BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Baltimore’s port is a hot spot for passengers on the East Coast and now there’s talk of a second terminal.

But as Gigi Barnett explains, the state’s feeble budget may be a roadblock.

Baltimore’s cruise industry is booming.  The reason: location, location, location.

“Three or four years ago, we weren’t even on the radar screens of the cruise lines,” said Port of Baltimore Executive Director Jim White.

Now it’s a different picture.  Baltimore’s port is in the nation’s top 10 for cruises.  From 2008 to now, the number of passengers have quintupled.  And now the Maryland Port Administration wants another cruise terminal near North Locust Point.

“We had a great year last year—did 92 cruises.  This year, we have 112 booked.  Baltimore has really become a cruise destination,” White said.

But the question now is how to pay for it.  With an ailing state budget, Maryland has few dollars for all of the roads, signs and extras that come with another terminal.

But the port has several plans.

“There’s options for us.  We just did a very successful, private, public partnership for our container terminal for 50 years that may be an option for us to jumpstart the second cruise terminal,” White said.

The Port Authority says another option is to ask a cruise line to build a second terminal since they’ve had so much success.  Meanwhile, it could take between nine months to a year to find money for an additional terminal.

The port says the cruise industry brings about $92 million to Charm City and hires more than 500 workers every year.

Comments (20)
  1. bernard mc kernan says:

    Baltimore needs to get on the ball where these cruises are concerned. First they have to want to do it & make it an easy place to navigate .. People from all over will come in a day or two before & after their cruise to sighsee, eat at the restaurants, stay in a nice downtown hotel & hopefully not get mugged. Visit the inner harbor & museums. So, the upside is huge & Baltimore is foolish not to do the improvements.
    They also need to dredge the entire Middle branch river where the ships dock. If I were a captain on one of these vessels, I would be going crazy because of the shallow water. Some place it’s less than 6′ & I have a sailboat. The water is treacherous. Good luck & good cruising.

  2. Ronald G Miner Jr says:

    Some of the middle branch cannot be dredged. The toxic sup that lies below dare not be stirred up for fear it would kill everything out to the Key Bridge. Maryland would have the money to build another terminal if the liberals who run the state hadn’t mis-managed the budget for political gain. Now the chickens have come home to roost. Not only do we have a huge budget deficit, we can’t afford to invest in things such as this that would benefit the state. And mark my words…Within 5 years the state will get it’s greedy mitts on the cruise industry and they will leave, just like many many many other businesses have…

  3. bernard mc kernan says:

    If they can encapsulate the old Allied chemical location where all kinds of metals & mercury were lying on the bottom, the area where the cruise ships dock is one where little of that industry ever was. Has any studies ever been done to substantiate your claims or as I suspect they’re working on the cheap, the city that is.

  4. Scott's County says:

    Baltimore would really be a cruise capitol if the cruise industry’s mega cruise ships could come here such as Freedom of the Seas. However, I believe even though a cruise ship like Freedom of the Seas only has a draft of 23-feet, it still would not be able to fit under the Chessapeake and Key Bridges. A cruise ship like this is about 200 feet above the water line at the funnels.

    1. bernard mc kernan says:

      I saw the QE2 go under the bay & key bridges in 1985, the newer ones are bigger & taller?

      1. Scott's County says:

        QE2 is is like a dog next to a horse in size comparison with the mega cruise ships like Freedom of the Seas and Oasis of the Seas.

  5. John Frenaye says:

    A few points here. To say that Baltimore is a top ten port is not saying much as there aren’t that many more. Miami, Ft. Lauderdale. Port Canaveral, Charleston, New Orleans, Galveston, Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Diego, Seattle, New York/NJ. And then you have partial ports like Philadelphioa, Norfolk, Boston,

    Second, are the cruise lines interested in spending that kind of money? Carnival is here year round this year, but historically the demand has ebbed and flowed so that the lines pull back for a year or two. It is doubtful that different lines will work together to build a common terminal.

  6. Herman Glimsher says:

    WHO GIVES A SH–!!!!!!


    1. bernard mc kernan says:

      Herman, You sound like you’re off your meds.

  7. Phoebe says:

    In the last twelve years, we have been on a cruise ship for well over a year total. We would travel more often if we had the convenience of a ship docked here. When we were on Royal Caribbean there were many people from Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Virginia, and local. However,RC is our least favorite line.

  8. Bite Me says:

    More ships to smuggle drugs on who needs that

    like herman said get the steel plant running and pump out 5.000 jobs

  9. SB says:

    We are taking our first cruise next month,leaving out of Baltimore. Since I absolutely refuse to get on an airplane,this would not be happening if the boat was not docked here. I’m sure thousands of others who feel this way live in driving distance of Baltimore

  10. Lbates says:


    My father is the same way, he love the fact that Baltimore has cruise ships leaving from here now. He will not get on any planes and the same goes for my grandmother, I’m very happy that my family and I can cruise again because of the ports here in Baltimore. However, I wish we could find away to get the larger ships here, now I know for sure I would never fly again….Cruising is the life to live….

  11. Dan J says:

    We drove from London Ontario, about 9 hours, to take a cruise from Baltimore in 2009. We were there for 2 days prior and would love to come back. Not interested in repeating the same cruise ships, and the Royal Caribbean ship that’s there doesn’t interest me. Unfortunately, the bridges limit the size of ship that can come in there. Carnival can’t bring any of their ships that are bigger than the ship they already have there and unforuntately, the cruise lines aren’t into building in that size range anymore.

  12. Linda says:

    Build a new terminal in the Annapolis area. That way the BIG ships can come here. Love those big ships…

    1. bernard F Mc Kernan says:

      The Annapolis area would never work. Water too shallow, bad docking if at all & horrible roads leading in & out of that faux colonial town.

  13. csr says:

    The only problem with Baltimore’s current cruise offerings is that the ships that are here only go to the Caribbean or Canada – that’s it. They need more varied offerings to keep people interested, but our location is such that it’s not that easy to reach other places without making a cruise a very long (and expensive) vacation. It would also be nice to have other cruise companies here such as NCL, Princess, etc. I’m not real fond of any of the ones currently servicing our area now.

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