New Orleans is a popular departure port for cruises sailing to the tropical islands of the Caribbean, and the historic Panama Canal. Nicknamed “Big Easy” for its vibrant jazz and street music scene, this is a lively city to explore before embarking on a Carnival, Crystal, Disney, Norwegian or Royal Caribbean cruise, which all port here.
If you’re lucky, you can catch a cruise before or after the two-week festivities of Mardi Gras, that typically occur between February and March, 47 days before Easter. Mardi Gras is the biggest carnival of the year that shows off the city’s rich traditions, with crazy costumes, intricate masks, and 'throws' to catch and collect. If you’re missing it, don’t fret - there’s always something going on in the city. Carnival season begins on January sixth and hundreds of festivals follow, so you’re almost guaranteed to be part of the action.
If you’re interested in learning about the city of New Orleans and its origins, there’s a wide assortment of tours, from the eccentric Cemetery tours to the historical Creole Plantation tours. There are also various culinary and cocktail tours, as New Orleans is the city that invented the cocktail. Whether you’re on a tour or exploring on your own, the French Quarter has hundreds of Jazz Cafés, Italian restaurants, Steakhouses, traditional Vietnamese joints, and more. Be sure to try classic Creole cuisine, like Gumbo, Beignets, Crawfish, Pralines, Banana Foster, and even Alligator Cheesecake. The food scene here is rich, so be sure to bring your appetite.
When you’re done exploring the lively New Orleans, continue the party onboard a cruise, available all year round from this port.
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Camille Meyers - June 14, 2019
From gators to ghosts, your kids are sure to keep talking about your family vacation to New Orleans long after returning home.
Expedia Local Expert - September 6, 2019
Murderous madames, blood-thirsty vampires, voodoo vixens—not all of New Orleans’ inhabitants are with the living.