The largest passenger load cruise ship ever to be docked at the Port of New Orleans arrived today.
The 3,600 passenger Carnival Dream begin year round, Caribbean departures starting at 4 o'clock this afternoon. The first trip is a 6 day voyage. After that it will be a 7 day cruise.
Carnival Senior Vice President of Fleet Deployment Terry Thornton says this ship is 30% bigger than their last ship and can hold 4,000 people with crew.
"It will being doing three different seven day itineraries. One of which will go to Montego Bay in Jamaica, Grand Cayman and Cozumel. The other will be going to Mahogany Bay, Belize and Cozumel and the third itinerary is going to Key West, Freeport and Nassau," Thornton says.
The 1,004 ft. long cruise ship offers a host of on board innovations, including a 303 foot long water slide among the longest at sea, more than 2 dozen bars, restaurants and lounges, and over 1800 staterooms and suites.
Robert Jumonville, Director of Cruise and Tourism for the Port of New Orleans says there's a reason Cruise Ships in New Orleans work.
"You go to foreign ports. You have casinos on board, top class entertainment and a stay in New Orleans before or after your cruise; you're getting two vacations in one," he said.
Jumonville also states when it comes to more cruise ships in the future, New Orleans is not done.
"Do we expect more? We always expect more, and that's why we're building our 3rd cruise terminal to be prepared for more," he said.
Thornton says guests can expect two new outside upper deck bars and a state of the art water park with a 303 foot water slide. He says they also have a comedy club put together by George Lopez and the Cloud 9 full featured Spa.
"Those are very new themed bars. You have food, drinks, there is entertainment. Those bars become a full experience," Thornton says.
Thornton says the appeal of New Orleans helps to bring new passengers on Carnival Cruises. He says guests will often spend time in the Big Easy before or after their voyage. The Port of New Orleans invested 2.3 million dollars to accommodate a ship as large as the Carnival Dream.
"The cruises are very popular from New Orleans, people are very happy with the experience. There is a good fit between the people we are attracting in New Orleans and the market that is attracted to New Orleans," Thornton says.