New Orleans sets cruise passenger record
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — The Port of New Orleans set a record for cruise ship passengers in 2018, with more than 1 million travelers.
The New Orleans Advocate reported the nearly 1.2 million cruise passengers who went through the port represented a 2.3 percent increase from 2017. Last year was the fifth consecutive year the figure was at least 1 million.
The port says it had 235 passenger ships in 2018 and is the sixth busiest cruise port in the United States.
The increase in passengers benefits local businesses, from florists and food wholesalers to hotel and restaurant staff, port President and CEO Brandy Christian said. A recent economic impact study by Louisiana State University’s Business College found that cruise passengers and ship crews spend an estimated $129.1 million locally each year.
The port also set a modern-day record for Mississippi River travelers in 2018, with 30,298 passengers on the five riverboats based in New Orleans.
Port officials expect a record number of cruise passengers next year as well because of new, larger ships set to sail in the Caribbean and on the river.
The 4,000-passenger Norwegian Breakaway became the port’s largest occupancy cruise ship when it arrived in November. It’s set to make seven-day cruises through April until its newer sister ship, the Norwegian Getaway, replaces it in November.
In early 2020, Disney Cruise Line will have a homeport in Louisiana for the first time when the 2,700-passenger Disney Wonder embarks on six cruises in the Caribbean, the port said.