Your Carnival cruise is about non-stop fun and pure excitement that begins from the moment you arrive at your port of call. Mobile, Alabama is the perfect example of this thought, a city that brims with unforgettable sights and sounds that will only make your cruise experience more memorable.
Nestled along the northern shores of the Gulf of Mexico, Mobile exudes the Southern hospitality and charm that only comes with age and colorful traditions. Whether you’re on a weekend getaway to Cozumel or a more extended cruise to The Bahamas, you might want to schedule a few extra days before or after your cruise to soak in everything that Mobile has to offer. Here are a few ideas to get you started.
The centerpiece of a vast complex of artifacts and displays from World War II, the USS Alabama is an iconic piece of American history that still fascinates and inspires over a quarter million visitors per year. In fact, the USS Alabama Battleship Memorial Park is a point of pride for the entire region, serving as a significant source of consistent revenue for the local economy since its inception in 1962.
With an aircraft pavilion, several park memorials, and a stunning display of tanks and assorted artillery, the USS Alabama Battleship Memorial Park is a unique experience that is impossible to find anywhere else. Whether you’re a history buff or just a naturally curious person, do yourself a favor and visit this graceful old battleship steeped in unforgettable stories.
Bellingrath Gardens evokes the traditional Southern aesthetic that has become synonymous with Mobile since its founding in 1702. Originally the home and estate of Walter Bellingrath, one of the southeast’s original soda bottler magnates, the complex has since been turned into a museum that delights the public with its expansive, intricate garden and magnificent architecture.
Sitting on over 65 acres of stunning year-round blooms that will entice your senses with colors and scents, Bellingrath Gardens is an ideal way to experience that Southern aesthetic as you wait to board your ship or ease your way back into shore life after your cruise. If you happen to be traveling in December, the over 3 million lights that illuminate the estate every Christmas will make it an even more memorable experience.
Oakleigh Garden Historic District
Similar in spirit to Bellingrath Gardens but with far greater scope, the Oakleigh Garden Historic District encompasses nearly 1,500 acres and 300 buildings that, together, will immerse you in the South’s emblematic architecture, towering trees, and slower pace to life. Lace up some comfortable walking shoes and take a leisurely walk throughout its 60 city blocks and feel like you’re being transported back in time.
Dauphin Street & Bienville Square
Another example of iconic sights and sounds that typify Southern charm, Dauphin Street is home to countless restaurants and shops that will make you want to loosen your belt and break out the debit card. Friendly and inviting with a relaxing vibe that feels like you’ve rediscovered a long-lost friend, Dauphin Street is an ideal place for everything from people watching to languid strolls past colorful shops and enticing eateries.
Bienville Square lies close to the eastern end of Dauphin Street and is the functional heart of Mobile. With gorgeous oak trees lining its historical walkways and a laid-back disposition that’s undoubtedly contagious, this historic park at the center of downtown Mobile is perfect for a relaxing afternoon with the family or simply absorbing the city’s effortless charisma. Don’t be surprised if Bienville Square makes you permanently fall under Mobile’s magnetic spell.
Perhaps not as well known as its cousin just a couple of hours west on Interstate 10, Mobile’s Mardi Gras plays second fiddle to no one. With a history that spans back over 300 years to the days when the city was the capital of French Louisiana, Mobile’s Mardi Gras celebration is the oldest in the United States and only grows more exciting and eclectic with age.
Between its elaborate costumes, masked balls, and colorful parades brimming with ornate floats, Mardi Gras is such a memorable experience that you might want to schedule your cruise around it. Despite the many luxurious, fascinating, or pulse-racing excursions awaiting you on your travels, Mardi Gras is bound to be one of your favorite cruise activities. One thing’s for certain — it will definitely give you a new appreciation for its literal translation of Fat Tuesday.
A Foodie’s Paradise
Speaking of Fat Tuesday, Mobile conveniently happens to be a foodie’s paradise, offering a staggering number of palate-pleasing restaurants and unforgettable dishes that will make your stomach growl in anticipation for your next visit.
From fantastic seafood to rich Southern specialties, Mobile has alluring dining options for every mood, taste, and occasion. Begin your cruising experience with an elaborate, five-course meal at one of many award-winning restaurants lining Dauphin Street. Alternatively, if you’ve just finished your cruise and want to experience as much of Mobile as possible before heading home, something quick but incredibly appetizing — from gourmet burgers to a basket of fried Gulf shrimp — can be found virtually anywhere along the seven-mile Causeway crossing over Mobile Bay.
Dishes to Experience
Given its location on the Gulf and diverse traditions, Mobile is famous for a wide variety of mouthwatering dishes. Gulf shrimp, blue crabs, and succulent oysters are a mainstay at many of the cities eateries. However, if you’re in the mood for something a bit more prototypically Southern, any number of barbecue or fried chicken joints are sure to scratch that particular itch. In other words, consider a trip to Mobile as a challenge to your tummy, party for your taste buds, and fuel for your memories, no matter what you might happen to crave at the time.
Cruising out of Mobile is an opportunity that will only enhance your cruise. Take the time to discover its captivating personality, unique experiences, and rich culture. Mobile will be a constant source of amazing tales and treasured memories for years to come.
Note: Onboard activities, shore excursions, and dining options may vary by ship and destination.