Alabama's Mobile has long been lobbying Carnival Cruise Lines to replace Holiday, its only homeporting ship, with a bigger, more contemporary vessel. Today the city got its wish. Carnival has announced that beginning November 2009, the 2,056-passenger Carnival Fantasy will replace the 1,452-passenger Holiday. Carnival Fantasy carries 42 percent more passengers than Holiday -- and, at 18 years old, is a tad younger than its 23-year-old sibling.
Carnival Fantasy will take over Holiday's four- and five- night Western Caribbean voyages and will cruise from Mobile year-round. Holiday, as has been expected, will be transferred out of the fleet -- in this case it will head to Iberocruceros, Carnival Corporation's Spain-based cruise line -- once it completes its last trip from Mobile on November 2 (again, that's next year).
What's almost as interesting as today's announcement is what this move will mean for New Orleans. Carnival Fantasy has been based there year-round (stay tuned -- a joint New Orleans/Carnival announcement about potential redeployment is expected tomorrow).
After its relocation next fall, Carnival Fantasy will be offering similar itineraries to what is currently available from Mobile; these includes two options for five nighters -- one itinerary visits Cozumel and Calica, another heads to Progreso and Cozumel -- and one four nighter whose only stop is at Cozumel. What's significantly different is the vessel itself. By that time the ship will have received its Evolutions of Fun upgrade, part of a massive program to bring contemporary features and amenities to Carnival's Fantasy class of ships. Among the improvements include a new WaterWorks aqua park (complete with a 300 ft. corkscrew slide and dual-lane racing slides), Serenity, an adults-only sun deck retreat, and expanded family and spa facilities.
Due to an oil spill in New Orleans that has impeded Mississippi River traffic, Carnival Fantasy has, ironically enough, been temporarily homeporting at Mobile this month. The ship will continue to sail from Mobile through its September 1 cruise. After that, it heads to that city's Atlantic Marine shipyard for a 28-day dry dock.
Following its dry dock, Carnival Fantasy returns to New Orleans.
--by Carolyn Spencer Brown, Editor in Chief
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Carnival Fantasy to Cruise From Mobile
August 18, 2008