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Port of New Orleans Cruise Passenger Total Tops 1 Million Mark, Sets New Record

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Port of New Orleans cruise terminals handled more than 1 million cruise passengers in 2014 for the first time in its history. For the 12 months, embarkations and disembarkations totaled 1,014,325, an increase of more than 2.6 percent over 2013, a fourth straight record year for the Port.

“This is a great milestone for the Port of New Orleans,” said Port President and CEO Gary LaGrange. “The total represents a 180 percent increase in cruise passengers since 2001 – the year the Port began in earnest marketing itself as a premier cruise destination.”

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.

“We market cruising from the Port as two vacations in one,” LaGrange said. “New Orleans is a world-class destination City. Cruise passenger on average stay two nights either before or after their cruise – it’s like an additional port of call.”

Port of New Orleans studies determined more than 80 percent of cruise passengers are from out of state and 60 percent spend an average of two nights in New Orleans. In addition, those passengers and shipboard crew spend about $75 million in New Orleans. Port 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 sevenday 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 2,476-passenger Serenade of the Seas sails weekly through April, as well.

New Orleans features a wide array of coastal and River cruises 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. Blount Small Ship Adventures sails inland itineraries aboard the Grand Caribe and Travel Dynamics International sails its Yorktown coastal ship from the Port.

Cruise Critic, a leading cruise reviews and information web site, named the Port of New Orleans it’s “Best North American Homeport” as part of its 2014 U.S. Editors’ Picks. Cruise Critic hosts the largest cruise community in the world with more than 3 million people ranging from avid cruise fans to first-time cruisers. Leading cruise publication Porthole Cruise Magazine also named the Port of New Orleans “Friendliest Homeport” for the second year in a row in its 2014 Editor-In-Chief Awards