Philadelphia port getting out of cruise ship business

    A victim of the economy and geography, Philadelphia’s port is getting out of the cruise ship business.

    The Delaware River Port Authority has voted to end the terminal’s lease Jan.1.

    After 9/11, cruise ship companies went looking for safer ports of call, and Philadelphia opened its doors. The Port Authority had spent millions of dollars on a new terminal at the Navy Yard, and the city saw banner years in the mid-2000s with more than 30 cruise ships docking in south Philadelphia.

    But the recession has vacationers looking to travel more cheaply. And new regulations have forced cruise lines to use cleaner-burning, more expensive fuel. It takes ships at least six hours to travel up the Delaware River.

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    Melissa Grimm led the marketing and operational efforts at the Port Authority during the height of the city’s cruiseline business. Grimm said the ships have been docking at more affordable, accessible ports.

    “Time, fuel, clean air regs, all these things really they just boil down to dollars and cents,” said Grimm. “These guys have a lot of choices, lots of ports suddenly want to attract lots of cruise lines. That was not the case always.”

    The international clothing chain Urban Outfitters is expected to expand its corporate headquarters into the terminal.

    The DRPA is expected to give the plan final approval later this month. The two departures scheduled for 2011 would still be honored.

    y’s Susan Phillips reports the city’s cruise ship terminal is

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