Carnival Alters Baltimore Sailings; Others May Follow Suit

The Francis Scott Key Bridge collapse in Baltimore, MD—caused by a powerless container ship ramming into the structure early Tuesday morning—is now affecting the cruise industry. Carnival Cruise Line said that while rescue and remediation efforts continue in Baltimore Harbor following the bridge's collapse, it will temporarily move Carnival Legend’s Baltimore operations to Norfolk, VA.  

Carnival Legend is scheduled to return from its current voyage on Sunday, March 31. It will now, instead, return to Norfolk on Sunday. Guests onboard will be provided complimentary bus service back to Baltimore. That’s over four hours by vehicle. Similarly, Carnival Legend’s next seven-day itinerary on March 31 will operate from and return to Norfolk. Guests on the current and upcoming cruises are being informed of this change. The line did not share whether bus service would be provided from Baltimore to Norfolk for travelers embarking on the March 31 sailing.

“Our thoughts remain with the impacted families and first responders in Baltimore,” said Christine Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Line. “We appreciate the pledge made by President Biden [Tuesday] to dedicate all available resources to reopen Baltimore Harbor to marine traffic as soon as possible. As those plans are finalized, we will update our future cruise guests on when we will return home to Baltimore, but in the meantime, we appreciate the quick response and support from officials in Norfolk.” 

Royal Caribbean’s Vision of the Seas also homeports in Baltimore and is currently on a 12-day Easter sailing in the Southern Caribbean; it is scheduled to return to the city on April 4. Travel Agent has reached out to see if the line plans to alter its itinerary.

Separately, American Cruise Lines currently has sailings in the region, exploring the Chesapeake Bay, but cruises underway are operating round-trip from Washington, D.C. (the line’s ships, including American Constitution, sailing now, dock at The Wharf). That said, the line has cruises departing from Baltimore scheduled in May (also exploring the Chesapeake Bay).

“Our thoughts and prayers are with those affected by the bridge collapse, and for the safety of everyone involved with the rescue efforts underway,” the line said in a statement shared with Travel Agent. “American Cruise Lines’ small ship cruises currently exploring the Chesapeake Bay remain unaffected and are operating round-trip from Washington, D.C.

“In regard to cruises scheduled to operate from Baltimore later in the 2024 season, we will continue to monitor the situation and make adjustments if needed.”

Norwegian Cruise Line, while it does not have any current sailings to or from Baltimore, will visit the city later this year. A spokesperson for the line told us, "We are deeply saddened by the tragic incident that recently took place in Baltimore. Our sincerest thoughts are with the community and all those affected. At this time there is no impact to our itineraries, as we do not have any voyages scheduled to depart from the city until later this year in September and October. We will remain in contact with the Port of Baltimore and provide updates to our guests and travel partners if anything changes. In the meantime, we wish the city of Baltimore strength during this very unfortunate event.” 

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