Best for cruises to the Bahamas from New Orleans: Royal Caribbean
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The cruise port at New Orleans may only be the 6th largest in the US, but it’s a veritable machine when it comes to tropical escapes. Pick up a beignet or two and set sail for total bliss.
We’ve combed through the cruises available from New Orleans, picking out the very best. Now you all have to do is comb the beach after docking at each dreamy port.
True to its name, Carnival's ships are like moving, mini amusement parks. You'll have as much fun on land as at sea.
If you can sneak another week away, Carnival's Panama Canal cruises are once-in-a-lifetime journeys to the famous man-made canal, with stops at six delicious Caribbean islands along the way.
Relax on chic, insider beaches without typical tourist crowds — Crystal's ships are small enough to stop at boutique ports.
Disney Cruise Line's epic Panama Canal cruises thrill kids and adults alike. After visiting Grand Cayman and Columbia, you'll traverse the luscious waterway, stopping at Puerto Vallerta and Cabo San Lucas on your way back to San Diego. That's an experience they'll never get in school.
A Mississippi river cruise is a quintessential American experience — especially if you’re keen to see landmarks of the deep south. These cruise lines eschew ocean waves for peaceful river ripples.
American Cruise Line — From New Orleans, sail to see the Houmas House before visiting Baton Rouge, St. Francisville, Natchez and Vicksburg. Relax on a private balcony as ancient oaks pass by, indulge in regionally-inspired food and learn from historians and naturalists on board.
American Queen Steamboat Company — At a slightly lower price point, sail north to the Nottoway Plantation then further on to Vicksburg, Natchez and Baton Rouge. American Queen Steamboat Company has Christmas itineraries available for those that want to celebrate their holiday cruising Dixie-style.
When choosing cruises for this list, we looked at the quality of routes available from each cruise line, prioritizing well-paced itineraries with port stops at key destinations around the region.
We also considered dining onboard, weighing the number, variety and overall quality of restaurants against passenger reviews. Finally, we weighed cabin amenities against each price point, looking for cruise lines that are known to deliver the highest value.
Additionally, we sought out customer reviews on travel websites and personal travel blogs, considering first-person experiences and each company’s overall reputation.
Royal Caribbean, Carnival and Norwegian all have super cheap cruises available from New Orleans, with some fares that are less than $60 per person, per day. To get the ultimate low price, decide where you want to go then compare prices between the three — often, it’ll come down to which line is offering the best deal at that time.
Avoid Crystal Cruises and Disney Cruise Line if you’re hoping for a bargain, as these are known for being pricier.
No, there aren’t usually three-night cruises available from New Orleans. The shortest length you’ll find is four-night Western Caribbean cruises, which you can book with Carnival or Disney Cruise Line.
However, if you can finagle an extra night, we recommend it, as four-night cruises from New Orleans only have time to stop at one port — usually Mexico. That extra night squeezes in one more destination, which delivers more bang for your buck overall.
Thanks to the temperate climate, you’ll find cruises departing from New Orleans all year round. Rates tend to be cheapest in sweltering August and quiet September, when most folks return to their regular routines. You can usually also find cheap fare around January, when the post-holiday hush lowers demand.
Otherwise, the best time to cruise from New Orleans is up to you — do you prefer heat and humidity of a cooler winter breeze? No matter when you sail, be sure to pack sunglasses and sunscreen.
There are two cruise ports in New Orleans — Erato Street Cruise Terminal and Julia Street Cruise Terminal. They’re located side-by-side, near the bustling French Quarter.
If you’re driving yourself, here’s how the parking works:
Advance registration is not required for the parking lot, and a spot is guaranteed.
If you’re flying into the Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport, you could take a shuttle, taxi, Uber or Lyft directly to the cruise terminal. The drive takes between 25 to 40 minutes, depending on traffic. Here’s what you can expect to pay:
We don’t recommend taking public transportation from the New Orleans Airport to the cruise terminals, as this could take upwards of two hours.
New Orleans is a dynamic place to begin a cruise to the Caribbean, Mexico, Bahamas or the Panama Canal — after departure, it’s usually only a day before you can set foot on your first white-sand beach. Check for a discount before booking your fare.
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