MOBILE, Ala. (WALA) -- The dock at the Alabama Cruise Terminal remains boatless like it has been for more than 18 months.
Now Carnival is saying the earliest the Port City will hear that familiar wailing horn again is March 2022.
“It’s just so disappointing,” said owner of CustomCruiseWear.com. “You hold your breath every time they make an announcement.”
CustomCruiseWear.com makes cruise shirts, banners and gifts. Gray’s company is based in Mobile and as the name implies, cruising is her livelihood. The slow restart of the industry is hurting her.
“We really want all of the ships back in commission and get it back to where it was prior to the pandemic,” she said.
This latest delay announced this week means Mobile will be without cruises for two years. It was in March 2020 when the industry grinded to a halt.
“The worst-case scenario hasn’t happened which is not returning to cruising at all, but we have a date and we’re going to shoot for that date,” said Joe Snowden, City of Mobile Executive Director of Admin Services.
The City of Mobile really needs a cruise ship back.
Right now, taxpayers are on the hook for about $1.9 million in cruise terminal debt payments every year. The city says those payments are not an issue for now because they have a surplus of money.
Before COVID, the terminal generated nearly $6 million in revenue a year.
Snowden, who oversees maritime transportation for the city says they are hopeful for a March restart.
“I know there’s a lot of challenges that carnival has got to overcome and a lot of those challenges deal with logistics and they’re dealing with international crews,” he said.
As of now, Carnival’s website shows March 5 as the Sensation’s first voyage.
Gray hopes that holds true so she can start serving her home port again.
“Fingers crossed that this is the last of the cancellations,” she said. ”Me personally I don’t see a reason why they’re delaying it and i don’t see why we can’t start back now.”
With this latest announcement, 90% of Carnival’s fleet will be back in operation by February.
The sensation will be one of three ships still on hold.