May 1, 2003
It looks like Carnival Conquest, which has spent the spring cruising from
its temporary homeport of Gulfport because of a protracted power line
safety-related issue in New Orleans, is headed back to its original home
port on a year-round basis. Entergy, the company responsible for raising
power lines so that Conquest could safely sail through (and then,
ultimately, the company that will bury them completely so it's not even an
issue) has said it will begin the work in June.
The power lines, which are downriver from New Orleans and which proved to
hang too low for Conquest to safely pass under during the annual spring
swelling of the Mississippi, will be raised about 23 1/2 feet so that they
are at least 217 feet above the mean high water stage -- that's four feet
more than the minimum. Conquest itself measures 207 feet high. Work should
be completed by October.
This announcement, while good news for those who want to sail Conquest from
New Orleans next spring, has, alas, no impact on the cruises now based in
Gulfport, according to a Carnival spokeswoman. "We intend to keep the
Conquest at Gulfport, due to the current river level, until at least the
first part of June," says Carnival's Jennifer de la Cruz. "Specifically when
we will return the ship to New Orleans depends on what the river does. We
can't say for sure at this time."