$2.3 million in renovations, expansions and upgrades are nearing completion at the Port of New Orleans’ Erato Street Cruise Terminal ahead of the arrival of the Port’s largest home-port cruise ship to date – the Carnival Dream.
The 3,646-passenger Carnival Dream is scheduled to begin sailing seven-day, year-round eastern and western Caribbean itineraries April 14 from the Port of New Orleans’ Erato Street Cruise Terminal, replacing the 3,006-passenger Carnival Sunshine, which will be repositioned to Port Canaveral, Fla.
The 130,000-ton Carnival Dream is from the cruise line’s newest and largest class of ships and offers an array of on-board facilities and features and represents a 22 percent increase in passenger capacity for Carnival’s seven-day cruise program from New Orleans. The 2,052-passenger Carnival Elation will continue to sail year-round four- and five-day itineraries to Progreso and Cozumel, Mexico. Carnival is the only cruise line to operate two, year-round cruise ships from the Port of New Orleans and will carry more than 400,000 guests annually from the Crescent City.
“The Port’s investment to expand and upgrade amenities in the Erato Street Cruise Terminal underscores Carnival’s confidence in the strength of the New Orleans cruise market,” said Gary LaGrange, Port President and CEO. “These upgrades will make an already first-class cruising experience even better.”
Many of the improvements were to accommodate the increased capacity of the Carnival Dream, LaGrange said.
The terminal improvements included relocating and expanding embarkation counters to maximize passenger flow; additional X-ray and screening machines to accommodate the increase in passengers and luggage; newly painted drop-off areas and ticketing areas to update the terminal’s decor; relocating, renovating and tripling the size of the terminal’s Captain’s Lounge; and the installation of state-of-the-art audio/video way-finding and information systems to facilitate passenger flow.
To be able to accommodate the design features of the Carnival Dream, Port officials moved the newer Julia Street Cruise Terminal gangway to the Erato Street Cruise Terminal. The Julia Street gangway, which was constructed in 2011, was designed to work with the Dream Class lifeboat configuration. The former Julia Street gangway also features dual telescoping extensions that connect to the ship’s weather deck, which allows the gangway to efficiently facilitate higher passenger volumes. The former Erato Street gangway was repositioned to Julia Street and is able to efficiently handle the cruise ships home-ported there seasonally from November to April.
A study by Cruise Lines International Association found cruise industry spending in Louisiana topped $399 million in 2012, generating 7,548 jobs and $294 million in personal income. CLIA also ranked New Orleans the sixth largest cruise port in the U.S.