BALTIMORE (WJZ) — The Maryland Port Administration welcomed Royal Caribbean back to the Port of Baltimore on Thursday.

The cruise line’s ship Enchantment of the Seas is departing Thursday from Baltimore for an eight-night cruise to the Bahamas, marking the first Royal Caribbean cruise to set sail from Charm City in nearly two years.

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William Doyle, the MPA’s executive director, presented Capt. Daniel Budzelewski with an official Port of Baltimore ship’s wheel during a ceremony at the port’s cruise terminal celebrating the occasion.

“This is huge for the local economy,” Doyle said. “When we have a cruise ship that comes into the Port of Baltimore, you’re looking at about $1 million in business to the local community.”

Capt. Budzelewski was thrilled about setting sail once again.

“I must say, we are all very excited about being here,” he said. “You know, it’s been almost two years that we have been out of service. I was on the ships when the ships were empty. They looked like a ghost town.”

Doyle said the location of Baltimore’s cruise terminal—off Interstate 95, 15 minutes from BWI Thurgood Marshall Airport—is one of the many reasons people enjoy sailing out of Baltimore.

He touted the points of interest located nearby, including the Inner Harbor, Federal Hill, Fell’s Point, Fort McHenry, all of which offer an array of amenities for tourists, shoppers, and diners alike.

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Doyle said people travel from all over to set sail out of Baltimore.

“We have people who drive here from New York, West Virginia, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia–they all come,” he said.

With COVID-19 safety measures in place aboard the Enchantment of the Seas, the international crew is prepared for its voyage.

“They take safety and security so seriously with the hand sanitizer, the vaccines,” Doyle said. “We’re just so proud and happy to have you here.”

The Enchantment of the Seas succeeds Baltimore’s former Royal Caribbean ship, the Grandeur of the Seas. The cruise line has operated out of Baltimore since 2004 and launched year-round trips in 2010.

Out of Baltimore, the cruise line offers trips of varying lengths to Bermuda, the Bahamas, Canada, the Caribbean and New England. Voyages can be as short as five nights or as long as 12 nights.

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“The return of Royal Caribbean to the Port of Baltimore is a great way to celebrate the holiday season,” Doyle said.

CBS Baltimore Staff