The New Wave

December 22, 2005

Photo of a cruise ship
Shown here wet-docked in Cyprus, the MV Dream is a 23,000-ton cruise liner that operated out of Haifa, Israel, for Mediterranean cruises. The ship has been called “the largest and most luxurious cruise ship to operate out of Israel.” It will be housing Tulane students, faculty and staff for the spring semester while docked on the Mississippi River.

With more than 250,000 homes substantially damaged or destroyed by the storm, where will members of the Tulane University community find homes?  “You can’t expect faculty, staff and students to come back without a place to live,” says Tony Lorino, senior vice president for operations and chief financial officer. In the days following Hurricane Katrina, the housing task force floated a unique idea—a cruise ship.

After extensive research and negotiation, Lorino says a Norwegian cruise ship called the MV Dream will dock on Dec. 26 at the Orange Street wharf on the Mississippi River, on Riversphere property owned by Tulane University. It will be available for occupancy beginning Dec. 28.

The ship will continue the residential college model initiated this past year. Students, faculty and staff will live, dine, study and socialize together aboard a floating residential college. A limited amount of cabin space will be made available on the ship for faculty and staff after the students have been accommodated.

“It’s been an amazing process,” Lorino says. “We looked at many factors, including availability, pricing, size and berth considerations, quality of the vessel and size of the rooms.”

Cynthia Cherrey, vice president for student affairs, made site visits to personally inspect possible cruise ships for Tulane. Six airplane flights and two helicopter rides to inspect two ships in 36 hours resulted in Tulane having a five-star ship available for Tulane students, faculty and staff. The MV Dream will accommodate 1,100 people, with two per cabin. Housing costs for students on the cruise ships will reflect the prevailing rates for comparable on-campus housing per semester. There is also a monthly rate for faculty, staff and students. Accommodation and meal plan rates are available at:

Lorino says the cruise ship is scheduled to dock at Orange Street, upriver from the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, through mid-May 2006. It will be staffed with a crew of 50 or more, with security on the wharf 24 hours a day, seven days a week. There will be food service plans, but no bar service or casino. All of the other ship facilities will be available to Tulane, allowing presentations and student activities on board. Tulane will provide free shuttle service between student housing locations and the uptown and downtown campuses, and the university is devising plans for parking.

“This is an extremely unique, unusual solution,” Lorino says. “I’ve never had the opportunity to deal with such circumstances. It’s been an interesting learning experience for me and others.”

Students with questions about housing should call 504-865-5724 or e-mail Faculty and staff may e-mail

-- Fran Simon

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