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Royal Caribbean extends cruises from Baltimore for 4 more years

In:
Category: 
21Apr2016

Royal Caribbean will continue offering cruises from Baltimore, Maryland for another four years.

The Baltimore Business Journal reports that Royal Caribbean signed a new deal with the Maryland Port Administration that will extend its year-round departures out of South Locust Point until June 2020.

Grandeur of the Seas is currently offering year-round cruises from Baltimore to the Bahamas, Bermuda and Canada.

Grandeur of the Seas has been offering cruises from Baltimore since May 2013, when she replaced Enchantment of the Seas.

Taking a Royal Caribbean cruise from Baltimore: What you need to know

In:
Category: 
01Feb2016

Royal Caribbean offers year-round cruises from Baltimore, Maryland and for many on the east coast, this provides a convenient cruise port alternative to flying to Florida.  If you are planning on taking a Royal Caribbean cruise from Baltimore, here is what you need to know about the experience.

Before you go

Whether you are flying or driving to the port, here are some basic tips to consider before you leave your house.

First, be sure to bring your Set Sail Pass as well as passport/photo ID.  These are critical items that will prevent you from going on any Royal Caribbean cruise.

It is also important to have your luggage tags affixed to all of your luggage to ensure a speedy check-in process.  

If you are traveling during the winter months, it is a good idea to keep in your car gloves and coats as well as a shovel in case of a winter storm.

Arriving at Port of Baltimore

Driving to the Port of Baltimore is fairly simple, given its proximity to the major highway of Interstate 95. Use exit 55 to reach the port.

As you drive into the port area, several port staffers will greet you.  If you are driving your own vehicle, here are the steps you can expect to encounter

  1. Staff will check if your luggage has luggage tags. If not, you will be directed to a building to get tags.
  2. Staff will provide a parking paper for the dash of your vehicle if all parties are boarding the ship.
  3. Direct you to luggage porters to check-in luggage.
  4. Pay for parking (left for credit, right for cash).
  5. Proceed left and in front of the terminal building to the adjacent parking lot. As of December 2015, parking was $15 per day and payable in advance.

This process can take around 25 minutes or so to complete, depending on how prepared you are and how busy the port is.

In the terminal

Once you enter the Port of Baltimore cruise terminal, you will be asked for your Set Sail Pas and Passport/Photo ID. 

You will be instructed to drop your luggage at the drive-through kiosk, where porters will instruct you to remove all alcohol - including your allowed 2 bottles of wine. When cruising from Baltimore, they specifically request you carry on your wine through the security checkpoint where they will ask to see each bottle (its not a problem, but they will likely make you take it out of your bag to show them). If you leave alcohol in your luggage, expect your luggage to be flagged for inspection and then you will be responsible to get your bag to your cabin.

Royal Caribbean Crown & Anchor Society members that are Diamond level or above can get priority check-in through security.  All other guests will be directed to form a line as security reviews your documentation.

After the security scanner, you will be asked to fill out the standard health form and then off to the check-in counters. Royal Caribbean Crown and Anchor members also have priority check-in here as well.

The check-in process usually does not take very long and the counters are well-staffed.  

Getting onboard

Be prepared, part of the walking distance from the check-in counter to the ship gangway is outside, albeit covered, inclement weather considerations should be evaluated.

Once you are able to board your Royal Caribbean cruise, there is an option on Grandeur of the Seas to check your carry-on luggage in the South Pacific Lounge on Deck 6 aft (the alternative location for this is Chops Grille, also on deck 6).

Royal Caribbean will hold your luggage until 12:45pm, so you can enjoy lunch and explore the ship before your stateroom is ready at 1pm.

Now that you are onboard, your cruise has begun and you can explore the ship and start enjoying the many amenities and options available to you.

A big thank you to Jodi Shoop for assisting in writing this blog post!

What are your recommendations for anyone taking a Royal Caribbean cruise from Baltimore? Share them in the comments!

Royal Caribbean warns Baltimore port strike could affect Grandeur of the Seas cruise

In:
16Oct2013

Royal Caribbean issued a warning today for guests on the October 17 Grandeur of the Seas cruise out of Baltimore, Maryland that their luggage service may be affected.

The longshoremen’s union at the Port of Baltimore is currently on strike. If the strike continues tomorrow, there will be a delay in moving guests’ luggage on and off the ship. 

As a result, Royal Caribbean is asking guests guests scheduled to sail on Grandeur of the Seas on October 17, not arrive at the port before 1:00 p.m. Check in for this sailing will take place between 1:00 p.m. and 5:30 p.m.

The sailing’s departure time will be delayed until 7:00 p.m. to accommodate this event, but it will not impact the scheduled itinerary. 

Royal Caribbean pledges to continue to cruise out of Baltimore

In:
17Jul2013

Royal Caribbean is reiterating that it plans to continue to offer cruises out of the port of Baltimore one week after Grandeur of the Seas returned to service.

Lisa Lutoff-Perlo, Royal Caribbean's executive vice president of operations, commented on the company's commitment, "We're sticking with Baltimore.  We're back, and we're ready."

Royal Caribbean added a flag to Grandeur of the Seas that reads "Don't give up the ship", which is a famous quote from the War of 1812, and the line says it will keep the flag flying on Grandeur of the Seas as long as she's based out of the city.  Royal Caribbean says the flag means Grandeur of the Seas is back and that vacationers shouldn't "give up the ship as a vacation option."

Recently competitor cruise line, Carnival Cruise Line, announced it was pulling its cruise ships out of Baltimore in 2014, so Royal Caribbean's statement is good news for a city worried about the future of the cruise ship business in their port.

Royal Caribbean's Grandeur of the Seas begins year-round service from Baltimore

In:
03May2013

Royal Caribbean's Grandeur of the Seas arrived today at the Port of Baltimore, Maryland to replace Enchantment of the Seas.  Grandeur will offer six- to 10-night cruises year-round and will offer passenger cruises to Bermuda, the Bahamas and the Eastern and Western Caribbean, as well as Canada and New England.

This is the second time Grandeur of the Seas has been based out of Baltimore.  She previously was deployed to the port from 2004 through 2009.

To celebrate Grandeur of the Seas' return to Baltimore, Governor Martin O'Malley declared May 3, 2013 as "Royal Caribbean Cruise Day" in Maryland.

Grandeur of the Seas is fresh from a $48 million bow-to-stern revitalization, which incorporated six new specialty dining options, technological upgrades and new entertainment features, as well as a refresh of all furniture, carpet, upholstery and staterooms. Families with toddlers can take advantage of the newly installed Royal Babies and Tots Nursery, which caters to the cruise line’s youngest guests, ages six months to 36 months. Guests can also enjoy a 220-square foot poolside movie screen and take in a new high-flying experience whereby aerialists glide through the ship’s six-story atrium.

 “Royal Caribbean International thanks Governor Martin O’Malley and the Maryland Port Administration for their ongoing support of the cruise vacation industry in the great state of Maryland,” said Adam Goldstein, President and CEO, Royal Caribbean International. “Maryland’s rich history and diverse cultural attractions make it an unmatched destination to pair with a Royal Caribbean cruise vacation. We are delighted to mark the beginning of Grandeur of the Seas’ year-round service from Baltimore on ‘Royal Caribbean Cruise Day’ in Maryland.”

Royal Caribbean is offering a variety of  itineraries to Bermuda, the Bahamas and the Eastern and Western Caribbean. In the summer, the itineraries alternate between seven-night Bermuda sailings, featuring a two-night call at Kings Wharf, and seven-night sailings to the Bahamas, calling at Port Canaveral, Florida; Nassau, Bahamas; and CocoCay, Royal Caribbean’s private island paradise in the Bahamas. In the fall, Grandeur of the Seas will alternate between six-night Bermuda and eight-night Canada and New England sailings. The winter season will consist of rotating 10-night sailings to the Eastern and Western Caribbean, as well as eight-night sailings to the Bahamas.

Port of Baltimore strike not expected to impact Royal Caribbean cruises

In:
Category: 
27Dec2012

Royal Caribbean cruises out of Baltimore are expected to continue despite a potential labor strike at the port.

The International Longshoreman's Association and the U.S. Maritime Alliance are working against a December 30th deadline to reach a new labor agreement.  A strike or lockout have been threatened by both sides if a deal is not reached in time.

Cruises would continue under a International Longshoreman’s Association strike. A lockout, however, threatens to shut down all business at the Port of Baltimore.

It is unlikely the International Longshoreman’s Association and the U.S. Maritime Alliance reach a deal before Sunday’s deadline, said Douglas N. Wolfe, general manager of Ceres Marine Terminals Inc. at the Port of Baltimore. Ceres employs about 170 cargo and container handlers at the port through the ILA, Wolfe said. 

Wolfe says that the Port of Baltimore will find a way to get passengers and their bags on those cruise shipss even if there is a lockout.

“I don’t see the cruise business being affected,” Wolfe said. “It think people will go on cruises. I know my company is dedicated to getting people to work.”

Mary Joan Levin, owner of the Baltimore-based travel agency Royal Travel Planners, said cruise lines would likely bring in their own workers or fly passengers to other departure ports in case of a lockout.  Either way, she hopes cruising will continue in the face of a possible strike or lockout.

Royal Caribbean bringing Grandeur of the Seas back to Baltimore

In:
17May2012

Royal Caribbean is planning on bringing Grandeur of the Seas back to Baltimore to offer year-round cruises in the spring of 2013 after she receives a $48 million renovation.

Grandeur of the Seas had previously sailed out of Baltimore from 2004 to 2009 before being replaced by Enchantment of the Seas.  Once Grandeur arrives, it will replace Enchantment and offer cruises to the Bahamas, Bermuda and New England and Canada..

Baltimore officials are happy with the change since the makeover Grandeur will receive should be an upgrade in terms of ship and it will offer people sailing out of Baltimore similar amenities that can be found in Royal Caribbean's larger ships.

Grandeur of the Seas is set to receive as part of her makeover new dining options, lounges, nursery for children, Wi-Fi service and an outdoor video screen overlooking the pool deck.

Royal Caribbean plans to have the first cruise out of Baltimore on May 3, 2013 to Bermuda.  After, Grandeur will offer six-, seven-, eight- and 10-night cruises.

Photo of the Day: New gangway in Baltimore christened by Enchantment of the Seas

In:
12Apr2011

Photo by Baltimore Sun

Royal Caribbean announces new 2012 cruises to Bermuda and North East USA

In:
17Mar2011

Royal Caribbean announced new itineraries for 2012 that will sail from Baltimore, Maryland to Bermuda aboard Enchantment of the Seas.

The announcement adds a new set of six-night cruises to Bermuda as well as eight-night Bermuda and Northeast United States cruises that will sail out of Baltimore in the spring and summer of 2012.  Enchantment's new six-night itinerary will make 3-day calls to Kings Wharf, Bermuda

In addition, Royal Caribbean is also planning to send Explorer of the Seas, which is based out of Bayonne, NJ, on a new seven-night round trip cruise in September and October of 2012 that will feature three days in Bermuda.  The new itineraries will include five and nine-night Bermuda & Caribbean itineraries through the spring and summer of 2012.

Adding to the news, Jewel of the Seas will continue its ninth season of sailings out of Boston, MA of roundtrip seven-night Canadian cruises.

Baltimore sets new cruise passenger record

In:
12Jan2011

The port of Balitmore, Maryland set a new record for number of cruise passengers in 2010.  Thanks in part to Royal Caribbean offering year-round cruises from the port, 210,549 people sailed on 91 cruises from the Cruise Maryland Terminal. The 2010 cruise record beat the previous record set a year earlier in 2009 of 167,235 passengers on 81 cruises.

According to the Maryland Port Administration, the cruises in 2010 generated about $90 million for the state's economy in 2010, an increase of about $10 million from the previous year.

Royal Caribbean's Enchantment of the Seas will return in 2011 and offer cruises to Bahamas, Bermuda and the Caribbean.

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