Carnival Cruise Lines’ pull out from Mobile, took the city and the port by surprise, according to the Mobile Press-Register. The city had reportedly just spent $1 million to acquire additional land for parking, and was told of Carnival’s decision an hour before the press release went out. Business reporter Dan Murtaug said at press time that the city council and port were in closed-door meetings.
Carnival CEO Gerry Cahill made the following statement: "We have made the very difficult decision to discontinue our cruise operations from Mobile effective October 22, 2011. We are extremely grateful for the many years of tremendous partnership, support and cooperation provided by the Alabama Cruise Terminal team, the local leadership in Mobile, area travel agents and the community at large.
"Unfortunately, we have not been able to achieve favorable financial results with this program. Although we have consistently filled the ship, it has been at lower relative pricing to the rest of our fleet. We have made every effort to drive higher demand and pricing through our sales and marketing initiatives and the deployment of a newer class of ship in 2009. However, we have not been successful in achieving a sustainable level of acceptable pricing.
"Additionally, the itineraries from Mobile require much higher relative fuel costs to operate and those fuel costs will become even more unfavorable with the implementation of the new ECA requirements starting in 2012.
We would like to offer our heartfelt thanks to everyone in the Mobile community for the friendship and support we have received during the past six years.”