Carnival will be bringing a ship back to Mobile, Alabama in the fall of next year. This is great news for us in the southeast, as it gives us another port that we can drive to! The Fantasy will offer a 4-night itinerary to Cozumel, and a 5-night itinerary to Cozumel and Progresso, Mexico.
We had taken a cruise out of Mobile in 2007 aboard the Holiday. The ship was a smaller and older than what we were used to, but the hard-working crew and friendly passengers made up for it. The ship decor was outdated, but it was a favorite for many who liked the down-home atmosphere and cruising from a port within driving distance. There was one fella on our cruise who had sailed the same itinerary 17 times. Folks from Atlanta could reach the Port of Mobile in five leisurely hours.
When Carnival began offering cruises from Mobile back in 2001, they were surprised to find sailings selling out quickly. The cruises remained popular, offering a quick getaway for locals at very good prices. The ships almost always sailed at full capacity. In 2011, Carnival shocked Mobile city officials and their customers by announcing that they were pulling out permanently from Mobile. They said that the cruises were becoming unprofitable because they couldn’t raise prices in the midst of rising fuel costs.
After Carnival’s departure from Mobile, the nearest ports to the Atlanta market became Jacksonville, Charleston, and New Orleans. For those us south of Atlanta, but still a good distance from Tampa and Port Canaveral, the return to Mobile is fantastic news.
The 25-year old Fantasy is the oldest ship in Carnival’s fleet, but it is undergoing “2.0 upgrades.” The announced changes will include a water park with a 300-foot-long water slide, a kiddie splash area, and adults-only area called Serenity. There will be two new poolside bars–Red Frog Rum Bar, and Blue Iguana Tequila Bar. The Blue Iguana Mexican cafe will be a new food venue. It is unknown what kinds of renovations the cabins will undergo. The Fantasy can carry 2056 passengers in inside, outside, and suite cabins (with balcony.) Evidently the renovations don’t include the addition of balcony cabins. For us, this would be a trip that includes young kids, so we are very interested in the new water park:
Bookings can be made already on the Carnival website. The 4-night itinerary is a “long weekend” sailing, leaving on Thursday and returning Monday. It offers two sea days and one port day in Cozumel, Mexico.
The five-day sailings also have two sea days and a stop in Cozumel, but have an extra port day in Progesso. These sailings take place Mon-Sat. or Sat-Thur. These itineraries require folks to take more time off from work or school, so I predict these will have less of a “booze cruise” vibe than the four day cruises.
Notice that the five-day cruise is the same price or cheaper that the four-night itinerary. At this point, I don’t feel the pressing need to book this a year out. If we have the time, and the price is right, I can see us booking this fairly last-minute when it fits into our plans. It is only a 4 1/2 hour drive for us!