The Carnival Fantasy began service in Mobile Alabama in November 2016 as part of a one-year deal with the Miami-based cruise line. Mobile Mayor Sandy Stimpson had previously announced the return of Carnival to the city to great fanfare in September of 2015.
As that contract nears its completion, Stimpson is heading back to Miami soon to negotiate a contract extension as he also runs for a second term as mayor. Carnival does have deployment out of Mobile extending into 2018 and 2019.
The city, however, had to open its checkbook to convince Carnival to return, paying $200,000 into a quarterly marketing fund as part of the agreement. The money is said to come from parking revenue and was earmarked to be used to market cruises from Mobile.
Documents from the City of Mobile show it is holding up its end of the bargain, sending a $200,000 check to Carnival on a quarterly basis.
Mobile is also paying down debt on its cruise terminal, which it purchased from Alabama Real Estate Holdings in 2008, taking out a loan of $18,680,918. Previously, the city had been involved in renovating the cruise terminal for Carnival’s arrival in 2004, and also committed to a parking garage and shopping center development.