New Orleans Sets Cruise Passenger Record

The Port of New Orleans set a new record in 2018 with 1,182,111 cruise passenger movements, up 2.3 percent compared to a year prior, according to a statement from the port.

A 23 percent surge in guests taking Mississippi River cruises helped buoy the total, with new and larger ships set to sail from New Orleans both in the Caribbean and on the River in 2019, the port said.

“Port NOLA’s success is due in large part to the hard work of the stevedores, labor, cruise terminal staff and the support of local businesses and tourism partners,” said Brandy D. Christian, Port NOLA President and CEO. “The popularity of New Orleans as a cruise port and our commitment to customer service proves again why Port NOLA is a catalyst for local businesses. With an increase in passengers, we see those increased benefits – from florists and food wholesalers to hotel and restaurant staff. Our homeport status is important for the local economy and helps us fulfill our role as an economic engine for Louisiana.”

In 2018, 235 passenger ships called  in New Orleans, compared to 229 in 2017.

In September, Disney Cruise Line announced it will sail from the port in early 2020 as the Disney Wonder will embark on a variety of Caribbean and Bahamian cruises from New Orleans.

Carnival Cruise Line will also increase capacity in its four- and five-day cruise program, replacing the Carnival Triumph on March 1 with the 2,980-passenger Carnival Glory. The Carnival Glory will sail the four- and five-day itineraries until May 19 when it begins seven-day, year-round itineraries and the 2,980-passenger Carnival Valor arrives to sail year-round four- and five-day schedules.

“Port NOLA is one of Carnival’s most popular homeports and the Carnival Valor and Carnival Glory are wonderful ships that provide a wide array of exciting dining, beverage, entertainment and activity choices,” Christian said. “As demand for cruises continues to grow, our cruise line partners are responding by deploying newer ships with more capacity and amenities.”

Among the headlines, the port welcomed its largest cruise ship to date, the 4,000-passenger Norwegian Breakaway last November, which will sail seven-day cruises through April 2019. In November 2019, Norwegian Cruise Line will replace the Breakaway with the Norwegian Getaway.

December 2018 also marked the return of Royal Caribbean International when the 2,050-passenger Vision of the Seas arrived sailing seven-day itineraries through March 2019.

In addition are five riverboats homeported in New Orleans as the port also set a modern-day record at 30,298 passenger movements in 2018.

“Ninety percent of cruise passengers travel from out of state and 73 percent spend a day or two in New Orleans either before or after their cruise,” Christian said. “Of those, 75 percent report making a purchase in the Crescent City and these passengers generate over 306,000 room nights per year in New Orleans-area hotels.”

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