David Clark, CEO of Visit Mobile, flew to Miami to discuss what comes next from Carnival with Carnival representatives the day after the Ecstasy left.
Clark said the Spirit will be in Mobile from Oct. 6 2023 until mid-March 2024 because Carnival is doing a “trial run” to see how well the demand is for the new cruise ship.
“And their thought is to you know, Mobile was a compelling market. We’ve never had this kind of ship before,” said Clark. “It’s an upgraded ship for us. So they wanted to give us a chance because they know, we’re a great drive market. That’s why I want our Mobilians and coastal Alabamians to get behind this and spread the good news, and we’ll work through this to hopefully get them 12 months a year.”
Clark is excited for the ship’s return in the following year. Since the ship is no longer in Mobile, he said this could have a significant impact for Mobile’s economy.
“So you break that up that 15,000 to 17,000 new people coming in every month to our city. And those people buy 35,000 hotel rooms,” said Clark. “They spend money in restaurants and retail. So we will be missing all of those opportunities. But, you know, again, you got to hold on to what’s going to happen October and we’ll have the best cruise ship we’ve ever had.”
The cruise’s departure has also created some challenges for travel agencies who may depend on their clients booking trips on the cruise.
Ariel Chavez with New Frontier Travel specializes in other kinds of travel, but since the ship has departed from Mobile for good, it has created some challenges for him.
“Right now I’m working on with a Mardi Gras organization that is planning a cruise, and they usually go on the ship out of Mobile because it’s very convenient,” said Chavez. “This coming year is not going to be an option. So we have to make the arrangements to take them from Mobile to New Orleans.”
Even though the Spirit is going to be here for less than a year, Clark said there is a possibility for it to remain in Mobile for even longer.
“All we have to do is prove the demand and I think anything’s possible,” said Clark.
The Carnival Spirit will be leaving Alaska to come to Mobile on October 6, 2023.