By Cathy Duchamp
Airport security hassles and higher baggage fees may be some of the reasons why Baltimore's cruise ship sailings are soaring.
It used to be you had to fly to Florida to catch a Caribbean cruise in the winter. Now you can board from as far north as Baltimore.
"Business is booming, I mean, it's phenomenal," says
J.B. Hanson, who is with the Port of Maryland. He says 81 cruise ships departed from Baltimore last year. This year it'll be more than 90.
"We're in one of the wealthiest regions in the country. You can get in a car from lets say Cleveland or Akron and be here in six or seven hours, you can drive," he says.
Baltimore is the closest drive-to cruise ship port for people in Ohio, Pennsylvania, D.C. and Maryland. The port collects more than $2 million a year in security, parking and dock fees. That ripples out to more than $100 million in economic impact, according to Maryland state officials.