Update: Are Philadelphia Cruises Finished?

January 5, 2011


Update, 5 p.m. EST: At a meeting early Wednesday, the Delaware River Port Authority's Board of Commissioners officially voted to terminate the organization's operation of the Philadelphia cruise terminal.

(December 2, 2010, 3:05 p.m. EST) -- Philadelphia cruise fans who don't want to fly or drive to another city may be out of luck, following the December 15 vote of the Delaware River Port Authority's board of directors, which is slated to prematurely end the lease agreement under which it operates the city's cruise terminal.

The decision, which would end the 20-year lease eight years early, is based on declining interest in Philadelphia sailings. As recently as 2006, the port had more than 35 voyages scheduled. In 2009, that number fell to just eight. And, in 2010, Hapag-Lloyd's Hanseatic and Crystal Cruises' Crystal Symphony were the only two vessels to call there.

DRPA representative Danelle Hunter says only two sailings -- both on American Cruise Lines' American Spirit -- are scheduled to call in Philadelphia in 2011, and both of those will still be honored, even if the lease is ended as planned, effective on January 1.

Hunter also says there is no penalty for the lease's early termination.

According to a DRPA press release, the board's executive committee approved a plan Wednesday to scrap the lease, thereby saving the organization at least $18 million in port improvement costs.

The full board is expected to vote for final approval of the plan at its meeting, which can be viewed here, via live Webcast, at 9 a.m. EST on December 15.

We'll keep you updated.

--by Ashley Kosciolek, Copy Editor