Hurricane Sandy forced Carnival Cruise Lines to cancel just two of its many ocean voyages this week, including a seven-day trip to the Bahamas on the Carnival Pride that was to depart this past Sunday from the port of Baltimore.
The cruise line is giving refunds to all passengers, but has decided not to let the 2,124-passenger ship merely sit empty in the Chesapeake Bay.
Carnival is now offering a two-day cruise out to sea and back from Friday afternoon to Sunday morning. Rates start at $129 per person for interior rooms, based on double occupancy. ($179 per person for accommodations with balconies)
"When the ship couldn't get out of Chesapeake Bay, we ended up canceling the cruise. And that's why we can do a two-day cruise," said Vance Gulliksen, a Carnival spokesperson. "It's a great way to get people to check out the ship."
Pride is packed with amenities: three restaurants, casino gambling, a health center, kids programs, three swimming pools, a water slide and 18 lounges and bars.
The ship makes regular year-round, seven-day trips to The Bahamas and Florida, with ports of call such as Freeport, Nassau and Port Canaveral. Those rates typically start around $450 per person this time of year.
For now, "It's sitting in the Chesapeake.. and we're getting calls from people wondering what the ship is doing there," Gulliksen said.
So far about 650 cabins have been booked for the Friday trip. But if you're looking for a weekend getaway, the Pride still has a few hundred rooms left, Gulliksen said.
After it returns from the cruise to nowhere, it'll be back to the tropics, with a departure on Sunday.