March 27, 2024

Port of Baltimore Suspends Ship Traffic after Bridge Collapse: What It Means for Travel

Travel is being impacted by Tuesday’s Francis Scott Key Bridge collapse along Interstate 695 in Baltimore, Maryland.

Drivers were immediately directed to take alternate routes through the city, following the early morning incident. What’s less clear is what the bridge collapse may mean for upcoming cruises in and out of Baltimore.

“Vessel traffic into and out of the Port of Baltimore is suspended until further notice,” the Port of Baltimore posted on X, formerly Twitter.

Rep. Kweisi Mfume, D-Md., whose district includes the bridge and the port, called the collapse an “unthinkable horror” and said he had spoken with Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg and the White House.

“They are responding with all of the assets at their disposal,” he said in a statement. “Our prayers right now are for the missing individuals and victims of this tragedy. We thank God for the effective service of our first responders.”

Here’s what we know.

Which cruises go to Baltimore?

Several major cruise lines serve Baltimore. According to the Cruise Lines International Association, the industry’s leading trade group, published itineraries in the 2024 calendar year include a dozen ships making 115 stops in Baltimore.

“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 an emailed statement. “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.”

Royal Caribbean and Carnival have upcoming sailings that could be impacted by the bridge collapse.

Royal Caribbean’s Vision of the Seas has a roundtrip itinerary scheduled to depart Baltimore on April 12, according to the cruise line’s website. “We are deeply saddened by the tragedy and collapse of the Francis Scott Key Bridge and extend our heartfelt prayers to all those impacted,” a spokesperson for the line said in an email. “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’s website shows Carnival Pride and Carnival Legend also have sailings into or out of Baltimore set for April.

“Our thoughts are with those affected by this tragic accident. It is premature for us to comment on possible impacts to upcoming sailings,” a Carnival spokesperson told USA TODAY.

American Cruise Lines has roundtrip sailings from Baltimore scheduled 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.

Norwegian Cruise Line doesn’t appear to have any Baltimore sailings until September on Norwegian Sky. The line will stay in contact with the port and share any changes with passengers and travel partners, according to a spokesperson.

"In the meantime, we wish the city of Baltimore strength during this very unfortunate event," they said in an email.

Alternate routes for the Baltimore bridge

Most drivers can take Interstate 95 (Fort McHenry Tunnel) or Interstate 895 (Baltimore Harbor Tunnel) to avoid the collapsed bridge. However Maryland Transportation Authority notes there are some exceptions.

Vehicles carrying hazardous materials, including more than 10 pounds of propane, are not allowed in the tunnels. Additionally, vehicles more than 13-feet and 6-inches high or 8-feet wide may not use the 1-895 Baltimore Harbor Tunnel. Vehicles more than 14-feet and 6-inches high or 11-feet wide may not use the I-95 Fort McHenry Tunnel.

Those vehicles should use the western portion of I-695 instead.

Copyright 2024 USA TODAY, a division of Gannett Satellite Information Network LLC. All rights reserved. From By Eve Chen and Nathan Diller, USA TODAY.

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