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First Carnival cruise sets sail from New Orleans since March 2020

Published: Sep. 19, 2021 at 11:54 AM CDT
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - Carnival Cruise Line on Sunday (Sept. 19) became the first cruise line to resume guest operations from New Orleans, as the Carnival Glory departed on a seven-day cruise to The Bahamas.

After an 18-month layoff for the New Orleans cruise industry, those who boarded the Glory say it had the feel of a maiden voyage.

“This is our third rescheduling. So, third time’s the charm,” said Rhonda McCabe.

Martin Guidry was invited to be the first passenger on board and was asked to cut the ribbon during a ceremony in honor of the occasion.

“This is my 14th cruise. I just love Carnival. I don’t know why anyone would do anything other than this,” said Guidry.

For most of the 1400 passengers, Sunday’s departure was a long time coming, as their cruise was postponed and rescheduled again and again over the past year and a half because of Covid-19 concerns.

And for the City of New Orleans, the resumption of the cruise industry means the return of badly needed tourism dollars to help boost the economy.

“Ninety percent of the guests that travel in are out-of-town guests and they usually spend one or two days here in New Orleans,” said Brady D. Christian, President and CEO of The Port of New Orleans.

Carnival officials said returning to New Orleans is a great feeling, but they know the pandemic is ongoing.

All passengers are required to be both vaccinated and test negative for the virus two days before their trip.

A lot has changed since the last cruise ship set sail with passengers on board, but vacationers say they have no reservations.

“We’re even more happy that they required us to do the testing and the vaccines,” said Guidry.

“Well, the way I see it, we’re safer on the boat than at Wal-Mart,” McCabe said. “Because at least on the boat we know everybody is cleared.”

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