Week in Review: Cruises Alter Baltimore Calls; New Europe Tours

Earlier this week, Carnival Cruise Line said it would be temporarily moving Carnival Legend’s Baltimore operations to Norfolk, VA, as rescue and remediation efforts continue in Baltimore Harbor following the collapse of the Francis Scott Key Bridge. 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.

Similarly, Carnival Legend’s next seven-day itinerary on March 31 will operate from and return to Norfolk.

Most recently, Royal Caribbean International told Travel Agent that “Due to the impact of the tragic collapse of Baltimore’s Francis Scott Key Bridge, on Thursday, April 4, Vision of the Seas will now complete its current cruise in Norfolk.” Guests aboard the current sailing “will be provided compensation and complimentary shuttle transportation, as well as Wi-Fi and phone calls to adjust their travel arrangements.” 

For Vision of the Sea’s upcoming April 4 and April 12 cruises, the ship will sail from Norfolk. Guests booked to sail on these voyages will receive compensation due to the necessary adjustments made to their vacations. After returning from the April 12 cruise, Vision of the Seas will head to the Bahamas for its previously scheduled maintenance.

Carnival Legend
Carnival Legend's March 31 sailing will depart from Norfolk instead of Baltimore. (Photo by Carnival Cruise Line)

Norwegian Cruise Line and American Cruise Lines currently do not sail into Baltimore but each has plans to later this year. American Cruise Lines is scheduled to sail from Baltimore in May and said, “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, which will visit Baltimore in September and October, added, “We will remain in contact with the Port of Baltimore and provide updates to our guests and travel partners if anything changes.”

In other cruise news, Windstar Cruises will mark the 10th anniversary of its partnership with the James Beard Foundation in 2025 by expanding its series of yearly themed culinary sailings. To commemorate this milestone, Windstar will welcome five “All-Star” chefs onboard, four of whom have previously sailed with the line as part of the collaboration. Windstar also announced its first-ever “President’s Mystery Cruise,” set to depart on April 19, 2025. The eight-day voyage will sail round-trip from Athens, but the rest of the itinerary will remain a mystery to guests onboard Windstar’s 312-guest Star Legend. The destinations will be kept a secret from guests until 24 hours ahead of arrival at each port. Once the exact locations are revealed, guests will be able to choose from a range of shore excursions at the destination.

New Europe Tour Offerings

Krakow, Poland
Eurobound's new tour of Poland visits Krakow (seen here) and Warsaw. (Photo by emicristea/iStock/Getty Images Plus/Getty Images)

There are plenty of new ways to explore Europe. In response to growing demand for Poland, Eurobound has created an eight-day independent tour of the country. The tour includes four nights in Krakow and three nights in Warsaw, four-star hotel accommodations, first-class rail travel with transfers between cities, all private touring with English-speaking guides, and a private cooking class. Visits include UNESCO World Heritage sites, the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp and the Museum of Life Under Communism, plus a food walking tour.

For another foodie option, Galway Food Tours has launched its new neighborhood walking tour that explores different areas of the city. Taking in the historic charm of Woodquay, the bustling city center streets and Eyre Square, through the Latin Quarter, onto Galway’s Westend and then out to Salthill, the Galway neighborhood ramble tour will introduce little nuggets of social and cultural notes while offering a refreshment or two along the way.

Similarly, City Experiences is launching 11 new tours in Europe through international tour providers Walks and Devour Tours. These tours are arranged in partnership with some of the world's top museums and monuments, including the Vatican Museums, Statue of Liberty, Grand Central Terminal, Niagara Falls, the Royal Alcazar of Seville, Sainte-Chapelle and, most recently, the Prado Museum and Buckingham Palace. These tours visit not only these top sites but also local eateries and neighborhoods, historic sites and more.

Underground cave and sauna experience_Hello Sunnanhed_Credit Mark Englund
Off the Map Travel's new Sweden tour visits the underground "Lady of the Mine" sauna. (Photo by Mark Englund)

In Sweden, Off the Map Travel has launched a new “Savouring Swedish Serenity” itinerary, which incorporates mindfulness, yoga and wellness, centered around the new “Lady of the Mine” sauna ritual. The five-day itinerary includes a Swedish sauna experience, immersion in nature and local cuisine, and a stay in the Scandinavian-designed Hello Sunnanhed barn-lodge with meals prepared by a Swedish chef. The focal point of the trip is the underground “Lady of the Mine” sauna experience, accessed via a series of descending tunnels and steps. The sauna clings to rock, overhanging crystal-clear emerald water.

Tip of the Week

To get a better look at how social media influences travel decision-making and buying preferences, online travel agency justfly.com commissioned a survey of 2,000 Americans and found that, while it plays a big role for all travelers, the use varies by generation.

To that point, Facebook and YouTube are the most used social media platforms, while Pinterest and TikTok are used the least—although usage of each is strongly driven by age. Facebook, for instance, continues to effectively engage all audiences, reaching almost half of Gen Z and more than 70 percent of older groups. YouTube, on the other hand, has roughly the opposite composition. It is used by two-thirds of Gen Z, nearly as many Millennials and is used by just four in 10 Baby Boomers.

woman using social media on her phone
Facebook effectively engages all audiences, reaching almost half of Gen Z and more than 70 percent of older groups. (Photo by Tonktiti/iStock/Getty Images Plus/Getty Images)

This data can be insightful into how you build your online presence as a travel advisor. Depending on which demographic your clients typically fall into (or, perhaps the demographic you are trying to expand into), make sure most of your efforts are in building your social media page on the respective platform that is most used by that age group.

Vote Here!

The NCAA’s “March Madness” has made its way to travel. Luxury Travel Advisor, a sister publication to Travel Agent, is hosting its bracket-style Most Instagrammable Hotel in the World tournament. Readers are encouraged to vote for their favorites to help them advance through the bracket until a winner is crowned. Voting on the “Elite Eight" is running through Monday, April at 10 a.m. ET. Don’t miss out!

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