RCI-Royal Caribbean's cruises set to resume from Baltimore after channel reopening

   May 16, 2024 ,   Cruise Industry

RCI-Royal Caribbean International is set to resume cruises from Baltimore, Maryland, later this month following the reopening of the channel, which has been dredged to a depth of up to 45 feet (13.7 m).

This development comes ~2 months after the container ship Dali collided with a support structure of the Francis Scott Key Bridge on March 26, causing significant debris to fall into the Patapsco River and onto the vessel.

On Monday, May 13, crews used explosives to dismantle the largest remaining section of the bridge resting on the Dali, with the metal debris falling into the water. Following this, crews planned to assess the remaining bridge debris near the grounded ship before refloating the vessel and clearing the channel.

Sufficient clearance has now been achieved to allow shipments in and out of Port Baltimore. On Monday, the USCG/Coast Guard reopened the Fort McHenry limited access channel, permitting commercial vessels to navigate to a depth of 45 feet from 8:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m. daily.

The Port of Baltimore announced on Facebook that the channel offers a horizontal clearance of 350 feet and a vertical clearance of 214 feet (65 m) due to overhead power lines. These dimensions may increase as salvage operations progress in the area.

However, transit through the channel remains subject to Coast Guard discretion based on weather conditions and ongoing salvage efforts.

With the channel reopened, ships like RCI's Vision of the Seas will resume operations. Vision OTS is now scheduled to depart Baltimore on May 25th for a 5-night voyage to Bermuda.