Just six years after opening a cruise ship terminal—and four years after going to a year-round cruise schedule—the Port of Baltimore has served more than 1 million cruise passengers.
Through November, 1,013,735 passengers have set sail from the port's South Locust Point cruise terminal since it opened in 2006, according to a statement from the Maryland Port Administration.
The terminal opened on May 12, 2006. The first ship to leave the facility was the Royal Caribbean's Grandeur of the Seas, which set sail for a nine-night excursion to the Caribbean, according to the statement.
"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.," Gov. Martin O'Malley said in the statement. "Since launching a year-round cruising schedule in 2009, the port has gone from averaging 30 cruises per year to approximately 100."
Before the dedicated cruise ship terminal was built, cruise operations were housed at the Dundalk Marine Terminal, a busy, heavy industrial cargo facility.
The dedicated cruise facility, easily accessible from downtown Baltimore and BWI Thurgood Marshall Airport, is just 20 miles from Annapolis and 40 miles from Washington, D.C. It is separate from any cargo facilities, according to the statement.
In its first year of dedicated cruise ship operation, the terminal served 59,347 passengers. In 2011, it served a record 251,889 passengers.
The Port of Baltimore in 2011 was ranked fifth among East Coast cruise ports, 11th among all U.S. cruise ports and 20th in the world, according to the statement.
Through Nov. 25, the cruise terminal has served 220,955 passengers this year.