The Ultimate Guide to Experiencing a Big Easy Cruise

Ahoy, fellow travelers! Are you ready to embark on an unforgettable journey through the heart of the Deep South? If you crave a blend of rich culture, delectable cuisine, and vibrant music, then a Big Easy cruise is your ticket to paradise. This guide will walk you through everything you need to know about enjoying the perfect cruise experience in and around New Orleans, affectionately known as the “Big Easy.” So, grab your sunhat, pack your bags, and let’s set sail on a journey filled with fun, adventure, and a touch of Creole magic.

Why Choose a Big Easy Cruise?

Rich Cultural Tapestry

New Orleans is renowned for its unique blend of French, Spanish, African, and American cultures. From the historic French Quarter to the bustling Bourbon Street, the city offers a sensory overload of sights, sounds, and flavors. A cruise departing from New Orleans allows you to soak in this vibrant cultural mix before even stepping on board.

Delectable Cuisine

The culinary scene in New Orleans is second to none. Imagine starting your trip with a bowl of gumbo, a plate of beignets, or a hearty jambalaya. A Big Easy cruise often features menus inspired by local flavors, so you can savor the taste of New Orleans throughout your journey.

Legendary Music Scene

No trip to New Orleans is complete without immersing yourself in its legendary music scene. Jazz, blues, and zydeco fill the air, creating a soundtrack that will stay with you long after your cruise ends. Many cruises even offer live performances on board, bringing the sounds of the Big Easy to the open seas.

Planning Your Big Easy Cruise

Choosing the Right Cruise Line

When planning your Big Easy cruise, selecting the right cruise line is crucial. Some of the most popular options include:

  • Carnival Cruise Line: Known for its festive atmosphere and family-friendly amenities, Carnival offers several itineraries departing from New Orleans.
  • Norwegian Cruise Line: With its “Freestyle Cruising” concept, Norwegian provides flexibility in dining and entertainment options, perfect for those who want a more personalized experience.
  • Royal Caribbean: This line is famous for its innovative ships and diverse activities, making it a great choice for travelers seeking adventure.

Best Time to Cruise

The best time to embark on a Big Easy cruise is during the fall and spring months. From September to November and March to May, the weather is mild, and the city is buzzing with festivals and events. However, if you’re a fan of Mardi Gras, cruising in February can provide a double dose of fun and excitement.

Itinerary Highlights

A typical Big Easy cruise itinerary includes several exciting ports of call. Here are some highlights you won’t want to miss:

  • Cozumel, Mexico: Known for its crystal-clear waters and vibrant marine life, Cozumel offers fantastic snorkeling and diving opportunities.
  • Belize City, Belize: Explore ancient Mayan ruins, lush rainforests, and beautiful coral reefs in this tropical paradise.
  • Roatán, Honduras: This island is perfect for eco-tourists, with its pristine beaches, wildlife reserves, and stunning underwater scenery.

What to Expect Onboard

Dining Experiences

On a Big Easy cruise, dining is an experience in itself. Cruise lines often feature multiple dining venues, ranging from casual eateries to upscale restaurants. Here are some must-try dining options:

  • Main Dining Room: Enjoy a rotating menu of international and local dishes, often inspired by the flavors of New Orleans.
  • Specialty Restaurants: Indulge in gourmet cuisine at specialty restaurants offering everything from steak and seafood to Italian and Asian fusion.
  • Buffet: For a more relaxed dining experience, visit the buffet, where you can sample a variety of dishes at your own pace.

Entertainment and Activities

From sunrise to sunset, there’s never a dull moment on a Big Easy cruise. Here’s a glimpse of what you can expect:

  • Live Music: Whether it’s a jazz quartet in the lounge or a rock band by the pool, live music sets the tone for a festive atmosphere.
  • Theater Shows: Enjoy Broadway-style productions, comedy acts, and magic shows in the ship’s theater.
  • Casino: Try your luck at the onboard casino, featuring slot machines, poker tables, and more.

Relaxation and Wellness

If relaxation is your goal, you’re in luck. Cruise ships offer a plethora of wellness options to help you unwind:

  • Spa: Treat yourself to a massage, facial, or other spa treatments in a serene setting.
  • Pools and Hot Tubs: Take a dip in the pool or soak in a hot tub while enjoying ocean views.
  • Fitness Center: Stay active with state-of-the-art gym equipment, fitness classes, and outdoor running tracks.

Excursions and Shore Activities

New Orleans: Pre and Post-Cruise Adventures

Don’t rush to board the ship or head home just yet. Spend some time exploring New Orleans itself. Here are some activities to consider:

  • French Quarter Tour: Wander through the historic French Quarter, known for its vibrant nightlife and iconic architecture.
  • Steamboat Natchez Cruise: Experience a traditional Mississippi River steamboat cruise, complete with live jazz music.
  • Garden District: Stroll through the picturesque Garden District, famous for its antebellum mansions and lush gardens.

Excursions at Ports of Call

Each port of call offers unique excursions to enhance your cruise experience. Here are some top picks:

  • Snorkeling and Diving: Explore underwater worlds in Cozumel, Belize, and Roatán, known for their stunning coral reefs and marine life.
  • Cultural Tours: Learn about the local culture and history with guided tours in each destination.
  • Adventure Activities: For thrill-seekers, options like zip-lining, ATV rides, and cave tubing provide an adrenaline rush.

FAQs About Big Easy Cruises

What is the best time to take a Big Easy cruise?

The best time to take a Big Easy cruise is during the fall (September to November) and spring (March to May) when the weather is mild, and the city is bustling with festivals.

Can I experience New Orleans culture on the cruise?

Absolutely! Many cruises departing from New Orleans incorporate the city’s unique culture into their onboard experience, from dining options to live music performances.

What should I pack for a Big Easy cruise?

Pack comfortable clothing for both warm and cool weather, swimwear, sunscreen, and any necessary travel documents. Don’t forget your camera to capture the beautiful sights!

Are there family-friendly activities on a Big Easy cruise?

Yes, cruise lines like Carnival and Royal Caribbean offer a wide range of family-friendly activities, including kids’ clubs, water parks, and entertainment suitable for all ages.

How can I make the most of my time in New Orleans before or after the cruise?

To make the most of your time in New Orleans, explore the French Quarter, enjoy a steamboat cruise on the Mississippi River, and savor the local cuisine at renowned eateries.


Embarking on a Big Easy cruise is more than just a vacation; it’s an adventure filled with rich cultural experiences, delectable cuisine, and vibrant entertainment. Whether you’re a first-time cruiser or a seasoned sailor, a voyage departing from New Orleans promises memories that will last a lifetime. So, set your sights on the Big Easy and get ready for a cruise experience like no other.

Bon voyage, and laissez les bons temps rouler – let the good times roll!