(Matt Stroshane, photographer)
Disney Cruise Line announced it will sail from the Port of New Orleans (Port NOLA) in early 2020. The 2,700-passenger Disney Wonder will embark on a variety of Caribbean and Bahamian cruises from New Orleans – marking the first time Disney Cruise Line will have a homeport in Louisiana.
The Disney Wonder, which will homeport at the Erato Street Cruise Terminal, is scheduled for six cruises during this limited-time season from New Orleans, including: four-, six- and seven-night Western Caribbean itineraries; a seven-night Bahamian cruise; and a special 14-night Panama Canal voyage, Feb. 7 through March 6.
“We are thrilled Disney Cruise Line has chosen the Port of New Orleans as a homeport for their distinctive cruise experience,” said Brandy D. Christian, Port NOLA President and CEO. “With Port NOLA’s commitment to high-level service and the Crescent City’s many attractions, we are confident that Disney travelers will enjoy the excitement and convenience of launching their vacation from our unique city. We are also proud to bring the iconic cruise home to Louisiana Disney fans.”
Disney made the announcement during a live video direct from Walt Disney World Resort with the reveal of their 2020 cruise lineup. Princess Tiana herself, from Disney’s New Orleans-inspired animated film, “The Princess and the Frog,” was on hand to help break the news.
“Disney has long celebrated the rich stories of New Orleans – from themed experiences in our parks and resorts to films capturing the city’s vibrant music, flavors and culture,” said Jeff Vahle, president of Disney Signature Experiences. “Now we’ll extend that tradition by casting off from the Crescent City aboard the Disney Wonder, fusing the unmistakable character of one of America’s most beloved locales with the magic of Disney Cruise Line.”
Disney Wonder guests will experience “The Princess and the Frog” story while on board at Tiana’s Place restaurant, a celebration of New Orleans dining and entertainment that is exclusive to this ship.
There is something for everyone aboard the Disney Wonder, with dedicated spaces for kids, adults and families. The vessel features age-specific areas and customized, interactive programs for children up to age 17. Adults can enjoy areas designed just for them, including an elegant adults-only specialty restaurant, the adults-only Quiet Cove pool area, the upscale spa and salon, and an entire district of bars and lounges. For families, the Disney Wonder offers signature Disney entertainment and storytelling, including original theatrical productions, spectacular deck parties, and fireworks.
The Disney Cruise Line announcement is the latest milestone achieved by Port NOLA’s thriving cruise sector. The sixth-largest cruise port in the United States, Port NOLA surpassed the one-million-passenger mark for the fourth straight year in 2017 with 1.15 million passenger movements, and is on pace to set a new cruise passenger record in 2018.
In 2017, 17.74 million people visited New Orleans and Port NOLA’s cruise sector is key contributor to the tourism and hospitality industries — 90 percent of passengers travel from out-of-state, and 73 percent of passengers spend one or two nights in the region either before or after their cruise.
“The future is bright for New Orleans tourism and the arrival of Disney Cruise Line endorses the draw of our city as an in-demand destination for the entire family,” said Stephen Perry, President and CEO of New Orleans & Company, the city’s destination marketing group. “The Disney Wonder will provide discerning cruise enthusiasts with a wonderful opportunity to experience a magical vacation on the seas as well as in our beloved American city. We are so proud of Brandy Christian and her team for their extraordinary work on this project and we cannot wait to partner with travel agents and fill these wonderful cruises.”
Bookings open to the public on Oct. 4, 2018. More details on 2020 itineraries can be found on the Ports and Itineraries for 2020 page of disneycruise.com. To learn more about Disney Cruise Line or to book a vacation, visit disneycruise.com, call Disney Cruise Line at (888) 325-2500 or contact a travel agent.
Please see below welcoming remarks regarding the announcement from Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards, Lt. Governor Billy Nungesser and New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell.
Gov. John Bel Edwards:
“Louisiana is delighted to welcome Disney Cruise Line to New Orleans,” Gov. John Bel Edwards said. “The decision to base the 2,700-passenger Disney Wonder in New Orleans for part of its 2020 season is further validation of the Crescent City’s appeal as a cruise homeport and a great tourism destination. We thank Port of New Orleans President and CEO Brandy D. Christian and her team for their efforts to bring this superlative company to our state. I have no doubt that Disney Cruise Line and its guests will enjoy all that New Orleans and Southeast Louisiana have to offer.”
Lt. Gov. Billy Nungesser:
"We are thrilled to welcome the Disney Cruise Line to New Orleans and Louisiana, it’s another great asset to our growing tourism industry,” said Lt. Governor Billy Nungesser. "This partnership is a testament to the hard work and dedication to our industry by the Port of New Orleans, the river pilots and the entire New Orleans hospitality industry. We are thrilled to open our arms and welcome the thousands of families traveling to the city of New Orleans and the great state of Louisiana.”
New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell:
“I could not be more proud that Disney Cruise Line has selected the City of New Orleans as one of their homeports,” said Mayor LaToya Cantrell. “This is a huge win for our community, for our businesses and for our people. My administration is focused on expanding opportunities for families in the community and families visiting New Orleans. The Magic of Disney is a perfect fit for the magic of our City, and I’m grateful for all the work the team at the Port of New Orleans has done to make this possible.”
About Disney Cruise Line
Since its launch in 1998, Disney Cruise Line has established itself as a leader in the cruise industry, providing a setting where families can reconnect, adults can recharge and children can experience all Disney has to offer. Today, Disney Cruise Line continues to expand its blueprint for family cruising with a fleet of four ships – the Disney Magic, Disney Wonder, Disney Dream and Disney Fantasy. Guests can sail out of ports around the world on exciting itineraries to the Caribbean, Bahamas, Hawaii, Alaska and Europe, among others. The homeport for Disney Cruise Line remains Port Canaveral, Florida, where it has its own specially designed cruise terminal.
About Port of New Orleans
Port of New Orleans is a modern multimodal gateway for global commerce and an in-demand cruise port —delivering seamless, integrated logistics solutions between river, rail and road.Port NOLA is a diverse deepwater port uniquely located on the Mississippi River near the Gulf of Mexico -- with access to 30-plus major inland hubs such as Memphis, Chicago and Canada via 14,500 miles of waterways, 6 Class I railroads and interstate roadways. The 2018 acquisition of New Orleans Public Belt Railroad, a Class III connecting railroad, strengthens Port NOLA’s position as an integrated hub and supports the Port’s mission of driving regional economic prosperity.