The Port of Baltimore ranks as the fifth-largest port for the number of cruise passengers on the East Coast, according to numbers released recently by the Cruise Lines International Association.
The ranking, based on data from 2010 when Baltimore hosted a record number of cruise passengers, is up a notch from 2009, when the port was ranked no. 6.
The top five ports on the East Coast, according to CLIA, are Miami, Port Everglades (Fort Lauderdale), Port Canaveral, New York and Baltimore, which saw 210,549 people sailing on cruises in 2010. That number surpassed Jacksonville's approximately 174,000 passengers and pushed Baltimore ahead of the Florida city on the list.
Nationally, CLIA ranked the Port of Baltimore at no. 12, up from no. 14.
According to the Maryland Port Administration, Baltimore is within a six hour drive of 40 million people, providing easy access for cruise travelers. 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.
Both Carnival and Royal Caribbean offer year-round cruises from Baltimore.