The Massachusetts Port Authority (Massport) today announced the end of its 2006 cruise season. The culmination was officially marked with the November 3rd visit by Princess Cruises' Sea Princess. The cruise ship was one of the newest comers to the Port of Boston this year. Her "sister ship" the Star Princess, and also a new-comer was in port the previous day. The 2006 season boasted 81 vessel calls, and a total of 208,986 passengers embarking and disembarking at Cruiseport Boston's Black Falcon Terminal. One hundred and one vessel calls are already booked for the 2007 season.
Cruiseport Boston was abuzz this season with new ports-of-call and larger vessels. Twelve cruise lines offered an assortment of New England/Canada, Bermuda, and Caribbean itineraries.
"This year's cruise season brought a spectrum of travelers and cruise lines to our city which further underscores Boston's world-class city status. This diversity brings wide-ranging opportunity to the local economy translating into each visitor generating between $500-$1500 during their stay," said Thomas J. Kinton, Jr., Massport's CEO & Executive Director. "This also means more opportunity for the region, because it provides an incentive for travelers to come back and stay longer as a vacation destination."
Royal Caribbean's new ship Freedom of the Seas visited Boston on May 19th as one of four select inaugural ports-of-call worldwide, and thereafter with two more ports-of-call. The $800 million vessel is the world's largest cruise ship accommodating 3,600 passengers and weighing 160,000 tons.
Additional newcomers were Holland America's newest Vista-Class ship the Noordam calling Boston on a select-port inaugural tour, and the ultra-luxurious Seaborn Pride which was refurbished in 2005, and christened by Shirley Temple Black.
Cunard Line's monarchs, the Queen Elizabeth II and the Queen Mary II both visited Boston with four separate ports-of-call. The QM2 luxury liner graced the skyline at Cruiseport Boston on three separate occasions, including the 4th of July. Her majesty is the second largest passenger ship in existence today carrying 3,056 sea voyagers and weighing in at 151,400 gross tons.
An International Council of Cruise Lines (ICCL) economic impact study ranked Massachusetts 9th in the country in direct spending by the cruise industry. In 2005 the industry spent $401 million in the state, supporting 4,300 jobs that paid $245 million in wages and salaries. According to the ICCL, "80,400 people embarked on their cruises from Cruiseport Boston in 2005. Boston is Massachusetts' major cruise port and point of embarkation primarily for seasonal cruises to New England, Canada and Bermuda. The state's residents also make up a significant portion of U.S. cruisers. Some 557,000 Massachusetts residents took cruise vacations in 2005, comprising 6.1 percent of all U.S. cruise passengers."
This fall, Massport issued a Request for Expressions of Interest (RFEI) to developers and cruise lines for construction of a new cruise terminal in South Boston. A modern two terminal/berth facility would complement and enhance the emerging Seaport District, and accommodate the consistent growth of Boston's cruise industry since the first cruise ship called port in the 1980's. Several cruise lines have expressed interest in calling Boston year-round.
Typically, September and October see the heaviest cruise travel, because of the lure of fall foliage in New England. This year, roughly 115,000 travelers passed through Cruiseport Boston during these months, accounting for more than half of the season's total passengers.
So far next year, 101 ships will call the Port of Boston, including an inaugural visit by Norwegian Cruise Lines' newest Jewel-Class ship the Gem, as well as new ports-of-call from three cruise lines: Norwegian Cruise Lines' Spirit, Royal Caribbean's Grandeur of the Seas and Explorer of the Seas, and Classic International Cruises' Athena will bring an additional 54,000 day visitors to Boston who will sightsee and patronize local restaurants and shops.