Carnival Ship to Disembark in Norfolk After Weeks of Uncertainty

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Guests aboard the one-way repositioning cruise of Carnival Pride that was to take the ship from Tampa to Baltimore have now learned for certain that they will, instead, be disembarking the ship in Norfolk, Virginia.

Since the collapse of the Francis Scott Key Bridge on March 26, there has been uncertainty about whether or not marine traffic would be able to access the Port of Baltimore in time for the ship’s embarkation on April 21. Now, the cruise line has confirmed that reaching Baltimore will not be possible, and the ship is instead going to debark in Norfolk.

Carnival Pride Heading to Norfolk

It has been an uncertain time for guests aboard Carnival Pride for a rare repositioning sailing, as their cruise itinerary was immediately called into question when the Port of Baltimore was closed following the tragic bridge collapse.

Carnival Cruise Line has remained in contact with guests, hopeful that Port of Baltimore would still be reachable, but that has not been possible. Even when the cruise set sail on Sunday, April 7, where the cruise would end was not yet certain.

“Thank you for your continued patience as we finalized debarkation plans for the sailing,” a notification letter sent to guests’ staterooms on Saturday, April 13 said. “Our shoreside leadership team has 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.”

“While progress on the bridge accident recovery is being prioritized and progressing well, your cruise itinerary will end in Norfolk on Sunday morning, April 21.”

Carnival Pride, Francis Scott Key Bridge, Port of Baltimore
Carnival Pride in Baltimore (Photo Credit: Carnival Cruise Line)

Carnival Cruise Line is arranging complimentary bus transportation to all four major airports in the region – Norfolk International (ORF), Baltimore/Washington International (BWI), Reagan National (DCA), and Dulles International (IAD).

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

As space is limited on the shuttle buses, however, the cruise line is asking that guests complete a debarkation questionnaire to confirm their travel needs and arrangements so transportation can be arranged. Guests are also asked to note if a fully accessible vehicle for a scooter or wheelchair is needed.

Help Rearranging Flights

To assist guests with rearranging flights to later times if necessary – a drive to the DC-area airports could be roughly 5 hours from the Norfolk cruise terminal – all guests are able to access the ship’s Wi-Fi for 24 hours so they can make appropriate travel plans.

If passengers have booked airfare through Carnival’s Fly2Fun program, those flights will be automatically updated and individual guests will be notified of their new flights once arrangements are confirmed.

The cruise line is also offering up to $200 (USD) per person for any non-refundable air travel change fees. Receipts must be submitted for reimbursement consideration.

Carnival Pride in Dover
Carnival Pride in Dover (Photo Credit: Port of Dover)

Guests should note that the shuttle buses will be prioritized for the airports further away, and if guests are able to rebook flights from Norfolk, they may not be debarking the ship as early as anticipated. The drive from Port of Norfolk to Norfolk International Airport is just 20 minutes.

“We will work to get everyone off as quickly as possible,” the letter stressed.

Guests are asked to return their debarkation questionnaires to the ship’s Guest Services desk, on Deck 2 in the Atrium, no later than 8 p.m. on Monday, April 15.

Next Cruise Embarking From Norfolk

Carnival Pride‘s next sailing – the April 21 departure, a 7-night Eastern Caribbean sailing to Grand Turk, Princess Cays, and Freeport – will depart from Norfolk, and guests booked on that cruise have been notified of the change.

Shuttle service is also being provided for both embarkation and debarkation, though travelers do have to register for the service in advance. Further details of how to do that will be communicated to guests in the next few days.

At this time, it is unknown when the Port of Baltimore may reopen to cruise ship traffic, but guests booked on any sailing from the city in the next few weeks should stay in close contact with their cruise line for changes and updates.

The 88,500-gross-ton, Spirit-class Carnival Pride is scheduled to remain homeported from Baltimore year-round, and will undoubtedly shift operations to that planned homeport as soon as safely and reasonably possible.

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