MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) — After nearly a year of an empty spot at the Alabama Cruise terminal, a new cruise ship is set to dock on Oct. 4.
On Tuesday, Mobile City Council approved a five-year contract with Carnival Cruise Lines including an option to extend for two more years. This is the longest contract Carnival has had with Mobile.
“Now, we have a constant contract in place for the next five years, and I believe that’s major for our city as well for our residents, so they don’t have to travel and go to other cities,” Mobile District 1 Council Member Cory Penn said. “They can stay right here in Mobile, and we can have people coming in for the next five years.”
Carnival Cruise ship Spirit is the largest cruise ship to sail out of Mobile with the longest itineraries. This ship includes 600 waterfront balconies and cruise tours of up to 12 days out at sea.
“The best ship and the best destinations,” CEO of Visit Mobile David Clark said. “We’ve never had this kind of opportunity,”
Clark said this opportunity is expected to increase tourism in Mobile.
“It’s probably 18 to 20,000 hotel rooms coming in, and they go out and eat in our restaurants and go visit our attractions,” Clark said. “It’s a whole lot of impact.”
Local businesses like The Noble South said they are prepared and ready for the influx of people to come to the city.
“I’m excited,” said Emi Bencsath, manager at The Noble South. “Can’t wait to see what it does. We always want more business. We love having more customers and more opportunities to serve people with a great meal and offer them some of our well-known mobile hospitality.”
The cruise’s first departure is Oct. 6, and tickets are sold out. The next departure date is set for Oct. 26 to the Western Caribbean, and Clark said tickets are selling out quickly.