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Cruise passengers top 1 million at Port of Baltimore

More than one million cruise passengers have sailed from the Port of Baltimore since the cruise terminal opened in 2006.

The Maryland Port Administration announced Wednesday that 1,013,735 passengers have taken a cruise since a nine-night trip to the Caribbean on-board Royal Caribbean’s Grandeur of the Seas set sail May 12, 2006.

The administration estimates the port’s cruise business has an annual economic impact of $90 million for the state.

Business has steadily grown since 2006, when 59,347 passengers sailed. Last year, 251,889 boarded cruise ships at the Port of Baltimore — fifth-most among East Coast ports and 11th-most among those in the United States.

Almost 221,000 passengers have sailed from Baltimore as of Nov. 25 this year.

Port Executive Director James J. White said in October that cruise business was unlikely to grow significantly in at the port because the 100-year-old cruise terminal was at capacity. The terminal needs to be replaced within the next 20 years, making it unlikely the Port will find the money to build a second cruise terminal.

Carnival Cruise Lines signed a five-year extension in 2011 to sail weekly out of Baltimore. Royal Caribbean is committed to a weekly trip through mid-2014. Both are packing their ships to their 2,200-passenger capacity, White said.