Buses were lined up along near the Alabama Cruise Terminal this morning to transport Carnival Valor passengers from Mobile to New Orleans.
Approximately 3,000 passengers were disembarked from the downtown cruise terminal when the vessel arrived around 6:30 a.m. this morning. The vessel, which can hold up to 3,700 passengers, is scheduled leave downtown Mobile for another cruise later today. That voyage, which was initially scheduled to leave the Valor’s homeport of New Orleans, is a four-day voyage to Cozumel.
“Based on the latest forecast of Tropical Cyclone Two in the Gulf and its potential effect in New Orleans, in the interest of guest and crew safety, Carnival Valor has been rerouted and will now dock at the Port of Mobile … instead of its homeport of New Orleans,” a statement from Carnival read.
Carnival is providing complimentary bus transportation for all guest from the Port of New Orleans to Mobile.
“Our fleet operations center continues to monitor the path of the storm for other ships in the region and we will make any changes as needed,” the statement reads.
David Clark, president/CEO of Visit Mobile, said there were approximately 100 buses outside the cruise terminal this morning to accommodate the passengers on board the ship.
He said that some of the downtown hotels “picked up a little bit” of business overnight from tourists changing their itineraries as a result of Carnival rerouting the Valor.
Carnival Fantasy, which is homeported in Mobile, remains on its regular schedule and is set to arrive this weekend in Mobile. The Carnival Valor is a larger ship – at 952 feet, it’s about 100 foot longer than the Fantasy – and holds about 500 more passengers.
Clark said the city has not received any indication of other cruise ships being rerouted to Mobile with a tropical storm forecast to hit coastal Louisiana this weekend.
“It can change and change very quickly,” he said. “We’ll be available.”
The rerouting is the result of an incoming tropical storm to the Louisiana coast. As of 7 a.m. Thursday, the system was some 115 miles south-southeast of the mouth of the Mississippi moving west at 5 mph with 35 mph maximum sustained winds, according to the National Hurricane Center. The system was expected to approach the Louisiana coast this weekend, the center said.