Reporting Gigi Barnett
BALTIMORE (WJZ) — The Port of Baltimore does it again. For the third year in a row, the number of passengers cruising out of Charm City is at an all-time high.
Gigi Barnett explains why.
Charlie and Shirley Wriker enjoy going on cruises.
“We love it ’cause everything is right there. They take us, we go to different places, we don’t have to unpack,” Wriker said.
And that kind of convenience is causing a boom in cruise line passengers at the Port of Baltimore, so much so that last month the port became the fifth-busiest cruise terminal on the East Coast.
Port spokesman Richard Scher says Baltimore is in good company.
“The group of cruise ports that are now in the top five with us are the creme de la creme of cruise ports in the U.S.: Miami, Fort Lauderdale, New York,” Scher said.
One reason why the state says its cruise port is so successful is I-95. It is right next to the cruise terminal and it attracts passengers from as far away as the Midwest.
“People can avoid flying, save their money and spend it on their ship,” Scher said.
That’s why the Wrikers picked Baltimore’s terminal. They drove from North Carolina.
“We like somewhere we can drive to instead of fly,” Wriker said.
The port expects more passengers to discover Baltimore. One of its largest cruise lines recently signed a new five-year contract to keep cruising out of Charm City.
With so many passengers sailing in and out of Baltimore, the city says cruise lines bring about $90 million into the state and add a little more than 200 jobs to the port.