Port of New Orleans realizes cruise passenger gains in 2013
17th February 2014 · 0 Comments
Once again New Orleans is reporting record numbers for cruise passengers who set sail from the Port of New Orleans. Port cruise terminals handled 987,860 embarkations and disembarkations in 2013, up more than 1 percent compared to 2012, which saw a 32 percent gain over 2011.
“The positive trend for cruising from New Orleans continues,” said Gary LaGrange, Port President and CEO. “And with newer and larger ships sailing from New Orleans in 2014, the industry’s economic impact and the passengers’ cruise experience will be bigger and better.”
In a study commissioned last year by the Port of New Orleans to determine passenger and crew spending in the region, the Business Research & Economic Advisors (BREA) found more than 80 percent of cruise passengers are from out of state, and 60 percent of them spend an average of two nights in New Orleans either before or after their cruise.
“The CVB recognizes the impact the cruise industry has on our economy and continues to dedicate marketing and sales resources to grow this important industry,” said Stephen Perry, President and CEO of the New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau.
According to the study, passengers and crew spent $78.4 million in New Orleans, with lodging ($27.5 million) and food and beverage ($8.3 million) encompassing about half of the overall spending.
In a separate study, Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) found cruise industry spending topped $399 million in 2012, generating 7,548 jobs and $294 million in personal income. CLIA has not yet completed its study for 2013. CLIA ranks New Orleans the sixth largest cruise port in the United States – up from ninth in 2011.
Cruise passengers have a slew of new ships to sail from New Orleans on a wide variety of itineraries. In November, the 3,006-passenger Carnival Sunshine replaced the 2,984-passenger Carnival Conquest. The Sunshine recently underwent a massive $155 million transformation and sails regular seven-day eastern and western Caribbean itineraries from New Orleans through April 2014, when Carnival will reposition the 3,646-passenger Carnival Dream from Port Canaveral, Fla., to New Orleans to sail year-round seven-day cruises, replacing the Carnival Sunshine. The 2,052-passenger Carnival Elation will continue to sail year-round four- and five-day itineraries from New Orleans.
In October, the 2,376-passenger Norwegian Jewel replaced the 2,348-passenger Norwegian Star sailing seasonal seven-day itineraries from the Julia Street Cruise Terminal through April. In December, Royal Caribbean replaced the Navigator of the Seas with the newly renovated 2,476-passenger Serenade of the Seas, sailing weekly through April, as well.
In addition to setting a new passenger record, the New Orleans cruising experience was also recognized by a top cruise trade publication, Porthole Cruise Magazine. “I always encourage cruisers who are spending time in New Orleans before or after their cruise to let the locals lead the way,” said Bill Panoff, Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of Porthole Cruise Magazine.
New Orleans was named “Friendliest Homeport” by Porthole Cruise Magazine in its 2014 Editor-In-Chief Awards.
“Cruisers departing from New Orleans are greeted not only with an amazing culture, exciting music scene, and phenomenal cuisine,” said Panoff, “but also by welcoming and friendly locals.”
“New Orleans is both a premier port and leisure destination offering the cruise visitor an opportunity to experience the romance and culture of New Orleans paired with an exciting cruise itinerary,” said Perry.
This article originally published in the February 17, 2014 print edition of The Louisiana Weekly newspaper.