Oil Spill Closes Port of New Orleans

July 25, 2008

An oil spill affecting nearly 100 miles of the Mississippi River has caused New Orleans to close its cruise port -- and Carnival Cruise Lines to weigh its options on the fate of Carnival Fantasy, which is expected to turn around there Saturday after a Western Caribbean voyage.

Alabama's Press-Register reports that the port of Mobile is already preparing for Carnival Fantasy, although the cruise line has not yet announced the change (a spokesman says they expect to issue an update this morning).

Should Carnival Fantasy be rerouted to Mobile, many passengers currently onboard would still need to make their way to New Orleans for flights or to pick up their cars -- and those expecting to board the ship Saturday will conversely have to head to Mobile. We'll keep you posted on the logistics.

The oil spill has also stranded more than 60 other vessels (mostly barges), according to the New York Times, after it occurred Wednesday when a fuel-laden barge collided with a heavy tanker.

--by Melissa Baldwin, Managing Editor