Mobile Celebrates A Major Holiday - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

10/16/04

Mobile Celebrates A Major Holiday

The Holiday docked in the waters of Mobile Bay on Friday, and thousands of people were anxiously waiting to kick off this holiday with a bayside bang.

"Carnival Cruise Line coming to Mobile, coming to the Gulf Coast...it's fabulous. Fabulous," said Watermark Design Group representative Dan Dealy.

Nearly 1500 people boarded the Carnival Fun Ship for an overnight extravaganza - many of whom were instrumental in bringing the ship to the city.

They were able to tour the 727 foot luxury liner, which includes non-stop food, fun, and of course, opportunities to pocket a little extra cash.

For the last several years, coastal cities like Gulfport, New Orleans, and Pensacola, have tried to lure various cruise companies to their area in an effort to capture both the revenue and tourist exposure that accompanies homeports.

Carnival executives say Mobile seems to have the right ingredients for success.

"Mobile's attracted us on a umber of fronts. One, it's an undeveloped port and it's got a lot of population around the area that we can draw from. There are only so many places that can handle a large cruise ship. Mobile has the capability of doing it. Since we're in the easy access to the western Caribbean, Mobile makes a lot of sense. We can go four and five days and reach Mexico. We can go seven days at some point down the road and get further around the western Caribbean to Grand Cayman," said Carnival Cruise sales regional vice president Scott Knutson.

But Knutson says the Mississippi Gulf Coast has not been and should not be ruled out of the cruise industry just yet, and one Holiday cruiser from Gulfport has a few words of advice.

"Mississippi, bring it on. I would love to see something like this, a cruise ship to dock in Gulfport. We can handle it. We have so much to offer from the Mississippi Gulf Coast. We have so many things that we would love to show off," said Hotard representative Sue Garrett.

The Holiday offers four and five day vacations to various parts of Mexico.

By Karla Redditte

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