Carnival Cruise Lines will continue to offer year-round cruises from the Port of Baltimore through August 2013.
The Miami-based cruise line is signing onto an extension of its contract, guaranteeing at least two more years and adding three one-year options. The deal makes it possible for Carnival to continue operating from the port for up to five years. The agreement takes effect on Aug. 31, when the current contract is set to expire.
The cruise line began year-round cruises from Baltimore in 2009. Since then, Royal Caribbean has also committed to year-round cruises from the port.
“In just three years, we have gone from 27 seasonal cruises to 112 year-round cruises," said Gov. Martin O'Malley. "Located in one of the largest population markets in the country and having a great cruise terminal that is easily accessible from I-95, Baltimore has developed a winning combination that continues to attract passengers in record numbers. This kind of success is good for Carnival and it is good for Maryland.”
Last year, the port set a record with more than 210,000 people sailing on 91 cruises from the Cruise Maryland Terminal. The Port of Baltimore ranks no. 6 on the East Coast for cruise passengers.
Carnival will continue to offer seven-day cruises to the Bahamas and the Caribbean aboard the Carnival Pride. No mention was made of adding another ship or changing vessels, as has been rumored by some cruise enthusiasts.
Last month, Carnival announced that it would begin sailing year-round from New York beginning in 2012. Prior to that, Baltimore was the cruise line's northernmost year-round port.