Maryland Bridge Collapse: Here’s the Impact on Cruises

Update: Carnival has announced that Carnival Legend, its ship based in Baltimore, will temporarily move to Norfolk, Virginia following the bridge collapse: 

“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.”

“Our thoughts remain with the impacted families and first responders in Baltimore,” said Christine Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Line. “We appreciate the pledge made by President Biden today to dedicate all available resources to reopen Baltimore Harbor to marine traffic as soon as possible. As those plans are finalized, we will update our future cruise guests on when we will return home to Baltimore, but in the meantime, we appreciate the quick response and support from officials in Norfolk.”

Original Article:

In one of the most dramatic videos we’ve ever seen, a loaded container ship destroyed a major bridge in Baltimore after it ran into one of the bridge footings in the middle of the night.

The 948-foot container ship Dali was leaving the Port of Baltimore around 12:30 a.m. on March 26. According to news reports, about an hour later it “began to slow and diverted off of its course.” The ship then hit a support pier of the Francis Scott Key Bridge — a major thoroughfare around the city.

Immediately after the impact, the span of the bridge collapsed. While traffic was thankfully lighter in the middle of the night, there were reports of cars and people falling in the water. There’s no word yet on casualties, but a number of people are said to be missing. Two people have been rescued so far.

You can see the moment of impact and the collapse here:

This is a major and tragic event. And while vacation may not be on too many people’s minds, this could also have an impact on cruises.

The Francis Scott Key Bridge was part of Interstate 695, which circles Baltimore. This bridged section spanned the Patapsco River, the waterway leading in and out of the port and city — including the Maryland Cruise Terminal where cruises embark.

In fact, the incident occurred just about five miles from the cruise terminal. With the geography of the area, it’s also the only way in and out from the cruise terminal for a ship.

You can see the location of the bridge in relation to the cruise port here:

The Francis Scott Key Bridge sits about five miles from the cruise port. Its collapse blocks entry to the area. Map data: Google.

With the bridge in the water, access to the port is essentially shut off. Given how recently this happened, it’s not clear yet when the river may open back up. Meanwhile, a number of ships are scheduled in the coming weeks.

Carnival Legend is set to return to Baltimore on March 31. That gives five days before the ship is to arrive. It’s currently on a 7-day cruise to The Bahamas, according to

Royal Caribbean’s Vision of the Seas — currently on a 12-day trip to the southern Caribbean — is scheduled to return on April 4.

Cruzely reached out to both Carnival and Royal Caribbean to see about any changes to upcoming cruises. Royal Caribbean did not immediately respond.

Update: We received the following statement from Royal Caribbean:

“We are deeply saddened by the tragedy and collapse of the Francis Scott Key Bridge and extend our heartfelt prayers to all those impacted. We are closely monitoring the situation, and our port logistics team is currently working on alternatives for Vision of the Seas’ ongoing and upcoming sailings.”

Carnival told us that it was too early to comment on possible impacts and directed us to CLIA, the industry trade group as the incident impacts all cruises in the area.

Just based on the damage and the rescue operations, we expect it could be a few days until the situation is fully assessed and officials know better when vessel traffic can resume.

If you are on one of the upcoming cruises, then the cruise line will be in touch should there be any changes to the schedule

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  1. It would be useful to obtain comment from U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the federal agency responsible for enforcement of the Passenger Vessel Services Act. If the Carnival Legend and the Vision of the Seas do not return to Baltimore, but instead discharge their passengers at some other U.S. port, then Carnival Cruise Line and Royal Caribbean International will each be responsible for paying a fine of $941 per person for having violated the aforementioned cabotage law, at least in the absence of a PVSA waiver. The Carnival Legend, with a capacity of 2,124 passengers, and the Vision of the Seas, with a capacity of 2,050 passengers, would incur total fines of approximately $2 million each, an amount sufficient that the two cruise lines would likely seek a waiver. Yet, U.S. Customs and Border Protection itself states in its guidance that “[t]he PVSA can only be waived in the interest of national defense, pursuant to 46 U.S.C. § 501,” a condition that might not be applicable here.


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