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Carnival pulls out of Port of Baltimore

Carnival Cruise Lines is pulling its Pride cruise ship from the Port of Baltimore next year, the company announced Thursday.

Carnival PrideThe Pride will move its weekly, seven-day cruises to Tampa from December 2014 through April 2015, a statement said.

In an email, a Carnival spokesman said the company “routinely evaluates its itineraries and makes adjustments as needed based on guest preference and overall financial performance of different itineraries.”

“We have a great partnership with the Port of Baltimore and know many of our guests enjoy cruising from there,” the statement said. “We will evaluate all viable options to return to Baltimore in the future.”

Carnival, which signed an extension with the Port of Baltimore in 2011, was regularly packing the Pride to its 2,200-passenger capacity, officials said, and cruises had become an important business at the port. The Maryland Port Administration estimates the cruise business has an annual economic impact of $90 million on the state.

With two sailings a week — Carnival and Royal Caribbean, which is committed to Baltimore through mid-2014 — the port’s 100-year-old cruise terminal had been at capacity.

James J. White, the port administration’s executive director, had said recently adding a third or fourth cruise ship would require a second cruise terminal, a possibility that was likely years away.

Late last year, the port’s 1 millionth cruise passenger sailed from Baltimore, which has offered cruises since 2006.