(BALTIMORE, MD) --- Governor Martin O’Malley announced today that a record 251,889 people sailed on 105 cruises from the Port of Baltimore in 2011. That total exceeds the previous record of 210,549 on 90 cruises set in 2010.
“The Port of Baltimore’s success in the cruise business further accentuates the importance of the Port as one of Maryland’s key economic engines,” said Governor O’Malley. “Cruising from Baltimore brings tens of millions of dollars to our State and generates hundreds of jobs. We expect this strong momentum to continue in 2012 with 100 cruises scheduled. The strong performances of our cruise and cargo operations at the Port of Baltimore means job stability for the thousands of men and women who depend on the Port to support their families.”
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 were generated by cruise activity.
Carnival Cruise Lines and Royal Caribbean International offer year-round schedules from Baltimore. Cruises sail to the Bahamas, Bermuda, Caribbean, and New England/Canada. Carnival signed a five-year extension in 2011 to continue offering year-round cruises from Baltimore. The first two years are financially guaranteed and there are three one-year options. Royal Caribbean has committed to sailing from Baltimore through October 2013. Baltimore has 100 cruises scheduled in 2012.
The Port of Baltimore handled the fifth-largest amount of cruise passengers among East Coast cruise ports and 12th largest in the U.S. in 2010. Last year the Port began using a state-of-the-art, climate-controlled enclosed passenger boarding bridge. The bridge is mobile and flexible to accommodate various sized cruise ships.
In the last four years, Baltimore has seen a marked increase in its number of cruise passengers. In 2009, its first year of year-round cruising, more than 167,000 passengers sailed on 81 cruises. In 2008, about 61,000 people sailed on 27 cruises that operated in the spring, summer and fall.
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 $70,545 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.