JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- A pair of local internet radio hosts are trying to keep the First Coast's cruise industry from shipping out of town. They've started a Facebook fan page.
The movement is only days old and already has more than 450 followers.
Doug Parker said the idea came to him Monday after seeing local reports about the possibility of the Carnival Cruise ship Fascination relocating. Parker and his radio show partner, Matt Basford, are concerned it would devastate our local economy.
The two host an independent radio show on Cruise Radio and also have day jobs at local radio stations. The Facebook fan page is called Keep Cruise in Jacksonville.
"If we lose on these cruises, everyone is missing out on it," said Parker. "It's not just having an NFL team, but also put Jacksonville in the map. Florida is one of the main cruise states," Basford added.
"The reason we started it is because if we lose the cruise here in Jacksonville, you have the hotels, the gas stations, everyone is going to be down in terms of employment," said Parker.
Jacksonville has hosted Carnival Cruise lines since 2003. Just last year, 186,000 vacationers cruised from Jaxport to the Bahamas.
A contract with Carnival keeps the Fascination here through 2012. After that, there are talks about moving the temporary terminal to Mayport. However, other cities outside of Florida want to compete for a piece of industry.
"There is no sure thing ever!" Basford said.
"It's really cool that the community is huddling around this and giving it the thumbs up," said Basford.
Already, cruise supporters are adding their two-cents online.
"I hope it's more than an obsession. It's going to actually get everyone to rally and keep this cruise ship in Jacksonville," said Parker.
Parker and Basford said their biggest concern is keeping local jobs here in town to avoid even higher unemployment rates in the years to come.
First Coast News