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: 4-, 6- and 7-night Western Caribbean itineraries; a 7-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.”