Carnival Ecstasy has docked in Mobile, Alabama, ready to return cruising to The Heart of Dixie for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic shutdown began in March 2020. The ship returned to the cruise port on Thursday, March 3, ahead of its first sailing from the city on Saturday.
Carnival Ecstasy in Mobile
Carnival Ecstasy is bringing cruising back to Mobile, Alabama, after a 2-year hiatus. Initially, Carnival Sensation was scheduled to set sail from Mobile, but was replaced by Carnival Ecstasy when it was revealed that Carnival Sensation would be delayed. Further announcements clarified that Carnival Sensation would not return to service at all, and instead has been already been sold for scrapping.
Carnival Ecstasy, meanwhile, will also retire from the Fun Ship fleet, but not before enjoying the spring and summer season offering 5-night Western Caribbean itineraries that will visit Cozumel and either Costa Maya or Progreso, depending on the sailing date.
The Fantasy-class ship’s much-anticipated return to cruising as well as restarting cruise travel operations from Mobile begins Saturday, March 5, 2022, as she will be heading out for a special “Sailabration” cruise in honor of Carnival Cruise Line’s 50th birthday celebration. This sailing will include a “Fun Ship Meetup” at sea for birthday greetings between vessels, where Carnival Ecstasy will meet up with other ships in the fleet.
Carnival Breeze, Carnival Ecstasy, Carnival Glory, Mardi Gras, Carnival Pride, Carnival Sunrise and Carnival Vista are set to meet between Cozumel and Costa Maya, Mexico, on Monday, March 7. This is the largest of the Fun Ship meetups among the fleet.
Mobile officials are excited about the ship’s return and the resumption of sailings from the city. “We’re ‘Born to Celebrate’ and it’s back to fun,” said David Clark, president and CEO with Visit Mobile, at a media event to welcome the cruise ship.
Cruising Returns to Mobile
Guests arriving to board Carnival Ecstasy in Mobile will be greeted by a renovated and updated cruise terminal, with additions that highlight tourism in the region and invite guests to explore Mobile.
In addition to general repainting, new terminal monitors, and gangway updates, a new mural was completed by local artist Ginger Woechan highlighting the five tourism pillars of Mobile: History, Arts & Culture, Culinary Travel, Eco-Tourism, and Mardi Gras. In addition to her own work as a muralist, Woechan is also an art instructor and art therapist, and her artwork can be found throughout Mobile.
According to Advance Local Media in Alabama, additional upgrades will be coming soon to the port terminal, including flooring replacement throughout the facility.
Though Carnival Ecstasy will only be docking in the city until October, when she retires from the fleet, the city is prepared to continue upgrading its facilities in the hopes of further cruise operations from the port. Carnival Cruise Line, in a news release in early February, said it was planning to announce a “new operating plan for Mobile,” though no details have been released.
“We’ll continue to (make improvements at the terminal) so that when the ship comes back, we’ll be ready for it,” said Sandy Stimpson, mayor of Mobile.
In the meantime, Carnival Ecstasy will continue to serve the port well for the remainder of her service with the fleet. Of particular note is a special 10-day Carnival Journeys cruise departing September 12, taking guests to Key West, Grand Turk, Amber Cove, Grand Cayman, and Cozumel.
Carnival Ecstasy‘s final cruise will set sail October 10, 2022, a 5-day itinerary visiting Cozumel and Progreso, which fittingly is her first itinerary after the special Sailabration cruise, bringing her full circle to and from Mobile.