The Port of New Orleans (Port NOLA) set passenger traffic and vessel call records in March, including river journeys on the stunning Mississippi River and oceangoing sailings along the Gulf Coast.
With numbers topping the pre-pandemic record, this indicates an amazing interest in cruising from The Big Easy and puts the port city on track for a record number of passengers throughout the fiscal year.
New Records Set for Port NOLA
New cruise traffic records have been set at The Port of New Orleans for March 2023, with 155,225 passenger movements as well as a total of 39 vessel calls, including both river cruises and ocean voyages. The overall passenger numbers include homeport guests and transit guests visiting New Orleans as a port of call.
These numbers surpass the Port’s previous monthly high from February 2020, which recorded 154,409 passenger movements and 31 vessel calls just before the cruise industry shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This shows strong ongoing demand for different types of cruises, and great interest in visiting New Orleans via cruise ships.
“These record numbers highlight how demand for cruising from New Orleans never went away, as people from all over the world returned to our vibrant city to launch their cruise vacations as soon as they were able,” said Brandy D. Christian, Port NOLA President and CEO.
In 2021, Carnival Cruise Line was the first to resume oceangoing sailings from New Orleans when Carnival Glory set sail on September 19. Throughout 2022, Carnival averaged 110% occupancy on sailings from Port NOLA.
Today, multiple cruise lines homeport from New Orleans at least seasonally, including Carnival Cruise Line, Norwegian Cruise Line, and Disney Cruise Line. American Cruise Lines, American Queen Voyages, and Viking Cruises also offer regular river cruises from New Orleans.
Other lines also use the city as a popular port of call, with vessels from Holland America Line, TUI Cruises, and Celebrity Cruises. If these numbers continue throughout 2023, the port will undoubtedly set new annual records as well.
Booming Tourism in the Crescent City
Cruises bring a great deal of tourism to New Orleans, helping local businesses flourish with pre- and post-cruise vacationers, local tours, souvenirs, and much more.
“Our cruise line partners continue to commit to the New Orleans market, and that’s good news for Louisiana tourism and hospitality,” said Christian.
At Port NOLA, 90% of cruise guests travel from out-of-state to reach the port, and 73% of cruise guests spend one or two days in New Orleans either before or after their cruise.
That generates more than 300,000 hotel room nights in New Orleans and more than $125 million in local spending each year, bolstering both the local economy and the stability of hospitality-related jobs.
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Proximity to New Orleans’ world-famous amenities, attractions, and festivals; a thriving international airport to service travelers from around the world; and a large drive-in market position Port NOLA for even more cruise industry growth in the years to come, and will bring even more amazing sailing opportunities for eager cruise travelers.