MOBILE, Ala. (WPMI) They had passengers, an award winning terminal, an efficient port crew and a city eager to please. But it wasn't good enough to keep Carnival Cruise Lines in Mobile on a daily basis.
However, when things went down the toilet, literally, with the disabled Triumph cruise, Carnival was back. It's enough to make a mayor say... really?
"Well, you know, you think about things like that," said Mobile Mayor Sam Jones, "but the most important thing is those 3,100 people on that ship that really needed our help more than Carnival!"
For the several years Mobile was a cruise port, the city routinely handled loading and unloading passengers. But never had they handled a ship this large and with such short notice.
The mayor says the city had something to prove, and Mobile proved it!
"This was not an easy feat!," he said. "Anyone couldn't have done this."
When it comes to promoting Mobile as a cruise port, Mayor Jones says you can bet the Triumph experience will be right there at the top of the list.
"Two days notice is what we had, and not really two days," he said, "because we got the notice on Mardi Gras day and nobody was working! So our work took place on Wednesday and they were in here on Thursday."
But even as Mobile was showing it's proficiency, Carnival was still selling the city short, sending passengers past waiting hotels to New Orleans. They ignored Mobile's two nearby airports and set up charter flights in New Orleans.
A communications problem, said the mayor.
"Oh, we could have done a whole lot more in this situation and they realize that now," he said.
And so will other cruise lines, promises Jones. When it comes to attracting another cruise line, this whole experience could be a Triumph for Mobile.