MOBILE, Ala. (WPMI) Mobile Mayor Sam Jones said the city is doing what it can to accommodate Carnival Cruise Lines as the company tries to get its more than 3,000 passengers home.
Jones said the city's mission is one of convenience as the weary passengers and crew of the Carnival Triumph look forward to dry land in less than a day.
"We want to try to make this experience one that's cumbersome to them, and make it as pleasant an experience as possible," Jones said.
Jones said plans are in place with several city agencies as the Port City will largely be the welcoming party for the Carnival Triumph as the thousands of passengers will continue on to New Orleans, Houston or where ever home may be.
"We've got calls from two gentlemen who are driving down to pick their wives up off the ship, and one of them is driving from Houston," Jones said.
In all the chaos, Jones said the city is ready.
"We know their operation," Jones said. "They know our operation and our capabilities."
Jones said taking in the crippled ship will prove beneficial economically for the city, both in the short and long term.
"It doesn't hurt to bring 3,000 people into Mobile who may not have ever been here before," Jones said. "I think this would lead to us getting another ship, and also lead to the experience that we have in dealing with ships."
Having been in talks with several cruise liners since the Carnival Elation left Mobile for good in 2011, Jones said it is only a matter of time.
"It's a positive situation in terms of our relationship with Carnival and other cruise lines," Jones said, "but, for the passengers, I think everyone's concerned about them right now."
Jones said he was in talks with Carnival executives just last week on what he called "other matters". Jones did note that the Carnival Triumph is slightly bigger than the Elation, and that tomorrow will be a good test as to how Mobile will handle a ship that size.
Though the Carnival Triumph's home port is Galveston, Texas, the company is no stranger to Mobile. The Carnival ship "Holiday" was the first to set sail from Mobile's port in 2004. The Elation was the last ship to port in Mobile before it left permanently in 2011.