MOBILE, Ala. - Work is underway to prepare the Mobile Cruise Terminal for the arrival of the Carnival Cruise Ship "Triumph," which has been stranded at sea.
The Triumph left Galveston, Tex. Thursday for what was supposed to be a four-day cruise. The cruise line says it is making passengers stranded aboard the disabled ship as comfortable as possible, contradicting accounts of some passengers.
The ship was about 150 miles off Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula when a fire broke out in the engine room.
That ended up knocking out the ship's primary power source, crippling its water and plumbing systems, and leaving the ship adrift with limited back-up power.
Mobile's relationship with Carnival Cruise Lines has definitely had its high and low points.
It was back on December 16, 2003, that former Mobile Mayor Mike Dow spoke these words: "We've been waiting for our ship to come in, and now Mobile's ship is in."
That meant a cruise ship was coming to Mobile.
Dow said at the time, "We're going to put an 800 car parking deck on the waterfront, along with a cruise terminal, retail mall, (and) restaurants."
THE FIRST TRIP
On October 16, 2004, the Carnival Cruise Ship "Holiday" left for its first voyage from Mobile to Mexico, a day after the city dedicated its new cruise terminal.
Passengers were ready to have a good time and spend money.
Passenger Kip Smith said, "This is where I'm going to pay for the trip: in this casino. I'm going to try to get it back on the slot machines."
Another passenger, Jennifer McDowell, said, "I budgeted about $1,000 for my luxuries."
HELPING OUT AFTER KATRINA
In September 2005, the "Holiday" temporarily housed people from Mississippi left homeless by Hurricane Katrina.
A BIGGER SHIP ARRIVES
In September 2009, Carnival announced Mobile would be getting a new bigger cruise ship, the "Elation."
It was met with good reviews.
A passenger aboard the "Elation" at the time, Dwayne Dickerson, said, "Oh, man! I love it compared to other ships I've been on. Wow."
A TERRIBLE SURPRISE
On March 10, 2011, bad news came in a press release. Carnival was moving the "Elation" to New Orleans because of rising fuel costs and an inability to raise prices for its Mobile cruises.
Mayor Sam Jones said at the time, "It really was a devastating announcement to us, because we had not had any prior discussion about this. They said they had been looking at re-positioning ships for some time, and they made the decision, and decided to announce it today."
THE LAST TRIP
Then, on October 22, 2011, the "Elation" docked for the last time in Mobile.
One passenger at the time said, "It's a shame. It's a shame Mobile and Carnival couldn't work something out, in my opinion."
Another said, "I don't understand it. I really, really don't. There's so many people where I live that drive down here to get on the boats and cruise."
Talker: Carnival Cruise Lines prepares to pull its crippled into Mobile. What long term benefits do you think it could have on the Port City securing another cruise line?
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