MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) — Passengers boarded Spirit, Mobile’s newest Carnival cruise ship on Friday morning. They were greeted by music, smiles and laughter in celebration of the momentous day.

“If you can’t be excited about this, I don’t know what it’s going to take to get you excited ya know when you think of born to celebrate,” Mobile Mayor Sandy Stimpson said. “Just look at all the smiling faces and everyone that is here. This is awesome.”

The last Carnival cruise ship to depart from Mobile was Ecstasy. Once it left in October 2022, it had no plans to return to the Port City.

Since then, there’s been a high demand for a cruise ship to return.

“We are America’s Cruise Line, and we really feel like Mobile is one of the best ports to sail out of,” Carnival’s Senior Vice President of Guest Operations Sarah Beth Reno said.

This cruise is said to be the best cruise ship to ever sail out of Mobile. It features 630 balconies, longer trips, more destinations and amenities that all ages will enjoy.

“I mean who could beat that,” Reno said. “Either you get on a plane to go to Jamacia with four kids and you are flying like a crazy person, or you get on a cruise ship, and you are able to just relax and enjoy your cruise.”

People from all over the United States have traveled to Mobile to board this cruise including Sheresa and Brian Galbreath, who are from Arizona.

They are now ready to take the eight-day excursion to see Bimini, Freeport, Half-Moon Cay and Nassau.

“It’s hard to describe even though we’ve been on so many cruises in the past,” Galbreath said. “It’s still exciting when we come on,” Brian Galbreath said.

Before boarding the ship, they took some time to explore Mobile’s restaurants and bars.

“We just walked around downtown because we’re from a big city, and we have never been to a smaller town, and it’s just been wonderful,” Galbreath said.

For the next five years, this ship will depart from Mobile’s ports six months out of every year. After the current five-year contract is up, there will be an option to extend for another two years.

Mayor Stimpson said that plans are in the works to get a cruise ship sailing out of Mobile every month.

“Carnival will be paying attention at what the numbers look like, and we may have the opportunity to do something that were not doing today, but other cruise lines will be paying attention closely, so they can make that determination if they want to fill that void,” Stimpson said.

The next cruise will depart from Mobile on Oct. 26.