As of now, the affected cruises include voyages departing August 9, 14, 18, 23 and 28 (a full ship charter; transportation is being coordinated separately), as well as September 1. All cruises are now roundtrip from Mobile, with itineraries otherwise remaining intact. Following the September 1 voyage, Carnival Fantasy will enter its scheduled 28-day dry-dock for refurbishment.
The ship's relocation could create more logistical challenges as Fantasy will be sharing space with Holiday, Carnival's oldest vessel, which calls Mobile home year-round. Those planning to drive to their cruises should go directly to Mobile (and have been instructed not to go to New Orleans at all). To help with the potential congestion caused by an additional ship at the Mobile port, Carnival is setting up special offsite parking along with free shuttle service to the terminal for Fantasy passengers.
Have some time to kill in Mobile? Check out our port profile.
However, those who are flying into New Orleans -- whether booked through the cruise line or independently -- should make no changes to their travel plans. Carnival will provide free roundtrip motorcoach transportation between New Orleans and Mobile for those passengers.
As we'd reported, the challenges for Carnival Fantasy began several weeks ago, when a large portion of the Mississippi was shut down following an oil spill caused by the collision between a barge and tanker. The accident and resulting cleanup have created a number of problems (including barge and ferry delays and major economic losses).
As there's no guarantee at present that the portion of the Mississippi River leading to New Orleans will not be subject to sporadic closures and speed limitations, Carnival decided to shift the ship to the more predictable Mobile.
--by Dan Askin, Assistant Editor
Mississippi River Troubles Keep Carnival Fantasy in Mobile
Carnival Reroutes Fantasy Due to Oil Spill
Oil Spill Closes Port of New Orleans