Carnival Cruise Line has reached out to guests booked aboard Carnival Pride‘s April 7, 2024 departure following the collapse of the Francis Scott Key Bridge on Baltimore, which has closed the Port of Baltimore to marine traffic for the immediate future.

Carnival Pride is due to reposition from Tampa, Florida to Baltimore, Maryland on that 14-night, one-way Journeys cruise. Guests are understandably nervous about whether or not the ship will be able to reach Baltimore and how any change might impact their post-cruise travel arrangements.

The bridge collapsed on Sunday, March 26, 2024 after the container ship Dali had technical difficulties while approaching the span and subsequently collided with the bridge. Carnival Cruise Line and Royal Caribbean International have both been forced to shift homeports to Norfolk, Virginia in the meantime, as the Port of Baltimore is now inaccessible due to the bridge’s debris.

Carnival Pride is scheduled to reposition to Baltimore after finishing her winter season sailing from Tampa, Florida. That one-way cruise will depart Tampa on April 7, 2024 and visit top ports of call in the Caribbean – Jamaica, Aruba, Curacao, Barbados, Antigua, and St. Maarten – on the way to Baltimore.

“Thank you for your patience as we continue to work through the many issues affecting your Carnival Journeys cruise from Tampa to Baltimore,” the email to booked guests read. “We know that there is uncertainty on many levels, and we want to update you on our plans.”

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

As scheduled, Carnival Pride is planned to arrive in Baltimore on Sunday, April 21, 2024, and will remain homeported from Charm City through at least April 2026.

“Based on our most recent information, it is possible that the Baltimore Harbor channel will be cleared to limited operations to allow for our arrival in Baltimore on April 21,” the email confirmed.

For the moment, there are no changes to the ship’s itinerary and the plan remains for debarkation in Baltimore, Maryland as scheduled, though the cruise line will stay in close communication with booked guests in case of updates.

Should Carnival Pride not be able to proceed to Baltimore as planned, the cruise line has already confirmed the voyage will end in Norfolk, Virginia.

If that alternative is necessary, the cruise line will provide complimentary bus service to all three major airports in the Washington, DC region – Baltimore/Washington International (BWI), Reagan National (DCA), and Dulles International (IAD).

“As we learn more, we will stay in touch both before you embark in Tampa and throughout the cruise,” the email stated. “We will work with you should you need to make alternative plans during the voyage. For now, since we do not know what the situation will be on April 21, we think it prudent to stay the course.”

Carnival Pride Cruise Ship (Photo Credit: Dennis MacDonald / Shutterstock)

If possible, travelers may want to adjust their post-cruise travel plans now, particularly if they have arranged air travel after debarking Carnival Pride. Because of the travel time from Norfolk to the associated airports, switching to later flights or planning to depart the area the next day rather than on April 21 may be a wise choice.

For example, if the ship were to dock in Baltimore, travel time to the airports would be as follows: Baltimore/Washington International is closest at just 15 minutes, while Reagan National is 60 minutes and Dulles International is approximately 70 minutes. From Norfolk, however, the respective travel times would be 4 hours, 3.5 hours, and 3.75 hours.

Read Also: Things to Do in Baltimore, Maryland for Cruise Passengers

If cruise passengers have arranged for early flights on debarkation day and the ship does need to dock in Norfolk, it may be impossible to make those flights. Late afternoon or evening flights, however, may still be possible. If the ship still docks in Baltimore, guests will simply have more time to enjoy the city.

Carnival Cruise Line is offering all travelers on this one sailing of Carnival Pride a $100 (USD) onboard credit per stateroom to ease the tension and “start your journey on the right foot” regardless of where the ship may disembark.

This credit is a nice gesture when the cruise may not be impacted at all and can be used for any onboard purchases, including shore excursions, photos, souvenirs, spa treatments, specialty dining, and more.

The 88,500-gross-ton, Spirit-class Carnival Pride can welcome 2,680 guests aboard at double occupancy, and is also home to approximately 900 international team members.

From Tampa, the ship has been offering Caribbean itineraries, but after moving to Baltimore, Carnival Pride will offer a mix of Bahamas, Eastern Caribbean, Southern Caribbean, Bermuda, and Greenland cruises, depending on sailing date. Two special sailings are also planned for the Panama Canal – one each in January 2025 and January 2026 – if conditions permit those transits to move forward.

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