Cruise lines that pulled their homeporting ships out of New Orleans in the wake of the tragic Hurricane Katrina are already starting to return. So far, calls have been limited to smaller vessels, such as RiverBarge's River Explorer, Swan Hellenic's Minerva II and Delphin Renaissance. P&O's Arcadia also paid a visit to the Big Easy.

The big-ship regulars who homeport for either a season or year-round are the most eagerly awaited -- and return schedules are as follows:

Norwegian Sun sails its first cruise from New Orleans October 15. The seven-night voyages call at Costa Maya, Cozumel, Belize City and Santo Tomas de Castilla, Guatemala. This is a seasonal homeport; for the 2007/2008 winter season, NCL has announced it will replace Norwegian Sun with Norwegian Spirit.

Carnival's Fantasy replaces Sensation, which previously sailed year-round from New Orleans; Fantasy begins its season on October 26. The ship will sail four- and five-night cruises. Four-nighters call at Cozumel while five-night trips add a stop at Costa Maya.

Royal Caribbean's Grandeur of the Seas launches its New Orleans-based voyages on December 2. The ship will sail seven-night cruises calling at Cozumel, Grand Cayman and Costa Maya.

And Princess Cruises' Golden Princess visits New Orleans for a seasonal stay; the ship will offer seven-night cruises that call at Cozumel, Grand Cayman and Montego Bay.

In other New Orleans news, a spokesman for the port says that "the Erato Street Cruise Terminal and Parking Garage is under construction and scheduled to be completed in late 2006. It will add 90,000 square ft. of terminal space and a 1,000-vehicle parking garage. It's located next to the existing Julia Street Cruise Terminal."