Port NOLA (the Port of New Orleans) set a new record in 2018 with a total of 1,182,111 cruise passenger movements, which is up 2.3% compared to a year ago. The 23% surge in travelers taking Mississippi River trips helped buoy the total, via new and bigger ships set to sail from NOLA both to the Caribbean and on the Mississippi in 2019.
A recent economic impact study by LSU’s E.J. Ourso College of Business determined ship crews and cruise passengers spend an estimated US$129.1 million per year in the local economy.
Last year, 235 passenger vessels visited Port NOLA, in comparison with 229 in 2017. In September, Disney Cruise Line revealed it will sail from the port early 2020. Its Disney Wonder will embark on Bahamian and Caribbean cruises from the port of New Orleans, marking the first time Disney will have a homeport in Louisiana.
Carnival Cruise Line is due to increase capacity in its 4- and 5-day program, replacing Carnival Triumph on March 1 with Carnival Glory. Carnival Glory will sail the 4- and 5-day itineraries through May 19 when it starts 7-day, year-round itineraries and Carnival Valor arrives to offer year-round 4- and 5-day schedules.
The 6th-largest cruise port in the U.S., also made headlines in November when it welcomed its biggest cruise ship to date, Norwegian Breakaway, which will offer 7-day cruises through April. In November, Norwegian Cruise Line is expected to replace Breakaway with its newer sister ship, Norwegian Getaway.
In December 2018, Royal Caribbean marked a return with Vision of the Seas which arrived to sail 7-day itineraries through March.