NEW ORLEANS, La. (WVUE) - The long-anticipated Disney Cruise Ship set sail from the Port of New Orleans Friday afternoon.
“This is our first cruise. We waited to celebrate mom’s birthday just so we could do it out of New Orleans cause it was so close to home,” Carol Perez said.
Passengers excitedly boarded the Disney Wonder for its first trip out of New Orleans.
"I'm excited for the dolphin encounter," Leitton Cummings said.
"Same here," her sister Lauren, chimed in.
Spots on this ship sold out almost immediately.
“The day it opened up, I was up at 5:00 a.m. that morning and I booked our rooms cause I refuse to miss out on it,” Perez said.
The ship took off Friday afternoon, headed for it's first stop in the Bahamas. It will then make its way to Key West.
"We are so excited to be having our inaugural call in the City of New Orleans. It's the very first time the Disney Cruise Line has been here, very first time Disney Wonder. We could not be more thrilled," Cruise Director Ashley Long said.
“We have so many nods to New Orleans that we’ve taken the inspiration,” said Long, “Our new French Quarter lounge, the fact that we get to bring our guests to the City of New Orleans before and after, where we’ve taken so much inspiration in our places and our storytelling.”
For the kids and kids at heart, a live Frozen musical.
“We’ve got snow falling down in the audience, we’ve got video projections and Let it Go,” Performer Max Abraham said.
Port officials said the cruise industry brings a lot of business to New Orleans.
"Last year, we estimated through surveys that we did 306,000 room nights because passengers typically come in two to three days early, or stay a little later, and make it two vacations in one in New Orleans," Matt Gresham, Port Director of External Affairs said.
In terms of coronavirus concerns among cruise ships, he said cruise lines are on top of it.
“These ships are staying in the general vicinity in the Caribbean, Mexico, also the Bahamas, so very controlled areas,” Gresham said.
Locals said they're glad they don't have to fly or drive out of state to get this experience.
“It’s beyond exciting. I think it’s something that should’ve come a long time ago,” Perez said.