More people are choosing to depart from New Orleans and New York on their cruises than ever before. Departures from New Orleans were up by 33 percent while departures from New York grew 27 percent in 2004, according to statistics released by the Maritime Administration (MARAD) on April 26.
North American cruise passenger traffic increased overall by 12.8 percent in 2004, with more than 9.4 million passengers traveling on the 17 major cruise lines. These figures are up from the 8.3 million passengers traveling on the same lines in 2003.
Although ports in Florida continue to account for the majority of cruise passenger departures, passenger departures from Miami fell by 10 percent. The outlook was better for Fort Lauderdale and Port Canaveral where departures grew by 11 percent.
The Western Caribbean continued to be the most popular destination, with 33 percent of the cruises traveling to this location. Cruises to Mexico’s Pacific Coast experienced the largest growth in popularity, with a 32 percent increase in passengers.
The total number of days passengers spent cruising increased by 15 percent in 2004. Cruises lasting six to eight days are still the most common, even though cruises nine days or longer grew 38 percent. The survey results mark the first time cruises lasting nine days or more have surpassed two to five day long cruises.
The figures are part of a statistical series issued quarterly by MARAD on cruise passenger traffic, with data for the 17 major cruise lines operating cruise ships
with a capacity greater than 750 passengers.