Governor Martin O’Malley today announced the return of Carnival Cruise Lines to the Port of Baltimore. Following approval in September by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Coast Guard of Carnival’s plan to reduce ship emissions, the popular cruise line will resume seven-day, year-round cruises onboard the Carnival Pride ship from the Port of Baltimore beginning in March 2015. The vessel will return to Maryland with new air emission reduction technologies and a host of new dining, bar, and entertainment options.
“We are pleased to welcome Carnival Cruise Lines back to Maryland and the Carnival Pride cruise ship back to the Port of Baltimore,” said Governor O’Malley. “Our Administration, along with our Congressional Delegation, has a proven track record of advocating for a strong, healthy environment and fighting for high-quality jobs for Maryland families. I’m pleased Carnival and the Environmental Protection Agency and Coast Guard have agreed on a plan that will keep family-supporting jobs in Maryland and allow a greener Carnival Pride to return to this thriving cruise market.”
According to the Maryland Port Administration, 500 jobs are generated by cruise activity in Maryland, including 220 direct jobs at the Port of Baltimore. Additionally, Maryland benefits from $90 million in economic activity generated by cruise activities. The economic value to Maryland takes into consideration such factors as local spending, hotels, dining and entertainment.
Upon its return to Baltimore, the Carnival Pride will be equipped with exhaust gas-cleaning technology, known as scrubbers. Scrubbers are designed to reduce air emissions from cruise ships and other marine vessels. The scrubbers are in response to new international Emission Control Area (ECA) regulations which require cruise and cargo vessels to use an ultra-low, sulfur diesel fuel or install equipment, such as scrubbers, to clean the fuel exhaust before it is emitted into the air.
“Baltimore is a convenient mid-Atlantic embarkation point for ‘Fun Ship’ cruising, and we’re pleased to resume these attractive year-round departures which offer our guests an opportunity to visit a variety of beautiful, tropical destinations,” said Gerry Cahill, Carnival’s president and CEO. “We would like to extend our thanks to officials from the Port and the state of Maryland for their outstanding support in our efforts to resume year-round cruising from Baltimore.”
The Carnival Pride has been based in Baltimore since it initiated the Port of Baltimore’s year-round cruising schedule in 2009. It will remain at the Port through October 2014 and then head to Florida where it will be retrofitted with new emission reduction technologies as well as the new on-board features. The 2,124-passenger ship will reposition to Tampa next winter before returning to Baltimore for a March 29, 2015 cruise. Carnival Pride’s itinerary from Baltimore will again offer the popular destinations of the Caribbean, Bahamas, and Central Florida.
“Whether we are talking about welcoming back Carnival Cruise lines, forging public-private partnerships or expanding cargo operations, the O’Malley-Brown Administration and the Congressional Delegation have ensured the Port of Baltimore has what it needs to attract business, create jobs and become one of our nation’s greatest and most diverse seaports,” said MPA Executive Director James J. White. “With today’s news, we are further establishing ourselves as one of the top cruise ports in the U.S.”
The Carnival Pride will also return to Maryland with new dining and entertainment venues such as:
• EA SPORTS Bar - a sports and video game lovers’ paradise;
• Blue Iguana Tequila Bar - a fun and festive outdoor watering hole;
• WaterWorks - a water park highlighted by Green Thunder, the steepest and fastest water slide at sea;
• Guy’s Burger Joint - a free venue developed by Food Network personality Guy Fieri; and
Business at the Port of Baltimore generates about 14,630 direct jobs, while about 108,000 jobs in Maryland are linked to port activities. The Port is responsible for $3 billion in personal wages and salary and more than $300 million in state and local taxes. About 2,000 ships visit the Port of Baltimore every year. Baltimore is the closest East Coast port to the U.S. Midwest. This geographic advantage allows Midwestern manufacturers significant cost and time savings when transporting their products to Baltimore rather than other East Coast ports.
About Cruise Maryland
The Port of Baltimore’s cruise facility, with its unique location immediately off Interstate 95 and close to Interstate 70, has become a convenient drive-to cruise port for many residents throughout the Mid-Atlantic and into the Midwest. Last year more than 212,000 passengers sailed on 90 cruises from the Port of Baltimore. The Port of Baltimore ranks fifth for cruise passengers among East Coast cruise ports, 11th in the U.S. and 20th in the world. Since beginning a year-round cruise schedule in 2009, nearly every cruise that has sailed from the Port of Baltimore has left at full passenger capacity. The Cruise Maryland terminal is 2.5 miles from Baltimore’s world famous Inner Harbor and 10 miles from BWI Thurgood Marshall Airport. Maryland’s median household income of $70,004 is the highest in the U.S. Baltimore is also located within a four-hour drive of eight of the ten wealthiest counties in the U.S. The Baltimore-Washington DC-Northern Virginia region is recognized as one of the most affluent in the nation. For more information on Cruise Maryland, go to:www.cruise.maryland.gov or call 1-866-427-8963.