Carnival Legend cruise passengers react to ship being rerouted after Baltimore’s bridge collapse

Carnival Legend cruise passengers have shared their reactions to the trip being rerouted, after the collapse of the Francis Key Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore, Maryland.

Following a trip to the Bahamas, the cruise was set to end on 31 March, with the ship initially docking in Baltimore, Maryland. However, after the Key Bridge collapsed on 26 March, Carnival Legend’s ship was rerouted, before being docked in Norfolk, Virginia, on 31 March.

As noted on Carnival Legend’s official website, passengers were then provided with a complimentary bus service back to Baltimore. The cruise’s next seven day trip – set to begin on 31 March – will also leave from and return to Norfolk. The following trips will abide by this strategy, instead of being operated in Baltimore, and passengers have been made aware of the change.

“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,” the president of Carnival Cruise Line, Christine Duffy, said in a statement. “As those plans are finalised, 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.”

According to13 News Nows, about 2,6000 guests docked in Norfolk on 31 March, following their trip to the Bahamas. With the help of 70 different buses, passengers were then driven back to Baltimore.

Speaking to the publication, many cruise passengers reflected on how they felt when they first left Baltimore, before the bridge collapsed.

“We had to go under that bridge right,” said passenger Viktoriia Aldred. “The bridge looked amazing and you go under the bridge and you’re like: ‘wow.’”

Passenger Dave Smiddy also recalled that when the cruise ship first left the city, he even stood on the deck to take pictures of the bridge. “We were all on deck underneath it when we left,” he explained.

Baltimore native and cruise passenger Michael Lukoski noted that while on the ship last week, he heard the heartbreaking news about the bridge collapse.

"When I got the news Tuesday morning, it was absolutely… you couldn’t believe it. You know what I mean? I was woken up saying there was a bridge collapse and it was like: ‘no way,’” he said.

After acknowledging how “surreal” it would feel for him to return to Baltimore after the bridge collapse, Lukoski expressed his gratitude for the Carnival Legend cruise line for helping him get home.

“I thank the good folks in Norfolk for getting us home,” he said. “We’re Baltimore, we’re strong.”

The senior cruise director of Carnival Cruise Legend, John Heald, took to Facebook on 28 March to address how the cruises are going to be leaving and returning from Norfolk, instead of Baltimore.

In the comments of his video, many people said they were on the Carnival Legend ship that was rerouted to Norfolk on 31 March, and praised the company for how it handled the situation. Meanwhile, other people applauded Heald for being so vocal with upcoming cruise passengers about their itinerary changes going forward.

“On the Legend now and the issue has been handled exceptionally well and quickly. Thank you to the leadership and the crew here on board,” one wrote.

“We appreciate the efficiency of all of the carnival and sincerely feel for Baltimore! This example is why we stay committed to only Carnival!” another added.

A third commented: “Carnival is doing a great job of keeping us posted on what is going on. They are very very helpful with all they do for their customers and workers. Thank you John.”

Carnival Legend isn’t the only cruise line that’s changing its operations in light of the bridge collapse. On 28 March, Royal Caribbean announced that its “Vision of the Seas” ship will not be embarking from Baltimore on 4 April anymore. Instead, it will be embarking from Norfolk, Virginia, on 4 April, and returning to the city on 12 April.

Passengers that were set to embark in Baltimore on 12 April will now be embarking in Norfolk. The itinerary for that trip has also been revised, with passengers skipping their visit to Nassau and returning to Norfolk on 19 April, one day earlier than planned.

Baltimore officials have now opened a temporary shipping route around the wreckage of the Francis Key Scott Key Bridge, in a bid to get trade and movement of goods in and out of the city. Captain David O’Connell described this as “an important first step along the road to reopening the port of Baltimore”.

The first section of the collapsed bridge was removed from the Patapsco River over the weekend, marking an important step towards removing the wreckage and getting the crucial port back up and running. After removing a 200-tonne segment, workers are now focusing on lifting a section of the bridge while leaving the crumpled part resting on the bow of the Dali container ship.

The Independent has contact Carnival Legend for comment.