Carnival Cruise Line will temporarily shift its Baltimore operations to Norfolk, Virginia, in the wake of the collapse of the Francis Scott Key Bridge on Tuesday.

The 1.6-mile-long bridge came crashing down after it was struck by a container ship that lost power in the pre-dawn darkness. Cruise ships had to pass under the 47-year-old bridge to get to the Port of Baltimore, which is located farther up the Patapsco River. Crews on Tuesday continued to search for six people doing work on the bridge who were missing.

The Carnival Legend was scheduled to return to Baltimore on Sunday, but it will now head to Norfolk, the cruise line said in a statement Tuesday evening. Guests will be provided complimentary bus service back to Charm City.

Carnival Legend’s next seven-day cruise, set for March 31, will operate from and return to Norfolk. Guests on both cruises are being informed of the change, the cruise line said.

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“Our thoughts remain with the impacted families and first responders in Baltimore,” said Christine Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Line, in a written statement. “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.”

Vessel traffic in and out of the Port of Baltimore was suspended until further notice, the Maryland Port Administration said in a statement.

“At this time we do not know how long vessel traffic will be suspended. As soon as that is determined, we will provide an update. Until then, please keep those involved in your prayers,” the statement said.

Royal Caribbean and Norwegian Sky also use the Baltimore port, which is located just off Interstate 95 near the western entrance to the Fort McHenry Tunnel.

Royal Caribbean’s Vision of the Seas ship was set to depart from Baltimore April 12 and return April 20.

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“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. Any updates will be communicated to our guests and travel partners once our plans are finalized,” a Royal Caribbean spokesperson said in a statement.

American Cruise Lines has several eight-day Chesapeake Bay cruises scheduled to depart from and return to Baltimore in May, according to its website.

“We will monitor the situation and make adjustments to future cruises if needed, but at the present time our schedules remain unaffected, and our thoughts remain with those affected by the immediate situation and rescue efforts underway,” an American Cruise Lines spokesperson told USA TODAY.

A Norwegian Cruise Line spokesperson said there isn’t an impact on its itinerary at this time.

“We are deeply saddened by the tragic incident that recently took place in Baltimore. Our sincerest thoughts are with the community and all those affected. At this time there is no impact to our itineraries, as we do not have any voyages scheduled to depart from the city until later this year in September and October. We will remain in contact with the Port of Baltimore and provide updates to our guests and travel partners if anything changes. In the meantime, we wish the city of Baltimore strength during this very unfortunate event,” the statement said.

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Twelve ships were scheduled to make a total of 115 ship calls at the Port of Baltimore during 2024. Baltimore’s port is the 29th largest cruise port in the country, with 444,000 passengers moving through it in 2023, according to the Cruise Lines International Association.

“We are deeply saddened by the tragedy and collapse of the Key Bridge that occurred last night and extend our support and heartfelt prayers to all those impacted,” CLIA spokesperson Anne Madison said in a statement Tuesday. “We join everyone in extending our thanks and appreciation to the first responders and emergency workers in Baltimore, the U.S. Coast Guard, and other professionals who are working with one goal in mind — to save lives. We are closely following this situation. Right now, the most important thing to do is to allow the emergency workers to do their work.”

Royale Bonds attended Southern Illinois University. Go Salukis! She previously worked as an affordable housing reporter in Greenville, South Carolina. Royale enjoys long naps, snacking and endless scrolling on social media. She looks forward to reporting on Anne Arundel County and covering the stories that matter.

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