Port Review: New Orleans, USA

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Located just 150 kilometres upriver from the Gulf of Mexico, New Orleans has become one of North America’s top 10 cruise ports for good reason.

The Facts

Location: On the southern Gulf of Mexico coast of the USA in Louisiana.

Language: English.

Currency: US Dollar.

Docking/Anchoring: Docking at one of two locations; the Julia Street terminal, or Erato Street Cruise Terminal, which are close together.

Transport: There are taxis outside of both piers, and there is a RiverFront streetcar service which takes passengers around to popular tourist sites including the French Quarter and Harrah’s Casino.


A number of cruise lines, including Carnival, Royal Caribbean and NCL, use New Orleans as a homeport these days, with ships travelling to the eastern and western Caribbean, as well as up the Mississippi River and to the other inland waterways of the South and Midwest. For first time visitors, New Orleans has a fascinating history with much cultural diversity. It was founded by the French in 1718, handed over to the Spanish in 1763, and then ceded back to France in 1801. Just two years later, and the territory was sold to the United States which sparked an influx of Americans, French, Creoles, Irish, Germans and Africans. Its modern history is punctuated by Hurricane Katrina in 2005 when more than 1,500 people died when the levee system failed, but remarkably today most of the city has been rebuilt. 

Don’t Miss

The French Quarter, also known locally as "the Quarter" or Vieux Carré, is the main attraction in New Orleans, and the place you’ll easily find the music and cuisine that defines this unique city. Bourbon Street is its heart and soul, famous for a crazy nightlife, cobble stone streets, wrought iron balconies and classic European architecture. 

Jackson Square is a great place to relax in some welcome shade, and take in the bohemian atmosphere that makes New Orleans such a unique place. Here you’ll find an entertaining mix of street artists, mimes, tarot card readers, horse and buggy drivers, with St. Louis Cathedral and the iconic statue of Andrew Jackson as the backdrop.

The National World War II Museum will be of great interest to history buffs. Tucked away on Magazine Street, it’s an extensive and somewhat heart-wrenching facility with a D-Day exhibition.

Audubon Zoological Gardens is also on Magazine Street, and if you love animals and other critters, this is among North America’s best zoos, with a fascinating Louisiana Swamp exhibit featuring alligators, bobcats, bears and snapping turtles.

St. Louis Cemetery No. 1 is a sacred place is home to the remains of mostly early Creoles, with family tombs, and is said to be the final resting place of the voodoo queen, Marie Laveau.

St. Charles Avenue Streetcar offers the opportunity of riding on one of the oldest operating street railway systems in the world. It will take you from downtown New Orleans to South Carrollton Avenue.  

Best Photo Op

Picking just one is impossible in such a photogenic city, however, St. Louis Cathedral and the iconic statue of Andrew Jackson as the backdrop is a photographer's dream. Also popular is the French Quarter with its lace balconies, and the Garden District architecture. 


If you’re keen to shop, the Julia Street Cruise Terminal is located in the same complex as the RiverWalk Shopping Mall, a large, first class mall packed with boutiques and a food court. If you’re looking for something more original, head to Magazine Street and its hundreds of shops and boutiques. Close to Jackson Square, the French Market is very European in its design and atmosphere, an open-air shopping mall selling local handicrafts and souvenirs, besides good dining and coffee joints.

Food and Drink

New Orleans is famous for a rich French history, which means there are plenty of sweet treats to enjoy all over the city, from delicious pastries and beignets, to handmade chocolates and pralines. Beyond these, other local delicacies to try include po’ boys, which are overstuffed sandwiched served on French bread, gumbo, which is a hearty soup made of seafood, chicken sausage or okra, jambalaya, which is a rich seafood dish. In the French Quarter, try a Hurricane cocktail which is mixed with arguably every alcohol you can think of and not to be taken lightly.

Pick Of The Excursions

If you really want to get out and about with nature, and you don’t fancy a visit to the zoo, there are Bayou airboat tours through the Louisiana swamps in Cajun Country, which hold the promise of alligator spotting and wildlife watching.

Another popular excursion for those who have visited the city before is to Antebellum South, and the Westbank plantation homes.


Joanna Hall


  • 5
    Unscheduled Stop

    Posted by Abby on 15th Jan 2019

    We had to pull into NO on a Caribbean cruise a couple of years ago because of bad weather and it was such a blessing! We got to spend most of the day in port, and an overnight, and we simply loved its charm, history and unique character. We intend to go back one day, would love to cruise the Mississippi!

  • 5
    The Big Easy

    Posted by Rick Sheeves on 15th Jan 2019

    Ah the Big Easy.....I've seen it so many times in movies, watched docos about the region but have never been. I am a history buff and have ancestry from the USA around the time of the war of independence so would love to explore some of the destinations and see the historical sights. Maybe one day Ultimate Travel!