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Carnival offers $99 weekend sailing from Baltimore

After Hurricane Sandy forced the cancellation of its planned seven-day Caribbean cruise, the Baltimore-based Carnival Pride has a new offer for travelers.

The ship will sail a two-day cruise on the Chesapeake on Friday and Saturday, departing from the Port of Baltimore. Fares for the “cruise to nowhere” begin at $99 per person. (Contact your travel agent.)

With the storm approaching, Carnival Cruise Lines canceled the ship’s planned Sunday departure for a seven-day cruise to the Caribbean, a rare move for any cruise company. In a statement, Carnival said port officials had forced its hand.

“The US Coast Guard has just made us aware that we will not be able to depart from the Chesapeake Bay. At this time, it is uncertain when this restriction will be lifted. We respect the Coast Guard’s decision and since we do not know when we will be cleared to sail, we will not be able to operate this cruise.”

The ship typically carries more than 2,000 passengers and the decision to cancel the cruise appears to have been made after at least some of them had already arrived. Carnival said it would pay for parking and provide a $30 dinner voucher and assist passengers in finding a hotel room for tonight. Guests will also receive a full refund as well as a 25 percent discount on a future cruise.

“We are sorry for the disappointment this has caused,” the cruise line said in a statement.

Well, one cruise passenger’s loss is another’s gain. After a week without power, a $99 cruise to nowhere might just float your boat.

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