By Tom Dwyer
Anthony Caputo, the port director for Cape Liberty Cruise Port in Bayonne, could not be more proud of the success of the partnership of the city of Bayonne and Royal Caribbean Cruises.Â In just three short years, Cape Liberty Cruise Port has become one of the busiest cruise ports in the country. The port is ranked second among Northeast and mid-Atlantic coast ports in passenger volume. In 2006 it hosted 71 cruise ship calls, with 321,000 passengers during the 2006 season which ran from May to November. The port was also recognized as one of the top three-rated ports, worldwide, for Royal Caribbean and Celebrity Cruises, which merged in 1997.Â â€œWhen you take into consideration that we only have one berth and we are home-porting passengers which means that the passengers sail from here and return here unlike portâ€“of-calls, our growth is really incredible,â€ Caputo said. The 2007 season, which begins in May, will commence year-round trips to its destinations.
Cruise passengers are arriving by trains, planes and automobiles to get to Cape Liberty Cruise Port. Even Caputo is surprised by the distances guests are traveling to set sail from Bayonne. â€œThey are coming as far away as Texas, and as far north as Canada, and as far south as Florida. If you just look at the license plates that come here itâ€™s incredible. We have many guests who drive here and we have international guests who fly into Kennedy and Newark airports. And we have many domestic flights where we try to target Newark as our primary airport,â€ Caputo explained.