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Port of New Orleans Named ‘Best North American Homeport’ By Cruise Critic

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Cruise Critic, a leading cruise reviews and information web site, named the Port of New Orleans its “Best North American Homeport” as part of its 2014 U.S. Editors’ Picks. Cruise Critic hosts the largest cruise community in the world with more than 3 million people ranging from avid cruise fans to first-time cruisers.

In giving the honor, the web site’s editors said: “The party rarely stops in the Crescent City, which is why this historic port along the Mississippi River is the perfect spot to start your vacation. There’s world-class music, food and shopping; in 2014 the Outlet Collection at Riverwalk opened adjacent to the terminal giving passengers even more incentive to let the good times roll.”

Port President and CEO Gary LaGrange said the honor is fitting for the growing cruise industry in the Crescent City.

“In addition to having the most efficient and convenient cruise terminals in the United States, the Port of New Orleans is in the center of a world-class destination City,” LaGrange said. “Cruising from New Orleans is two vacations in one – come for the cuisine, live music and museums and then debark on a great Caribbean cruise.”

Port cruise terminals were bustling this week, as approximately 33,000 cruise passengers embarked and disembarked on cruises from New Orleans. Cruise terminals handled six ship calls in five days with the arrival of Norwegian Cruise Line’s Norwegian Dawn and Royal Caribbean Cruise Line’s Serenade of the Seas Nov. 21 and Nov. 22 to begin their weekly seven-day seasonal itineraries through April from the Julia Street Cruise Terminal.

In addition, Carnival Cruise Line’s Carnival Elation and Carnival Dream continue to sail yearround seven-day itineraries from the Erato Street Cruise Terminal.

The Port’s Board of Commissioners approved the contract for the final design of the Poland Avenue Cruise Terminal during the Nov. 20 meeting to move the Port’s third cruise ship terminal along.

Port cruise terminals handled 987,860 embarkations and disembarkations in 2013, which resulted in $399 million in cruise industry spending in Louisiana, supporting 7,548 jobs and $294 million in personal income, according to an economic impact study by Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA). More than 80 percent of those cruise passengers are from outside of Louisiana and spend an average of two nights in New Orleans hotels either before or after their cruise. Passengers and shipboard crew spend about $78 million per year in New Orleans with lodging ($27.5 million) and food and beverage ($8.3 million) encompassing about half of the overall spending. CLIA ranks New Orleans as the sixth largest cruise port in the United States.