Passengers aboard what has been described as a hot, smelly ship will finally arrive on dry land in Mobile, Ala. sometime tonight after days on the stranded Carnival Triumph. But alas, there won’t be rest for the weary just yet. Despite the mayor of Mobile noting that his city also has hotels, passengers will either board a bus for a two-hour ride to New Orleans or a more than 7-hour ride to Galveston or Houston, Texas.
So basically, passengers will be going from a ship reportedly reeking of fecal matter to a city that’s probably just now waking up from a Mardi Gras-soaked haze of debauchery and public urination.
It’s all kind of puzzling to officials in Mobile, however. Mayor Sam Jones says the city has plenty of hotel rooms for passengers as well as two airports near the cruise terminal.
“We raised the issue that it would be a lot easier to take a five-minute bus ride than a two-hour bus ride” to New Orleans, he said. Employees of Carnival will be allowed to stay in Mobile, however.
The company announced the plan last night for passengers while the Triumph is being towed to Mobile with its load of more than 4,000 people. Today in a press conference the company’s marketing VP added the bus ride to New Orleans is needed because the Mobile’s airport isn’t set up to handle so many charter passengers on short notice. Carnival has booked 1,500 rooms in New Orleans and will fly those passengers to Houston tomorrow.
The Associated Press notes that those who want to get home right away will have the option to sit on a bus for even longer and head right to Galveston and Houston. The ship was originally supposed to land in Galveston.
“We know it has been a longer journey back than we anticipated at the beginning of the week under very challenging circumstances,” Carnival President and CEO Gary Cahill said. “We are very sorry for what our guests have had to endure.”
The ship will remain out of service through April, and the cruise line has canceled 12 future trips Triumph was supposed to take.