced today that approximately 167,000 passengers embarked on 81 homeport cruises from the Port of Baltimore in 2009. That total officially surpasses the previous record for most cruise passengers in one calendar year that was set in 2004 when the Port offered a then-record 60 cruises.
“Even in a very difficult economy, our very successful 2009 cruise season provides us with a tremendous sense of optimism for the future of cruising from Maryland,” said Governor Martin O’Malley. “The strong cruise market in Baltimore last year generated an estimated economic impact of $152 million, illustrating that our Port continues to drive economic progress and create jobs. We expect another strong performance in 2010 as the number of cruises grows to 91 with two lines offering year-round cruising from Baltimore.”
In 2010, three cruise lines will operate from the Port of Baltimore: Carnival, Celebrity, and Royal Caribbean. The Carnival Pride returns for its second year of year-round cruising to the Bahamas and Eastern Caribbean. Royal Caribbean brings a newer and larger vessel, the Enchantment of the Seas to Baltimore for cruises to New England/Canada, Bermuda, the Eastern Caribbean, and the Bahamas. Royal Caribbean will also offer all-season cruising from Baltimore for the first time. The Celebrity Mercury will return for a second season of winter cruising beginning in October and will travel to the Eastern Caribbean, Western Caribbean and the Bahamas.
The Port of Baltimore is the closest East Coast drive-to port from Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Indianapolis and Chicago. Baltimore is also within a three-hour drive from the New York City metro area. The Cruise Maryland terminal is only 2.5 miles from Baltimore’s world famous Inner Harbor, 10 miles from BWI Thurgood Marshall Airport, and little more than an hour from three other major airports.
Maryland’s median household income of $70,540 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.