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Port of Baltimore extends contract with Royal Caribbean

The Maryland Port Administration today announced it had signed a new contract with Royal Caribbean International that will extend the cruise line’s year-round departures from the Helen Delich Bentley Port of Baltimore through June 2020.

Royal Caribbean’s Grandeur of the Seas will continue to offer cruises from Baltimore to the Bahamas, Bermuda, the Caribbean, and New England-Canada, officials said.

“Our administration is pleased that Royal Caribbean has made a long-term commitment to Maryland and to the Port of Baltimore,” said Gov. Larry Hogan in a news release. “Through this partnership, vacationers will continue to have a popular and convenient cruising option that provides a significant boost to Maryland’s economy for years to come.”

The Grandeur of the Seas will continue offering five-, nine- and 12-night roundtrip itineraries from Baltimore, including a new nine-night voyage to Nassau. The ship underwent a $48 million revitalization three years ago.

“Royal Caribbean is pleased to renew our contract with the Port of Baltimore,” said Michael Bayley, president and chief executive officer for Royal Caribbean International. “Baltimore is a fantastic departure point for our guests who live in the mid-Atlantic States, the Northeast and beyond, and the city continuously provides our guests with a wonderful start to their cruise vacation.”

Cruise lines have become an increasingly important part of the Baltimore port’s operations.

In 2015, nearly 200,000 passengers sailed on 90 cruises from Baltimore. The port ranks 6th on the East Coast, 11th in the U.S. and 20th in the world for cruise passengers.

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, officials said.