July 1 2013 | Latest NewsBY: CityBusiness staff reports
Friday, June 28, 2013
Growing demand has led Carnival Cruise Lines to increase the size of one of its ships that sail from the Port of New Orleans
Carnival was already set to replace an existing ship in November, but it will make another switch in April that will add capacity for another 600 passengers.
The 3,006-passenger Sunshine will come to New Orleans on Nov. 18 to replace the 2,984-passenger Carnival Conquest. Although the change will add only 22 more berths, the Sunshine is one of Carnival’s newly refurbished boats having gone through a $155 million transformation.
The Sunshine will sail regular seven-day western and eastern Caribbean itineraries from New Orleans through April, when it will be replaced with the 3,646-passenger Carnival Dream from Port
Canaveral, Fla. The Dream is from Carnival’s newest and largest class of ships and will sail year-round seven-day itineraries from New Orleans.
The 2,052-passenger Carnival Elation will continue to sail year-round four- and five-day itineraries from New Orleans to Cozumel and Progreso, Mexico. Carnival is the only cruise line to operate two, year-round ships from New Orleans and will carry more than 400,000 guests annually from the Port of New Orleans.
Carnival’s announcement comes on the heels of a recently signed three-year extension of its berthing agreement with the Port of New Orleans, which will keep two Carnival cruise ships sailing year-round from New Orleans through at least Feb. 12, 2016.
A recent study by Cruise Lines International Association found the cruise industry accounted for $280 million in direct spending in 2011, up 35 percent compared with 2010. The study also found the industry generated 5,512 jobs and $211 million in income in Louisiana.
A port study from 2012 found cruise passengers in New Orleans stay an average of 1.8 nights in area hotels either before or after their cruise and spent another $27.9 million on lodging, food, beverage and incidental spending.