Governor Martin O’Malley today announced that the Port of Baltimore recently had its one millionth cruise passenger sail from its South Locust Point cruise terminal since the facility opened in 2006. Through November, 1,013,735 passengers have taken a cruise from Maryland since the cruise terminal, located immediately adjacent to Interstate 95 in Baltimore, opened its doors for the first time on May 12, 2006 for a nine-night excursion to the Caribbean onboard Royal Caribbean’s Grandeur of the Seas.
“In just a short amount of time, the Port of Baltimore has established itself as one of the busiest cruise ports in the U.S.,” said Governor O’Malley. “Since launching a year-round cruising schedule in 2009, the port has gone from averaging 30 cruises per year to approximately 100. We remain committed to providing excellent service to our cruise customers in order to build on the strong momentum at the Port of Baltimore.”
The opening of the cruise terminal in 2006 as a fully-dedicated cruise facility was a major step forward for the port’s cruise operations. During previous years, cruise operations were housed at the busy Dundalk Marine Terminal, a heavy, industrial cargo facility.
The current cruise terminal is separated from any cargo activities. It is located 2.5 miles from downtown Baltimore, 10 miles from BWI Thurgood Marshall Airport, 20 miles from Annapolis, and 40 miles from Washington, DC.
The number of passengers that have sailed from the Port of Baltimore has gone from 59,347 in 2006 to a record 251,889 last year. In 2011, the Port of Baltimore was ranked fifth for cruise passengers among East Coast cruise ports, 11th among all U.S. cruise ports, and 20th among cruise ports in the world. This year 220,955 passengers had sailed from the port through November 25.
Last 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 be able to accommodate various sized cruise ships.
The total economic value to the State of Maryland of cruising from the Port of Baltimore is about $90 million. Approximately 220 direct jobs in Maryland are generated by cruise activity.
Carnival Cruise Lines and Royal Caribbean International offer year-round schedules from Baltimore.
Carnival signed a five-year extension in 2011 to continue offering year-round cruises from Baltimore onboard the Carnival Pride. Carnival sails to the Bahamas, Bermuda, and Caribbean.
Royal Caribbean ’s Enchantment of the Seas currently sails from Baltimore to the Bahamas, Bermuda, Caribbean, and New England/Canada. In April 2013, Royal Caribbean will replace that ship with the newly renovated Grandeur of the Seas.
The Grandeur of the Seas recently completed a nearly $50 million revitalization that includes new dining, entertainment and technology upgrades that are only available on its two largest class ships.
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 $68,845 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.