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Baltimore Cruise Port: Tips, Attractions and Weather

Carnival Pride
Carnival Pride is one of the ships that embarks from Baltimore. Credit: Wikimedia

Baltimore may not sound like a starting point for a Caribbean cruise to anyone who is new to cruises.

But the capital of Maryland does act as a port of embarkation for cruises to Bermuda, the Bahamas, the Bahamas, Canada and New England. Because it is far north on the East Coast, it mostly sends ships to Bermuda, fewer to the Bahamas and even fewer to the Caribbean.

The port is home to ships from American, Carnival, Crystal and Royal Caribbean cruise lines. More than a quarter of a million cruise travelers start their trip from it each year, according to the Maryland Port Administration.

The city is growing as an embarkation point because it is located within a six-hour drive of 40 million people, the Administration says. It is the closest East Coast port for drivers from Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Indianapolis and Chicago and is a three-hour drive from the New York City metro area.

The Cruise Maryland terminal opens at 8 a.m. or two hours after the ship arrives. Passengers need a cruise ticket and a valid passport to enter the terminal building.

Passengers must arrive for check-in at least 90 minutes to two hours before the ship is scheduled to depart. This arrival time will allow the cruise line to process them and have them on board at least 60 minutes before departure. Late passengers may be denied boarding.

Nearby Attractions

Baltimore Cruise Port Map

The Cruise Maryland terminal is 2.5 miles from Inner Harbor, the Baltimore development with restaurants, shopping and entertainment.

Attractions include the National Aquarium, 501 Pratt Street; USS Constellation, 301 E. Pratt Street; and Pratt Street Power Plant, an historic dining and entertainment venue at 601 E. Pratt Street. The B&O Railroad Museum is located at 901 W. Pratt Street.

Inner Harbor is a pleasant and pretty experience especially during good weather.

For anyone with less time, Fort McHenry, 2400 East Fort Avenue, is 1.6 miles from the terminal. The fort is famous for the 1814 attack by the British while Francis Scott Key wrote “The Star-Spangled Banner”.

Terminal Location and Directions

The Cruise Maryland terminal is 10 miles from BWI Thurgood Marshall Airport on the Patapsco River near Inner Harbor and Fort McHenry.

The terminal is easily accessible from I-95.

Anyone taking I-95 North should get off the highway at exit 55, also known as Key Highway. Continue straight for less than one mile on East McComas Street. The terminal entrance is on the right.

Anyone taking I-95 South should stay in the far right lane (bore #1) when going through the Fort McHenry tunnel. Take Exit 55 at Key Highway. Turn left at the traffic light onto East McComas Street. The terminal will be about 350 feet on the right.

Visitors driving toward the port from the west on I-70 East should merge onto I-695 South at Exit 91A.  Go 5.2 miles and merge onto I-95 North via Exit 11A. Continue on I-95 North for about 4.9 miles to Exit 55, Key Highway. Keep driving straight for less than one mile on East McComas Street. The terminal entrance is on the right.

Terminal Parking

Parking is $15 per night for passenger cars, $30 for recreational vehicles under 30 feet and $40 for recreational vehicles over 30 feet. Prices are subject to change.

Parking rates are payable after arrival with cash, credit cards, or traveler’s checks. The terminal accepts VISA, MasterCard, and American Express.

Cruise Weather

Baltimore monthly temperatures
© 2021 Scott S. Bateman

Baltimore is one of the northernmost ports that send ships to Bermuda, the Bahamas and the Caribbean.

So it’s no surprise that it’s one of the coldest during the winter. As a result, it usually has cruises mostly during the summer.

The average high temperatures in the summer reach more than 90 degrees Fahrenheit or low 30s Celsius. Precipitation including rain and snow is modest at three to four inches a month for nearly every month of the year.

Scott S. Bateman is a professional journalist who has traveled widely throughout the Caribbean and the Americas. He is the author of four books about cruising in the Caribbean, Alaska and Mexican Riviera.
September 03, 2021

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