Updated October 10, 2019
Port of Mobile Cruise Terminal Address
201 South Water Street
Mobile, AL 36602
Located on the Mobile River a few minutes' walk from a historic downtown, the City of Mobile's Alabama Cruise Terminal provides a clean, efficient jumping-off point for Carnival Fantasy passengers (the only ship currently homeported here at time of publication). The 13-year-old terminal underwent a multimillion-dollar upgrade in 2016 that included new interior design, signage, parking deck repair and technology and security upgrades. Those using the terminal now, versus the last time the city had a cruise ship in 2011, will find the experience much more pleasant, though it can be tedious and crowded during boarding times.
The 66,000-sqare-foot, three-story facility has a four-story and 500-space parking deck attached. The building is aesthetically pleasing and relatively easy to navigate. The terminal's makeover included new carpet and paint in a nautical color scheme of gray, blue and green, as well as a large display welcoming people to Mobile -- old-fashioned bulbs (rather than neon lights) spell out "Mobile, Alabama, Wish You Were Here" and are festooned with symbols of the city: a replica, larger-than-life MoonPie (the marshmallow-cookie treat thrown from floats during Mardi Gras parades) and pictures of antebellum mansions, live oaks and young ladies in frilly, pastel dresses with parasols. (These are the Azalea Trail Maids, the city's official ambassadors.)
The terminal has certainly come back to life after a six-year hiatus from cruise ships. It's now a hive of activity, processing passengers every week for the consistently full 2,056-passenger Carnival Fantasy cruises to Cozumel, Progreso and Costa Maya, Mexico, in the Western Caribbean. While your mind might be focused on the ship and the blue Caribbean waters beyond, it doesn't hurt to make the most of your cruise terminal experience by knowing what to expect.
Directions to Mobile Cruise Terminal
From the Mobile Regional Airport
There are three ways to get from the Mobile Regional Airport to the terminal by vehicle: I-10, Airport/Government Boulevards and Spring Hill Avenue. Although GPS estimates are all approximately 30 minutes, you should budget at least an hour to account for what can be heavy traffic, particularly on Airport Boulevard, the main artery between the airport and downtown/the waterfront. The Spring Hill Avenue route, like Government Boulevard, will take you underneath a canopy of live oaks and mansions as you get close to downtown.
From I-10 West
Stay on I-10 across the Mobile Bay Bridge and go through the I-10 George Wallace Tunnel. After exiting the tunnel, travel approximately 1 mile and take Exit 25B/Virginia Street. Turn left at the end of the exit ramp onto Virginia Street. At this point you will double back onto the interstate. Slowly drive under I-10 and follow the signs to I-10 East. Once back on the interstate, stay in the right lane for a quarter-mile, then take the next exit, 26A/Canal Street. Turn right at the end of the exit ramp onto Water Street, which is a four-lane road with a median that will curve back toward the terminal. Stay on Water Street for two blocks. The garage and terminal will on the right.
From U.S. Highway 90 (Government Boulevard) West
If you hate the speed and ordinariness of the interstate and have a little time to spare, take U.S. Highway 90/Government Boulevard to reach the terminal. If you're coming from the west, this route will provide you with lots of local and chain restaurants and stores on either side of the street, and a look at the city's historic mansions and majestic live oaks that form a canopy over the street as you get close to downtown. West of I-65, keep going west for 4.6 miles, then turn right onto South Broad Street (the historic Government Street United Methodist Church, also known as The Bee Hive, will be on the righthand corner). After only about a tenth of a mile, take a slight left onto Canal Street, which is just past Church Street. You will take another left almost immediately to stay on Canal Street, go almost 1 mile, then turn right onto Eslava Street. After going 0.4 miles, turn right onto Water Street and you will see the terminal.
From U.S. Highway 90/98 East
Once you are heading west on US 90/98, also known as Battleship Parkway and the Causeway, go about 2 miles and turn left onto Government Boulevard/US 90 W/US 98 W to avoid the interstates when coming from the east. Watch closely for this turn, which has a turning lane and light but is easy to miss if you're not paying attention. If you reach Dunlap Drive, you have gone too far. After going about 0.8 miles, take a sharp left onto Government Street and then take the second right onto South Water Street. Almost immediately, take the Canal Street ramp. Stay straight on this ramp for about a quarter-mile, then turn left onto S. Royal Street. Turn left almost immediately onto Madison Street. From there, look for S. Water Street again and turn left on it after .07 miles. The terminal will be ahead after slightly less than a tenth of a mile.
From I-65 North
Take I-65 south to where it meets I-10. This is pretty far south, and you will see the suburbs of Mobile on either side of the interstate as you draw closer to I-10. On the right-hand side of the I-65, take I-10 East to Exit 26A/Canal Street to reach downtown Mobile. Turn right at the end of the exit ramp onto Water Street, a four-lane road with a median that will curve back to the north toward the terminal. Stay on Water Street for two blocks. The garage and terminal will be on the right.
From South of Mobile
Take AL-188 North, which turns into Irvington BLB Highway/County Highway 19, for approximately 6 miles. Then turn right onto US Highway 90 and travel nearly 7 miles before merging onto I-10 E. Follow above directions from Exit 26A/Canal Street to reach the terminal.
Cab fare from the airport to the cruise terminal is approximately $45 to $50, and many vehicles are handicapped accessible. There is an array of small cab companies in Mobile, but one of the most established is Yellow Cab (251-476-7711). There are also various limo and private car services. Southern Comfort Limousine has a fleet that includes a four-seat sedan with a flat rate of $118 for a trip from the airport to your hotel, and stretch and Excursion limos that seat up to 10 or 14 people and go for $95 and $125 per hour, respectively. Despite the arrival of Uber, taxis are still the most popular transportation option, according to a terminal spokeswoman.
Getting There By Public Transportation
There is no public transportation between the airport and cruise terminal.
UberX (which seats four) and Uber XL (which seats six in an SUV) are available between the airport and the cruise terminal. UberX costs $26 to $35 and UberXL costs $33 to $44 for a one-way trip. Lyft is not available in Mobile at the time of publication.
Rental Car Services in Mobile Near the Cruise Terminal and Airport
There are numerous car rental agencies both near the cruise terminal and at the airport, and all offer free shuttle service to and from the terminal. There is an Enterprise Rent-A-Car location approximately a mile and a half from the terminal (64 N. Broad Street; 251-432-4476). Hertz has a location that's only a fraction of a mile from the terminal (64 S. Water Street; 251-405-5872), in the lobby of the Riverview Renaissance Plaza Hotel. Both locations are closed on Sundays.
Alabama Cruise Terminal Parking
The terminal's parking deck offers 500 spaces with four elevators, escalators and a stairwell that hastens the boarding process. Prepaying online is available and encouraged. Prices for a spot that fits any car, SUV, truck (including extended cab), minivan or motorcycle for a four-day cruise are $72; $90 for a five-day cruise. Vehicles too tall to fit into a regular spot (taller than 8.5 feet) will be directed to off-site parking at Mobile Civic Center, but still pay the regular-size rate. For RVs/campers, the cost doubles to $144 for four days, and $180 for five days. All oversize vehicles will be directed to off-site parking. Cruise parking fees must be paid in full prior to boarding. Your license plate number in the system is proof of payment.
Several nearby hotels, such as the Admiral Hotel, Riverview Renaissance Plaza and Candlewood Suites, also have package deals where you leave the car in their lots while you cruise. These typically require at least one night's stay prior to cruising. A full list of participating hotels and their deals can be found at mobile.org/cruise. Hotels typically have a shuttle for transport to and from the terminal.
Porters are on hand to help with luggage, direct passenger traffic and answer questions just prior to boarding.
What Time to Arrive/Embarkation
Weather and other factors permitting, cruises depart at 4 p.m., and Carnival offers staggered check-in times between 12:30 and 3 p.m. To keep everything moving quickly, you're advised to make note of your check-in time and arrive no more than 30 minutes prior to that. This will allow time for luggage drop off and car parking and payment.
The terminal has a limited supply of wheelchairs for transporting passengers on and off the ship only. Available through Carnival on a first-come, first-served basis, wheelchairs should be requested from Carnival staff upon arrival at the terminal and cannot be borrowed for the duration of the cruise. For a wheelchair or scooter throughout the cruise, you must bring your own or rent one from a third-party rental agency. This can also be arranged through a travel agent.
Where to Eat or Shop Near the Alabama Cruise Terminal
Other than free lemonade stations, there are no food or beverage options in the terminal, but a multitude of options are within a short walk. Right next door to the terminal in the GulfQuest Maritime Museum is The Galley, Mobile's only waterfront and outdoor dining venue. Museum admission is not needed to dine there, and the cafe offers local favorites such as shrimp po'boys, sweet potato fries and cheese grits, as well as club and Cuban sandwiches. (Open Wednesday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.) Good, local restaurants such as The Royal Scam (72 S. Royal Street, open 11 to 11, closed on Sundays) and those connected with the RSA Battlehouse hotel are right across the street from the terminal.
If you're up for a brief walk, Dauphin Street is loaded with restaurants. There is Heroes Sports Bar & Grille (273 Dauphin Street), open seven days a week from 11 to 11, offering up solid bar fare like chicken wings and burgers in a big-screen-TV-filled atmosphere. On the west end of Dauphin (701 Spring Hill Avenue), Moe's Original Bar-B-Que serves up quite good "Q" and wonderful daily specials and sides such as bacon-wrapped barbecue meatloaf and squash casserole. (Open seven days a week starting at 11.) There are also a few chain restaurants on or accessible from Royal, including Jimmy John's sandwiches (62 S. Royal Street) and Chick-fil-A (inside the RSA Bank Trust Building, 107 St. Francis Street). Both are open seven days a week -- even the Chick-fil-A, which opens on Sundays at noon.
If you need some basic items such as nonperishable snacks, cold medicine or aspirin prior to boarding, Greer's Downtown Market grocery store (851 Government Street) and a CVS (900 Government Street) are located kitty-corner from one another at the intersection of Broad and Government streets. A little package store called The Pint (201 Dauphin Street) has wine, Champagne and your standard convenience-store items such as single packs of allergy medicine. Family-owned and operated for more than 25 years, Olensky Brothers (28 S. Royal Street) has expanded its office supply inventory to include last-minute items for cruisers, such as Dramamine and Immodium. It is closed on weekends, however.
The terminal has two bathrooms in the second-floor check-in area, accessed via escalators or stairs. The closest and smallest of these, with two stalls each for men and women, is at the top of the escalator on the left. On the south end of the second-floor check-in area are the largest restrooms, with 10 stalls in the women's and nine in the men's room. There is also a portable toilet approximately midway through the first floor of the parking garage for people who are in line.
Wi-Fi at Alabama Cruise Terminal
Free Wi-Fi is available throughout the terminal.
Where to Store Luggage
If you are a ticketed passenger, you can come into the terminal before your cruise, drop your luggage, park your car and pay, and walk downtown if you'd like to see the sights (and if your check-in time allows it). There are no luggage storage options once your cruise returns to the port.
Where to Sit
There is indoor and outdoor seating at the terminal, which has approximately 500 chairs inside for passengers to sit and wait for boarding. Outside the entrance in the garage, there are benches.
More Tips about Mobile, Alabama, Cruise Terminal
Whether you're looking for luxury accommodations or something thrifty and family-friendly, there are plenty of choices within walking distance of the terminal. These include Battle House Renaissance Mobile Hotel & Spa, an elegant, restored property on the eastern (terminal) side of N. Royal Street (which happens to be where movie stars stay when they're filming in Mobile). The hotel was originally built in 1852 and the current building was constructed in 1908, following a fire. Its sister property is the more modern but beautifully kept Riverview Renaissance Plaza. Nearby you'll also find a brand-new Hilton Garden Inn on historic Bienville Square, a brief walk from the terminal on N. Conception Street, and a Candlewood Suites and Hampton Inn & Suites, both on Royal Street.