Royal Caribbean temporarily moving Baltimore operations to Norfolk


Along with Carnival Cruise LineRoyal Caribbean International is also expected to move their Baltimore operations to Norfolk following the Francis Scott Key bridge collapse on Tuesday.Carnival to temporarily move Baltimore operations to Norfolk

According to Royal Caribbean, the 2,514-passenger Vision of the Seas will complete its journey at the Port of Norfolk April 4. Stephen Kirkland, Nauticus executive director, said they’ve been in talks with the cruise line since Tuesday morning.

More than 50 buses will be throughout downtown Norfolk that morning, waiting to take passengers back to their vehicles in Baltimore.

Kirkland said this process is not as simple as opening the terminal doors. There are many more steps — a process that usually takes about a month crammed into a few days. This includes coordinating with Customs and Border Protection, the maritime community and dealing with luggage and transportation.

Kirkland praises the way this region got the job done — a helping hand after a terrible tragedy.

“Everyone has come together,” Kirkland said. “This community as a whole has come together. I can’t impress upon you enough that this is not just a Nauticus effort. This is a maritime and citywide effort and we’re proud to support [it].”

Two of the ship’s additional cruises will also depart from Norfolk on April 4 and 12.

Royal Caribbean stated all passengers currently on board the Vision of the Seas will receive compensation and shuttle transportation, as well as free Wi-Fi and phone calls in order to adjust any needed travel arrangements.

For guests now departing on their cruises from Norfolk, compensation will also be provided due to the unexpected change.

It’s still not clear when the Port of Baltimore may reopen. Some are expecting it could take several months. Local officials, though, aren’t yet sure if more cruise ships will come to Norfolk.

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