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Where Is The Cruise Ship Port In New Orleans


Modified: December 28, 2023

by Anica Sowers



Welcome to the vibrant city of New Orleans, where music, culture, and history harmonize to create an enchanting atmosphere. While known for its Mardi Gras festivities, lively jazz scene, and delicious cuisine, New Orleans is also a popular destination for cruise ship travelers. The city boasts a thriving cruise ship port that attracts thousands of visitors each year.


In this article, we will dive into the fascinating world of the cruise ship industry in New Orleans. We will explore the history of the cruise ship port, delve into the importance of this industry to the local economy, and discover the convenient location of the port. You’ll also learn about the various facilities and amenities available at the port, as well as the transportation options for getting there. Lastly, we’ll highlight some nearby attractions and activities to help you make the most of your time in this vibrant city.


Whether you’re a seasoned cruise enthusiast or embarking on your first sea adventure, New Orleans offers a unique and unforgettable experience. So, pack your bags, put on your sailor’s hat, and let’s set sail into the world of the New Orleans cruise ship port!


History of Cruise Ship Port in New Orleans

The history of the cruise ship port in New Orleans is as rich and diverse as the city itself. The port has a long-standing connection to the maritime industry, dating back to the early 18th century when New Orleans served as a vital trading hub along the Mississippi River.


However, it wasn’t until the late 20th century that the city began to establish itself as a prominent player in the cruise ship industry. In 1984, the construction of the Julia Street Cruise Terminal marked the beginning of a new era for cruise ship travel in New Orleans. This terminal was initially used for day cruises along the river, but the growing demand for longer voyages soon led to the need for a dedicated cruise ship port.


In 1991, the Port of New Orleans opened the Erato Street Cruise Terminal, which became the first purpose-built facility for cruise ship embarkations and disembarkations. This new terminal kickstarted the expansion of the cruise ship industry in the city, attracting major cruise lines such as Carnival Cruise Line, Royal Caribbean International, and Norwegian Cruise Line.


Over the years, the cruise ship port in New Orleans has undergone several renovations and expansions to accommodate the increasing number of passengers and larger cruise ships. In 2006, the Julia Street Cruise Terminal was converted into a second embarkation point, providing more options for travelers and enabling the port to host multiple ships simultaneously.


The resilience of the cruise ship port in New Orleans was put to the test in 2005 when Hurricane Katrina devastated the city. The port sustained significant damage, but through a remarkable effort of reconstruction and recovery, it reopened in 2006, underscoring its importance to the city’s economy and tourism industry.


Today, the cruise ship port in New Orleans continues to flourish and has firmly established itself as a top destination for cruise ship travelers. Its rich history, combined with strategic investments and ongoing improvements, has positioned the port as a key player in the global cruise ship industry.


Importance of the Cruise Ship Industry in New Orleans

The cruise ship industry plays a vital role in the economy and tourism sector of New Orleans, bringing significant benefits to the city and its residents. Let’s explore the importance of the cruise ship industry in more detail:


Tourism Boost: The cruise ship industry in New Orleans generates a substantial influx of tourists to the city. These visitors contribute to the local economy by spending money on accommodations, dining, entertainment, and shopping. The industry also supports numerous jobs in various sectors, including hospitality, transportation, and retail.


Economic Impact: The economic impact of the cruise ship industry is immense. According to a study conducted by Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), the industry contributed over $400 million to the economy of New Orleans in 2018 alone. This includes direct spending by cruise lines, passenger and crew spending, and indirect economic impacts.


Job Creation: The cruise ship industry provides employment opportunities for local residents. This includes positions at the cruise ship port, such as security personnel, customer service representatives, and maintenance staff. Additionally, the industry supports jobs in related sectors, such as tour operators, taxi drivers, and souvenir vendors.


Tourism Infrastructure Development: The growth of the cruise ship industry has spurred infrastructure development in the city. To cater to the needs of cruise ship passengers, New Orleans has invested in enhancing its port facilities, including building state-of-the-art terminals, expanding parking areas, and upgrading security measures. These improvements not only benefit cruise ship travelers but also enhance overall tourism infrastructure for all visitors to the city.


Cultural Exchange: The cruise ship industry brings people from all over the world to New Orleans, fostering cultural exchange and promoting understanding between different cultures. Visitors have the opportunity to experience the unique culture, music, cuisine, and history of the city, enriching their travel experiences and contributing to the city’s reputation as a multicultural destination.


Overall, the cruise ship industry is a key contributor to the economic growth, job creation, and tourism development of New Orleans. It showcases the city’s vibrant culture, attracts visitors from around the globe, and supports various industries and small businesses. The continued success of the cruise ship industry in New Orleans is not only beneficial for the local economy but also ensures that the city remains a sought-after destination for sea travelers worldwide.


Location of the Cruise Ship Port in New Orleans

The cruise ship port in New Orleans is conveniently located near the heart of the city, making it easily accessible for both locals and tourists. Situated along the Mississippi River, the port provides a picturesque and convenient embarkation point for cruise ship travelers.


The main cruise terminals in New Orleans are the Julia Street Cruise Terminal and the Erato Street Cruise Terminal, both offering modern amenities and services for passengers. These terminals are strategically situated within close proximity to popular tourist attractions, hotels, restaurants, and transportation options.


The Julia Street Cruise Terminal is located at 1350 Port of New Orleans Place, right beside the historic Warehouse District. This vibrant neighborhood is known for its art galleries, museums, and trendy restaurants. Visitors can stroll along Magazine Street, browse unique shops, or indulge in delicious seafood at one of the nearby eateries. The terminal is just a short distance from the famous French Quarter, where visitors can immerse themselves in the lively music scene, explore historic sites, and savor the city’s iconic Creole and Cajun cuisine.


The Erato Street Cruise Terminal is located at 1100 Port of New Orleans Place, adjacent to the bustling entertainment district known as the Central Business District. This vibrant area is home to several theaters, sporting venues, and shopping centers. Visitors can catch a live performance at the Saenger Theatre, cheer on the New Orleans Pelicans basketball team at the Smoothie King Center, or shop at the Outlet Collection at Riverwalk. The terminal is also conveniently close to the renowned Garden District, known for its stunning historic mansions and beautiful gardens.


Both terminals are easily accessible from Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport, which is approximately 15 miles away. Visitors can take a taxi, shuttle service, or ride-sharing service to reach the terminals in a hassle-free manner. Additionally, local transportation options such as streetcars and buses provide convenient access to the cruise ship port from various parts of the city.


Overall, the location of the cruise ship port in New Orleans ensures that travelers have a seamless and enjoyable experience. With its proximity to popular attractions, diverse neighborhoods, and transportation options, the port serves as an ideal starting point for exploring the vibrant city of New Orleans.


Facilities and Amenities at the Cruise Ship Port

The cruise ship port in New Orleans offers a range of facilities and amenities to ensure a smooth and comfortable experience for passengers. From convenient parking options to easy embarkation procedures, let’s explore what you can expect at the port:


Terminal Facilities: The Julia Street Cruise Terminal and the Erato Street Cruise Terminal are equipped with modern facilities to handle the needs of cruise ship passengers. These terminals feature spacious embarkation areas, check-in counters, security checkpoints, and baggage handling services. Restrooms and seating areas are available to provide comfort while awaiting embarkation.


Parking: The cruise ship port provides convenient parking options for passengers who choose to drive to the port. Both short-term and long-term parking facilities are available within close proximity to the terminals. Secure parking areas with 24/7 surveillance ensure the safety of vehicles during the duration of the cruise.


Accessibility: The cruise ship port is designed to accommodate passengers with disabilities or special needs. The terminals are wheelchair accessible, and additional assistance is available upon request. Passengers requiring special accommodations should contact their cruise line in advance to arrange for any necessary arrangements or equipment.


Dining and Shopping: Inside the terminals, passengers can find a selection of dining options and shops. Grab a quick bite to eat at a café or restaurant before boarding your cruise ship, or browse through duty-free shops to pick up last-minute essentials, souvenirs, or luxury goods.


Security: The cruise ship port prioritizes the safety and security of passengers. Rigorous security protocols are in place, including baggage screening and identification checks. Port security personnel ensure a safe environment for all passengers and staff, providing peace of mind during your visit to the port.


Transportation Services: For passengers requiring transportation to and from the cruise ship port, various options are available. Taxis, ride-sharing services, shuttles, and public transportation can easily access the terminals. Many hotels in the area also offer shuttle services to the port for added convenience.


Overall, the facilities and amenities at the cruise ship port in New Orleans are designed to provide a seamless and enjoyable experience for passengers. From the moment you arrive at the terminal to the time you embark on your cruise ship, the port ensures that your needs are met and that you have everything you require for a memorable vacation.


Transportation Options to the Cruise Ship Port

Getting to the cruise ship port in New Orleans is easy and convenient, thanks to the various transportation options available. Whether you’re arriving by air, car, or public transportation, here are some ways to reach the port:


By Air: If you’re traveling from afar, you can fly into Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport, located approximately 15 miles from the cruise ship port. From the airport, you have several transportation options including:

  • Taxi: Taxis are readily available at the airport. It’s a convenient and hassle-free way to reach the port, with an approximate travel time of about 30 minutes.
  • Ride-sharing Services: Popular ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft operate in New Orleans, providing a convenient and often more affordable option for transportation.
  • Shuttle Service: Several shuttle services operate between the airport and the cruise ship port. These services offer shared or private transportation, with the convenience of directly dropping you off at the port.

By Car: If you prefer to drive to the cruise ship port, both short-term and long-term parking options are available near the terminals. The parking facilities are secure and monitored, ensuring the safety of your vehicle during your cruise. From the parking areas, you can easily access the terminals on foot. It’s important to check with your cruise line for parking availability and fees.


By Public Transportation: New Orleans has a reliable and affordable public transportation system that can take you to the cruise ship port. The Regional Transit Authority (RTA) operates buses and streetcars throughout the city. The Julia Street Cruise Terminal is within walking distance of several streetcar lines, including the St. Charles Avenue line and the Riverfront line. The Erato Street Cruise Terminal is easily accessible by various bus routes. Check the RTA website for schedules and routes.


Hotel Shuttles: Many hotels in New Orleans offer complimentary shuttle services to the cruise ship port for their guests. This can be a convenient option if you’re staying at a hotel near the French Quarter or the Central Business District. Check with your hotel in advance to see if they provide this service and to make any necessary arrangements.


Whether you choose to arrive by air, car, or public transportation, rest assured that there are ample options to get you to the cruise ship port in New Orleans. With its convenient location and accessibility, starting your cruise adventure in the Big Easy is a breeze.


Nearby Attractions and Activities

While your cruise adventure awaits, take the opportunity to explore the vibrant city of New Orleans and discover its nearby attractions and activities. From historic landmarks to cultural experiences, here are some top recommendations:


French Quarter: No visit to New Orleans is complete without exploring the famous French Quarter. Immerse yourself in the lively atmosphere as you walk along the colorful streets filled with iconic architecture, jazz music pouring out of the bars, and the mouthwatering smells of Creole and Cajun cuisine. Don’t miss the chance to visit iconic landmarks like Jackson Square, St. Louis Cathedral, and the historic Café du Monde.


Garden District: Step into a charming neighborhood adorned with beautiful antebellum mansions, lush gardens, and tree-lined streets. The Garden District is known for its stunning architecture and historic charm. Take a leisurely stroll and admire the grand mansions, or hop on a guided tour to learn more about the district’s history and famous residents.


National WWII Museum: For history enthusiasts, the National WWII Museum is a must-visit attraction. This world-renowned museum offers a comprehensive and immersive experience, showcasing the story of World War II through exhibits, artifacts, and interactive displays. Learn about the war’s impact on the city and the heroism of those who fought and sacrificed during this pivotal period in history.


Steamboat Natchez: Experience the charm of a bygone era with a cruise aboard the Steamboat Natchez. This authentic steam-powered paddle wheeler takes you on a scenic journey along the Mississippi River. Enjoy live jazz music, savor delicious Creole cuisine, and take in breathtaking views of the city skyline as you sail along the river.


Swamp Tours: Venture outside the city and explore the unique ecosystem of the Louisiana swamps. Embark on a guided swamp tour and encounter fascinating wildlife, including alligators, turtles, and various bird species. Learn about the delicate balance of this wetland environment and the importance of its preservation.


Culinary Delights: New Orleans is renowned for its delectable cuisine, and there’s no shortage of culinary delights to savor. Indulge in mouthwatering seafood, gumbo, jambalaya, beignets, and po’boys. Don’t forget to try traditional dishes like crawfish étouffée and red beans and rice, and explore the city’s diverse dining scene, from cozy neighborhood eateries to upscale restaurants.


Live Music: New Orleans is often referred to as the birthplace of jazz music, and the city’s music scene is alive and thriving. Enjoy live performances of jazz, blues, and other genres at iconic venues like Preservation Hall, Tipitina’s, and The Spotted Cat. Let the rhythm take you and experience the soulful melodies that define this energetic city.


These are just a few of the many attractions and activities awaiting you in and around New Orleans. Whether you choose to immerse yourself in the city’s rich history, indulge in its culinary delights, or revel in its vibrant music scene, there’s something for everyone to enjoy before or after your cruise ship adventure.



New Orleans, with its rich history, vibrant culture, and thriving cruise ship industry, offers a unique and unforgettable experience for travelers. The cruise ship port in New Orleans, strategically located near the heart of the city, serves as a gateway to a world of adventure and exploration.


As we’ve explored in this article, the cruise ship industry in New Orleans has a fascinating history, dating back to the construction of the Julia Street Cruise Terminal in 1984. Since then, the port has grown and expanded, accommodating larger ships and attracting major cruise lines.


The importance of the cruise ship industry to New Orleans cannot be overstated. It brings a significant economic boost to the city, supporting local businesses, creating employment opportunities, and contributing to the overall tourism sector. The industry also promotes cultural exchange, allowing visitors to experience the unique flavors, music, and history of New Orleans.


The location of the cruise ship port, situated near popular neighborhoods such as the French Quarter and the Garden District, provides easy access to a plethora of attractions and activities. From historic landmarks to delicious cuisine, the city offers something for every traveler to enjoy.


The facilities and amenities at the cruise ship port ensure a seamless and comfortable experience for passengers. Whether you arrive by air, car, or public transportation, getting to the port is convenient, and once there, you’ll find modern terminals, parking options, and a range of services to make your embarkation process smooth and efficient.


With nearby attractions like the French Quarter, the Garden District, the National WWII Museum, and the opportunity to explore the Louisiana swamps, there’s no shortage of activities to enjoy before or after your cruise. Immerse yourself in the vibrant music scene, savor the city’s culinary delights, and soak in the unique atmosphere that makes New Orleans so special.


In conclusion, the cruise ship port in New Orleans offers a gateway to a city filled with charm, culture, and adventure. Whether you’re embarking on a Caribbean cruise or a river cruise along the Mississippi River, starting your journey in the Big Easy adds an extra layer of excitement and exploration. So pack your bags, set sail, and create unforgettable memories in the enchanting city of New Orleans.