Baltimore Port Enjoys Near-Record Cruise Numbers

With nearly 241,000 passengers sailing out of Baltimore on 100 cruises, 2012 was the second-busiest since year-round cruise scheduling began in 2009.

The Port of Baltimore continues to be a popular launching place for passenger cruises, according to numbers released recently by port officials.

In 2012, 240,676 people sailed on 100 cruises that originated at the port, according to a statement from port officials.

Those numbers add up to the second-highest total passenger for one calendar year, surpassed only by the 251,889 passengers that sailed out of Baltimore in 2011 on 105 cruises.

“Since beginning a year-round cruising schedule in 2009, the Port of Baltimore has continued to make waves as one of the hottest cruise ports in the U.S.,” Gov. Martin O’Malley said in the prepared statement. “The port’s cruise business is a major economic generator for our state, bringing in tens of millions of dollars and generating hundreds of jobs."

About 220 direct jobs are generated by cruise activity at the port, and the total economic value to the state of the cruise industry operating out of the port is about $90 million, according to the statement.

Carnival Cruise Lines and Royal Caribbean International offer a year-round schedule from Baltimore that includes trips to the Bahamas, Bermuda, New England and Canada.

In May, Royal Caribbean will replace its Enchantment of the Seas ship with the newly renovated Grandeur of the Seas, according to officials. Thanks to the $48 million upgrade, the ship will offer new dining options, entertainment venues, renovated staterooms and upgraded technologies.

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