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Carnival to chalk up 3 millionth cruiser post-Katrina at New Orleans

Carnival Conquest's festive arrival in 2011. Carnival Dream and Carnival Elation currently sail year-round from New Orleans (Photo: Port of New Orleans)
Carnival Cruise Line continues to expand its presence at the Port of New Orleans and expects to carry a record 400,000 passengers from the Crescent City this year. Additionally, Carnival estimates that in 2016 it will carry its three millionth passenger at the port since Hurricane Katrina hit in 2005.

Carnival pioneered year-round cruising from New Orleans in 1994 and has become the port’s largest cruise operator with two ships offering more than 125 four- to seven-day departures on an annual basis.

Following Hurricane Katrina, Carnival resumed service in New Orleans in October 2006—14 months after the storm—with one year-round ship, Carnival Fantasy, carrying fewer than 16,000 passengers that year. The company gradually increased capacity, deploying newer and larger ships, and next year expects to carry a new record 450,000 passengers from New Orleans.

Currently Carnival Dream operates seven-day Caribbean cruises, while Carnival Elation sails four- and five-day Mexico cruises.  Carnival will increase capacity on short cruises from New Orleans by 34% when Carnival Triumph replaces Carnival Elation next spring.

Carnival and other cruise operators have a significant impact on the Louisiana economy, accounting for more than 8,000 jobs and in excess of $400m in direct purchases each year, according to a study commissioned by Cruise Lines International Association. Additionally, data collected by the Port of New Orleans indicate passengers spend an average two nights pre- or post-cruise in the city.

'Carnival has a long and deep history with the city of New Orleans,' said Carlos Torres de Navarra, Carnival’s vp commercial port operations. 'We not only enjoy a very successful New Orleans-based cruise program but strive to be valuable community partners providing strong economic impact and supporting a variety of philanthropic initiatives.'

Port of New Orleans president and ceo Gary LaGrange called Carnival a 'valuable partner not only to the port, but to the city of New Orleans and the state of Louisiana.' He noted cruising has grown 180% since 2001, the year the port began in earnest marketing itself as a premier cruise destination.

'And we could not have realized such growth without Carnival’s investment in New Orleans,' LaGrange said.