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Port Officials Welcome Holland America Westerdam’s Maiden Call

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Holland America Line’s Westerdam will call on the Port of New Orleans’ Julia Street Cruise Terminal Tuesday Oct. 27. The 936-foot cruise ship marks the first of a busy year for unique cruise ship calls in New Orleans through 2016.

A port call is a visit from a ship that doesn’t homeport in a city, but calls on a port as part of its cruise itinerary.

“New Orleans is an international destination and cruise lines see it as an attractive call on their itineraries to market to potential passengers,” said Gary LaGrange, Port President and CEO. “Unique cruise ship calls have a big impact on the local economy, as thousands of passengers at a time, who are often international, have the opportunity to explore everything New Orleans and the surrounding area has to offer.

Port officials will mark the ship’s maiden voyage to New Orleans with a plaque exchange aboard the Westerdam, which will be attended by Carnival Corp. President and CEO Arnold W. Donald. Holland America Lines is part of Carnival Corp.

Next month, AIDA Cruises will return the AIDAvita to New Orleans Nov. 27 for the first of 11 overnight calls through December of 2016. P&O Cruises will also have a significant presence in New Orleans next year, as its Oriana will make three overnight calls and P&O’s Oceana and Azura will make one overnight call each all at the Julia Street Cruise Terminal. In addition, Hapag-Lloyd Cruises’ Europa 2 will call the Port Oct. 10-12 in 2016 and Azamara Club Cruises will bring its Azamara Quest for a two-day call Oct. 25-26, 2016.

Cruise Lines International Association ranks the Port of New Orleans the sixth-largest cruise port in the United States with direct industry expenditures in Louisiana totaling $406 million, supporting 8,129 jobs and accounting for $323 million in total income.

Port cruise terminals currently host three home-ported cruise ships. Carnival Cruise Lines offers a wide variety of itineraries with the 2,052-passenger Carnival Elation sailing year-round four- and five-day itineraries from New Orleans and the 3,646-passenger Carnival Dream sailing year-round seven-day itineraries to both eastern and western Caribbean destinations. In April, Carnival Cruise Lines will increase its capacity for four- and five-day itineraries by 34 percent with the Carnival Triumph replacing the Carnival Elation. In addition, Norwegian Cruise Line’s 2,340-passenger Norwegian Dawn will return Nov. 13 to sail seasonal seven-day cruises from November through May from the Julia Street Cruise Terminal.

New Orleans features a wide array of coastal and River cruises throughout the year. American Cruise Lines homeports its sternwheelers Queen of the Mississippi and American Eagle in New Orleans and American Queen Steamboat Co. sails the American Queen from New Orleans.

Cruise Critic, a leading cruise reviews and information web site, named the Port of New Orleans it’s “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. Leading cruise publication Porthole Cruise Magazine also named the Port of New Orleans “Friendliest Homeport” for the second year in a row in its 2014 Editor-In-Chief Awards.l