Royal Caribbean Confirms Homeport Switch After Bridge Collapse

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Another cruise ship has been impacted by the Baltimore Bridge Collapse. Due to the ongoing investigation and damage to the cruise port, Royal Caribbean’s Vision of the Seas has been re-routed to Norfolk, Virginia, for its current and upcoming cruises.

Vision of the Seas Temporarily Moves to New Homeport

Current and soon-to-be guests of Royal Caribbean’s Vision of the Seas will need to make some last minute alterations to their travel plans. Cruisers planning to sail on the next two 8-night Bahamas Cruises, which will begin on April 4 and April 12, will now be embarking and disembarking in Norfolk, Virginia, instead of Baltimore, Maryland. 

The Vision-Class ship’s current 12-night Southern Caribbean sailing, which embarked on March 23 and was meant to be a round-trip sailing to and from Baltimore, will also now be concluding in Norfolk on April 4.

The Port of Baltimore remains closed after a catastrophic incident occurred on March 26, 2024, in which a large cargo ship crashed into the Francis Scott Key Bridge, which collapsed upon impact. No timeline has been given for when the port will reopen to cruise traffic. 

In light of the recent events, Vision of the Seas will be temporarily homeported in Norfolk instead of Baltimore, where the 78,340-gross ton ship was supposed to be based well into 2025. The change comes just one day after Carnival Cruise Line announced it would also be temporarily moving operations from Baltimore to Norfolk for the same reason.

After the April 12 sailing concludes, the ship will return to the Bahamas for routine maintenance. It is unclear if the ship will then be able to return to Baltimore, from where she is supposed to resume service with a series of 5 to 9-night Bermuda cruises at the end of May. 

Vision of the Seas in Baltimore
Vision of the Seas in Baltimore (Photo Credit: Cruise Maryland)

“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, Virginia,” a Royal Caribbean spokesperson told CruiseHive. 

“For Vision’s upcoming April 4 and April 12 cruises, the ship will sail from Norfolk. After returning from the April 12 cruise, Vision will head to The Bahamas for its previously scheduled maintenance,” the spokesperson added. 

Aside from the change in home port, Vision of the Seas’ current sailing remains otherwise unaffected. Before the cruise concludes, the 2,514-passenger vessel will still call on Castries, St. Lucia; Bridgetown, Barbados; and Basseterre, St. Kitts.

Similarly, the sailing beginning on April 4 will still call on Port Canaveral (Orlando), Florida; Freeport (Grand Island), Bahamas; Nassau, Bahamas; and Cococay, the cruise line’s private island in the Bahamas, as planned. 

The April 12 itinerary is also unchanged, but will be calling on Charleston, South Carolina, instead of CocoCay, which was planned. 

Royal Caribbean Compensates Passengers For Change

Norfolk’s cruise port is located approximately 236 miles away from Baltimore’s Cruise Port, which equates to a four hour car-ride or a one hour flight. As an act of good faith, Royal Caribbean is compensating passengers for the inconvenience caused by the last-minute change in travel plans. 

“Our guests booked to sail with us will receive compensation due to the necessary adjustments made to their vacations,” said the Royal Caribbean’s spokesperson. “Our guests on board will be provided compensation and complimentary shuttle transportation as well as Wi-Fi and phone calls to adjust their travel arrangements.”

Royal Caribbean's Vision of the Seas
Royal Caribbean’s Vision of the Seas (Photo Credit: Stefan Lambauer)

Cruisers currently onboard or soon-to-be onboard Vision of the Seas who booked flights and/or transfers directly through Royal Caribbean will have their travel arrangements automatically rescheduled, with their new travel details emailed shortly. 

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

Guests who booked their airfare or other travel accommodations independently are encouraged to reach out to their providers as soon as possible. The cruise line is also reimbursing guests for pre-scheduled transportation, as well as new arrangements that have to be made. 

The cruise line will cover up to $200 per person for domestic transportation, such as flights, train tickets, bus fares, or rental cars, and $400 per person for international travel. Additionally, cruisers can claim up to $200 for any new travel that has to be booked by emailing their receipts to the cruise line.

Additionally, guests currently onboard will be given access to free Wi-Fi and phone calls so they can adjust their travel arrangements without incurring extra costs.

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