The Port of New Orleans’ Big Wish: A Home Port for a Disney Cruise Line
The Evening Star is shining bright
So make a wish
And hold on tight
There’s magic in the air tonight
and anything can happen…
The Port of New Orleans has a bigger wish than Tiana at the beginning of The Princess and the Frog. According to an article on NOLA.com by Richard Thompson, officials from the Port of New Orleans recently met with executives from Disney Cruise Line in an attempt to sell New Orleans as a new home port with the aid of a new terminal that is currently in development.
Gary LaGrange, president and CEO of the Port of New Orleans, expects construction on the $23.1 million terminal to start as soon as the third quarter of the year and be finished in 2014. When complete, the Poland Avenue terminal will increase the port’s overall capacity by two cruise ships with an estimated 25,000 passengers a week.
A 2012 study shows that cruise passengers sailing from the Port of New Orleans stayed an average of 1.8 nights in New Orleans before and/or after their cruise. A separate study by the Port estimated that these same passengers spent $27.9 million during their stay. With 736,908 passengers sailing from New Orleans in 2011, that would round out to $38 spent per passenger.
Officials from the port realize they must sell New Orleans as a family destination.
“It’s not all about Bourbon Street, it’s not all about the French Quarter, but those are aspects, but to bring in the museums and other aspects.” – Gary LaGrange
LaGrange remains realistic about the chances of Disney Cruise Line home porting in New Orleans, stating ” (Disney is) not in the bag – far from it; but at least we’re in the game, and that’s the main thing.”
Cruising From New Orleans
Something else to consider is that it takes approximately 7 hours to navigate the Mississippi river; that is at least 14 hours per cruise.
Interestingly enough, the Disney Wonder’s schedule ends in the Fall of 2014 when she is expected to undergo an overhaul. We looked at a possible scenario that had the Wonder sailing a Western Caribbean itinerary beginning November 2014 from Port Canaveral. Keeping with the song.. anything can happen… it is remotely plausible that the Wonder could sail from New Orleans, if the Port’s wish comes true. It worked for Jamaica – why not New Orleans?
What do you think? Will the Port of New Orleans get the classic, Disney happily every after ending?