Cruise Holidays

Best cruises from New Orleans, Louisiana

Carnival Triumph in New Orleans

New Orleans, the largest city in the US state of Louisiana, knows how to party. Who hasn’t heard of New Orleans’ feasting and revelry during Mardi Gras? It is legendary.

A cruise from New Orleans is your opportunity to discover the charm, tastes and smells of the Crescent City before or after your cruise. All you must do is reach the city a few days before your cruise is scheduled to leave the shores of New Orleans.

New Orleans Port is one of the biggest ports in the United States. Hence, there are all kinds of cruises leaving from New Orleans. In fact, it is one of the fastest growing cruise ports in the United States. From serving 80,000 cruise passengers in 1983, the port ended up serving one million cruise passengers in 2014.

If you can time your NOLA cruise right, you can enjoy either the Jazz Fest and Mardi Gras before stepping onto your cruise.

Note: NOLA is a shorter way of referring to New Orleans and Louisiana.

Cruise lines departing from New Orleans port

The cruise companies whose ships sail from New Orleans port are – Carnival cruises, Norwegian cruises, Crystal Cruises, Royal Caribbean International, American Cruise Lines and American Queen Steamboat Company.

Cruise terminals in New Orleans Port

Located behind the New Orleans Convention Center on the Mississippi, the New Orleans Port has two terminals – the Erato Street Cruise Terminal and Julia Street Cruise Terminal.

Julia Street Cruise terminal complex was the first (inaugurated in 1991) and when the number of cruises departing from New Orleans surged, the signature Erato Street Cruise terminal was inaugurated in 2006.

Both these terminals are conveniently situated close to hotels and for tourist activities in the city.

If you are flying into the city for your cruise from New Orleans, be aware that the Louis Armstrong International Airport (MSY) is approximately 27 Kms (17 Miles) from the cruise terminals. On a normal day, this distance can be traveled in approximately 45 minutes.

What to see in New Orleans before (or after) the Cruise

While your cruise from New Orleans will be the highlight of your holiday, the city has a lot to offer as well.

We suggest you reach New Orleans a few days before the start date of your cruise and take in all the history and fun the city offers.

A few of the must-experience attractions in New Orleans are the French Quarter district, Jackson Square, the National World War II Museum and St. Louis Cathedral.

In the evenings head out to the bars on Bourbon Street and the casino of Harrah’s New Orleans.

If you have kids in tow, don’t miss out on the streetcars.

Best cruises from New Orleans

Check out our list of the ten best cruises which depart from New Orleans.

1. Crystal Symphony

Cruise Line: Crystal Cruises

Dedicated to luxury, the Crystal Symphony is undoubtedly one of the top cruises that start from New Orleans.

To begin with, anyone choosing cruises packages on this Crystal Cruises ship will be spoilt for choice in the accommodation department. From cozy cabins to decadent staterooms, there is plenty to choose from.

If your cruise itinerary is all about luxury and relaxation, book yourself a penthouse with veranda, and let the ocean sweep away all your stress!

Should you wish to venture out, there are eight decks. Each of them comes equipped with amenities to suit every taste. From a teen center to a children’s playroom, from an ice-cream bar to a Jacuzzi, from a golf area to a tennis court, there is an endless assortment of attractions to keep all your senses occupied.

Size of Ship: Small
Price of Tickets: High
Overall Rating: 4.55
Health Rating: 4.0
Best cruise from New Orleans for:  Singles, Couples, Couples with children, Families

2. Norwegian Getaway

Cruise Line: Norwegian Cruise Line

Looking for affordable cruises that depart from New Orleans? Look no further. The Norwegian Getaway is one of the best cruises if you want to create memorable memories.

This Norwegian Cruise Line ship was built in 2014. It is one of the biggest ships of the fleet and offers many attractive cruise deals for those looking for cheap cruises.

Accommodation varies from the affordable to the luxurious. There is a barber shop, several spas, and salons as well.

There is an aqua park with slides that will keep children enthralled.

The open-air cafe set in a garden is perfect for a relaxed afternoon or evening. For those who love some physical activity, there is a jogging track, rock climbing, a sports area, and even bungee jumping.

If you want some privacy and quiet, opt for the Haven private sundeck and beach club as part of your cruises packages.

Size of Ship: Extra Large
Price of Tickets: Low
Overall Rating: 4.15
Health Rating: 5.0
Best cruise from New Orleans for: Singles, Couples, Couples with children, Families

3. Norwegian Gem

Cruise Line: Norwegian Cruise Line

Norwegian Gem in New Orleans
Norwegian Gem, which departs from New Orleans, is just right for the young and those who are young at heart. Image: Cruisemapper.com

As far as affordable cruises go, the Norwegian Gem is literally a gem among all cruises leaving from NOLA.

However, it does not compromise on quality, so rest assured that your cruise memories are going to be nothing but pleasant.

The cabins are cozy and vibrant. From deep green carpets to chairs upholstered in bright peach, the deep polished wood staterooms provide an enthralling canvas for a riot of colors.

Make sure your cruise itinerary includes checking out all the dozen decks on the cruise ship.

Let your kids enjoy the playing area or the children’s library, while you relax in the various adults-only sections. For the entertainment seekers, there is a theatre, a library, a card room, saunas, dance bars.

Size of Ship: Large
Price of Tickets: Low
Overall Rating: 4
Health Rating: 5.0
Best cruise from New Orleans for: Singles, Couples, Couples with children, Families

4. Norwegian Pearl

Cruise Line: Norwegian Cruise Line

Another name in the list of affordable cruises that depart from New Orleans is the Norwegian Pearl.

This Norwegian Cruise Line ship has ports of call as diverse as Alaska and the Caribbean. You can choose between icy glaciers or balmy beaches.

The Pearl can accommodate 2,394 passengers and employs a team of 1,072 crew members.

Cabins range from mini-suites to two-bedroom family suites. The highlight of your cruise will be the floor to ceiling glass doors that not only offer a stunning view of the sea, but also open to your very own balcony.

Onboard features are in keeping with the standards of the Norwegian Cruise Line and will not disappoint.

Size of Ship: Large
Price of Tickets: Low
Overall Rating: 3.85
Health Rating: 4.0
Best cruise from New Orleans for: Singles, Couples

5. Carnival Valor

Cruise Line: Carnival Cruise Lines

Carnival Valor in New Orleans
Carnival Valor, which departs from New Orleans, is the right mix of casual and elegance. Casual clothes are fine most of the time except if you want to dine in the main restaurants. Image: Cruiseweb.com

Carnival Valor was introduced in 2004 and renovated in 2016.

This 2,980-passenger ship now includes all the Fun Ship 2.0 attractions that the Carnival Cruise Lines is famous for.

There is a tequila bar and a candy shop. Your cruises packages will be filled with visits to the onboard nightclub and comedy club, and sampling the wide array of cuisines available.

The Valor is one of the cheap cruises that start from New Orleans, but it does not compromise on quality.
Accommodation is plush and elegant. Onboard entertainment will leave you in a pleasant quandary, whether to relax indoors or enjoy outdoors!

Size of Ship: Large
Price of Tickets: Low
Overall Rating: 3.8
Health Rating: 4.5
Best cruise from New Orleans for: Singles, Couples, Couples with children, Families

6. Norwegian Breakaway

Cruise Line: Norwegian Cruise Line

This 3,969-passenger ship is one of the newest in the Norwegian Cruise Line fleet.

Norwegian Breakaway debuted in 2013 and boasts of a vibrant, family-friendly atmosphere.

The cruises packages offered will attract children as well as adults. The ship has two aqua parks, one exclusively for children.

There are teen clubs, guaranteed to keep young adults engaged.

The sprawling sports complex enthralls all fitness fanatics.

With twenty restaurants to choose from, onboard meals are a treat. Accommodation ranges from budget-friendly to luxurious.

Size of Ship: Extra Large
Price of Tickets: Medium
Overall Rating: 3.8
Health Rating: 4.0
Best cruise from New Orleans for: Singles, Couples, Couples with children, Families

Recommended Reading
1. Carnival cruises from New Orleans, Louisiana
2. Carnival cruises from Galveston, Texas

7. Vision of the Seas

Cruise Line: Royal Caribbean International

Modern interiors and a diverse range of cuisine are the two main draws of this Royal Caribbean International ship.

One of the top cruises that start from NOLA, Vision of the Seas can accommodate 2,514 passengers. It was renovated in 2013.

Rooms are divided into four categories, ocean view rooms and balcony-equipped suites being the main draws.

There are many casual dining destinations. If you want to dine at the onboard specialty restaurants, you can top up your cruises packages with a little extra.

There are two swimming pools on deck, as well as a casino and a rock climbing wall.

Size of Ship: Large
Price of Tickets: Medium
Overall Rating: 3.8
Health Rating: 4.5
Best cruise from New Orleans for: Singles, Couples, Couples with children, Families

8. Norwegian Dawn

Cruise Line: Norwegian Cruise Line

One of the most affordable cruises that depart from New Orleans, the Norwegian Dawn is a favorite with adults and children.

This Norwegian Cruise Line ship was renovated in 2016 and can accommodate 2,340 passengers.

The Garden Villa suites have been thoroughly overhauled. Some of the bigger rooms can comfortably accommodate seven passengers. Balcony and ocean view rooms are also available.

If you prefer a cruise itinerary that is more outdoorsy, there are plenty of onboard attractions for you.

Let your kids splash around in the dinosaur-themed pool while you relax in a hot tub or sample exotic wine at The Cellars bar.

There are thirteen restaurants onboard, from specialty fare to an all-day bar and grill.

Size of Ship: Large
Price of Tickets: Low
Overall Rating: 3.8
Health Rating: 4.0
Best cruise from New Orleans for: Singles, Couples, Couples with children, Families

9. Carnival Glory

Cruise Line: Carnival Cruise Line

The Carnival Glory is among cheap cruises that depart from New Orleans. It can accommodate almost 3,000 with a crew size of 1,150 professionals. Thus, ensuring personalized service.

Introduced in 2003, this Carnival Cruise Line ship was renovated in 2012, in keeping with Fun Ship 2.0 standards.

There are many dining options onboard this cruise sailing from New Orleans.

While cruising the waters, make outdoor activities like golf and water-sliding a part of your cruise itinerary.
The ship features musicals by Playlist Production, the Punchliner Comedy Club and Hasbro, a family-friendly game show.

While there are clubs for the young, there are eight bars for adults to relax in.

Accommodations will please the budget-conscious as well as those with a taste for luxury.

Size of Ship: Large
Price of Tickets: Low
Overall Rating: 3.75
Health Rating: 4.5
Best cruise from New Orleans for: Singles, Couples, Couples with children, Families

10. Carnival Triumph

Cruise Line: Carnival Cruise Line

Another notable name in cheap and affordable cruises leaving from New Orleans is the Carnival Triumph.

Though it debuted in 1999, this 2,754 passenger ship was renovated in 2016 and now boasts of Fun Ship 2.0 features.

It has ports of call in the Caribbean islands.

The highlight of your cruise itinerary will be the Seaside Theatre and its dive-in movies.

The Punchliner Comedy Club, musicals organized by Playlist Production, Guy’s Burger Joint, the Seafood Shack and the Bluelguana Cantina are some of the other Fun Ship 2.0 staples.

There are casinos, card rooms, swimming pools and video arcades.

Balcony and Suite rooms are more expensive, though budget accommodation is also available. Almost sixty percent of the rooms have views of the ocean.

Size of Ship: Large
Price of Tickets: Low
Overall Rating: 3.7
Health Rating: 4.0
Best cruise from New Orleans for: Singles, Couples, Families

Apart from the best cruises departing from NOLA mentioned above, there is another cruise ship that leaves from this port of Louisiana. This is the Carnival Cruise Line ship, named Carnival Dream. This is also equipped with Fun Ship 2.0 attractions.

These ships are ideal for 2-day cruises or 3-day cruises. Choose from the variety of ports of call and cruises packages and gift you and your loved ones a cruise to remember!

Recommended Reading
1. Best cruises from Miami, Florida
2. Best cruises from Tampa, Florida
3. Best cruises from Port Canaveral, Florida
4. Alaska cruises from Seattle, Washington
5. Valentine’s Day and other romantic holidays in New Orleans

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