Carnival Cruises Lines and New Orleans will continue their partnership for at least three years. // © New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau
Carnival Cruise Lines — which sails to destinations in Mexico and the Caribbean, among many others — has recently signed with the Port of New Orleans to extend its berthing agreement for another three years. The agreement became effective on February 13 and will remain so until February 12, 2016. Between now and then, there will also be two one-year options to extend the agreement.
“Carnival Cruise Lines currently carries 340,000 passengers annually from the Port of New Orleans, which consistently ranks as one of the most popular homeports among our guests,” said Gerry Cahill, president and CEO of Carnival. “This agreement builds upon our outstanding relationship with the Port and the New Orleans community and we look forward to continuing to sail from such a highly-rated and attractive homeport.”
Right now New Orleans is the home port of two Carnival ships: the Carnival Conquest and Carnival Elation, both of which sail year-round from the Erato Street Cruise Terminal. The Conquest, with a 2,984 passenger capacity, embarks on six- and seven-day excursions throughout the Caribbean; its ports of call include Grand Cayman, Cozumel, Nassau, the Bahamas and San Juan, among others. The Elation, which can accommodate 2,052 passengers, takes travelers on four- and five-day cruises to Cozumel and Progreso. Beginning in November, the Carnival Sunshine, which can carry up to 3,006 passengers, will become the third Carnival vessel to call New Orleans its home port, following an extensive $155 million refurbishment.
“We are grateful to Carnival for its long-term commitment to New Orleans, which is another milestone in an exciting time for our city’s $5 billion tourism industry,” said Kim Priez, vice president of tourism for the New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB). “We promise Carnival the CVB’s continued support as we attract cruise passengers to enjoy two vacations in one.”
The extension of Carnival’s berthing agreement with the Port of New Orleans bodes well economically for the city as well as the company. A study by Cruise Lines International Association found a 35 percent increase in direct spending attributable to the cruise industry between 2010 and 2011. The study also concluded that the industry generated 5,512 jobs and $211 million in income in Louisiana overall. Another study that the Port commissioned in 2011 concluded that cruise passengers departing from New Orleans stayed an average of 1.8 nights in local hotels before or after their cruises and spent an additional $27.9 million there.