New Orleans’ largest year-round cruise ship, the 3,646-passenger Carnival Dream, will depart on its inaugural six-day cruise from New Orleans this afternoon, further solidifying Carnival’s distinction of the port’s largest cruise operator with two ships carrying more than 400,000 passengers annually – the most of any cruise line.
The special six-day voyage, visiting Costa Maya, Mahogany Bay (Isla Roatan), and Cozumel, will depart from the newly refurbished Erato Street Cruise Terminal, which has undergone a $2.3 million upgrade to accommodate a ship as large as the 130,000-ton Carnival Dream.
Beginning April 20, Carnival Dream will launch year-round seven-day service from New Orleans offering three distinctly different itineraries – western Caribbean cruises visiting Montego Bay, Cozumel, and Grand Cayman; or Mahogany Bay (Isla Roatan), Belize and Cozumel; and a Bahamas/Florida route calling at Key West, Freeport and Nassau. Carnival Dream joins Carnival Elation which sails year-round four- and five-day cruises to Mexico.
A study by Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) found that spending by Carnival and other cruise operators 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.
The 1,004-foot-long Carnival Dream offers a host of on-board innovations, including WaterWorks featuring a 303-foot-long Twister water slide – among the longest at sea – as well as a luxurious 23,750-square-foot Cloud 9 Spa, a half-mile outdoor promenade with whirlpools that extend out over the ship’s sides, and more than two dozen bars, restaurants and lounges, including the poolside RedFrog Rum Bar and BlueIguana Tequila Bar.
Also featured is a Punchliner Comedy Club presented by George Lopez with nearly two dozen family-friendly and adult-oriented comedy shows per voyage. Carnival Dream also offers fun, supervised activities for children in three age groups and later this year will add Seuss at Sea, part of a fleetwide partnership with Dr. Seuss Enterprises featuring exciting youth, family, dining and entertainment experiences inspired by the amazing world of Dr. Seuss.
Carnival Dream also includes a stunning indoor/outdoor café/live entertainment venue called Ocean Plaza as well as the Seaside Theatre, a 270-square-foot LED screen displaying concerts, sporting events and nightly Dive-In Movies.
A variety of spacious accommodations are also available, with dozens of suites and a wide selection of balcony staterooms, including unique cove balconies located closer to the water offering outstanding sea views. There are also ocean view staterooms with a full bath plus separate wash room and five-berth staterooms that are ideal for families.
“New Orleans is one of our most popular homeports and Carnival Dream provides vacationers with a spectacular ‘Fun Ship’ cruise option from the Big Easy offering an incredible array of on-board innovations,” said Gerry Cahill, Carnival’s president and CEO. “Further, the arrival of Carnival Dream significantly expands our capacity in New Orleans, which is a direct result of the combined efforts of port and local officials and our valued travel agent partners who have been instrumental in supporting our New Orleans cruise program,” he added.
Commented Port of New Orleans President and CEO Gary LaGrange, “The arrival of the Carnival Dream is the culmination of a lot of hard work and a strong commitment by Port of New Orleans officials, tourism leaders and Carnival Cruise Lines to build strong cruising demand from the Crescent City. The ship’s amenities and features are second to none. We’re thrilled to welcome the Carnival Dream as a year-round resident of the Port and City of New Orleans.”