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Port of New Orleans Expects Record Cruise Calls

December 11, 2006

Port of New Orleans Expects Record Cruise Calls
Dec. 11, 2006 –According to the Port of New Orleans, it is experiencing its busiest month for cruise ship calls in its history. After welcoming back its first home-ported cruise ship in October, the port will host 23 cruise ship calls by seven cruise ships in December. The busy schedule means cruise ships will be in port 21 days during the month, bringing approximately 95,000 passengers through New Orleans.

"This is great news not only for the port, but for the city’s rebounding tourism industry," said Gary LaGrange, the port’s president and CEO. "Cruise ship passengers typically stay a day or two before or after their cruise, making New Orleans an additional port of call for their itineraries."

Princess Cruises’ 2,600-passenger Golden Princess will sail three seven-day cruises from the port’s temporary cruise terminal at the Poland Avenue Wharf on Dec. 16, Dec. 23 and Dec. 30. The port’s regular cruise ship schedule includes five calls by Royal Caribbean International’s Grandeur of the Seas, seven calls of Carnival Cruise Lines’ Fantasy, and five calls by Norwegian Cruise Line’s Norwegian Sun.

Port and U.S. Maritime Administration officials signed an agreement in October to transfer portions of the Poland Avenue Wharf back to the port to convert a cargo wharf to a permanent cruise terminal. That project is currently in the design and engineering phase. When completed, the addition, along with the newly opened $37 million Erato Street Cruise Terminal and parking garage, will allow the port to berth three of the industry’s largest cruise ships simultaneously.

Prior to Hurricane Katrina and the ensuing floods in late August 2005, the port was on target to break the one million passenger mark. A study also determined the industry had an overall economic impact of $226 million annually and supported 2,800 jobs. In August, Carnival will begin operating its 2,758-passenger Carnival Triumph for year-round, seven-day Western Caribbean cruises, replacing the Carnival Conquest, which was home-ported in New Orleans prior to Hurricane Katrina. NCL was the first to return with a first home-ported ship with the Norwegian Sun on Oct. 15. Carnival followed with the Fantasy a week later and Royal Caribbean began sailing the Grandeur of the Seas from New Orleans Dec. 3.

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