Port officials say cruise disaster will not impact ships in Baltimore

BALTIMORE -  

Officials with the Port of Baltimore don't think the high-profile malfunctioning of a Carnival Cruise ship will affect business here.

Investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board are now in Mobile, Alabama looking into the cause of the engine-room fire on board the Carnival "Triumph."

More than 4,000 passengers were stranded at sea for five days with no power -- and few working toilets.

Here in Baltimore, the new cruise terminal opened in Locust Point back in 2006.  In both 2011 and 2012, more than 240,000 people sailed down the Chesapeake Bay, and out to sunnier destinations.

"Nearly every cruise ship that has sailed from this port over the past couple years has sailed full," said Richard Scher, a spokesman for the Port of Baltimore.

It's a booming business -- with an economic impact on the area estimated at $90-million a year.

But scenes like the ones from the Triumph that were broadcast worldwide, won't be appearing in advertisements for the two lines that cruise out of Baltimore -- Carnival and Royal Caribbean.

"That's my first cruise that's my last cruise, never again," said Wayne Gardovsky, a passenger on board the Triumph from West Columbia, Texas.

Officials here say the cruise business continues to grow, and they have some recent history telling them the incident with the Triumph won't change that.

In January of last year the Italian ship "Costa Concordia" struck a rock off the coast of Italy, and partially sank -- leaving more than 30 people dead.

Even that couldn't make a dent in the traffic cruising out of baltimore.

"That was obviously tragic, but we did not, certainly at the Port of Baltimore we did not see any direct impact or any loss of business because of what happened with that ship," Scher said.

Carnival has promised give full refunds plus $500 to the passengers from the Triumph.  They'll also get another cruise, and their transportation costs to get home from Mobile were covered as well.

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