MOBILE, Alabama (WALA) – The Alabama cruise terminal dock remains boatless as it has been for over 18 months.
Now Carnival says the port city will hear that familiar wailing horn again no earlier than March 2022.
“It’s so disappointing,” said the owner of CustomCruiseWear.com. “You hold your breath every time they make an announcement. “
CustomCruiseWear.com manufactures cruise shirts, banners and gifts. Gray’s business is based in Mobile, and as the name suggests, cruising is his livelihood. The slow recovery of the industry is hurting it.
“We really want all ships to be put back into service and to return to where they were before the pandemic,” she said.
The latest delay announced this week means that Mobile will be without cruises for two years. It was in March 2020 that the industry shut down.
“The worst-case scenario hasn’t happened, which doesn’t come back to the cruise at all, but we have a date and we’re going to shoot for that date,” said Joe Snowden, executive director of administrative services for the city of Mobile.
The city of Mobile is in dire need of a cruise ship.
Right now, taxpayers have to pay about $ 1.9 million in debt payments to cruise terminals every year. The city says these payments are not a problem at the moment as they have excess money.
Before COVID, the terminal generated nearly $ 6 million in revenue per year.
Snowden, who oversees the city’s shipping, is hoping for a restart in March.
“I know there are a lot of challenges that Carnival has to overcome and a lot of those challenges are about logistics and they are dealing with international crews,” he said.
As of now, the Carnival website features March 5 as the Sensation’s first trip.
Gray hopes this will be true so that she can resume service to her home port.
“We are keeping our fingers crossed that this is the last of the cancellations,” she said. “Me personally, I don’t see a reason why they are delaying it and I don’t see why we can’t start over now. “
With this latest announcement, 90% of Carnival’s fleet will be operational again by February.
The sensation will be one of three ships still pending.
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