According to reports, Carnival Cruise Line ship Triumph will offer seven-day cruises year-round from the Port of New Orleans beginning
next year, Carnival Corp.
announced Wednesday in a move hailed by port officials as a vital boost to the city's hurricane-damaged travel and tourism industry.
With Wednesday's announcement, Gary LaGrange
, president and chief executive officer of the Port, said three cruise lines will base four ships in New Orleans by fall 2007, a return to levels of operation before Hurricane Katrina struck last August.
Carnival's ship Fantasy is scheduled to begin year-round cruises from New Orleans to the Caribbean beginning Oct. 26.
Norwegian Cruise Lines, Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines and Princess Cruise Lines also will begin sailing from New Orleans in the coming months.
Triumph, which can carry more than 2,750 passengers, will sail Aug. 28, 2007 on a five day-cruise to Costa Maya and Cozumel. Seven-day cruises will begin Sept. 2.
LaGrange said the cruise industry generated about 2,800 jobs before the hurricane struck and he anticipates that figure will continue to grow with the cruise industry's return this fall. He said he expects employment to return to those levels and to grow.