Suncoast Cruises has stated that they expect to begin operations this fall and at the soonest within 2 months.
The new line is planning to offer five-night cruises to Mexico from Pensacola and one-day cruises to nowhere. According to Chris Billings, Vice President of Marketing, the line, which intends to offer casino gambling onboard its ship, had to await legislation that would allow this in Pensacola.
Officially, Florida does not allow gambling, Billings said, "but it is up to each district to enforce the law, and it so happened that the District Attorney in our district intended to enforce the law making even a closed gambling casino aboard a ship in the harbor illegal."
According to Billings, legislation has been passed which will enable the cruise line to operate, but they are awaiting a second legal interpretation before they proceed.
The line expects to acquire the 500-passenger Acquamarine.
There are port facilities for two ships in Pensacola.