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Released: 12/1/2010 

Board Votes to Cancel Lease of Philadelphia Cruise Terminal

In 2006, with a cruise calendar of 36 ships, the Philadelphia Cruise Terminal was bustling with activity. Today, with only two cruises slated for 2011 the Delaware River Port Authority’s Executive Committee took the prudent step to end DRPA’s role in the cruise business. The full Board is expected to vote on this measure at its December 15th meeting. 

If approved, effective January 1, 2011, DRPA’s lease of the cruise terminal building located in the Philadelphia Navy Yard will be canceled. This move will provide the Authority an immediate savings of $627,000 in operating expenses. In addition, $18 million in future capital improvements to enhance the terminal will no longer be necessary. Additional savings in the amount of $2,226,728 will result from the termination of the lease and closure of the facility. 

DRPA will continue to honor all of its commitments through June 30, 2011, including all previously scheduled events and cruises. 

At the height of its popularity, the cruise terminal was a valuable asset, bringing thousands of people to shop, dine, tour and stay in the Philadelphia region. 

“The cruise business was doing very well for us for awhile. However, based on factors beyond our control, it does not make economic sense for DRPA to continue in the cruise business, says DRPA CEO John J. Matheussen. “I would like to thank staff who worked tirelessly over the years to market and promote the cruise terminal.” 

DRPA entered the cruise business in 1998. By 2000, the terminal gained its first homeport vessel, the Crown Dynasty. 

In 2001, following the September 11 tragedy, the terminal quickly geared up to accommodate 12 Royal Caribbean and Celebrity cruise ships that were diverted from the Port of New York. Additionally, the terminal accommodated seven other cruises and three port calls. 

In October 2002, the Port hosted the inaugural cruise of the brand new ship, the Carnival Legend, and five port calls. 

Years 2005 and 2006 were record years as we hosted 32 and 36 cruises respectively.
Since then, as a result of changes in the industry, the six hour sail up the Delaware River and the introduction of larger ships, the number of cruises sailing from Philadelphia has declined. 

The Delaware River Port Authority owns and operates the Benjamin Franklin, Walt Whitman, Commodore Barry and Betsy Ross bridges, PATCO and the RiverLink Ferry System.

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