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Philadelphia Throws in the TowelDecember 2, 2010 By: Susan Young
No More Brotherly Love for Cruises
While some cities, Savannah, GA, and Brownsville, TX, among them, say they want to possibly get into the cruise business, one of the nation's largest — Philadelphia — is effectively getting out of it.
The Delaware River Port Authority's executive committee has approved a plan to end its cruise terminal lease at Philadelphia on January 1. The port would save millions on terminal renovations and lease payments. The full board must vote on the plan in a few weeks.
According to the port, lower interest in Philadelphia from cruise lines and the advent of bigger ships have led to fewer calls and embarkations. While more than 30 cruises sailed from the port a few years back — many after 9-11 when cruise lines moved more ships to U.S. home ports — next year only two cruises are scheduled to depart from Philadelphia. Those departures will be handled by the port as planned.
Philadelphia, while certainly highly attractive for its extensive air lift, as well as top attractions and tourism infrastructure, requires a long river transit for the lines. For that reason, cruise lines are now frequenting other northeast ports such as Baltimore and New York.
Lynn Torrent, Carnival Cruise Lines' senior vice president of sales and guest relations, told agents at the recent Cruise Planners conference that her line is doing extremely well with new year-round sailings from Baltimore, which is easily accessible from a wide range of drive markets, both north and south.