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Francis Scott Key Bridge collapse: 2,000 cruise passengers bused from Norfolk to Baltimore

Cargo ship Dali under collapsed bridge.

NORFOLK, Va. — After their cruise ship was rerouted from Baltimore to Norfolk, Virginia, thousands of passengers on board the Carnival Legend had to get back to Maryland.

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About 2,600 passengers had to be diverted to Norfolk instead of docking at the Port of Baltimore because of the collapse of the Francis Scott Key Bridge last week.

It took 70 buses and four hours to get them back to their cars parked in the Charm City, WVEC reported.

But not all people thought that a long bus ride was for them. The Virginia Pilot reported that some people may have rented cars while others could have flown back to Baltimore.

Others had family members pick them up at the port.

“It’s about three hours (to Manassas from Norfolk). It’s better than taking a bus for four or five hours, and then it would be another two hours. My husband just said, ‘I’ll just drive down there,’” Sandy Crow, who was on a sisters’ trip, told the Pilot.

The passengers had left Baltimore for a 7-day cruise, passing under the very bridge that would eventually come down after it was hit by a cargo ship.

“We were all on deck underneath it when we left,” Dave Smiddy told WVEC. Passengers were told about the collapse on Tuesday.

“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,’” Baltimore native Michael Lukoski told the television station, “To get back home and not see it there — it’s gonna be surreal. It’s just not gonna make any sense.”

In addition to the Legend’s passengers, who disembarking at the Norfolk Maritime Discovery Center’s Nauticus, a new slate of passengers went on the ship Sunday afternoon, WJLA reported.

Carnival wasn’t the only cruise line to have to change its final destination. Royal Caribbean has two trips in April that will now leave from Norfolk, WJLA reported.

Like the Legend, Royal Caribbean’s Vision of the Seas also carries more than 2,000 passengers, the Pilot reported.