Baltimore port has its origins in the early eighteenth century when a port was built on the coast of Chesapeake bay to export the crops of the many tobacco growing farms centered on the region. The port was a draw for merchants, and Baltimore came into life when a small town sprung up next to the quayside. As other products like rum from the Caribbean and corn from neighboring farms were exported by the docks, the town continued to expand.
Commerce through the docks expanded greatly in the 19th century, when the building of Baltimore and Ohio Railroad simplified the transport of corn to the city from the fertile mid-West. Disaster struck when in 1904 a great fire destroyed many buildings in the city center. A period of rebuilding began, this time employing fireproof bricks and paving.
In the late 20th century Baltimore again witnessed a period of energetic redevelopment as the run-down Inner Harbor shoreline received a complete renovation.
Today Inner Harbor is a big hit with tourists, and destinations include the National Aquarium, the American Visionary Art Museum, the Historic Ships Museum, the Maryland Science Center, Harborplace shopping center and the Baltimore Museum of Industry.
Baltimore has become the USA’s 8th biggest port, spreading over 22 miles of coastline. Aside from thriving trade operations, the port has a modern cruise terminal. Cruise ships operate cruises to New England, Bermuda, the Caribbean and the Bahamas.
Baltimore has plenty of appeal for the tourist, with many enjoyable things to see and do. Visit the Inner Harbor Visitor Center to find information, maps and leaflets to aid the planning of your visit.
A half mile westwards from the cruise port stands strategically sited Fort McHenry guarding the harbor. During the 1812 War, US soldiers stationed at Fort McHenry successfully defended the city from attack by the British in a furious fight. Francis Scott Key witnessed the Battle of Baltimore from a ship offshore, and he was moved into writing the words of the Star Spangled Banner.
Baltimore Museum of Industry
The museum showcases the history of commerce and industry in the Baltimore area from the early-19th century, with a set of items showing early era machinery.
Federal Hill received its name after a night of rejoicing instigated by Maryland’s listing in the US constitution. Revelers launched a mockup sailing ship, named the ‘Federalist’ from atop the hill into the harbor. Today it’s a a small green area, with tended paths and tall trees, offering magnificent views over the city.
Maryland Science Center
Popular rooms at the Maryland Science Center showcase earth science, space, dinosaurs, the human body, Chesapeake Bay’s blue crab and the physics of Isaac Newton. An IMAX and planetarium are also on site.
Historic Ships in Baltimore Museum
At the Historic Ships Museum see the Seven Foot Knoll Lighthouse (the oldest screw pile lighthouse on the Chesapeake), the Lightship Chesapeake, the USS Torsk (a sub), the USS Constellation (tall mast clipper) and USCGC Taney (the last ship from pearl harbor).
The historic area of Fell’s Point is positioned about a mile eastwards of Inner Harbor. During the early 19th century United States ships were legally allowed to loot British vessels, and Fell’s Point was home to many yards constructing privateer vessels. The tall townhouses, cramped market places and cobblestone streets bring back those early years. Today the tourist will also discover several restaurants for a welcome stop from sightseeing.
Popular all-year itineraries include the eastern Caribbean and the Bahamas. This far south you’ll get away from the cold Maryland winter, as you sail into warm weather.
In summer, cruises to Bermuda typically stay 2 days, so you can enjoy the lively nightlife. Also on offer in summer are cruises along the eastern coastline of New England and Nova Scotia, stopping at charming and historic ports-of-call.
See cruises from Baltimore for a full calendar of cruises.
Baltimore Cruise Terminal
The Maryland Port Authority, in 2004, decided to move the Dundalk cruise ship port. A conveniently sited paper-shed on South Locust Point was redesigned, opening as the Maryland Cruise Terminal in 2006. The terminal building provides the basic facilities such as restrooms, pay phones, vending machines, check-in desks and an ATM. Beside the terminal building there’s a dedicated parking lot, with capacity of more than 1500 vehicles. The port can only handle one cruise ship at any one time.
See Maryland Department of Transportation Port Administration for the port website.
Getting To The Cruise Terminal
From The Airport
BWI airport has frequent services from many cities around the US, as well as from abroad. Maryland cruise port is around 5 miles from BWI airport, ten minutes by the cruise shuttle express or taxi.
The cruise terminal is around an hour by car from both Washington and Annapolis.