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Carnival Pride to install air emission 'scrubbers,' return to Baltimore home

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The Carnival Pride cruise ship will be getting a multi-million makeover and will return to Baltimore as its year-round home in spring of 2015 – with all-new “scrubbers” to help meet air-emission standards.

“Baltimore is a convenient mid-Atlantic embarkation point for ‘Fun Ship’ cruising and we’re pleased to resume these attractive year-round departures which offer our guests an opportunity to visit a variety of beautiful, tropical destinations,” Gerry Cahill, Carnival’s president and CEO said Friday in a news release.

“We would like to extend our thanks to officials from the sport and the state of Maryland for their outstanding support in our efforts to resume year-found cruising from Baltimore,” he added.

Carnival had announced in June that it was leaving Baltimore where the 2,124-passenger Carnival Pride had been based since 2009. Strict environmental requirements that limit the sulfur content in fuel that cruise ships burn off North American coasts was a problem. The requirements go into effect in 2015.

However, Carnival said Friday that the company will invest $180 million to install “scrubbers” on ships to meet the air emission standards. The new technology to clean fuel exhaust will be on nearly one third of the Carnival fleet.

“We are pleased to welcome Carnival Cruise Lines back to Maryland and the Carnival Pride cruise ship back to the Port of Baltimore,” Governor Martin O’Malley said in a Friday news release.

“Our administration has a proven track record of advocating for a strong, healthy environment and fighting for high-quality jobs for Maryland families,” O’Malley said. “I’m pleased Carnival and the Environmental Protection Agency and Coast Guard have agreed on a plan that will keep family-supporting jobs in Maryland and allow a clean and even greener Carnival Pride to return to this thriving cruise market.”

Currently based in Baltimore, the Carnival Pride will remain through October 2014, then move to Tampa for a winter cruse schedule. The ship will return to Baltimore for year-found service in March 2015.

As party of its makeover the Carnival Pride will add dining, bar and entertainment features that are part of the cruise line’s $500 million Fun Ship 2.0 produce enhancement program.

New features will include Guy’s Burger Joint; BlueIguana Cantina and BlueIguana Tequila Bar; Bonsai Sushi; EA Sports Bar; Hasbro The Game Show, and WaterWorks, a water slide and spray park.

In preparation for its return to Baltimore, Carnival Pride will offer a 14-day “repositioning cruise” departing Tampa March 15 and arriving Baltimore March 29, 2015.

Featured on the one-time special voyage will be six popular seaside destinations through the Caribbean and Central America, including George Town in Grand Cayman; Limon in Costa Rica; Colon in Panama: Aruba in Ccuracao and St. Maarten in the Netherlands Antilles. Optional excursions to the historic Panama Canal will be featuring during the Colon call.

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