Tourists are pouring into Massachusetts by sea in record numbers, thanks to the burgeoning cruise industry and Boston’s rapid rise as a new destination for this lucrative audience.
Earlier this month, Massport celebrated the 30th anniversary of Cruiseport Boston at the Black Falcon Pier in South Boston. It was a chance to look back at Boston’s illustrious maritime traditions and to preview some of the great things on the horizon for Cruiseport Boston.
According to Massport, this operation provides over 950 direct jobs and generate nearly $80 million in economic impact, as well as $25 million in annual local, state and federal tax revenue. In 2016, Massport estimates that 320,000 passengers are expected to come through the port on 114 ship calls.
CEO Thomas P. Glynn called the 30th anniversary “an exciting milestone for not only Massport, but for the cruising community and the entire region.
“Cruiseport Boston has grown into a well-established launching point for quality cruises, whether you’re heading to Canada or Bermuda,” Glynn said. “In the meantime, the industry is recognizing Boston as a significant embarkation port, in part because of our engaged cruising community. This will help keep Massachusetts among the top 10 states benefitting from the cruise industry.”
A highlight of the week-long celebration included inaugural visits by two mega cruise ships: on Wednesday, May 18, Disney Magic, a 984 feet long, eleven deck cruise ship that carries 2,400 passengers came to Boston; followed on Friday, May 20 by the Royal Caribbean’s Anthem of the Seas, which carries 4,180 passengers and is the largest cruise ship ever to land in Boston.
Nam Pham, Assistant Secretary for Business Development and International Trade, said the bustling cruise traffic is compatible with the Baker-Polito Administration’s vision to strengthen the maritime industry in all 78 seacoast cities and towns in Massachusetts.
“A thriving waterfront increases commerce, produces jobs, and supports tourism, which is the third largest industry in Massachusetts,” said Pham.
The addition of the Disney Cruise Line and Anthem of the Seas will likely broaden the customer base of tourists who disembark in Boston, since many of them will be seeing Massachusetts for the first time. Twenty-nine cruises — to destinations including Bermuda, Canada and Europe — are set to start in Boston.
Another highlight of the week occurred when officials unveiled a series of murals painted by the schoolchildren of South Boston. One of the murals honored Ray Flynn, the former US Ambassador to the Vatican and Mayor of Boston.
In 1986, Mayor Flynn established the Marine Industrial Park along the waterfront, which was widely credited with reviving the industrial port and preserving blue-collar jobs. This year the park was renamed the Ray Flynn Marine Park.
According to the Cruise Lines International Association, more than 24 million passengers are expected to sail in 2016.
Here is the 2016 Schedule at Cruiseport Boston.
Here is information on the Seaport Economic Council.