Carnival Cruise Lines – which operates Mobile’s only year-round cruise program – will increase capacity at the port by 42 percent when the 2,056-passenger Carnival Fantasy replaces the 1,452-passenger Holiday on year-round four- and five-day cruises beginning in November 2009.

With the Carnival Fantasy’s departures from Mobile, the company expects to carry approximately 170,000 passengers annually from that port.

Carnival Fantasy will offer a new “Fun Ship” cruise experience with a larger vessel that will include a number of exciting new features.  This fall, the ship will undergo the next phase of the line’s Evolutions of Fun enhancement program.  During an extended dry dock period, the open decks will be completely transformed to include the Carnival WaterWorks aqua park, Serenity adults-only retreat, and a new resort-style pool area.

“Mobile has been a terrific homeport for us since we began service there in 2004 and we’re absolutely thrilled to be able to expand capacity from this port with the deployment of the Carnival Fantasy,” said Terry Thornton, Carnival’s senior vice president of marketing planning. “The support of the local community, particularly city and port officials and our travel agent partners, has been nothing short of exceptional and we are very pleased to continue operating Mobile’s first and only year-round cruise program,” he added.

“Mobile is one of the nation’s most progressive cities, a quality we attribute to our partnership with Carnival Cruise Lines and our ability to build coalitions united around one goal – a better Mobile,” said Mobile Mayor Sam Jones.  “We are truly grateful to welcome the larger Carnival Fantasy ship, and look forward to the future opportunities this partnership will bring to our city, state and region,” he added.

Year-Round Four- and Five-Day Mexico Cruises

Carnival Fantasy will launch year-round four- and five-day service from Mobile Monday, Nov. 16, 2009.  On this route, four-day cruises departing Thursdays visit Cozumel, one of the cruise industry’s most popular destinations known for its beautiful white-sand beaches, excellent shopping and variety of shore excursion opportunities.

Five-day cruises departing Mondays visit both Cozumel and Calica, which, in addition to aqua-blue waters that attract snorkelers, scuba divers and windsurfers the world over, is in close proximity to the magnificent Mayan ruins of Tulum, the ecological theme park Xcaret, and Playa del Carmen and its popular Avenida Cinco shopping district.

Five-day cruises departing Saturdays call at Cozumel and Progreso, an emerging port with exciting excursion options to the beautiful colonial city of Merida and the spectacular Mayan ruins in Chichen Itza, recently named one of the Seven Wonders of the World.

On November 10, 2009, the ship will offer a one-time six-day cruise visiting Progreso, Cozumel and Costa Maya.   The Holiday will remain in Mobile through the departure of November 2, 2009 and will then be transferred to Iberocruceros, a Spain-based sister cruise brand under the Carnival Corporation & plc umbrella.

‘Evolutions of Fun’ Upgrades

The 70,000-ton Carnival Fantasy’s extensive renovation this fall is part of the line’s $250 million “Evolutions of Fun” refurbishment program for its eight Fantasy-class vessels.  The “extreme makeover” will include a new Carnival WaterWorks aqua park that will feature a 300-foot-long corkscrew water slide, dual-lane 82-foot-long racing slides and various water spray apparatus.

Also featured will be Serenity, an exclusive adults-only retreat featuring plush chaise lounges and chairs, oversized umbrellas, teak decking and two whirlpools, while the “resort-style” main pool will incorporate a tropical theme with thatched roofs, faux palm trees, colorful umbrellas, and a tiled “beach” bordering the pool.

Carnival Fantasy also offers 12 themed lounges and bars, a nine-hole miniature golf course, a 12,000-square-foot Spa Carnival facility, three restaurants, full casino gambling, a comprehensive golf program where guests can play top Caribbean courses, and organized programs for children in three different age groups – “Camp Carnival” for youngsters, “Circle C” for 12- to 14-year olds, and “Club O2” for older teens.

Carnival Fantasy also offers a variety of staterooms and suites, all of which feature the “Carnival Comfort Bed” sleep system with plush mattresses, luxurious duvets and high quality linens and pillows.  Ship-wide Wi-Fi access and cell phone service are also available.

Reservations Now Open

Reservations are currently being accepted for the Carnival Fantasy’s new four- and five-day cruise program from Mobile.  Round-trip air supplements from a variety of North American gateways and discounted rates for third and fourth guests sailing in the same stateroom are also available.

For additional information and reservations on the “Fun Ship” vacation experience, call 1-800-327-9501 (individual) or 1-800-327-5782 (groups) or visit the line’s travel agent Internet portal, bookccl.com.