The Carnival Legend, which was safely out at sea when the Key Bridge collapsed, will be returning to Norfolk at the end of its cruise. Photo: Carnival Cruise Line

Cruise Ships, Shipping Lines Divert to Norfolk in Wake of Key Bridge Disaster

As the logistical problems of losing access to the Port of Baltimore channel are just beginning to be felt, the Port of Virginia is stepping up to keep ship traffic moving.

The ill-fated container ship Dali had just left Norfolk when it came to Baltimore. In a statement, the Port of Virginia said the Dali’s call and departure from Norfolk were without incident.

A cruise on the Carnival Legend set sail from the Baltimore Cruise Terminal on Sunday, March 24. The seven-day round trip, Easter-themed, cruise to the Bahamas was due to arrive back in Baltimore Sunday, March 31. Instead, passengers will be brought back to Norfolk, Carnival Cruises said. Upon disembarking, passengers will be given free bus service back to Baltimore.

Cruise passenger Michael Walker posted this photo on Facebook of the Key Bridge from Carnival Legend‘s last cruise that was able to return to Baltimore.

Carnival Legend’s next seven-day itinerary on March 31 will then operate from and return to Norfolk. Carnival says it’s keeping passengers updated on the changes.

“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.” 

Similarly, some commercial ships on their way to call at Baltimore may also end up in Norfolk. The port says it’s already working with ships who were scheduled to call at the Port of Baltimore to help them offload in Norfolk instead.

“The Port of Virginia has significant experience handling surges of import and export cargo and is ready to provide whatever assistance we can to the team at the Port of Baltimore,” the Port of Virginia said.