Carnival Ship to Begin Sailing From Norfolk Due to Baltimore Closure

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Carnival Pride, which is currently sailing a 14-night, one-way repositioning cruise that was to have moved the vessel from Tampa to Baltimore, will instead be sailing from Norfolk, Virginia, at least for her first planned Baltimore departure.

Carnival Cruise Line reached out to guests with the notification and is arranging complimentary bus service from Norfolk to Baltimore as needed, as well as providing additional compensation to guests.

Carnival Pride to Sail From Norfolk

Guests setting sail aboard Carnival Pride‘s April 21, 2024 departure will not be embarking nor returning to the planned homeport, as the Port of Baltimore remains closed to marine traffic following the collapse of the Francis Scott Key Bridge on March 26. Instead, the ship will operate from Norfolk, Virginia at least for this upcoming sailing.

“Thank you for your patience as we worked through the plans regarding your upcoming cruise,” the email notification began. “We have spent the last week having some personal discussions with Maryland Governor Wes Moore and Port of Baltimore officials regarding the harbor traffic plans so we can make informed decisions.”

At the moment, debris is still being cleared from the Patapsco River, including removing concrete and other materials from the bridge itself as well as containers from the ship Dali, which collided with the bridge following a power failure, resulting in the collapse.

“While progress on the bridge accident recovery is being prioritized and progressing well, we must assume that your cruise cannot operate from Baltimore,” the email explained. “Therefore, we have made arrangements to sail from and return to Norfolk, Virginia.”

As the Port of Baltimore and Port of Norfolk are approximately 250 miles (400 kilometers) apart, roughly a 4-5 hour drive depending on traffic conditions, this can significantly impact passengers’ pre- and post-cruise travel plans.

Carnival Pride Cruise Ship
Carnival Pride Cruise Ship (Photo Credit: StudioPortoSabbia / Shutterstock)

Carnival Cruise Line is providing complimentary bus service between Baltimore and Norfolk, both for embarking as well as debarking guests. The service is limited, however, and travelers need to register to ensure their space on the shuttle. For guests on the April 21 departure, information about shuttle registration will be provided the week of April 15.

Read Also: How Is the Baltimore Bridge Collapse Impacting Cruises?

Guests are also being provided a $100 (USD) onboard credit per stateroom as a courtesy for the inconvenience of the changed homeport.

Further details about the shuttle buses and both embarkation and debarkation plans will be provided in the days to come as the cruise departure date draws closer.

Where Is Carnival Pride Sailing?

Carnival Pride‘s April 21 departure is her first roundtrip sailing from the region, following a one-way repositioning cruise from Tampa to Norfolk (Baltimore). Guests onboard that cruise are also being provided with details of their Norfolk debarkation.

The April 21 cruise is a 7-night, Eastern Caribbean sailing that is planned to visit Grand Turk, Princess Cays, and Freeport, with several days at sea. The ship’s new deployment alternates these Eastern Caribbean itineraries with Bahamas cruises, as well as three special 14-night sailings to Greenland – one departing on May 26, another on August 18, and the last on September 8.

The 88,500-gross-ton, Spirit-class Carnival Pride is also offering several Bermuda sailings planned from Baltimore, beginning with the August 11 departure and following with departures on September 1, September 22, October 6, and October 27.

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

The ship is scheduled to remain sailing from Baltimore through April 2026, though it is possible that deployment may change if plans to reopen the port to cruise traffic take longer than expected. At this time, however, there is no indication that such a dramatic change may be necessary.

Carnival Pride can welcome 2,680 guests aboard at double occupancy, and is also home to approximately 900 international team members.

When Will the Port of Baltimore Reopen?

No firm schedule has been announced for the reopening of Port of Baltimore and it is not yet known when cruise operations may restart from Charm City.

When the bridge collapsed on March 26, cruise lines immediately shifted operations to Norfolk as the nearest possible homeport that could handle the traffic as well as ensure itineraries were preserved as much as possible.

Any cruise passengers – from any cruise line – with plans to sail to or from Baltimore in at least the next few weeks should be prepared for changes and keep in close communication with their cruise line for updates about their individual sailings.

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