Reporting Gigi Barnett
BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Million-mark milestone. Record passenger numbers have turned Baltimore’s cruise port into a popular departure point.
Gigi Barnett explains.
After seven days sailing the high seas, passengers call this the ultimate vacation.
“We did beaches, we did some shopping on the cruise. Nightlife every night,” said cruise passenger Amy DiCicco.
“You pay to eat, you pay to do whatever you want. You are on vacation,” said cruise passenger George Smith.
The number of passengers leaving out of the Port of Baltimore since 2006 when the cruises began, reached the million mark. This year alone, nearly 221,000 passengers have sailed out of Baltimore’s terminal.
“It’s a great way to unplug,” said Kelli Hall.
That’s why Hall cruises from the port about two or three times a year. She’s just back from the Bahamas.
“We have a house in Middle River so it’s 20 minutes and we just hop on and hop off,” Hall said.
Passengers say it is the convenience of this port that causes them to come back time and again. Last year, the Port of Baltimore was ranked 11 in the nation and fifth among East Coast cruise ports.
“It’s not unusual for us to see a lot of cars parked at the cruise terminal with license plates from New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Virginia, the Carolinas, even as far into the Midwest as Indiana,” said Port Administration spokesman Richard Scher.
Both cruise lines at the port plan to stay. Last year, Carnival signed a five-year contract extension to stay at the port and Royal Caribbean will add a newly-renovated ship to its Baltimore departures.