MIAMI -- Carnival Cruise Lines Holiday was to return to its Mobile, Ala., homeport for a Sept. 3 cruise, less than a week after it was relocated to Tampa, Fla., to avoid Hurricane Katrina.

But there is no estimated time of return for Carnivals New Orleans-based vessels. The Carnival Conquest and the Sensation were diverted to Galveston, Texas, last week. Disembarkation of the 110,000-ton Conquest, which carries more than 3,000 passengers, was staged over two days in a converted container terminal.

The Conquest is out of service until Sept. 11 due to previously scheduled drydock maintenance; but it will sail from Galveston indefinitely when it returns on its seven-day Sunday schedule.

The Sensation sailed out of Galveston on its Sept. 1 and Sept. 5 cruises. A Carnival spokesman said plans for future cruises were still being finalized.

Steve Cernak, Galvestons port director, said that having the Conquest in on Sundays would put the port at capacity with three cruise ships. Were going to do what we can to help everybody, he said.

Carnival is the only cruise line to offer year-round cruising from New Orleans. Norwegian Cruise Line and Royal Caribbean International are scheduled to bring ships in for the winter Caribbean season in October and November, respectively.

The New Orleans-based Delta Queen Steamboat Co., meanwhile, continued to operate. All three of its ships were sailing on the Upper Mississippi and Ohio rivers when Katrina hit; the American Queen had left New Orleans for Memphis just days before.

A reduced number of reservation agents were relocated to the Buffalo, N.Y., headquarters of Delta Queens parent company Delaware North Cos., as per its established storm emergency plans.

To contact reporter Rebecca Tobin, send e-mail to [email protected].

JDS Travel News JDS Viewpoints JDS Africa/MI