Royal Caribbean cruises are returning to New Orleans after 3-year hiatus

Posted on: May 2 2017

By Jennifer Larino, | The Times-Picayune

Royal Caribbean will return to New Orleans, sailing week-long cruises to The Bahamas and Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula. The itineraries are set to launch for the 2018 winter cruise season.

Royal Caribbean's 2,435-passenger Vision of the Seas cruise ship will relocate Dec. 15, 2018 to the Port of New Orleans, according to a news release. The company announced the move as part of an overview of its 2018-2019 fleet plans

The move marks Royal Caribbean's return to New Orleans after a three-year hiatus. The Miami, Fla.-based company opted to end sailings from the city in June 2014 after a two-year agreement with the Port of New Orleans ended.

The departure came despite several years of growth for the city as a cruise hub. In 2015, the port topped 1 million cruise ship passengers.

The Vision of the Seas is currently sailing from Northern Europe in the summer and from Tampa in the fall. The 915-foot ship will sail two 16-night cruises through the Panama Canal in 2018 -- one from Miami to Los Angeles and another from Los Angeles to New Orleans -- before arriving in New Orleans.

Royal Caribbean plans to sail seven-night itineraries from New Orleans to "culture-rich" destinations in The Bahamas and the Yucatan.

In addition to adding a ship in New Orleans, Royal Caribbean announced it plans to move its Enchantment of the Seas ship from Miami to Galveston, Texas. The company will also reposition the Mariner of the Seas cruise ship to Miami after it completes three 13- to 15-night sailings from Singapore to Dubai; Dubai to Barcelona; and, lastly, Barcelona to Miami.

Royal Caribbean sails 24 cruise ships worldwide to destinations in Bermuda and the Caribbean, Europe, Canada and New England, Alaska, South America, Asia, Australia and New Zealand.