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After a season with no cruise ships coming to the Port of New London last year, the Crown Princess will visit on Sept. 18.
The cruise ship is the only one slated so far to visit the area, said George Cassidy, executive director of the Connecticut Cruise Ship Task Force, but he is actively recruiting others. Last month, Cassidy visited MSC Cruises in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and presented the port and area to them.
"The response from the executives we visited was very positive," Cassidy said.
Cruising as part of the Canada/New England itinerary, m/s Crown Princess will make her first-ever port call in the state around 7 a.m. on Sept. 18 and berth at the Admiral Harold E. Shear State Pier.
The ship weighs in at 113,000 gross tons. It is 952 feet in length, 118 feet wide, and 195 feet high with a draft of 26 feet. As many as 3,070 passengers and 1,200 crew members will travel on it at a top speed of up to 23 knots.
Cruise ships have been visiting the city since 2002. In 2008, nine ships brought in 17,000 passengers, and in 2007 more than 22,000 people aboard seven ships visited New London. The recession and a lack of marketing funds put a dent in the cruise visits last year, Cassidy said.
During the fall visit, passengers will explore downtown New London, Mystic Seaport, Mystic Aquarium & Institute for Exploration, the Essex Steam Train, the USS Nautilus Submarine Museum, Fort Trumbull, Fort Griswold and more.
The historic Union Railroad Station in New London will serve as a welcome center.