Galveston city skyline and coast at sunset

Carnival Cruise Line retains its strong presence in the Gulf, with ships at all three ports, including a new vessel coming to Galveston and the only ship sailing from Mobile. River cruises are also thriving in New Orleans, as American Queen Steamboat Company debuts its newest ship on the Mississippi in the second half of the year. With Bayport Cruise Terminal in Houston gone, Galveston is now the only cruise port in Texas; though Mobile, a few states over in Alabama, has returned for its first full cruise season in five years.

Read on to find out what the latest happenings are at the cruise ports of the Gulf Coast.


Port of New Orleans

  • The cruise industry in New Orleans continues to grow. In 2016, traffic was up 4.5 percent, marking the third consecutive year that the port saw more than 1 million cruise passengers. The port expects to surpass these numbers this year, as well.
  • In 2017, Louis Armstrong International Airport launched two direct international flights to Germany and Great Britain, making travel to and from New Orleans easier for international cruise passengers.
  • The Port of New Orleans will welcome American Queen Steamboat Company's American Duchess for its inaugural voyage in August. The paddlewheeler will sail the Mississippi River and its tributaries on sailings between New Orleans and Minneapolis, as well as between New Orleans and Memphis, in addition to other itineraries.
  • The first-ever Warped Rewind at Sea (a floating version of the Warped Tour music festival) departs from New Orleans on October 28 aboard Norwegian Pearl, featuring acts like Good Charlotte, The Starting Line and Bowling for Soup.
  • Carnival Dream and Carnival Triumph sail routinely from Port Nola.

Mobile Alabama Cruise Terminal

  • After being out of the cruising scene since 2012, Mobile re-opened its terminal in November 2016.
  • Carnival Fantasy sails four- and five-night Western Caribbean cruises from the port.

Port of Galveston

  • Carnival's newest ship, Carnival Vista, will sail seven-night Western Caribbean itineraries from Galveston in the fall of 2018 and early 2019.
  • In addition to Carnival, Disney Cruise Line and Royal Caribbean are also sailing from Galveston in 2017.
  • As the only active cruise port in Texas, Galveston has a large market of passengers who get to the ship by driving. The port has made improvements in this arena, namely the addition of a new parking garage just across the street from the two cruise terminals. Shuttle service is available to and from the garage to the terminals, and valet parking is offered on cruises of a week or more.

The "Pulse of the Ports" series offers a glimpse of what's happening around the country at our nation's cruise ports. From multimillion-dollar expansions and projects that widen waterways to the cruise ships calling there, we let you know what's happening this year from the East Coast to the West Coast, down to the Gulf Coast and on over to Florida and Alaska, home to some of the world's most popular ports of call.