Carnival Cruise Line Anticipates Return to Baltimore

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Carnival Cruise Line has reached out to guests booked on the May 19 departure of Carnival Pride with an optimistic update that the ship may return to Baltimore on their sailing. This comes immediately after guests aboard the May 12 cruise were informed that they would both start and end their sailing in Norfolk.

The difficult part is that the May 19 cruise will likely still begin in Norfolk, but will return to Baltimore at the end of the voyage.

This will create some logistical difficulties for travelers, but the cruise line is planning chartered buses to assist travelers between the homeports. Furthermore, passengers who are driving to the port for embarkation are advised to drive to Baltimore and use the shuttle service to Norfolk so they do not need to return to Virginia to pick up their vehicles after the cruise.

Carnival Pride
Carnival Pride (Photo Credit: PIXAS / Shutterstock)

“Thank you for your patience as we work through plans regarding your upcoming cruise. We remain in close contact with the US Coast Guard, state of Maryland, and Port of Baltimore officials regarding plans to resume maritime operations in Baltimore Harbor,” the notification read.

“Based on guidance from port officials, we are planning to embark your cruise in Norfolk but expect to conclude in Baltimore.”

The cruise terminals in Norfolk and Baltimore are 240 miles (386 kilometers) apart, an approximate 4-5 hour drive depending on the exact route and traffic conditions.

Carnival Cruise Line is providing free bus service between the ports, but guests must sign up and pre-register for the service to reserve their space.

“We are encouraging guests to use our complimentary bus service between Baltimore and Norfolk for the embarkation on Sunday, May 19, so that they will not have to return to Norfolk to get their car, should they have planned to drive,” the email said.

A light snack and water will be provided on the shuttle buses. The cruise line will arrange for as many buses as necessary, but it is critical that travelers register properly so adequate space is available.

Carnival Cruise Line will provide additional information and the means to register in the week before the sailing, and travelers will need to respond immediately to that update to ensure their shuttle reservation can be confirmed. Signing up for text alerts and updating contact information with the cruise line can help guests receive all updates right away.

It should be noted that the cruise line did consider other options rather than beginning and ending the 7-night Bahamas cruise in different homeports.

Cruise Ship in Baltimore, Maryland
Cruise Ship in Baltimore, Maryland (Photo Credit: Port of Maryland)

“I realize that starting in Norfolk and ending in Baltimore is going to involve some extra travel time. I promise though that we will take great care of you, help you with transportation and provide you will all the assistance we can,” explained John Heald, Carnival Cruise Line Brand Ambassador. “The alternative was to cancel or shorten a cruise and neither we or I am sure any guest wants that.”

At this time, other than the change in homeports, there are no anticipated changes to Carnival Pride‘s itinerary. During the week-long cruise, the 88,500-gross-ton, Spirit-class ship will visit Nassau, Princess Cays, and Freeport (weather and unexpected circumstances permitting).

As with other sailings that have been temporarily relocated to Norfolk, Carnival Cruise Line is still providing a $100 (USD) onboard credit per stateroom in appreciation for guests’ understanding.

Update on the May 26 Departure

While the May 19 sailing is now anticipating leaving from Norfolk but returning to Baltimore, Carnival Cruise Line has also reached out to travelers on the following cruise. The May 26 departure is a 14-night Carnival Journeys cruise to Greenland, with additional port visits in the Canadian maritime provinces.

That longer cruise is scheduled to conclude on June 9. If, indeed, Baltimore Harbor is able to resume passenger cruise operations by the end of May, it is very likely the sailing will both begin and end in Baltimore as originally scheduled.

Read Also: Baltimore Harbor Reopening Update – What About Cruise Ships?

To be clear, Carnival Cruise Line has not yet confirmed those plans owing to the unprecedented nature of the situation, and more information will be provided closer to the departure date.

“We expect to have more definitive information in the coming week, so kindly keep a close eye on an email from us with an update,” the alert to guests read. “As you know, this situation remains beyond our control, and we appreciate your patience and understanding.”

Staying in contact with guests booked on that special cruise is a helpful step to ensure everyone is informed of the arrangements as the departure date approaches.

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