New Orleans has long been a favorite port to sail on cruises from; with river cruises sailing the Mississippi River and ocean-going cruise ships sailing the Caribbean and Bahamas, the port is now the 6th largest cruise port in the US.
By 2022 the port expects to be recovering strongly from the pandemic, with hundreds of cruise ship calls already scheduled by major cruise lines. With American Queen Steamboat Company and American Cruise Lines, Carnival, Disney, and Norwegian Cruise Line, the options are open.
It’s Only The Start of The Big Comeback
Norwegian Breakaway joined Carnival Glory and Carnival Valor on November 21, signaling an increase in options for guests to cruise from the Big Easy. Norwegian Breakaway has been operational in New York prior to her deployment in New Orleans, while Carnival Glory sailed for the first time from New Orleans on September 19, while Carnival Valor started earlier this month, on November 2.
River cruises restarted from New Orleans in March of this year, with the American Queen Steamboat Company and American Cruise Lines sailing the Mississippi River. Carnival started operations in September of this year, Norwegian joined this week, and Disney is slated for a return in February next year, which means ocean cruises are now hitting their stride as well.
Also Read: First Carnival Cruise Ship Restarts Operations from New Orleans
Port NOLA expects to see no less than 285 sailings from the port in 2022, which means nearly 1 million passengers will board cruise ships from the docks. Cruise ship traffic is a massive boost for the local economy:
“We are pleased ocean-going cruises are resuming and joining the successful restart of river cruises nine months ago,” said Brandy D. Christian, President, and CEO of Port NOLA. “Cruises from the Port of New Orleans are critical to the state and regional economy. Our cruise passengers make up more than 300,000 hotel room nights alone in our city and they spend more than $125 million locally.”
The benefits are clear and expected to increase in the coming years. Currently the sixth-largest cruise port in the United States, demand is on the increase both for Caribbean and Mississippi River itineraries.
Guests sailing from New Orleans travel from out of state for a large majority and usually combine their cruise with a visit to the city’s historical center. While the port counted 1.2 million visitors in 2019, the current estimate of 1 million guests sailing from the port means the area rebounds strongly.
Combining River and Ocean Cruises
The Port of New Orleans is ideally suited to do something that most ports in the United States cannot do; offer both river cruises and ocean cruises.
Sailing an iconic paddleboat cruise with the American Queen Steamboat Company, or a river cruise exploring the Mississippi River on the modern river cruise ships from American Cruise Line, guests will have even more options next year as Viking River Cruises makes its way to New Orleans with the brand new Viking Mississippi.
Also Read: Cruises from New Orleans: The Pros and Cons
With the arrival of Norwegian Breakaway, the options for Ocean cruises have also increased for New Orleans. The 3,963-passenger Norwegian Breakaway operates seven-day cruises to the Caribbean until April next year.
Disney Wonder will operate from New Orleans from February, sailing four-, five- and six-night sailings to the Bahamas and Caribbean. Of course, this comes on top of Carnival Cruise Line, which operates the 2,980-passenger Carnival Glory and the 2,974-passenger Carnival Valor sailing a variety of Caribbean cruises.