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Royal Caribbean will temporarily move Baltimore cruise ship operations to Norfolk

28 Mar 2024
Matt Hochberg

It looks as though Royal Caribbean will shift its cruise ship impacted by the Baltimore bridge collapse to Norfolk.

Vision of the Seas Temporarily Move Baltimore Operations to Norfolk

Vision of the Seas is the sole Royal Caribbean cruise ship sailing from Baltimore, and was out on a long sailing when the Francis Scott Key Bridge collapsed after being hit by a cargo ship.

Guests booked on the April 12 sailing of Vision of the Seas received an update late on Thursday to inform them that the ship will sail from Norfolk, Virginia instead.

Reddit user thrawaway1234567890 posted a copy of the letter confirming the change in operations.

Letter about changes to Vision homeport

"After the recent bridge collapse, Baltimore will not be prepared to safely embark guests on April 12, 2024. After exploring all options, Norfolk, Virginia was the best temporary alternate home port for Vision of the Seas," the letter explained.

Royal Caribbean last used Norfolk as a homeport between 2007 and 2010.

In addition, the April 12 sailing will need to be shortened by a day to come back on April 19 instead of April 20, resulting in a change in itinerary and dropping a visit to Royal Caribbean's private island of Perfect Day at CocoCay.

Vision of the Seas is currently on a 12-night Southern Caribbean sailing that is not due back into port until April 4.

Norfolk cruise terminal

Royal Caribbean's Vision of the Seas sails out of Maryland, offering cruises to the Bahamas, Southern Caribbean, Bermuda, and Canada/New England. Other cruise lines, such as Norwegian and Carnival, sail from Baltimore, too. 

Carnival temporarily moved to Norfolk too

Carnival Legend

Carnival Cruise Line announced a move to Norfolk earlier this week.

While the situation in Baltimore remains in flux as it relates to re-opening the Port of Baltimore waterways, Carnival announced they would temporarily move Carnival Legend’s Baltimore operations to Norfolk, Virginia.  

Carnival Legend is scheduled to return from its current voyage on Sunday, March 31. It will now return to Norfolk on Sunday, and guests will be provided complimentary bus service back to Baltimore. Carnival Legend’s next seven-day itinerary on March 31 will then operate from and return to Norfolk. Guests on the current and upcoming cruises are being informed of this change. 

What happened to the Key Bridge?

Key Bridge

In the early morning hours on Tuesday, March 26, a cargo ship that suddenly lost power crashed into one of the support columns of the Francis Scott Key Bridge, causing parts of the bridge to collapse into the Patapsco River.

Video footage shows cars and trucks falling into the cold water below.

The nearly 1,000-foot-long cargo ship lost propulsion shortly after leaving the Port of Baltimore. The ship was traveling at a speed of 8 knots, which is about 9 mph, before crashing into the bridge.

Photo by BCFD Fire Boat Marine Unit

The Singapore-owned ship, called the Dali, was departing Baltimore and heading to Colombo, the capital of Sri Lanka.

Moments before the crash, the crew onboard issued a mayday call to the Maryland Department of Transportation and the Maryland Transit Authority so traffic could be stopped from both sides of the bridge. According to Baltimore mayor Brandon Scott, this mayday call “saved many lives.”

The mayor, along with Maryland Governor Wes Moore, declared a state of emergency soon after the bridge collapsed.

Key Bridge collapse

At the time of the collapse, there was a team of construction workers who were filling potholes on the bridge. With the bridge collapse, the workers were sadly tossed into the Patapsco River. Of the eight workers, two were rescued, two bodies were recovered, and four are still missing and presumed dead (at the time of this article).

The FBI stated that this incident did not have any terrorist involvement. It was purely an accident.

According to some analysts, The Port of Baltimore could be reopened in less than a year, but rebuilding the Francis Scott Key Bridge could take up to 10 years. Construction of the bridge cannot begin until after the cleanup.

President Joe Biden said in a briefing, “This is going to take some time. And the people of Baltimore can count on us, though, to stick with them at every step of the way until the port is reopened and the bridge is rebuilt."

The Francis Scott Key Bridge was more than 1.6 miles long and was one of the longest continuous truss bridges in the world.

Investigation is currently taking place to understand what caused the cargo ship to lose power.

Matt started Royal Caribbean Blog in 2010 as a place to share his passion for all things Royal Caribbean with readers. He oversees all the writers at Royal Caribbean Blog, and writes a great deal of content on a daily basis.  He has become one of the foremost expert on a Royal Caribbean cruise.

Over the years, he has reached Pinnacle Club status with Royal Caribbean's customer loyalty program.

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