Mobile tourism and government officials trumpeted the news Tuesday that the Carnival Fantasy will sail out of Mobile on some longer voyages in 2018.
New destinations apparently will include Key West, Nassau, the Panama Canal and the Costa Rican port of Limon.
Visit Mobile was quick to express hope that the longer trips – which include six-, eight- and 10-day trips, will be a boon to the city in multiple ways. The tourism bureau embraced the possibility that the longer trips will provide cruisers “an even greater opportunity to visit and spend time in Mobile before or after they set sail.”
We are excited that Carnival Cruise Line has continued to expand opportunities for tourists in our great city of Mobile, says David Clark, President/CEO, Visit Mobile. “We appreciate Carnival’s investment and partnership in our port city to offer multiple entertainment options for our tourists.”
City Finance Director Paul Wesch, speaking before the Mobile City Council on Tuesday morning, said the development reflected reports that “Carnival has been exceeding all their expectations” since resuming service from Mobile last year.
Wesch said that a variety of groups, including cruisers, travel agents and the city administration, “had been asking Carnival to consider some more lengthy cruises.”
“It looks like Carnival is happy enough to be experimenting,” Wesch said, implying that Carnival wouldn’t be adding more ambitious offerings if it weren’t happy with business in Mobile.
Carnival officials have generally downplayed the notion that such developments mean Carnival plans to commit to a longer contract with Mobile. Corporate Communications Manager Christine de la Huerta reiterated that stance on Tuesday.
“Our current contract with Mobile runs through December of this year,” de la Huerta said via e-mail. “However, it is customary with all ports we operate from, that we will open inventory approximately 18 months out.”
Huerta said that it is “not uncommon for us to change up an itinerary rotation on an occasional basis to offer new options to our guests,” but said the company was “excited to be offering these new voyages from Mobile.”
According to de la Huerta, the new offerings are:
- Two six-day cruises to Cozumel and Grand Cayman or Mahogany Bay (Isla Roatan) departing April 29 and Nov. 11, 2018.
- A pair of eight-day voyages – one visiting Costa Maya (Mexico), Mahogany Bay, Belize, Cozumel, and Progreso, Mexico departing April 21, 2018, and another visiting Key West, Freeport, Nassau and the private Bahamian destination of Princess Cays departing Nov. 3, 2018.
- A 10-day Carnival Journeys cruise that includes a partial transit of the Panama Canal and calls at Limon (Costa Rica), Mahogany Bay and Cozumel departing Sept. 17, 2018.
For full information on upcoming cruises out of Mobile, visit www.carnival.com.
Tourism officials said Tuesday that since the Carnival Fantasy began sailing from Mobile last fall, “Visit Mobile has spearheaded several new initiatives that have improved the overall visitor experience.” Those include a “Very Important Cruiser” program for hotel guests; suggested itineraries for cruisers who have time to tour the city’s attractions; and a “Cruising From Mobile” Facebook page that serves as a resource for up-to-date visitor information. That’s in addition to the website www.mobile.org/cruise/.
According to a statement issued Tuesday, Visit Mobile also has assigned a sales manager “to strengthen travel agent relationships in key markets to continue to promote pre and post cruise packages.”