Grandeur of the Seas delays return to Baltimore until Sunday

The Grandeur of the Seas cruise ship will make a delayed return to Baltimore on Sunday evening.

James Van Fleet, the chief meteorologist for Royal Caribbean International, announced on Twitter that the ship would spend three extra days at sea as Tropical Storm Florence batters the Carolinas. Florence was originally characterized as a hurricane, but has been downgraded to a tropical storm after making landfall.

Fleet tweeted Thursday, “#Hurricane #Florence on final approach, coming ashore between #Wilmington and #MyrtleBeach. @RoyalCaribbean #GrandeuroftheSeas will leave @PortCanaveral and swing out and around back home to #Baltimore Sunday PM.”

The ship — which holds nearly 2,500 passengers — was scheduled to return to the Port of Baltimore at 7 a.m. Thursday. It is now expected back around 6 p.m. Sunday after departing Port Canaveral, Florida, on Saturday.

Fleet said Grandeur of the Seas would skip its plans to sail to Bermuda because of the storm. Instead, it would stop in the Bahamas.

“Being anywhere in proximity to the NE Quadrant on a storm like this? Nope, nope, nope,” he wrote on Twitter earlier this week.

Florence spent Saturday inching west at about 3 mph from Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, bringing winds of about 45 mph. Much of the storm still remained over the Atlantic.

Inland, thousands of people were ordered to be evacuated in the Carolinas, where swollen rivers and rising flood waters caused destruction. At least seven people have died.

Royal Caribbean sails year-round from Baltimore under a contract that runs through at least June 2020. About 200,000 people sail from Baltimore on about 100 cruises a year.

The Grandeur of the Seas, which took its maiden voyage in 1996, was refurbished in 2012. It travels to the Bahamas, Bermuda, the Caribbean, New England and Canada. Passengers can take five-, nine-, and 12-night round trips from Baltimore.

Richard Scher, a spokesman for the Maryland Port Administration, said the other cruise ship based in Baltimore, the Carnival Pride, is scheduled to return as planned Sunday morning and should set sail again at 5 p.m.

The Grandeur of the Seas is expected to travel again Monday afternoon en route to Nova Scotia. It’s due back to Baltimore from that trip on Sept. 22.

ywenger@baltsun.com

twitter.com/yvonnewenger

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