Port cruise ship traffic dips slightly in 2012

Cruise traffic at the

port of Baltimore

last year dipped slightly from 2011, snapping a four-year string of increases.

Port officials said Wednesday that 240,676 people sailed on 100 cruises out of Baltimore, the second-highest count since year-round service started in 2009. In 2011, 251,889 passengers sailed on 105 cruises, a nearly 20 percent increase over the previous year.

Cruise traffic is worth about $90 million in total economic value to the state and is responsible for about 220 jobs.

The East McComas Street cruise terminal services

Royal Caribbean International


Carnival Cruise Lines

. Most Baltimore cruises are seven-day trips to the


and the Caribbean, although some ships travel to New England and Canada.

In May, the port will see a changing of the guard as Royal Caribbean replaces its 989-foot Enchantment of the Seas with the slightly smaller, but recently refurbished Grandeur of the Seas. Grandeur received a $48 million upgrade and has been cruising the Mediterranean. Shipboard improvements include five new restaurants, technological upgrades and stateroom renovations.