It's a story FOX10 News first told you about several weeks ago.
The City of Mobile has been talking with Carnival Cruise Line about extending its contract to operate cruise ships out of Mobile. Monday, Mayor Sandy Stimpson announced the "Fantasy" will extend its stay in the Port City.The contract is for another year, through November 2019, which is what Carnival is offering.
The Mayor said he would have signed it for longer.
City officials also released some financial numbers on what this means for the area. Mayor Stimpson signed the contract, the second extension which was part of the original agreement he negotiated in 2015.
Stimpson said, "Four or five years ago, maintaining this terminal and paying debt service was costing us $2 million dollars that just had to come out of our general fund to pay, service that debt and pay those expenses. Today, we have $6.5 million dollars of revenue being generated by the cruise terminal."
Stimpson said the city still owes about $18 million on the cruise terminal, but the cruise ship helps the city pay off about $2 million a year. He also said the city is taking steps to try to ensure Carnival stays here year after year. Stimpson said, "We would love to have cruisers who spend more money while they're cruising. That is the metric that is very important to them, to help their revenue, and, so, we are targeting markets where there are cruisers that we are, in hopes of, will spend more money than what happened in the past."
City officials said since 2015, about 380,000 people have taken a cruise from Mobile.
David Clark, the President and CEO of Visit Mobile, said, "There's about 72 to 74 cruises a year that produces about a 180,000 passengers a year. Those 180,000 passengers buy about 27,000 hotel rooms a year." Some of the passengers sailing Monday just heard the cruise ship would be here for another year.
Sue McClellan from Decatur, Alabama, said, "We are thrilled. We are thrilled. We would hate to lose it. We suffered when it wasn't here." When asked what he thought about the extension, David Turley from Anniston, Alabama, said, "Love it. Glad they are." And when asked what he liked about sailing out of Mobile, Harold Horton said, "It's convenient. I go out of here and New Orleans because that's convenient. It isn't such a far drive."
City officials also said, in about two years, the cruise ship has had a direct impact of $13 million on the city's economy.
The agreement has to be approved by the Mobile City Council and it's expected to be on the agenda Tuesday.
By FOX 10 News
Re-posted on CruiseCrazies.com - Cruise News, Articles, Forums, Packing List, Ship Tracker, and more
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