Carnival Cruise Lines, New Orleans’ largest cruise operator, today announced that it has scored the new title of Official Cruise Partner of the New Orleans Saints and its first-ever partnership with an NFL franchise.

Carnival, which has a nearly 20-year relationship with New Orleans, will be bringing more of its signature brand of fun to the Big Easy through this new partnership. The line will have the opportunity to create fun in-stadium festivities, social media activities, prize promotions and more for Saints fans.  From Nov. 1 through Nov. 13, through the Carnival Cruise to the Game with Your Krewe Sweepstakes, the company will offer local Saints fans the chance to win great prizes including game tickets and autographed New Orleans Saints merchandise through its Facebook page (

Coinciding with the Nov. 17 arrival of New Orleans’ newest ship, Carnival Sunshine, Carnival will also serve as the presenting partner of the “American All-Star Tribute Show” during halftime of that day’s home game against the San Francisco 49ers. The game will also include an induction ceremony for the newest members of the Saints Hall of Fame.

To celebrate its relationship with the New Orleans Saints and Carnival Sunshine’s U.S. debut, during the game, Carnival will also engage the crowd through a special contest.  The company will award one lucky fan at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome a free cruise aboard the totally transformed Carnival Sunshine, which sails on its inaugural voyage from New Orleans the following day. Carnival Sunshine recently underwent a groundbreaking $155 million makeover that added a variety of on-board dining, bar and entertainment innovations for guests to enjoy.  The 3,006-passenger vessel will sail from New Orleans on seven-day voyages to the Caribbean through April 2014.

“Carnival cruise vacations provide an environment where people can create memories together and share special moments,” said Jim Berra, chief marketing officer for Carnival Cruise Lines.  “We’re excited to extend our long-standing relationship with New Orleans and to partner with the Saints organization, which shares our passion and enthusiasm for fun, excitement and great memories.”

“Both Carnival Cruise Lines and the New Orleans Saints are committed members of the greater New Orleans community who share the objective of enhancing the combined economic impact of our partnering brands on the City and Gulf South Region,” said Owner/Vice Chairman of the Board Rita Benson LeBlanc. “We are thrilled to join with Carnival as they add another element of excitement to our game day experience while enhancing the appeal of the tourism industry for our region.”

Carnival introduced year-round cruising from the Big Easy in 1994 and including Carnival Sunshine operates two ships year-round from New Orleans carrying more than 330,000 passengers annually – more than any other cruise operator.