The Port of New Orleans handled more than one million cruise passengers in 2014 for the first time in its history.
For the fourth consecutive year, the US cruise port topped its own passenger record, processing 1,014,325 embarkations and disembarkations last year, an increase of more than 2.6% from 2013.
“This is a great milestone for the Port of New Orleans,” said Gary LaGrange, the port’s president and CEO. “The total represents a 180% increase in cruise passengers since 2001 – the year the port began to market itself in earnest as a premier cruise destination.”
Studies from the Port of New Orleans indicated that more than 80% of cruise passengers originate from outside of the state, while 60% spend an average of two nights in the city. While in New Orleans, these passengers and crew spend about US$75 million in total.
According to a report from the Cruise Lines International Association, the port was ranked as the sixth largest cruise port in the US with direct industry expenditures in Louisiana totalling US$406 million. The industry also supports 8,129 jobs and accounts for US$323 million in total income.
“We market cruising from the port as two vacations in one,” LaGrange said. “New Orleans is a world-class destination city. On average, cruise passengers stay two nights either before or after their cruise – it’s like an additional port of call.”
Four cruise ships currently homeport in New Orleans. These include Carnival Cruise Line’s Carnival Elation, which sails year-round four- and five-day itineraries, and Carnival Dream, which offers year-round seven-day itineraries to both eastern and western Caribbean destinations. Norwegian Cruise Line’s Norwegian Dawn sails seasonal seven-day cruises from November until April, while Royal Caribbean International’s 2,476-passenger Serenade of the Seas sails weekly through April.
In addition, New Orleans serves as a base for American Cruise Lines’ sternwheeler Queen of the Mississippi, American Queen Steamboat Company’s American Quee and Travel Dynamics International’s Yorktown coastal ship. Blount Small Ship Adventures also sails inland itineraries onboard the Grand Caribe from the port.
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