Port Nola Sets New Cruise Passenger Record

Since 2014, the Port of New Orleans has surpassed the 1 million cruise passenger mark each year. In 2017, even more cruise-goers chose to be in that number, according to statistics released by the port. Last year, the port recorded 1,150,172 passenger movements at its two cruise terminals.

“These year-end results validate the continued appear of cruising from the Crescent City and reflect our commitment to excellence,” Port of New Orleans President and CEO Brandy Christian said in a statement. “We expect additional growth in 2018 and will continue to provide high-level service that complements New Orleans’ natural hospitality and vibrant energy. We hold ourselves to high standards and work to exceed expectations.”

With its Erato Street and Julia Street Cruise Terminals within easy walking distance of New Orleans’ Central Business District, convention center and historic French Quarter, the port touts cruising from New Orleans as “two vacations in one.” According to the port, a majority of cruise passengers stay an extra night or two in the city either on the front end or back end of their cruise.

And New Orleans’ tricentennial celebration this year should only enhance its appeal as a cruising homeport.

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In September, American Cruise Lines will launch the 190-passenger riverboat American Song in New Orleans. In November of this year, Norwegian Cruise Line will homeport the 4,000-passenger Norwegian Breakaway in New Orleans. The Breakaway will be the largest cruise vessel to sail from New Orleans. Then in December of this year, Royal Caribbean will make New Orleans the seasonal homeport for the Vision of the Seas, a 2,500-passenger cruise ship that will offer seven-night itineraries.

Next year, Carnival Cruise Line will increase passenger capacities for its cruise lineup in New Orleans with the arrivals of the Carnival Valor and Carnival Dream. Then Norwegian will replace the Norwegian Breakaway with another 4,000-passenger vessel, the Norwegian Getaway.

That’s all in addition to cruises already offered by the American Queen Steamboat Company and American Cruise Lines, both of which homeport two paddlewheelers in New Orleans.

“Homeporting newer and larger cruise ships in 2018 adds to our city’s excitement as we celebrate our 300th birthday,” Christian said. “This is great news for tourists, residents and the region’s hospitality industry.”

According to the port, New Orleans ranks as the sixth largest cruise port in the United States. Some 80 percent of cruise passengers travel from outside Louisiana and 60 percent of passengers spend two days in New Orleans in addition to their cruise. Those passengers account for more than 112,000 nights stayed at hotels in the New Orleans area, generating more than $15 million in hotel revenue annually. From an employment perspective, New Orleans’ cruise industry supports 8,321 jobs at an average salary of $42,000 per year. The Port of New Orleans credits Cruise Lines International Association with those economic impact statistics.