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Cruises from New Orleans

5 favorite cruises from this rollicking port in Louisiana.

Sail from New Orleans to islands in the Caribbean and sunny port cities in Mexico. Or, visit the Bahamas — including Disney’s private island at Castaway Cay. If you’re in the mood for a river cruise, go with American Cruise Line or American Queen Steamboat Company, which offer enriching adventures on the Mississippi.

The routes on this list hit the sweet spot between great value, stellar customer service and itineraries that’ll leave you breathless — in the best way. Pick up a beignet or two and set sail for total bliss.

Traveling during COVID-19
The CDC continues to advise caution when traveling within or outside the US, However, it no longer requires self-quarantine or a COVID-19 test for fully vaccinated domestic travelers as of April 2021. International travelers need to get tested three days prior to flying out of the US and within three days after returning, even if you are fully vaccinated. It recommends that you delay travel if you’re not fully vaccinated to protect yourself and your family from getting or spreading the virus.

If you’re planning a trip outside the US, bear in mind that many countries have placed restrictions on US tourists. Check the US embassy website for updates before booking international travel.

Our favorite cruises from New Orleans

Cruise lineCruiseItineraryPriceBook
CarnivalWestern Caribbean from New Orleans — 7 days
  • New Orleans, Louisiana
  • Mahogany Bay, Jamaica
  • Belize City, Belize
  • Cozumel, Mexico
  • New Orleans, Louisiana
From $434 per personBook now
CarnivalPanama Canal from New Orleans — 14 days
  • New Orleans, Louisiana
  • Montego Bay, Jamaica
  • Aruba
  • Bonaire
  • Cartagena, Colombia
  • Panama Canal Partial Transit
  • Limon, Peru
  • Cozumel, Mexico
  • New Orleans, Louisiana
From $1,029 per personBook now
Norwegian Cruise LineCaribbean: Cozumel, Roatan & Jamaica — 9 days
  • New Orleans, Louisiana
  • Ocho Rios, Jamaica
  • George Town, Grand Cayman
  • Roatan, Bay Islands
  • Harvest Caye, Belize
  • Cozumel, Mexico
  • New Orleans, Louisiana
From $1,539 per personBook now
Norwegian Cruise LineCaribbean: Harvest Caye, Cozumel & Roatan — 7 days
  • New Orleans, Louisiana
  • Cozumel, Mexico
  • Roatan, Bay Islands
  • Harvest Caye, Belize
  • Costa Maya, Mexico
  • New Orleans, Louisiana
From $475 per personBook now
Disney Cruise LineBahamian Cruise — 6 nights
  • New Orleans, Louisiana
  • Key West, Florida
  • Disney Castaway Cay
  • New Orleans, Louisiana
From $1,367 per personBook now

Best cruises from New Orleans

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.

Best for cruises to the Western Caribbean from New Orleans: Carnival

No matter when the boss approves your vacation days, Carnival can whisk you away on a sun-kissed escape. Its Western Caribbean routes run all year round, and dock at Conzumel, Yucatán, Costa Maya, Mahogany Bay, Belize and beyond.

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.

  • No free room service
  • No free alcohol
  • Food included
  • No price matching
  • Visa, Mastercard, American Express, Diners, Paypal, Carnival EasyPay, Gift Card, Discover Card, Debit, Western Union, Cheque
Price ($-$$$):
Book now

Best for cruises from New Orleans for families with kiddos: Disney

From New Orleans, sail with your brood to Mexico, the Bahamas or beyond on a ship that's designed specifically for family fun. The unique kids and teen clubs and adults-only areas ensure everyone will be happy on your voyage from one iconic island to the next.

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.

  • Room service included
  • No free alcohol
  • Food included
  • No price matching
  • Visa, Mastercard, American Express, Diners, Discover Card, JCB
Price ($-$$$):
Book now

Best for cruises from New Orleans for families with teens: Norwegian

Norwegian Cruise Line is high-energy and fun for all without being campy. Too-cool youth can hang out in Entourage, its teen-exclusive lounge. Norwegian sails exclusively to the Western Caribbean from New Orleans, stopping at ports that have tons of water sports and thrilling activities to offer — like a 3,000-foot zip line in Harvest Caye, or scuba diving in Conzumel.
  • Room service included
  • No free alcohol
  • Food included
  • No price matching
  • Visa, Mastercard, American Express, Diners, Discover Card
Price ($-$$$):
Book now

Mississippi river cruises from New Orleans

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.

How we chose these cruises

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.

What are the best cheap cruises from New Orleans?

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.

Are there three-night cruises from New Orleans?

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.

When it the best time to cruise from New Orleans?

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.

Getting to the port for your cruise from New Orleans

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:

  • Erato Street Cruise Terminal. There’s covered, secured parking on top of the cruise terminal. It costs $90 or four days, $110 for five days and $170 for seven days.
  • Julia Street Cruise Terminal. The parking lot is located next to the cruise terminal. It costs $20 per day.

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:

  • Uber or Lyft. $35 to $40.
  • Taxi. $40 to $45.
  • Shuttle. Between $30 to $46, depending on the shuttle company and number of people in your party.

We don’t recommend taking public transportation from the New Orleans Airport to the cruise terminals, as this could take upwards of two hours.

Bottom line

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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