Massachusetts Port Authority CEO Craig Coy, along with Boston City Council President Michael Flaherty and local tourism leaders today kicked-off the start of Cruiseport Boston's 2003 season at the Black Falcon Cruise Terminal in South Boston. The announcement took place aboard Norwegian Cruise Line's newly refurbished Norwegian Sea.
Norwegian Cruise Lines has been calling the Port of Boston for nearly a decade. This year, they join 11 cruise lines in offering a total of 95 scheduled visits to Boston and providing vacation planners with an exciting lineup of cruise offerings.
"The cruise line business brings people and jobs to the Port of Boston and the South Boston Waterfront," said Michael Flaherty, Boston City Council President. "It's great exposure for us and will allow Boston to become an even more popular destination for visitors that will stay in our hotels, shop in our stores, and eat in our restaurants."
Last year, cruises in and out of Boston broke a record with 93 vessel calls and 208,000 passengers. This year, more ships are scheduled to dock in Boston, carrying a projected 210,000 passengers.
"Boston is proving to be one of the world's top visitor destinations," said Craig Coy, CEO Massport. "With continued growth as projected, this year will exceed last year in vessel calls and passenger numbers. This kind of growth is great news for our local economy which stands to benefit between $500- $1500 per passenger."
With weary winter blues proving to be a thing of the past, vacations from Boston this season are filling up fast. Whether sailing North to the beautiful port cities along the New England and Canada coastline, South to the sunny beaches of Bermuda and the Caribbean, or East across the Atlantic Ocean to England, the Port of Boston is sure to offer a voyage for everyone.
"The Boston Redevelopment Authority's Marine Industrial Park is the proud gateway for the thousands of visitors who enter the Port of Boston each year. It is home to 3500 jobs and hundreds of maritime-related businesses. We are committed to ensuring the continued success of the cruise line industry -- an important component of our local economy," said Mark Maloney, Director of the Boston Redevelopment Authority.
Located in the heart of the waterfront district just minutes from downtown Boston and close to Logan Airport, the Black Falcon Cruise Terminal offers ease and convenience for travelers.
Pat Moscaritolo, President & CEO of the Greater Boston Convention & Visitors Bureau, praised Massport for its CruisePort initiatives and called the cruise offerings "the sleeping giant of Boston's visitor industry. The spending generated for Boston's visitor economy by pre and post stays as well as port of call visits, will help the region's visitor industry rebound."
"The revenue that the cruise industry pumps into the region has become a significant economic driver for the Greater Boston economy," said Paul Guzzi, President and CEO of the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce. "And as more people visit Boston and see first-hand our vibrant culture, thriving commerce, and unique character, we are confident more businesses will want to locate here."
North Atlantic cruising, a traditional fall favorite has become a popular itinerary for summer cruising to and from Boston. Last season, summer sailings from Boston to Canada received rave reviews from cruise critics, highlighting one of the fastest growing sectors on the cruise market.
"An expanding Boston-based cruise industry allows us to showcase this city and encourages more visitors to stay overnight both before and after their cruise," said Paul J. Sacco, Executive Director of the Massachusetts Office of Travel and Tourism.
For the first time, Boston will host a brand-new, state-of-the-art ship on its official debut. Royal Caribbean International will launch its Serenade of the Seas from CruisePort Boston in August for three and four night chartered cruises by the National Leisure Group. This extraordinary luxury vessel is offering exclusive cruises of coastal New England and Canada.
For North Atlantic sailings this season, also look for first time calls from luxury lines including the Radisson Seven Seas which will make its maiden voyage to Boston from New York on May 6th and Radisson's Navigator which will make four port of call visits in Boston. The all-suite Navigator accommodates up to 490 passengers and features spacious luxury suites, each with private balconies.
For Canada, look for CruisePort Boston sailings on Royal Caribbean's Grandeur of the Seas as well as Norwegian Cruise Line's Norwegian Dream and Norwegian Sea. Also offering Canada cruising this season will be two sister ship pairs, the Golden Princess and the Regal Princess as well as Silvers Seas Cruise Lines' Silver Shadow and Silver Whisper.
Boston welcomes the return of Crystal Cruises, a premium cruise line offering one day port of call visits on its popular New England and Canada fall foliage tours.
Holland America flagship, the Rotterdam which made it Boston debut last season, returns this year with seven and ten day cruises from Boston to points in Eastern Canada. In addition, this year, the Rotterdam offers a 14-day transatlantic sailing from Boston to Harwich, England.
For those who are seeking active cruises, check out Carnival Cruise Line's Victory, an enormous cruise ship which can carry up to 3,400 passengers and is scheduled to make three port of call visits in Boston this September.
For the ninth consecutive year, Norwegian Cruise Lines will depart Boston for Bermuda with weekly calls during the entire season. The Norwegian Majesty will depart Boston for St. Georges, Bermuda, beginning on Sunday, May 4 and will complete its final cruise of the season on Sunday, October 25, 2003.
An estimated $60 million in economic impact is derived from the cruise business. For more information including a schedule of cruises, click here.