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Arkansas eighth grader becomes JAXPORT’s 1 millionth cruise passenger

March 21, 2011

An Arkansas eighth grader starting a spring break this weekend with her family became the 1 millionth passenger to arrive for a cruise through JAXPORT’s Northside terminal.

Emily Wilt, a soccer player, cheerleader and student council representative from Siloam Springs in Northwest Arkansas, drove 16 hours with her parents and older brother to board the Carnival Fascination. She was identified as the 1 millionth passenger by the terminal customer service crew about one hour after embarkation began at 10:30 a.m. Saturday.

As she arrives with her family, Emily Wilt receives a commemorative plaque from JAXPORT and Carnival Cruise Lines for becoming JAXPORT's 1 millionth cruise passenger.

Emily received a commemorative plaque and gifts from JAXPORT and Carnival Cruise Lines and she and her family will receive VIP treatment throughout their 5-day trip.

“I was really excited about our cruise before, but now it’s going to be even better,” Emily told reporters following a brief ceremony outside the terminal.

Carnival Fascination Hotel Director Andrew Mace welcomed the Wilts aboard, recognizing Emily and the important milestone. JAXPORT Senior Director of Planning and Properties David Kaufman thanked Emily and her family for choosing to cruise through Jacksonville and the JAXPORT Cruise Terminal.

The JAXPORT Cruise Terminal opened in 2003 and is currently home to the Carnival Fascination, a 2,052 passenger ship offering 4-day cruises to Freeport and Nassau in The Bahamas, and five-day cruises to Half Moon Cay/Key West and Nassau.

The cruise industry’s economic impact in Jacksonville
JAXPORT’s marine facilities provide significant economic benefits to Northeast Florida through direct employment, sales and tax revenue, and through local firms that engage in international trade and travel. The cruise industry in Jacksonville has created an estimated 460 new jobs and more than $67 million in new annual economic impact for Northeast Florida, according to a 2009 study completed by Martin Associates. About 85 percent of this impact is being realized in Duval County, while Nassau, St. Johns and Clay counties also benefit.

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