The Carnival Fantasy will be calling Mobile its home port for at least one more year. Mayor Sandy Stimpson and members of the City Council gathered Monday morning to announce a one-year extension of a contract between the city and the cruise line.
“This agreement is evidence of the positive working relationship between the city of Mobile and Carnival,” Stimpson said. “We’re not only providing an amenity … but this will have a huge financial impact on the city.”
Before Carnival returned to Mobile in 2016 after a four-year absence, Stimpson said the city was sinking roughly $2 million per year into the cruise terminal with little to no return. Now, he said, the terminal is bringing in $6.5 million in revenue this year, $2 million of which is profit. That profit goes to pay down the roughly $18 million in debt left on the building. The terminal has ranked high among customers as well, Stimpson said.
The ship has had a positive impact on tourism over the last two years, Visit Mobile CEO David Clark said. The ship in port means that 360,000 visitors have traveled to Mobile by vehicle or plane and have spent 55,000 room nights here, he said.
Councilman Fred Richardson said the city would always support Carnival and added he was hopeful for a second ship at the Port of Mobile next year.
“We’re going to assure you that if you bring a ship here we’re going to back it up,” he said. “We want a second ship so that we can go further than we ever have.”
The contract will be placed on the council’s meeting agenda Tuesday. The pre-conference meeting has been moved to 11 a.m. due to another city announcement. The council meeting will take place at 1 p.m. at Government Plaza.
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