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New Orleans tops 1m passengers for second year in a row

New Orleans tops 1m passengers for second year in a row
Port of New Orleans cruise terminals handled more than 1m cruise passengers in 2015, totaling 1,023,700, up 1% from 2014. The total marks the fifth consecutive record year and port officials expect another robust season in 2016 when new and larger ships are on tap.

'Year-end numbers illustrate how popular the port and the city of New Orleans are with cruise passengers throughout the nation,' port president and ceo Gary LaGrange said. 'The fact our cruise partners are investing in new and larger ships here bodes well for the industry for years to come.'

Carnival Cruise Line is increasing capacity on its year-round four- and five-day itineraries by 34% in April when Carnival Triumph replaces Carnival Elation in New Orleans. Also, American Cruise Line will add the new 185-passenger riverboat America.

Other brands sailing from New Orleans include Norwegian Cruise Line and American Queen Steamboat Co.

LaGrange noted passengers can choose from a range of itineraries, including the length of the Mississippi River, the Bahamas and Belize.

Direct cruise industry expenditures in Louisiana total $406m, supporting 8,120 jobs and providing $324m in personal income, according to research conducted by Cruise Lines International Association. Port studies determined 80% of cruise passengers are from out of state and 60% spend an average of two nights in New Orleans before or after their cruise.

The Erato Street Cruise Terminal currently hosts the 3,646-passenger Carnival Dream, which sails seven-day eastern and western Caribbean itineraries and the 2,052-passenger Carnival Elation, offering four- and five-day cruises to Cozumel and Progreso. The Julia Street Cruise Terminal serves the 2,340-passenger Norwegian Dawn, which sails seven-day western Caribbean cruises seasonally from November to May, and calls by the ships from lines including Holland America, P&O Cruises, Hapag-Lloyd Cruises, AIDA Cruises and Azamara Club Cruises.

Currently sternwheelers Queen of the Mississippi, American Eagle and American Queen operate from New Orleans, too.