Carnival Cruise Lines will return to pre-Katrina capacity levels at the Port of New Orleans when the 2,974-passenger Carnival Conquest and 2,052-passenger Carnival Ecstasy are repositioned to the Big Easy to operate year-round departures beginning in fall 2011.

 With Carnival Conquest and Carnival Ecstasy, both of which are currently based in Galveston, the line is expected to carry nearly 340,000 passengers annually from New Orleans – the most of any cruise operator.

“New Orleans is an important homeport for Carnival and we are very pleased to return to pre-Katrina capacity levels with the deployment of the Carnival Conquest and Carnival Ecstasy – a wonderfully positive indicator of the city’s continued growth and recovery,” said Gerry Cahill, Carnival’s president and CEO.

 Cahill added that the line’s current New Orleans-based ship, the Carnival Triumph, will reposition to Galveston to operate year-round four- and five-day western Caribbean cruises beginning in fall 2011.

“With Carnival’s decision to homeport two cruise ships in New Orleans, the Port of New Orleans is poised to exceed our pre-Katrina volumes for cruise passengers and break new records,” said Gary LaGrange, president and CEO of the Port of New Orleans. “The progress that we have made in the recovery of this business is a testament to both the strong attraction that cruise passengers have to New Orleans as a destination and to the commitment of our cruise industry partners like Carnival.”          

Seven-Day Western Caribbean Cruises from New Orleans

Carnival Conquest will reposition to New Orleans for year-round seven-day Caribbean cruises beginning Nov. 13, 2011. 

The ship will offer three different week-long Caribbean options from New Orleans: a new western Caribbean program featuring Montego Bay, Grand Cayman and Cozumel, an eastern Caribbean itinerary to Key West, Freeport and Nassau, and exotic western Caribbean cruises to Belize, Roatan and Cozumel. 

Carnival Conquest, which made its inaugural voyage from New Orleans in 2002, offers a host of on-board facilities and features: 22 lounges, bars and nightspots with dramatic interiors inspired by artists from the Impressionist period, a 14,500-square-foot health and wellness facility, four restaurants, including a classic American-style steakhouse, and expansive play areas for children in three age groups.  The ship also offers four swimming pools – one with a 214-foot-long water slide.   Nearly 60 percent of the ship’s 1,487 staterooms offer an ocean view or private balcony.

Four- and Five-Day Cruises Aboard Carnival Ecstasy

Carnival Ecstasy will operate year-round four- and five-day western Caribbean voyages from New Orleans beginning Sept. 22, 2011. On the Carnival Ecstasy’s new itinerary, four-day cruises departing Thursdays visit Cozumel, while five-day cruises departing Mondays and Saturdays call at Cozumel and Progreso, Mexico.

The ship underwent a multi-million-dollar renovation last year that added a number of exciting features, including an expansive water park with a 300-foot-long water slide – among the largest at sea, a tropical-style main pool area, and an adults-only retreat located aft and providing magnificent sea views.  Additionally, 98 balconies were added to existing staterooms, providing a greater variety of accommodation choices.

Carnival Ecstasy also features three restaurants, a renovated 12,000-square-foot spa, a jogging track, and a wide variety of venues for dancing and entertainment, including a 1,200-seat theatre showcasing spectacular production shows.