Port NOLA Reports 1.2 Million Cruise Passengers in 2023

Ships in New Orleans

Brandy D. Christian, Port of New Orleans (Port NOLA) president and CEO, delivered the 2023 State of the Port address on Nov. 3. She highlighted successes across the Port’s four lines of business: cruise, cargo, rail, and industrial real estate.

According to a press release, the cruise industry has recovered from the pandemic, and cruise line partners maintain their trust in the Louisiana cruise market through New Orleans.

Port NOLA achieved new records in 2023, including in March when it set a monthly passenger record. This record surpassed the prior monthly record established in February 2020, shortly before the global pandemic.

As the 2023 fiscal year concluded, Port NOLA reported 1.2 million cruise passenger movements, setting the stage for a potential new annual passenger record in the current calendar year.

In November 2024, Royal Caribbean is set to make a comeback with a new ship, the Brilliance of the Seas. Port NOLA has also secured an agreement with Carnival, ensuring at least five more years of having two year-round vessels, the port said in a press release.

Norwegian Cruise Line is bringing back the port’s largest homeported vessel, the Norwegian Breakaway. Additionally, Disney Cruise Line will resume its sailings in January.

The Port is experiencing growth in the river cruise sector, with a total of nine homeported riverine vessels, including Viking Cruises, which began sailing from Port NOLA in 2022.

“As I think about the past eight years, and all of the work we have done to grow the gateway, two pillars are constant: diversification and transformation,” said Christian.

“Diversity in our lines of business and in our leaders, transforming our organization and our outlook. These are the tenets of our master plan, which will guide us into new territory… Let’s continue to deliver Louisiana’s future together.”


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