The Cruise Critic boards are abuzz over hearsay that Carnival Cruise Lines is considering a return to its longtime Mobile, Alabama, homeport, which it abandoned suddenly last year. The rumors surfaced after local Mobile TV stations and Cruise Critic members began reporting they’d received surveys about their interest level in sailing out of the Gulf port.
Carnival Elation‘s last departure from Mobile was in October 2011 after a seven-year stint offering Caribbean cruises. Carnival cited an inability “to generate favorable financial results” and the “high fuel costs required for the itineraries” as reasons for the pullout.
At the time the decision came as quite a shock to Al St. Clair, director of the Mobile cruise terminal, who said Elation, which carries 2,056 passengers at double occupancy, typically sailed full, averaging more than 2,450 passengers. The port and terminal have remained mostly empty since Elation last sailed way.
As to the rumored return, Carnival spokesman Vance Gulliksen was coy. “We frequently do guest surveys to gauge consumer interest in various product features and itineraries,” he said. “This particular survey referenced several different departure ports.”
But Cruise Critic members indicated the survey put an emphasis on Mobile.
Member lucigo, for instance wrote on the message boards: “I got an e-mail survey today, which seemed to target whether or not I would sail out of Mobile, AL. And if so, why would I choose Mobile over New Orleans.”
“Carnival sent the survey to me today also,” posted alabamaprincess. “I definitely would prefer cruising out of Mobile.”
Alabamaprincess is very much not alone in hoping Carnival brings a ship back to Mobile.
“We have not gotten a survey, but would love to get one to let Carnival know we would love to have a ship here,” LUV CRUSIN wrote. “Love Carnival but very disappointed when they took our ship away.”
And bonniemari said, ” I loved cruising out of Mobile. If I were to have a choice of Mobile or NOLA, Mobile would win every time.”
Cruise Critic members aren’t the only ones imagining a future where Carnival sails from Mobile again. Even the local Mobile news station is discussing the possibility, even going so far as to call it “today’s big story.”
Should Carnival come back to Mobile? Weigh in below.
Looking for the homeport nearest you? Check out our list of North American homeports.
Get your own Lido Deck subscription.