Carnival Cruise Line to Offer Sailings to Cuba from New York, Virginia

cruise, ship, Cuba

Classic Pink convertible driving past a cruise ship in Havana, Cuba. (photo via WoodysPhotos / iStock Editorial / Getty Images Plus)
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Norwegian Breakaway to homeport in New Orleans

Norwegian Breakaway
Norwegian Cruise Line said its 4,000-passenger Norwegian Breakaway will move its homeport to New Orleans starting in the fall of 2018.

The ship, which has a large painting of the New York skyline on its hull, has been sailing from New York since its 2013 debut and has a number of New York-themed features.

The Breakaway will make the move after completing a summer season in the Baltics in 2018. It will arrive in New Orleans on November 11, 2018 and will sail a variety of cruises to the Caribbean through April 7, 2019.

Norwegian said the Norwegian Gem, which had been scheduled to sail from New Orleans in 2018/19 will instead go to New York and sail a series of cruises to the Caribbean, Canada & New England and the Bahamas & Florida. In the summer of 2018, the Norwegian Escape will be repositioned to New York from Miami for the first time to do seven-day sailings to Bermuda.

Cruise Industry Celebrates Record-Breaking Year

Cruise Industry Celebrates Record-Breaking Year

Carnival Liberty
PHOTO: Carnival Cruise Line’s Carnival Liberty. (photo via Flickr/Roderick Eime)

The cruise industry hosted a record 24.7 million ocean passengers around the globe last year, according to new data released by Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) Tuesday.

The figure topped projections by 500,000 and is up from 23.2 million in 2015.

The Caribbean was the most popular destination for ocean cruisers last year, accounting for a 35 percent share of capacity. Next came the Mediterranean (18.3 percent) and Europe (11.1 percent) while Asia (9.2 percent), Australia/New Zealand/Pacific (6.1 percent) Alaska (4.2 percent) and South America (2.5 percent) rounded out the seven most-visited regions in 2016.

CLIA credits the positive growth to continued development in the Asian market as well as more than two dozen new ships joining its fleet in 2016, including nine new ocean vessels. The 26 new cruise ships introduced last year expanded passenger capacity by 28,000.

According to CLIA, capacity in Asia climbed to 9.2 percent last year, representing a 38 percent increase from 2015. What’s more, Asian travelers are taking shorter cruises and taking them more frequently the trade association has found.

Beyond the booming Asian market and an ever-expanding fleet, CLIA president and CEO Cindy D’Aoust attributes the industry’s growth to its ability to provide travelers with exactly what they’re looking for.

“One of the many reasons that the cruise industry continues to thrive is because of the personalization it is able to offer to its guests from around the world,” D’Aoust said in a statement. “Never before have I been a part of or seen an industry that is so good at listening and reacting to what its customers want, and this is why we are going to see our industry continue to grow.”

As TravelPulse cruise expert Jason Leppert points out, cruise lines are also winning over the all-important millennial market with exciting onboard attractions and kid facilities for younger passengers traveling with children.

Unsurprisingly, CLIA projects another year of encouraging growth on the ocean: The association is forecasting 25.8 million global passengers for 2017.