It’s been quiet at the Black Falcon Terminal for the last two years because of the pandemic. But that’s expected to change as the cruise industry returns to the high seas.
The Norwegian Pearl departed South Boston late Monday this afternoon, bound for Bermuda and marking the start of the cruise season in Boston.
"It’s great because you don’t have to fly to Florida, avoid the hustle and bustle," said one woman.
The season in Boston runs from April to mid-November with excursions to and from Bermuda, Canada and parts of New England.
"I’m am so excited to do this. It’s been too long," said another passenger.
Boston’s certainly not a warm-weather destination. But Massport said business at the regional terminal is robust.
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"Miami and Fort Lauderdale, those are some of the biggest ones, the cruise capital of the world. But we really playing our part with over 400,000 passengers annually," said Lauren Gleason of Massport.
In 2019, more 400,000 people traveled through Boston’s terminal on 138 different ships, a record. In 2020, the pandemic shut down the industry. And last year, the cruises started running in August with 1,700 people on seven different ships.
Cruise ships were crippled by COVID-19. But travelers are returning, despite the uptick in numbers.
"I’m pretty excited. I feel safe. I feel safer than when I’m going to the grocery store,” one woman said.
It’s still unclear what this year will bring. But Massport said at least 125 vessels are expected to dock in South Boston.
“We went cross country during the pandemic when it started. We’ve never had COVID. You know, you take precautions. Be smart,” one passenger said.
Massport said the economic impact from the industry is measurable with at least $135 million going to the local economy as well as the creation of 2,200 jobs.