Carnival projects record New Orleans cruise traffic for 2015 _lowres

Photo provided by CARNIVAL CRUISE LINES -- Carnival Cruise Line projects that a record 400,000 passengers will set sail from New Orleans this year, the cruise giant said Friday.

Carnival Cruise Line projects that a record 400,000 passengers will set sail from New Orleans this year, the cruise giant said Friday. By next year, Carnival also expects to hit another milestone: 3 million passengers who have traveled on its ships from the Port of New Orleans since Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

Carnival plans to increase its cruise capacity in the Crescent City next year by swapping the smaller Carnival Elation ship with the Carnival Triumph.

In April, the Triumph will shift from Galveston, Texas, to New Orleans to launch year-round four- and five-day cruises to Mexico.

The Triumph will join the Carnival Dream, which operates year-round seven-day cruises. Together, the two ships are expected to carry 450,000 guests annually from New Orleans.

Carnival began year-round cruising from New Orleans in 1994 and has since become the port’s largest cruise ship operator.

In 2014, the port handled about 1 million cruise passengers for the first time.