Between New York, Galveston, Port Canaveral, Seattle, Boston, Baltimore, Tampa, Miami, Los Angeles, San Diego, and San Francisco, the United States is blessed with many different cruise ports on all three of its major stretches of coastline: the eastern Atlantic Coast, the western Pacific Coast, and the southern Gulf of Mexico Coast. One of the best cruise ports that is often overlooked is located in Mobile, Alabama.

Conveniently located between New Orleans, Louisiana and Tallahassee, Florida, the port of Mobile, AL is perfectly situated for people in states like Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Florida, and even further afield like Arkansas, Tennessee, and South Carolina. It's a great port to catch a cruise, offering relatively speedy access to several exotic destinations around Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central America. Read on to find out more about some of the best cruises you can take from Mobile, AL. CDC information for travelers. Hours/availability may have changed.


1.Carnival - 5 Night Western Caribbean - Carnival Fantasy

Carnival - 5 Night Western Caribbean - Carnival Fantasy
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The islands and nations of the Caribbean Sea always rank as some of the most popular cruise destinations in the world, and you can enjoy an authentic slice of Caribbean life and dip your toes in the warm waters of that famous sea if you choose to travel on the '5 Night Western Caribbean' cruise from Carnival. This is by far one of the top rated cruises to depart from the port of Mobile, Alabama, and it’s also one of the most affordable; if you manage to book in advance, you can get some very good deals on rooms for this cruise.

Those rooms will be found on board the Carnival Fantasy, which will be your home away from home for the duration of this amazing Caribbean cruise from Mobile, AL. The Fantasy is a great ship and a prime example of why Carnival is such a beloved and leading name in the cruise industry. You’ll find that the whole ship has been perfectly laid out, making it easy to navigate and fun to explore. Multiple restaurants can be found on board, with styles ranging from casual burgers and buffet food to more refined, elegant, fine dining establishments.

After leaving Mobile, this cruise will make two stops around the Western Caribbean. The first of those stops comes at Progreso on the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico. There, you could visit local landmarks and areas of interest like El Corchito Ecological Reserve and the Faro de Puerto Progreso, or simply spend some time on the beach, admiring the wonderful waters and having fun with your fellow travelers. Next, your journey will make its way round to the island of Cozumel. A prime example of a Caribbean island, Cozumel has great snorkeling, warm waters, sugary sands, and stunning scenery all around.

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2.Carnival - 4 Night Western Caribbean - Carnival Fantasy

Carnival - 4 Night Western Caribbean - Carnival Fantasy
© dbvirago/stock.adobe.com


If you don't have too much time to spare for your Mobile cruise, the '4 Night Western Caribbean' could be the answer. This is one of the shortest cruises with a major cruise line to operate out of the port of Mobile, and it's also one of the most affordable. Due to its short length and single stop, this cruise can be booked at some really good prices, with rooms available for around $60-70 if you can book in advance and choose the right dates.

This cruise will see you travel on the Carnival Fantasy, which is one of the main cruise ships serving the port of Mobile, AL. You'll find a lot of luxuries, comforts, conveniences, and features on board the Fantasy, including several different dining options offering all sorts of culinary styles from classic burgers to colorful sushi platters. You'll also find swimming pools, water slides, fun and games for the kids, and much more.

This cruise leaves from Mobile and makes just one stop at the Mexican Caribbean island of Cozumel. Cozumel is a really beautiful little island and has proven to be one of the most popular cruise ports in the whole of the Caribbean Sea over the years, with many cruises choosing to stop here and lots of visitors falling in love with the area for its soft, powdery sands and gorgeous warm waters.

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3.Carnival - 10 Night Panama Canal Carnival Journeys - Carnival Fantasy

Carnival - 10 Night Panama Canal Carnival Journeys - Carnival Fantasy
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Hop on board the Carnival Fantasy once more for another amazing cruise out of Mobile, Alabama. This is one of the longest cruises you can hope to find out of Mobile and it's also one of the most fully-featured, making several stops and offering a full Caribbean and Central American experience, complete with an unmissable and unforgettable trip along the Panama Canal itself.

Again, for this cruise, you'll be able to enjoy the comforts and facilities of the wonderful Carnival Fantasy. The lead ship of the Fantasy class, the Carnival Fantasy features gorgeously decorated accommodation, a lavish array of dining options, plenty of relaxing spaces like lounges and bars to hang out with your friends, a crazy water park the kids will love, an adults-only retreat and spa area, and so much more.

This cruise leaves Mobile and heads straight for the Panama Canal, enjoying a partial transit of this iconic waterway before heading around to Costa Rica for its first stop at Puerto Limon. There, you can explore the local area and visit the Parque Vargas or simply while away the hours on the golden sands of Playa Bonita. Next, you'll head around to Roatan on the Bay Islands of Honduras, home to some super wildlife spotting areas and snorkeling, as well as some stunning white sand beaches. Your third and final stop will be at Cozumel, a great scuba diving and sunbathing location that guests of all ages will adore.

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3 Best Cruises from Mobile, Alabama



Attraction Spotlight: Gulf Coast Exploreum Science Center

Established in 1983, the Gulf Coast Exploreum Science Center is a non-profit museum that focuses on promoting education in science, math, and technology through inquiry based educational activities. Located in the historic downtown area of Mobile, Alabama, the center is the only science and technology center serving south Alabama, south Mississippi, and northwest Florida

The center was originally conceived by a group of volunteers in 1976 to create a place that would improve the community in Mobile through science-based educational programs. The public was enthusiastic about the idea and contributed actively towards its cause. One of the offerings included a generous donation of the historic Bragg-Mitchell Mansion and its surrounding site. As a result, the museum was able to set up its first building near the mansion. But when it started to grow, the need for a larger space prompted the museum to relocate to a newer and bigger location on 65 Government Street in 1998, and it has been there ever since.

Today, this Alabama museum welcomes on average 150,000 visitors annually, and it aims to “inspire curiosity and ingenuity through active exploration of the sciences.” While the center is host to more than 150 interactive exhibits and supplementary themed education programs, it also has a wide range of outreach programs, field trips, and summer camps that bring science to the public. With an onsite IMAX Theater as well, it is no wonder that the center has been widely regarded as one of the city's best family attractions.

All the exhibits are housed inside three permanent galleries with two live demonstration stations. Visitors will be treated to a variety of hands-on science adventures that encourage learning through play.

Hands on Hall

Hands on Hall was the original gallery in the museum's Exploreum and even up until today, it is the beating heart of the place. Its interactive exhibits allow visitors to work individually or in a group to discover fundamental physics principles. Local students can enhance their in-class learning experience at this gallery, for exhibits are made to correlate with the objectives for Alabama's Course of Study for Science. Some of the major topics covered are forces and motion, light and optics, patterns and probability, and magnetism and electricity.

To explore the relationship between forces and motion, the section utilizes experiments to bring science concepts alive. For example, giant versions of simple machines are on display. Groups in particular will have fun taking on one another in a tug-of-war competition. The long rope is attached to a giant lever. One end is 2-feet away from the fulcrum while the other end is 6-feet away. Participants will soon realize that the farther they are away from the lever, the easier it is for them to win the competition.

Another unique exhibit to check out is the laser harp, which is a musical instrument that does not have strings but lasers instead. As participants “pluck” the laser beams, they are able to hear musical notes being played. This is because the lasers are directed at sensors below the instrument, and when the light beam is disrupted, the sensors detect this and send electrical signals to produce the sound.

Kids will also enjoy role-playing as a weather forecaster in the mock newsroom. They will get to see themselves live on a TV screen as they pretend to read scripts in front of a video camera. Their images are also superimposed on a different background from the blue screen that they are sitting in front of, a practice that is common in many actual TV studios.

My Bodyworks allows participants to learn about the interesting facts of the human body from the different body systems to the five senses and internal organs. It uses the latest computing and digital imaging technologies to visualize the anatomical features that most people do not see in real life.

One of them is the 12-foothigh, 6-footwide model of the human heart. The exhibit illustrates the inner workings of the organ, including how blood flows through the arteries and veins as well as how cardiac muscle functions. Two to three times every hour, the model will start flashing lights and playing siren sounds to demonstrate what happen when a heart attack occurs.

For aspiring doctors and surgeons, there is a virtual surgery center onsite where they canper form stimulated surgical procedures. With atap of their fingers, participants can seal blood vessels and even conduct a virtual heart bypass surgery. Their hand-eye coordination will also be put to the test as they attempt to conduct scopes inside the body.

Wharf of Wonder

As a family friendly destination, the Exploreum caters to kids of all ages, including preschoolers. The Wharf of Wonder is a secure learning area designed for children ages 0 to 5 years old. The exhibit area features a mini wharf, and children are able to climb on a sea vessel used for shrimp fishing, visit a lighthouse, and weigh fish at a fish market.

The space has been specially created to encourage children to explore, collaborate, and develop their fine motor skills. As such, exhibits are specially made to be toddler safe with smaller steps, smoother surfaces for crawling, and quiet areas for resting. These measures ensure that parents and caretakers can have peace of mind while watching their young ones enjoy themselves.

Visitors of all ages can conduct actual hands-on experiments pertaining to health and biology at the iHealthy Life Science Lab. Members of the staff conduct short demonstrations designed to be educational and light-hearted at the same time. Visitors are then encouraged to join in the tabletop experiments and try their hands at manipulating tools used in laboratories. The themes for these experiments change bi-monthly so repeat visitors will never be bored. Some of these themes include the human body system, health and nutrition, and immunology.

Explore Tec Lab

The Explore Tec Lab is a state-of-the-art engineering and technology lab that offers workshops for students, industries, and the general public. The laboratory is equipped with some of the latest technology from laptops to 3D printers, are available for companies or the public to rent.

Apart from hardware, the museum also offers educational classes. Its most popular program focuses on understanding the principles of physics behind pneumatics. Participants will get to work in teams to build catapults and in the process learn about its design and mechanism. For those seeking technical learning, the SolidWorks 3D Imaging workshop utilizes a 3D-computer aided design software to dissect the mechanical parts that form a product to truly understand how the sum of the parts make up the whole.

The Exploreum is home to a 177-seat IMAX dome theater. Audiences are promised a unique film experience as images are projected on a huge screen with staggering and hyper realistic acoustics to enhance the feeling of motion. This helps audiences feel like they are in the thick of the action and forget they are watching a movie.

While most IMAX theaters broadcast their films on flat screens, the Exploreum features a 60-foot domed screen that surrounds the audience to provide a totally immersive experience. In fact, it is the only IMAX dome theater on the Gulf Coast. Moviegoers can also view the IMAX projector from the lobby of the Exploreum. The projector stands at 6-feet tall and weighs more than 2200 pounds, and it needs to be operated from beneath the theater.

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Educational Programs

The center offers a line of programs throughout the year. From hosting school groups at the center to conducting outreach programs in classrooms and stay-over camps, the museum hopes to inspire children to learn about science in an interactive yet educational way. There are also educational programs that cater to homeschooled children. Parents will also get to choose from science lessons that promote hands-on learning and are tailored to different ages.

Another one of its annual offering is the week-long summer camp for children from as young as 4 years old up until 14 years old. The camp is divided into age groups so that learning will be age appropriate. The program is designed to allow kids to discover science concepts through creative activities and projects as well as provide a unique opportunity for them to socialize with other young people their own age.

Back to: Best Things to Do in Mobile and Best Weekend Getaways & Places to Visit in Alabama

65 Government St., Mobile, AL 36602, Phone: 251-208-6893

Attraction Spotlight: USS ALABAMA

The USS ALABAMA is a battleship memorial park in Mobile, AL honoring all veterans of U.S. conflict in the state of Alabama and educating the public on the contributions and sacrifices U.S. veterans have made. The USS ALABAMA is a World War II battleship from the early 1940’s, currently a National Historic Landmark. The ship is a 45,000-ton BB 60, which was home to a crew of 2,500.

The 680-foot ship was nicknamed the “Mighty A” and won a total of nine battle stars as well as the Navy Occupation Service Medal during her brief three-year stint as the “Heroine of the Pacific.” The USS Drum is an SS-228 World War II submarine, also on exhibit at the park. Built in 1940, it is the oldest U.S. submarine on public display in America. While in service, it held a crew of 72, plus one service dog. Historic tanks, artillery and memorials are scattered throughout the park. Iconic tanks in the collection include an M-26 Pershing tank from the Korean War, an M-4 Sherman from World War II and a Russian/Iraqi T-55 from Desert Storm. Artillery displays include examples of gun mounts, Skysweepers and personnel carriers from World War II and Vietnam. A Vietnam-era river patrol boat, 26-foot surf launch and 41-foot utility boat are all on display as well. An Aircraft Pavilion at the Park includes a collection of army vehicles, artifacts, over 28 airplanes and a flight simulator. A VH1-N/ Bell 212 helicopter is the newest addition to the museum. This presidential helicopter, named ARMY ONE, has carried Presidents Nixon, Ford, Carter, Regan and George H.W. Bush. An A-12 Black Bird spy plane, used by the CIA in the 1960’s, is also on display. Exhibits in the Aircraft Pavilion include memorial walls honoring the servicemen and women of Alabama, as well as a space dedicated to rotating temporary exhibits. Exhibits throughout the park are surrounded by a recreational area. Picnic tables, benches and small grills are located throughout. A fishing pier off the bow end of the USS ALABAMA invites those with state fishing licenses.

History: The Memorial Park was established in 1963 by the USS ALABAMA Battleship Commission. The commission is a state run agency charged with maintaining the ship, the park and associated exhibits, as well as memorializing all those from the state of Alabama who have served in the United States armed forces. The USS ALABAMA was built in 1940 and first put into service in 1943 during World War II. She served in the North Atlantic, and then later in the South Pacific. The highlight of her career was leading the American Fleet into Tokyo Bay in 1945, which earned her nine battle stars for meritorious service. In 1962 when the ship was destined to be scrapped, a group planning a Veterans Memorial Park in Mobile thought she would be the perfect anchor for the Park and saved her from destruction. The USS ALABAMA and the Battleship Memorial Park opened to the public in 1965. The submarine USS DRUM was donated to the Park in 1969. In the early 2000’s a $15 million restoration project began to repair the battleship and submarine, the park’s two flagship attractions. Restorations were completed in 2003. Today, visitors to the park total in the hundreds of thousands annually. Although the park is state-managed, funds to maintain the park come solely from admission fees and donations.

Ongoing Programs and Education: Self-guided tours aboard the USS ALABAMA are available on the main, second and third deck. Programs at the park include group tours for schools, scouts and others. Chaperoned children’s groups can stay overnight aboard the USS ALABAMA in the same bunks the sailor’s used during World War II. The park may be rented for military reunions and military ceremonies free of charge. The USS ALABAMA Living History Crew frequently performs drills and ceremonies open to the public. The monthly events include a reenactment of emergency drills, call to battle and daily jobs. Both the 20mm and 40mm guns are fired. The Deep South Armature Radio Club is on hand to educate guests about radio communications during the war. The Battleship Park is frequently host to charitable 5k runs and walks, and celebrates Veterans Day and Memorial Day with extensive programming, performances and events.

Past and Future Exhibits: At the Aircraft Pavilion, a new World War I exhibit honors the 100th anniversary of the war. The exhibit of photographs, artifacts and weapons also includes a World War I-era Model T Ford.

2703 Battleship Parkway, Mobile, AL 36602, Phone: 1-800-GANGWAY

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Attraction Spotlight: The Richards DAR House Museum

The Richards DAR House Museum is a perfect stop for history lovers, as they can walk directly off the streets of Mobile, Alabama and into history. Learn about the history of the home as well as about the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR), all while having tea and cookies with the staff! The house was originally built by a steamboat captain named Charles Richards and his wife, Caroline Steele, in 1860.

History

The family owned the home (passing through their descendants) until 1946, when it was purchased by a cement company before being turned over to the city in the 1970s. At that time, five separate Mobile chapters of the Daughters of the American Revolution stepped in and leased the home, which is where it gets the second part of its name. They were the ones who furnished it and ran it as a period home museum.

Permanent Exhibits

The DAR House’s main exhibit is the actual home itself. Guests come from all across the state and country to tour this beautiful home and learn about the history of the inhabitants. The home also offers a wealth of information on the Daughters of the American Revolution, their history, and their current place in Mobile.

The first area of the house to notice is the cast iron facade outside of the home, famous for how it depicts each of the four seasons. There is a veranda outside of the home as well, made out of both marble and granite. On the roof, there are bracketed cornices and also paneled soffits (the underside of the home - in this case referring to eaves).

The home itself was built in the Italianate architectural style during the antebellum period in Mobile.

Once it became a museum, the inside was refurbished with carved marble (Carrara decorative marble) mantels for the fireplaces, a reception hall that is home to enormous brass as well as bronze chandeliers that are made of mythological creatures, each holding a crenulated glass globe which houses the light source. In fact, one of the single largest chandelier in the city of Mobile is found at the DAR house, hanging over one of the carved marble mantels and reflecting into a French mirror. The doorways are framed with Bohemian ruby glass panels, and each room has a small, silver bell that was used to call the household servants. The front “gallery” door is made entirely of white and grey marble squares.

The furnishings found in the home date all the way back to the 1870s. The interior of the house is divided into what is called a side-hall plan (meaning the main hallway of the home runs from the front to the back and is located on the side of the interior of the house). It features a curved staircase and floor length windows that look out over the veranda.

Cookies are served to each guest who tours the mansion, as well as a cup of tea. This harkens back to the type of southern hospitality one might imagine from a mansion and household of this stature.

Special Events

The DAR House is open for guests to rent for weddings, receptions, and other special events. The landscaping outside the home and decor inside the home is a perfect, memorable place for any special day. Contact the museum for availability, cost, and any other information needed to decide on whether the DAR House is perfect for the special event being planned. Currently, a three-hour rental of the house is $1400 and four-hour rental costs $1600, but costs can change, and guests should confirm with the staff.

The House also hosts a variety of special events throughout the year. One of the most popular is Christmastime at the House. Besides being decorated for the season, both outside and inside, there is also an event held in early December, featuring an open house. There is a fee at the door, but all donations go back into the house and are tax deductible.

Shopping

There is a small gift shop operated on the DAR House premises. Offering locally made and specialty products, like those from Carl’s Clay (exclusively carried at the DAR House) and books featuring the home as well as local history and events, purchases go back into supporting the home as well as maintaining its historical accuracy and beauty.

The Richards DAR House Museum, 256 N. Joachim Street, Mobile, AL, 36603, Phone: 251-208-7320

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