Port of New Orleans welcomes 1-million cruise passengers for second year.
New Orleans has been growing in popularity as a cruise port and the proof is in the passengers. For the second year running, Port of New Orleans terminals have handled more than 1 million cruise passengers. The Port is reporting a 2015 total of 1,023,700 passengers, up 1 percent compared to 2014. The total marks the fifth consecutive record year and with new and larger ships scheduled for 2016, Port officials expect another robust cruise season.
“Year-end numbers illustrate how popular the Port and the City of New Orleans are with cruise passengers throughout the nation,” said Gary LaGrange, Port president and CEO. “The fact our cruise partners are investing in new and larger ships here bodes well for the industry for years to come.”
Carnival Cruise Line is increasing capacity on its year-round four- and five-day itineraries by 34 percent in April when the Carnival Triumph replaces the Carnival Elation in New Orleans. Also, American Cruise Line will add a third riverboat named America to its home-ported fleet in New Orleans. The 185-passenger riverboat was launched in August and will begin sailing Mississippi River itineraries this spring.
The Port of New Orleans ranks the sixth-largest cruise port in the United States, with direct industry expenditures in Louisiana totaling $406 million, supporting 8,120 jobs and providing $324 million in personal income, according to research conducted by Cruise Lines International Association. Port studies determined 80 percent of cruise passengers are from out of state and 60 percent spend an average of two nights in New Orleans either before or after their cruise.
Those two nights are critical to the tourism economy of New Orleans. Typically, cruise passengers spend less than one day in a home port. New Orleans offers them a destination experience that they tend to add on to their cruise itineraries either before they depart or upon their return.
The location of the cruise terminals near the Central Business District and French Quarter allows for easy access to hotels and restaurants. The Outlet Collection at Riverwalk has also been a draw for cruise passengers, and continues to improve its offerings with the announcement of the future addition of Nordstrom Rack. The 35,000 square foot store will be the first Nordstrom store to open in metropolitan New Orleans and is an easy walk for cruise passengers.
The Port’s Erato Street Cruise Terminal and Parking Garage currently hosts the 3,646-passenger Carnival Dream, which sails year-round seven-day eastern and western Caribbean itineraries and the 2,052-passenger Carnival Elation sailing year-round four- and five-day itineraries to Cozumel and Progresso, Mexico. The Port’s Julia Street Cruise Terminal hosts Norwegian Cruise Line’s 2,340-passenger Norwegian Dawn, which sails seven-day western Caribbean cruises seasonally from November to May and a host of unique cruise ship calls from cruise lines, such as Holland America Line, P&O Cruises, Hapag-Lloyd Cruises, AIDA Cruises, and Azamara Club Cruises. In addition, American Cruise Line currently sails the Queen of the Mississippi and American Eagle sternwheelers from New Orleans and American Queen Steamboat Co. sails the sternwheeler American Queen from New Orleans.