MOBILE, Ala. (WALA) - It's a slow go in the gulf as the Carnival Cruise Ship Triumph moves toward Mobile. As the ship gets closer, we're getting new details about the arrival and departure plans.
According to officials, there no immediate rest for the weary once the passengers get here Thursday. They'll be bused to hotel rooms in New Orleans or they can choose to be bused straight back to Galveston, Texas.
The decision was announced Wednesday despite multiple hotels within blocks of the terminal in Mobile.
It's a decision that has some people concerned, including Mobile Mayor Sam Jones.
The City of Mobile has been working around the clock to prepare for the Triumph's not so triumphant arrival. Jones said the city is in charge of manning their terminal.
"We just want the people who come to Mobile to have a good experience here. We don't want this to frustrate them more," Jones said.
In the days since the ship was stranded, we've heard accounts of passengers sleeping in makeshift tents, waiting hours for little food and suffering through awful bathroom alternatives.
Land will be a welcomed sight, but it looks like the journey is not over. According to a Carnival press release, the passengers will either be bused to Galveston or taken from the cruise terminal to hotels in New Orleans nearly three hours away. From there, they will be put on charter flights.
Jones said the plans were out of his hands.
"We can have some input if asked, but we haven't been asked to have any. I think we've got enough hotel rooms, certainly," said Jones.
According to Jones, there are 7,000 hotel rooms near the terminal, to be exact.
"I think that the people in this community, the hospitality industry, would be perfectly capable of assisting them if they asked for that assistance. We'd be perfectly capable of assisting them both with hotels and airports," said Jones.
Checks at local hotels in the downtown area showed some 120 rooms have been booked by Carnival.
"We have some people from carnival that are having to get rooms, and also I don't know about the staff on the ship. I don't know where they are going to be housed," said Jones.
Of that crew, the city said there are a few on the ground, but no one who could brief the media.
We're told they will get in late Wednesday or early Thursday.
According to Carnival, CEO Gerry Cahill will personally be here to greet the passengers after what is being described as a nightmare at sea and won't be over yet.
We wanted to know why all the passengers were being bused hours away to New Orleans as opposed to a five minute trip to hotels in downtown Mobile.
Here's part of the email response FOX10 received from the cruise line:
"We looked at all options closely. Ultimately, we selected to stage the hotel and airport operation in New Orleans as it offered additional capacity and flexibility which was important to us given that the complexity of the towing operation creates an uncertain arrival time in Mobile."
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