Cruises to Baltimore

401 Reviews
Baltimore (Photo:Sean Pavone/Shutterstock)

About Cruising to Baltimore

Baltimore, Maryland's largest city, is called Charm City because of its multitude and variety of attractions, restaurants, culture, sports and some of the friendliest people you'll meet. It's vibrant and exciting, with all the advantages of a bigger city without the airs.

Founded in 1729, the city was named after Lord Baltimore and established as a major East Coast seaport. Its most significant moment in national history occurred at the battle at Fort McHenry from September 12-15, 1814, which became a turning point in the War of 1812. British troops had triumphantly burned and looted Washington, D.C., and were heading toward Baltimore to ferret out what they believed was a den of pirates and privateers who had been attacking British ships. They first assaulted nearby North Point, which delayed the British Royal Navy enough for defenders to prepare for the skirmish at Fort McHenry. The overnight battle resulted in the British withdrawal and inspired Francis Scott Key to write the poem, "Defence of Fort McHenry," which became "The Star-Spangled Banner," now the U.S. national anthem.

Baltimore is still a thriving port city, complemented by numerous cultural and sports attractions and a first-class culinary scene. Once full of abandoned and decrepit warehouses, the Inner Harbor is now home to the Maryland Science Center, the Baltimore World Trade Center (an I.M. Pei-designed building that is the tallest equilateral pentagonal building in the world), Harborplace (a festival marketplace with retail outlets and restaurants) and the National Aquarium, as well as the American Visionary Art Museum, the Science Center, Power Plant (a dining and entertainment complex) and Port Discovery Children's Museum.

Just blocks beyond the waterfront sit the Convention Center, baseball stadium Oriole Park at Camden Yards (the name of the original railroad station) and M & T Bank Stadium, home of two-time Super Bowl champions Baltimore Ravens (2000 and 2012).

To really appreciate Charm City, you need to wander the many distinctive neighborhoods. Such areas as Fell's Point, Canton, Federal Hill, Little Italy and Mount Vernon contain treasures -- historic, culinary, cultural and otherwise -- that are ripe for discovery. Some of the neighborhoods are within walking distance of the Inner Harbor. If your feet start complaining, the city provides free transportation on the Charm City Circulator (three routes). The Water Taxi Harbor Connector does what it says -- connects interesting spots along the Inner Harbor. The light-rail system is another option.

The cruise port of Baltimore serves as a homeport, with several ships sailing to Bermuda, the Caribbean, the Bahamas, New England and the Canadian Maritimes. About 90 percent of passengers embarking at the Port of Baltimore live within easy driving distance. Baltimore Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport is 10 miles away and operates as a major Southwest Airlines hub that brings in cruisers from other states. Additionally, the BWI Amtrak Station is adjacent to the airport and just a shuttle bus away. The historic and architecturally stunning Amtrak Penn Station is conveniently located in Baltimore and worth a visit even if you aren't taking the train.

Baltimore sits on the Patapsco River, which feeds into the Chesapeake Bay and meets the Atlantic Ocean just past Cape Charles and Virginia Beach. The trip to open ocean can take anywhere from eight to 12 hours. However, gamblers eager to try their luck don't have to wait for international waters: The casinos open once the vessels pass under the Francis Scott Key Bridge, about a half hour from the port.

  • More about Baltimore

  • Why Cruise to Baltimore?

  • Baltimore Cruise Port Facilities?

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Norwegian Sky
Norwegian Sky

10 Night
Canada & New England - Other

2,166 Reviews
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Norwegian Sky
Norwegian Sky

11 Night
Canada & New England - Other

2,166 Reviews
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Vision of the Seas
Vision of the Seas

8 Night
Southeast Coast & Bahamas

1,215 Reviews
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Vision of the Seas
Vision of the Seas

5 Night
Bermuda Cruise

1,215 Reviews
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MSC Cruises

9 Night
Canada & New England Cruise

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9 Night
Canada & New England

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9 Night
Canada & New England

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9 Night
Bermuda & Perfect Day Cruise

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8 Night
Bahamas & Perfect Day Cruise

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Southeast Coast & Bahamas

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9 Night
Canada & New England Cruise

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Southern Caribbean

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Southern Caribbean Cruise

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Southern Caribbean Cruise

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8 Night
Bahamas & Perfect Day Holiday

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More about Baltimore

Why Cruise to Baltimore?

Pros:

The cruise port is a stone's throw away from the Inner Harbor and main attractions

Cons:

Crime can be a problem; stick to main tourist areas and practice common sense

Bottom Line:

Charm City delights with a number of cultural, sports and culinary activities (can't forget the crab)

Baltimore Cruise Port Facilities?

You'll find the basics in the cruise terminal -- restrooms, vending machines, an ATM, chairs and a bank of pay phones but not much else. You'll need a car or a cab for greater exploration.

For passengers sailing on smaller ships docking at the Inner Harbor piers, restaurants, shops and attractions are within easy walking distance. Almost everything is level in this part of Baltimore, so it's wheelchair accessible.

Good to Know?

The famed Baltimore accent, known as Bawlmerese, will be highly recognizable. A quick guide: "Warder" means water, "Doncha no?" translates to "Don't you know?" and Maryland is often pronounced as "Murlin." If you are called "hon," flash your sweetest smile because you're now considered part of the community. For a primer, watch some of the early John Waters films, including "Pink Flamingos" and "Hairspray," and Barry Levinson's film, "Tin Man."

Two telephone area codes overlap in Baltimore, 410 and 443 (and 240 and 301 in other parts of the state), so two buildings standing shoulder to shoulder may have different area codes. You must dial the area code even to reach someone at the building next to you.

Getting Around?

From the Airport: For shuttles to the embarkation point, Baltimore Tours arranges shared-ride service from the Baltimore airport for $17.95 when booked online and $19.95 by phone (888-848-3822). Carnival passengers can hop a Carnival shuttle for $25 one way, $50 roundtrip. Royal Caribbean is $37 one way and $74 roundtrip.

On Foot: The Inner Harbor and many of the neighborhoods are walkable..

By Bus: The free Charm City Circulator (410-350-0456) runs frequently along three routes.

By Water Taxi: The Baltimore Water Taxi (410-563-3900) is an excursion itself, stopping in such hot spots as Harborplace, the National Aquarium, the Maryland Science Center, Fell's Point, Harbor East, Canton Waterfront Park and Fort McHenry.

By Car: Taxis are plentiful around the Inner Harbor, but not at the cruise terminal. Major car rental companies, including Budget, Enterprise and Hertz, have offices near the Inner Harbor.

Currency & Best Way to Get Money?

The currency is the U.S. dollar. International visitors, as well as American out-of-towners, can access cash at any number of ATMs located throughout the city (including the cruise terminal). Major banks and specialty stores, such as Travelex at BWI Marshall Airport (pre-security check-in by the main Terminal C and international Terminal E) exchange currencies.

Language?

English is the official language spoken in Baltimore, but check the Watch Out For section below for some Bawlmerese definitions.

Where You're Docked?

Baltimore Cruise Port Address:
2001 East McComas Street, Baltimore, Maryland 21230

Major cruise ships dock at Cruise Maryland Terminal, about three miles south of the city and a 10-minute drive from the Inner Harbor. The cruise terminal, which opened in 2006 inside a former paper-shredding warehouse, is visible from Interstate 95.

Secured long-term parking is available for more than 1,500 cars at the terminal for $15 per cruise night for passenger vehicles.

Smaller ships from Pearl Seas Cruises, American Cruise Lines and Blount Small Ship Adventures, sail out of Baltimore periodically or seasonally, from the Inner Harbor, not the cruise port terminal. They travel the East Coast down to Norfolk, Virginia; Charleston, South Carolina; Miami, Florida; and the Bahamas, or they may tour the Chesapeake Bay, visiting Annapolis, St. Michael's, Oxford, Cambridge, Crisfield, Tangier Island, Solomons Island and Williamsburg/Yorktown. Depending on the size of the ship and other vessels visiting the harbor and other activities, the cruise ships usually dock at Pier 4 or Constellation Pier. Both are within easy walking distance of city parking lots.


Baltimore Cruise Reviews
Baltimore has been a good port to cruise out of for us. They need to fix the parking issue. We waited in line to park for an hour in stop and go traffic. This was due to people checking their bags. We are carry on, tRead More
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parsonssc
Baltimore is pretty easy to get in and out of. The embarkation process was simple for us as Key guests, from door open to boarding it took 10 minutes max. We enjoyed the Baltimore Hampton Inn Inner Harbor the night bRead More
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dhahn11
The only downside to Baltimore is that you won't find any really large or new ships sailing from there. If you value convenience, value, and comfort and don't mind a more traditional cruise ship, this is a great pRead More
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Is_it_JustMe
Baltimore is a great port to debark from. You drive up and they take your bags. Then you drive up to pay. Then you park in a surface parking lot. Very easy.Read More
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lseee

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