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Former Port of New Orleans Cruise Director Wins AAPA Cruise Award

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Former Port of New Orleans Cruise and Tourism Director Robert Jumonville received the 2015 American Association of Port Authorities (AAPA) Cruise Award yesterday during the AAPA biennial Cruise Seminar in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

The AAPA cited Jumonville as being the vision behind the phenomenal growth of the Port of New Orleans’ cruise passenger business and its terminal and cruise-related visitor assets. Under Jumonville’s watch, the Port of New Orleans invested more than $75 million in cruise facilities and saw a 1,200-percent rise in passenger throughput. Revenue produced by the Cruise and Tourism Division increased more than 500 percent during his tenure.

In 2014, the Port handled more than 1 million cruise passengers for the first time in its history. Embarkations and disembarkations for the year totaled 1,014,325, a fourth straight record year for the Port.

“Our cruise industry has experienced meteoric growth under Robert Jumonville’s leadership. This is a well-deserved achievement after 25 years of dedicated service,” said Port of New Orleans President and CEO Gary LaGrange. “The Board of Commissioners, the Port and the community of New Orleans owe a debt of gratitude to Mr. Jumonville for highlighting our great city as an internationally-ranked cruise port.”

Jumonville, who retired in January after 25 years at the Port, oversaw the planning and construction of the Julia Street Cruise Terminal, a consolidation of two terminals into one modern terminal completed in 2011. Jumonville was also instrumental in the design and construction of the Erato Street Cruise Terminal and Parking Garage Complex, the first cruise terminal in the industry to include a parking garage in the same building. Looking forward, Jumonville was also an integral in the planning of the Port’s third cruise ship terminal at Poland Avenue.

Cruise Lines International Association ranked the Port the sixth-largest cruise port in the United States with direct industry expenditures in Louisiana totaling $406 million, supporting 8,129 jobs and accounting for $323 million in total income.

“This award is very humbling,” Jumonville said. “It’s been a pleasure and passion to work with the great staff at the Port of New Orleans and with each of the Port’s cruise partners. I take pride in the long-term relationships we’ve established with our cruise lines and tourism industry partners.”

Receiving the AAPA Cruise Award along with Jumonville is René Trépanier, Executive Director of Cruise the Saint Lawrence. The AAPA Cruise Award was established to recognize individuals or organizations whose outstanding work or service has had a positive impact on the relationship between a cruise port and the Western Hemisphere cruise industry.

Don Allee, the port executive who took the helm of the Port’s Cruise and Tourism Division when Jumonville retired, is poised to continue the upward momentum of the New Orleans cruise industry.

Port of New Orleans cruise terminals currently host four home-ported cruise ships. Carnival Cruise Lines offers a wide variety of itineraries with the 2,052-passenger Carnival Elation sailing year-round four- and five-day itineraries from New Orleans and the 3,646-passenger Carnival Dream sailing year-round seven-day itineraries to both eastern and western Caribbean destinations. In addition, Norwegian Cruise Line’s 2,340-passenger Norwegian Dawn sails seasonal seven-day cruises from November through April and Royal Caribbean’s 2,476passenger Serenade of the Seas sails weekly through April, as well. New Orleans also features river cruise itineraries throughout the year. American Cruise Lines sails its sternwheeler Queen of the Mississippi and American Queen Steamboat Co. sails the American Queen from New Orleans.