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Nautical New Orleans or Galveston Getaway: Your Dream Cruise is Just a Short Drive Away
5/1/2019 1:00:00 PM

Cruise


Thinking about a family trip this summer or planning a romantic getaway? Southwest Louisiana locals are lucky to live within an easy drive of two major cruise ports— two and a half hours from Galveston and three hours from New Orleans. Already a seasoned sailor or maybe you just want to test the waters of cruising? Here are the dreamboats and dream itineraries offered from both ports.


New Orleans

A growing number of cruise lines are departing from this bustling port that’s an easy walk from the French Quarter. New Orleans is still a party town, but it’s increasingly parent-friendly. A clear sign of that is Disney Cruise Line’s decision to drop anchor in NOLA for the first time ever early next year. Disney’s Wonder will offer six Bahamas and Caribbean cruises from February through March, 2020.


Looking for a floating party? It’s always five o’clock somewhere aboard Carnival. With their own shipboard breweries, they recently became the first cruise line to craft and can their own private label beer. They’re also an unbeatable bargain with five-day cruises to Mexico from New Orleans starting at $270.


When Norwegian Cruise Line’s Breakaway started sailing from New Orleans last fall, it was the largest ship ever to call NOLA home port. Starting this November, Norwegian’s nearly 4,000 passenger Getaway will sail seven-day cruises to the Caribbean, stopping at Honduras, Belize, and Mexico. 


Norwegian’s motto is freestyle or "no rules” cruising. That means you don’t need to make reservations for dinner. Just show up when you want. Along with plenty of dining options, there’s an abundance of activities and an on-board kids club where you can drop kids off to have fun while the parents go out to play. 


History buffs might enjoy climbing aboard an iconic steamboat for a Mississippi River cruise. Both American Queen Steamboat Company and American Cruise Lines offer cruises from New Orleans to Memphis.


New Orleans Lodging


Besides the chance to enjoy the Big Easy, another reason to overnight in New Orleans before you cruise is the free parking perk. Parking at the port can cost $15-$25 per day, but

Country Inn and Suites by Radisson offers free parking and free drop off at the cruise terminal. The Hampton Inn & Suites Convention Center offers discounted $14 per day parking during your cruise and a complimentary shuttle to and from the cruise terminal. 


Galveston


This barrier island off the coast of Texas is known for its beaches and charming historic district. Brightly colored Victorian-era buildings, unique boutiques, and cute candy shops line The Strand, an easy walk from the cruise terminal.


Kids in tow? Head to fun-filled Pleasure Pier. Reminiscent of Coney Island, this old-fashioned beachfront boardwalk is filled with amusement park games and rides, including a Ferris wheel and roller coaster.


Carnival, Royal Caribbean, and Disney all sail out of Galveston. Carnival has three ships offering four to seven-night cruises to the Western Caribbean and Mexico, and one stopping at the Bahamas and Key West. 


Planning a high school graduation celebration or senior spring break cruise? Royal Caribbean’s a great choice for teens. Between rock climbing, ice skating, teen lounges, and Broadway shows, there’s no time to get bored. Just be aware there must be a person 21 years or older in each room.


Traveling with smaller kids? Choose one of Disney Wonder’s four to seven-night cruises to the Western Caribbean, Mexico, or Bahamas. Kids enjoy sailing with Mickey and his gang; parents appreciate that unlike most cruise lines, Disney has a nursery where babies as young as three months can be dropped off.


Galveston Lodging


Opt for historic Hotel Galvez. Sitting in the Adirondack chairs on the majestic front lawn overlooking the Gulf of Mexico, it’s hard not to daydream about the glory days when Galveston was the grandest city in Texas. The hotel’s ornate lobby has an elegant mahogany bar and graceful baby grand greeting visitors as they enter. 


Cost Saving Tips

Want to take advantage of a last-minute deal, just because you won’t have to fly to port? "Last minute bargains are becoming rare as the economy is strengthening and cruising is becoming more popular,” says Lake Charles travel agent Tina Higgins, a Cruise Planners franchise owner. "Booking early guarantees you’ll get the cabin type and location on the ship you want. Also, I’m notified if there’s a price drop and can adjust my client’s rate before final payment is due.” How to get the best deal on a cruise? "Travel during off-peak or shoulder season, when kids are in school,” says Higgins. "And book through a travel agent. It doesn’t cost you any more, and I can find "extras” for my clients such as shipboard credits, cabin upgrades, or free gratuities.”


Higgin’s favorite part of cruising? "It allows you to travel to multiple locations and only unpack once.” Here’s to smooth sailing! 


For more information, call Higgins at 337-405-7650 or visit her website, www.DestinationsByTina.com.

Posted by: Andrea Guthmann | Submit comment | Tell a friend

Categories: Summer

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