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Southern Sailings

Carnival Cruise Line departing from Mobile, Ala., again.

After a five-year hiatus, cruising is back in Mobile, Ala., with the return of Carnival Cruise Line to the Gulf Coast port, providing Southerners with a nearby destination to embark on their next voyage.


Above: Before or after their voyage, cruise passengers can explore downtown Mobile, which is home to a host of restaurants, museums, shops, galleries, and more. Visit Mobile/Tad Denson

Below: The 2,056-passenger Carnival Fantasy offers four- and five-day cruises to Mexico from Mobile. Carnival Cruise Line

Below: The USS Alabama Battleship Memorial Park offers tours of the World War II-era ship. Visitors also can see a collection of historical aircraft and tour the USS Drum submarine. The park is among the attractions in Mobile that offers admission discounts to cruisers. Visit Mobile/Tad Denson
USS Alabama

The 2,056-passenger Carnival Fantasy began operating four- and five-day cruises to Mexico from Mobile’s renovated Alabama Cruise Terminal in November. The four-day “long weekend” itinerary departs Thursdays, calling at Cozumel. Five-day itineraries depart Mondays and Saturdays, visiting Cozumel and Costa Maya or Progreso.

“With its Southern charm, excellent terminal facilities, and easy-to-reach location, Mobile is a terrific new addition to Carnival’s homeport lineup, and we’re delighted to offer these convenient and affordable cruises to Mexico’s most popular ports of call,” said Christine Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Line.

The last vacation voyage to leave the Alabama Cruise Terminal was the Carnival Elation in 2011. Now, Mobile has a 13-month contract with Carnival for 84 sailings from the port with the hopes of more sailings in the future.

In the last five years, downtown Mobile has seen significant growth with more than a dozen new restaurants, shops, and entertainment options that are open daily for cruisers to enjoy before or after their cruise. Also, two new sightseeing tours have opened, including a historical trolley and a duck boat that will provide cruisers a new way to explore the city.

In addition to a livelier downtown, several new initiatives have been put in place that will enhance the overall visitor experience. In partnership with area hotels that are offering Park and Cruise Packages, Visit Mobile has created a Very Important Cruiser (VIC) program that includes welcome packets for hotel guests staying on the package and additional discounts to almost 20 attractions throughout Mobile, redeemable by showing their boarding passes.

Visit Mobile also has created itineraries that provide cruisers with a suggested list of activities they can accomplish in two, four, or six hours in Mobile before they set sail.

“The energy around the return of Carnival to Mobile is palpable,” said Stacy Hamilton, vice president of Marketing and Communications for Visit Mobile. “Our entire hospitality industry has rallied to provide discounts, welcome gifts, and overall good cheer to the thousands of passengers who will be coming to Mobile each week. We want them to fall in love with or rediscover our historic town and make plans to come back again and again.”

Carnival Fantasy recently underwent an extensive dry dock during which it received many of the fleet’s latest food and beverage innovations. These include Guy’s Burger Joint, a complimentary poolside dining venue serving hand-crafted burgers and fries created by the popular chef and restaurateur Guy Fieri, all enjoyed amid interiors celebrating Fieri’s California roots and love of car culture.

Located adjacent to Guy’s Burger Joint is BlueIguana Cantina offering authentic handmade burritos and tacos along with an elaborate toppings and salsa bar. Also poolside is the Caribbean-inspired RedFrog Rum Bar, offering the region’s top rums and beers, as well as the BlueIguana Tequila Bar serving Mexican beers, margaritas, and other frosty libations.

Carnival Fantasy features a 12,000-square-foot spa; a WaterWorks aqua park with a 300-foot-long Twister slide and a kiddie splash zone; and an adults-only outdoor retreat called Serenity. Other highlights of the ship include full casino gambling, a wide array of additional dining options, and fun, supervised programs for youth ages 2–17.

Carnival Cruise Line also sails from the Port of New Orleans along with Norwegian Cruise line, American Cruise Lines, and American Queen Steamboat Company.

– Dennis R. Heinze is regional editor of AAA Southern Traveler.

January/February 2017 Issue


For information about Mobile, contact Visit Mobile at 800-5-MOBILE
(800-566-2453) or

For additional information about cruises, including Carnival’s itineraries from Mobile and New Orleans, contact your AAA Travel Agent, click on, or call
(888) 366-4222.

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