BALTIMORE — In July, my whole family took a cruise aboard the Carnival Pride. A big selling point for this particular cruise was that it was out of the Port of Baltimore, only an hour away from over half the extended family.
We were pleased with the service at Cruise Maryland as the terminal is called. We drove into the lot and had our luggage put away by helpful staff. We then parked — $15 a day and walked into the Cruise Maryland terminal. We arrived a few hours before departure and were quickly processed for our international trip. It probably took less than 30 minutes for two adults and one child. Then we boarded our ship and were off.
Returning home, we found the disembarking went smoothly, though there was a wait of a few hours to empty the large ship. Once our deck was announced we were able to efficiently leave the ship and find our luggage after passing through customs. Our luggage was wheeled out to the car and we were off.
Parking is $15 a day. If you have a way of getting dropped off, go for it.
Overall, I was happy with the process. The cruise terminal was well run. However, Carnival is pulling out of Baltimore: Port officials looking to replace Pride – The Sun
Carnival Cruise Lines announced (in June) the Pride’s weekly cruises from Baltimore to the Bahamas and Caribbean will end in November 2014, when the 2,124-passenger ship will transfer to Tampa, Fla. Officials of the Miami-based company said pending federal requirements to reduce air pollution on all ships in coastal waters prompted their decision.
“It was unexpected, but it wasn’t a shock to us,” said James White, executive director of the Maryland Port Administration. “I’m not taking this lightly. This hurts. This is going to be tough for us.”
White said he believes Carnival will return by late spring 2015 and that parent Carnival Corp. will have resolved its issues by then with the Environmental Protection Agency over how to curb pollution from its fleet of ships. Currently, the Pride is scheduled to cruise from Tampa through March 2015, Carnival announced.
But, White said, the cruise business is too valuable to Baltimore’s economy to count on Carnival’s return.
“We’re talking to a lot of cruise lines,” he said. “You’ve got to get a hook in the water. … Although we’re very married to Carnival Cruise Line, we’re going to work as hard as we can to get somebody to fill that slot.”
I hope that something can be worked out. I don’t anticipate being a regular cruiser, but I certainly liked having an option nearby.