'Inland river cruising is a quickly growing segment of our cruise portfolio. We appreciate our partnership with American Cruise Lines and are working together to provide an exceptional experience for river cruise customers,' port president and CEO Brandy Christian said.
First in a series
The 184-passenger American Song, first in a series, has modern design features and contemporary styling. A four-story, glass-enclosed atrium is topped with a large domed skylight, and lounges with triple the glass of other riverboats afford great views.
'It is only fitting to see the first modern riverboat in US history debut on the Mississippi, the nation’s most storied and iconic river,' American Cruise Lines CEO Charles Robertson said.
A schedule of eight-day Lower Mississippi River cruises will operate throughout the remainder of 2018 before the vessel repositions to the Columbia and Snake rivers in 2019. Next year American Song’s sister, American Harmony, is scheduled for Mississippi service, joining two of American Cruise Lines' Victorian-style paddlewheelers, Queen of the Mississippi and America.
Plus, Disney, Norwegian Breakaway and more
In other port news, Disney Cruise Line recently announced it will make its first sailings from New Orleans in early 2020. Disney Wonder is scheduled for six cruises from Feb. 7 through March 6.
This November, Norwegian Breakaway will become the largest cruise ship in terms of length and passenger occupancy ever to sail from the port. It will replace Norwegian Pearl. And in November next year, Norwegian Getaway will take over from Norwegian Breakaway.
Royal Caribbean International returns to New Orleans this December with Vision of the Seas, and Carnival Cruise Line will increase capacity on its short cruise program in 2019 by replacing Carnival Triumph with Carnival Valor, while Carnival Glory assumes Carnival Dream's seven-day route.
The American Queen Steamboat Co. homeports two paddlewheelers, the 166-passenger American Duchess, and the 436-passenger American Queen, the largest paddlewheel steamboat ever built.
New cruise record
The port anticipates setting a new cruise record in 2018 after handling 1,150,172 passenger movements in 2017. This would mark the fifth consecutive year of more than 1m cruise passenger movements.