Cruise figures surge in New Orleans

The Port of New Orleans saw a 32 percent increase in cruise passengers, which it says resulted in gains in employment and cruise spending in Louisiana.

The port cited a report released this week by Cruise Lines International Association that found cruise industry spending last year in Louisiana grew 42.5 percent to $399 million, generating 7,548 jobs, compared to 5,512 jobs in 2011. Those jobs resulted in $294 million in income, up 39 percent compared to the same period one year ago.

Port of New Orleans cruise terminals handled a record 977,703 passengers in 2012, up 32 percent compared to 2011’s former record of 736,908, the port said.

CLIA’s figures also rank New Orleans as the sixth-largest cruise port in the United States, up from the ninth position in 2011.