Holiday to Serve as Shelter, But Not in Mobile

September 9, 2005
(3:05 p.m.) -- Holiday, one of three Carnival ships chartered by FEMA to aid the hurricane relief effort, won't stay in Mobile after all.

A spokeswoman for Mobile tells us that "the information changes every day," but that the city's daily, the Mobile Register, is reporting that Holiday won't stay docked there as originally expected. Instead, it will sail to New Orleans or Gulfport. The plan remains to use the ship as a shelter for evacuees and/or cleanup crew.

She also tells us that the mayor is "pretty upset" because the city was hoping to offer help by supplying the ship with food and water during its time in port. Holiday is currently the only mass-market cruise ship that sails out of Mobile (and therefore the bread and butter of the city's cruise industry).

Interestingly enough, Sensation and Ecstasy are also on the move as we reported earlier this week. Plans to transfer evacuees from Houston's Astrodome to the ships were met with resistance (most simply had no interest in relocating yet again), so the ships will now be heading to New Orleans to house relief workers and displaced residents, according to media reports.

A spokeswoman for FEMA has confirmed that all three Carnival ships will eventually end up in New Orleans and Gulfport where they can be of better use, but was unable to tell us which ships will dock where -- or when they will arrive.

Though Carnival was the first line to charter ships to FEMA as floating shelters, they're certainly not the last: The Scotia Prince cruise ferry will also serve as housing, and Delta Queen is considering dedicating its American Queen to the relief effort. We'll keep you posted on any further developments.