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Unvaccinated Mobile cruise ship passengers may have to pay for COVID tests

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Carnival Cruiselines
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The Carnival cruiseship Sensation

It looks like the port of Mobile is about to get back in the cruise business with the Carnival Sensation is scheduled to sail from the Port City starting October twenty first. The COVID-19 pandemic forced Mobile residents to wait more than a year and a half to see a cruise ship set sail. Now. The Carnival Sensation is set to carry passengers from Alabama’s port city this fall.

“We’re very ecstatic that we finally got a confirmed date so now we can plan for the arrival,” said Joe Snowden, Mobile’s executive director of administrative services. “We all believe that cruising is good for Mobile. It’s good for the state and for the region because we draw a lot of passengers. We’re a drive market, so we draw from all the different states surrounding Alabama to Mobile here. So we feel that it’s great and it’s a good opportunity for people to, as we emerge from the pandemic to start getting back to normal and celebrate life again.”

Part of those preparations include COVID tests for any passengers who are not vaccinated. “So, at this point what we’re doing is we’re working closely with the Mobile County Health Department, working with the hospitals, with the hotels and with Carnival to ensure that we have a plan in place and strategies to ensure that we can mitigate any risk to passengers and also during the cruise,” said Snowden.

Unvaccinated passengers will be required to pay $150 to cover the cost of COVID tests.

Mobilians are excited about the return of cruising with a newer, more luxurious ship. Between now and then, though, there’s a lot of work to get ready to greet thousands of passengers.

“I think the hoteliers, the restaurateurs, the restaurant owners, the local businesses are all also excited about the cruise ship coming back,” said Snowden. “When the cruise ship in, our streets are full, with all the passengers, the restaurants are full, the hotels benefit.”

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