Port cruise ship traffic dips slightly in 2012

Cruise traffic at the port of Baltimore last year dipped slightly from 2011, snapping a four-year string of increases.

Port officials said Wednesday that 240,676 people sailed on 100 cruises out of Baltimore, the second-highest count since year-round service started in 2009. In 2011, 251,889 passengers sailed on 105 cruises, a nearly 20 percent increase over the previous year.

Cruise traffic is worth about $90 million in total economic value to the state and is responsible for about 220 jobs.

The East McComas Street cruise terminal services Royal Caribbean International and Carnival Cruise Lines. Most Baltimore cruises are seven-day trips to the Bahamas and the Caribbean, although some ships travel to New England and Canada.

In May, the port will see a changing of the guard as Royal Caribbean replaces its 989-foot Enchantment of the Seas with the slightly smaller, but recently refurbished Grandeur of the Seas. Grandeur received a $48 million upgrade and has been cruising the Mediterranean. Shipboard improvements include five new restaurants, technological upgrades and stateroom renovations.


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