I’ve never been on a cruise, so it’s probably not exactly fair for me to “poo poo” on them, but the “poo poo” is precisely why I have never wanted to be trapped at sea with 3,000 people gorging themselves on 300 all-you-can-eat buffets. Ick.
While I know it was most likely an anomaly, the debacle last year with the Carnival Triumph — or “Turdtanic” as it came to be known — only served to strengthen my resolve against sailing the high seas. Call me crazy or snobby, but watching sewage running down the walls of a ship and/or pooing in biohazard bags just doesn’t sound like a very fun vacay.
Even if things don’t get as bad as they did on the Turdtanic, the looming possibility of an outbreak of Norovirus doesn’t sound so swell, either. But there are plenty of people who love them, which is why I suppose Mobile got in the cruise business in the first place.
After wooing cruise officials for more than a decade, the city finally landed one in 2004. RSA borrowed $20 million and built the terminal. The city later borrowed $18.6 million to purchase it from RSA. There was no formal agreement with Carnival guaranteeing they would keep a ship at the Alabama Cruise Terminal, but at the time officials eased concerns by saying in Carnival had never pulled a ship out of a port without replacing it with another.
Mobile’s first ship Holiday routinely sold out, and Carnival even announced in 2008 we would be getting an even bigger ship, the Elation, which also sold out or was near capacity on each voyage. The parking revenue paid the $2 million annual debt service on the building. All seemed well, but apparently it was not.
In 2011, Carnival announced it would do what it had never done before — the Elation would leave Mobile that October and head to New Orleans. Carnival said they had to price trips out of Mobile at below average prices and could not sustain an acceptable level of pricing. There would be no replacement ship.
Last week, Mayor Sandy Stimpson traveled to Miami to talk with several of the cruise lines. While he said there may be the possibility of a couple of test cruises here and there, realistically if we do get another ship permanently it will probably be a couple of years before that happens. So Stimpson wants to start looking at ways to “repurpose” the building to bring in revenue, other than just wedding receptions and Mardi Gras balls. Stimpson hasn’t said anything definite yet, but mentioned the possibility of a restaurant or perhaps parking for the GulfQuest Museum. Those would work, but there are some other possibilities I feel he should consider as well:
With GulfQuest set to open some time in the next century, wouldn’t it be nice to turn the Cruise Terminal into a museum as well? The first exhibit could be one dedicated to what made the terminal an international media sensation, “The Carnival Triumph: A week of hell aboard the Sh*T Ship.”
I can see it now … a wing dedicated to those aforementioned red biohazard bags, another to urine-soaked carpets and another to overflowing toilets. And perhaps even a recreation of one of the upper deck’s tent cities. And of course, the signs passengers scribbled on bed sheets.
We will also have a video installation of CNN Anchor Erin Burnett’s touching speech on how beautiful she found Mobile to be while she was here covering the Triumph. Only problem with this one is finding a curator for the bags. Ick.
Booty Call prices just went up
Next time Carnival comes a calling, needing us to rescue their passengers off one of their ill-fated ships, the price is $19 million dollars. Non-negotiable.
Prancing Elites Dance Academy & Cruise Terminal
In the spirit of Fame, we can convert the terminal into a dance academy taught by Mobile’s favorite local dance troupe, the Prancing Elites. We can even have a traditional Irish dance class taught by the Crichton Leprechaun. Maybe he can finally reveal where “da gold” is and we can pay off the terminal with it.
Alabama Sugar Shack and Cruisin’ Terminal
We can turn the terminal into a deluxe sugar shack so when the next officers at the Mobile Police Department decide to get it on (Bow chicka bow wow), they won’t have to go to a motel or rent out a private apartment. No, for just $50 per hour, they can get it on along the beautiful Mobile River, while gazing out at Austal. Did someone say Littoral Combat Ship? Rrrrrooooowww!
The Alabama Sugar Shack and Cruisin’ terminal will also be complete with a computer lab, so the next time former county commissioner Freeman Jockish wants to “help” out young girls who are, um, looking for love and/or auto repair money, he can use the lab. Viagra sales can bring in an extra stream of revenue, so to speak.
Dr. Doris Brown’s homemade ship
During the campaign, Dr. Doris Brown suggested we build our own ship, The Mobilian. I think it’s time for us to reconsider this. I mean, I know building, staffing and booking a cruise ship sounds daunting, but how hard could it be? And with Dr. B as cruise director, this might just be the one ship I would sail on. Better start packing my bags. No, not those bags. Ick.