The Massachusetts Port Authority announced today a schedule of 122 cruise ship calls expected at the Black Falcon Cruise Terminal during the April through October 2000 cruise season. The economic impact on the region is an estimated $50 million. The announcement of the record-setting season comes during the cruise industry's celebration of February as National Cruise Vacation Month.
The 122 ship calls are expected to bring more than 200,000 cruise ship passengers through the Black Falcon Cruise Terminal. These visitors will invest in Boston by spending money in restaurants, shopping, on ground transportation and elsewhere.
"The cruise ship industry will bring jobs and increased economic opportunity to the Boston area," said Virginia Buckingham, Massport's executive director and CEO."To keep pace with the growth of the cruise industry, Massport is investing $10 million to expand and modernize the Black Falcon Cruise Terminal."
The modernization project includes new ticketing, waiting and baggage areas, as well as ground access improvement and new gangways to accommodate larger ships.
"Boston's registered annual growth at over 16 percent for the past five years in the number of passengers," said Michael Leone, Massport's director of the Port of Boston. "This season alone we have l8 dates with multiple embarkations. On September 24, we'll have three embarkations from the Black Falcon---The QE2, Norwegian Majesty and Seabreeze. The expansion project will allow us to handle the increased demand for cruise passengers, as well as the larger vessels that will be deployed over the next five years."
With 122 ship calls this season, business at the Black Falcon Cruise Terminal has increased tenfold since 1985 when only 13 ships called. At that time Massport began an aggressive marketing and terminal renovation program to market Boston as a cruiseport. The cruise ship activity contributes to the revitalization of the Port of Boston and the South Boston Seaport District.
This year, in addition to Norwegian Majesty's 27 weekly cruises to Bermuda, Carnival Cruise Lines' Destiny inaugurates three embarkations from Boston. Scheduled are two four-day voyages, May 22 and 29, calling at Halifax and St. John, N.B.. And a three-day cruise, May 26, will visit St. John.
Another cruise line new to Boston service, Premier, brings in two ships: The Seabreeze, for 36 embarkations alternating with 2-night cruises To Nowhere and 5-night cruises to Canada and The Big Red Boat, for 24 port of call visits during its New England/Canada cruise between May and October.
Also, new this year at the Black Falcon Cruise Terminal is transatlantic service. The QE2 leaves Boston for four six-day, cruises to Southampton, England on May 11, June 6, and September 4 and 24. Theme cruises include Jazz, Gardens of Great Britain, Views of the New Century and Beyond the Human Limit.
Silverseas Cruise Line's Silver Wind, a 296-passenger luxury class ship, arrives from in Boston after a 10-day Atlantic-crossing from Dublin on September 22 for a September 23 embarkation to New England/Canadian ports. The line's brand new ship, Silver Shadow,visits on Oct. 13.
Royal Caribbean's Splendor of the Seas makes four embarkations during her New England/Canada itinerary. Princess Line's Crown Princess visits six times. Holland America's Maasdam visits four times, including a 10-day New England/Canada sailing from Boston. Other cruise lines visiting Boston include: Delphin, Clipper, Regal and Seabourn.
"The variety of cruise lines and the diversity of itineraries underscores Boston's growing importance as a cruise port," said Leone.