If you’ve never visited New Orleans before, taking a cruise out of the New Orleans Cruise Terminal is the best way to do so. It gives you an excuse to travel to the Big Easy, the home of Mardi Gras and Cajun cooking.
New Orleans is a big city, and the cruise port is very popular, so you should know what to expect before arriving.
From the history, terminal information, to parking, transportation, and dining options, this article will give you everything you need to know about the New Orleans Cruise Terminal and the surrounding area.
History of the New Orleans Cruise Terminal
The year 1803 is when the United States government bought the colony of Louisiana from the French for $15 million.
This event came to be known as The Louisiana Purchase, and due to the colony’s easy access to commerce and travel along the Mississippi River, easily doubled the size of the United States at the time.
Over the years the Port of New Orleans serves to provide an economic boost to the region, until the Civil War when the port is closed and goes unused for over a decade.
The port is finally reopened in the late 1870s and the next hundred years is spent growing the port and adding cruise terminals. It isn’t long before the New Orleans Cruise Terminal becomes one of the most popular ports for both the transportation of goods and passengers.
Where is the New Orleans Cruise Terminal?
The New Orleans Cruise Terminal is located right in the center of the city. The French Quarter is just a short drive away, as is downtown New Orleans. Nearby cities are Gretna to the south and Metairie to the northwest.
A few landmarks to lookout for if you’re driving to the port are The National WWII Museum on Magazine St and The Louisiana Children’s Museum on Julia Street.
How you get to the port largely depends on which terminal you need to go to.
Julia Street Cruise Terminal, located at 920 Port of New Orleans Place, serves ships from Norwegian Cruise Lines and Royal Caribbean International.
Erato Street Cruise Terminal at 1100 Port of New Orleans Place serves ships from Carnival Cruise Lines and Disney Cruise Lines.
If you happen to be cruising with a different company, your boarding information will tell you which terminal you need to go to.
Where Can You Park?
There are three parking options located right at the port. Each terminal has their own parking area and there is a lot adjacent to the Julia Street Parking lot that provides parking for oversized vehicles (RVs, buses, etc.).
Ideally, unless you have a bus or an RV, you will want to park in the lot or garage for your terminal, as it will make boarding much easier on you and your family.
Erato Street Cruise Terminal Parking
The garage for the Erato Street Cruise Terminal is located above the terminal. As you approach the terminal you will see a circular ramp that will take you up to the garage.
SeaCaps will take your checked baggage directly to the ship for you, then once you park just take the convenient elevator down to the terminal to board.
Parking is $22 between April 1 and July 31, and $20 between August 1 and March 31. To be allowed access you must have your boarding information printed out and available to show. The garage is secured, well-lit, and patrolled by security officers 24/7.
Julia Street Cruise Terminal Parking
If you’re arriving to the terminal from the south, drive right past the Erato Street Cruise Terminal to get to the Julia Street Terminal.
Stop at the terminal first and SeaCaps will assist you with your luggage and passengers, then you’ll be given directions to the uncovered parking lot located right next to the terminal.
After you park a shuttle will take you back to the terminal if you need it. Just like the Erato Street Garage, this parking lot is patrolled 24/7, well lit, and secured. Parking at Julia Street is $20 a day year-round.
If you know you’ll be driving an oversized vehicle, you will need to make reservations in advance to park at the oversized lot located on Poydras Street next to the Julia Street Cruise Terminal. Check the port website for more information.
After offloading all luggage and passengers at the appropriate terminal first, someone will direct you to the oversized lot, or you can call for Mustafa Yucesoy at 504-609-9559 to assist you. The cost for oversized parking is $40 per day year-round.
During the spring and summer cruise seasons there tends to be a much higher demand for parking.
If this is the case for you upon arriving, you will likely be directed to one of various overflow parking sites located around the city. The port will also provide shuttle transportation to and from these overflow parking lots.
Are There Any Off-Site Parking Options?
You can’t beat the convenience and ease of parking right at the cruise terminal. All you have to do is park and then walk right to the terminal to board your ship.
But what if spending $140 for a week of parking isn’t in your travel budget? Or you don’t want to spend $40 a night for your RV or bus?
Well, luckily for you, New Orleans has a few off-site parking options with drastically lower costs that will be much easier on your budget.
New Orleans Parking
New Orleans Parking offers parking at one of four locations right next to the New Orleans Cruise Port, and all of them are significantly cheaper than parking on site.
Three of these options is with Fulton Place Parking, the best place to park in New Orleans whether you’re going on a cruise, or just need to park in town for the day.
For cruise passengers you can park on the garage rooftop (uncovered), a covered level of the garage, or in their oversized lot.
Be sure when you’re making your reservation online to select “cruise parking” to get the appropriate results.
The three Fulton lots do provide shuttle service, but ONLY for Norwegian, Carnival, and Royal passengers.
Prices for Fulton are:
- Rooftop: $10 per day (plus $5 service fee and sales tax)
- Covered: $12.50 per day (plus $5 service fee and sales tax)
- Oversized lot: $16 per day per space the vehicle takes up (plus $5 service fee and sales tax)
The fourth location you can book parking at through New Orleans Parking is the Cummins Parking Lot. $12.50 per day (plus sales tax and a service fee), and they provide shuttle service to and from the cruise port. To book your spot in advance visit https://neworleansparking.com/.
New Orleans Cruise Ship Parking
New Orleans Cruise Ship Parking isn’t as close to the port, but they do provide free shuttle service to and from the cruise port. To park here you must book in advance at http://www.nocruiseshipparking.com.
Parking costs $14 per day. If you will be staying in a hotel that doesn’t provide parking, New Orleans Cruise Ship Parking will charge you $30 the night you stay at the hotel, and then $14 each night after that. And they’ll gladly shuttle you between the hotel, parking lot, and cruise port.
What Types of Cruises Can You Take from the New Orleans Cruise Terminal?
The New Orleans Cruise Terminal offers Caribbean cruises through Carnival, Norwegian, Royal Caribbean, and Disney.
The average length of these cruises is 7 nights, but some are shorter at 4 or 5 nights. Carnival and Royal have year-round cruises, while Norwegian and Disney are seasonal.
You can also take cruises along the Mississippi River from the New Orleans Cruise Terminal. These cruises are provided through American Cruise Lines and American Queen Steamboat Company and can last anywhere from 7 nights to 21 nights long. For more information about ships and itineraries, visit the port itinerary page.
Transportation Options to the New Orleans Cruise Terminal
If you’ve decided that driving to New Orleans and trying to find parking is just too much work, there are other ways of getting to the cruise port.
First, the best way to get to New Orleans is to fly. The Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport is only about 15 miles from the New Orleans Cruise Terminal. So by car or taxi, it should take roughly 20-25 minutes to get to the cruise port.
Cruise Line Shuttles
Many of the major cruise lines offer shuttle transfers for their passengers either from the airport, or from whatever hotel they happen to be staying in.
While this can be extremely convenient, this is the single most expensive way to get to the cruise terminal unless you’re traveling by yourself.
For example, Disney charges $25 one way per guest. So even if it’s just two of you, that’s $100 round trip. $200 for a family of four.
To learn more about transportation options with the cruise lines at the Port of New Orleans, click one of the links below:
- Carnival Cruise Line Transport Options
- Norwegian Cruise Line Transport Options
- Disney Cruise Line Transport Options
- Royal Caribbean Transport Options
Renting a car for just a few hours is a great way to get from the airport to the cruise terminal, and you don’t have to worry about parking anywhere during your cruise.
It’s important to note that the only car rental companies with rental stations near the New Orleans Cruise Terminal are Avis, Hertz, and Budget. All three of them are also located at the airport so you can pick up your car shortly after arriving.
Renting a car one way will give you control over your transportation options to the cruise port. Be prepared to pay about $60 to rent a car for a day.
Taxis are really easy to pick up from the airport and they’ll drive you right up to your cruise terminal. What makes these easy is you don’t have to book anything in advance, and they’ll easily take 1-2 people from the airport to the cruise terminal for a flat rate of $36.
If your group consists of 3 or more people, taxis will charge you an extra $15 per person, so you might want to try something else for larger groups.
Ridesharing services are the prime way to travel around any city these days, and New Orleans is no exception.
Both Uber and Lyft provide rides from the airport to the New Orleans Cruise Terminal. From Uber you’ll be looking at paying $34.65, and from Lyft the cost would be $32-$36.
One of the best things about taking Uber or Lyft is the price covers up to 4 people riding in the same car.
What Hotels in New Orleans Provide Parking or Shuttle Service?
If you plan to arrive in New Orleans a day or two before your ship leaves (which we highly recommend that you do), you won’t have any trouble finding a place to stay as there are hundreds of hotels located all around the city.
Also Read: 26 Ideal Hotels Near Port of New Orleans
For those driving to the port, book your stay at a hotel that provides parking. This eliminates to need to also secure parking.
Hotels with parking availability during your cruise are:
- Hilton New Orleans Riverside
- $170 average nightly rate
- 0.3 miles from the port
- You get a 20% discount on your room and parking for $13 per night
- Holiday Inn Downtown Superdome
- $104 average nightly rate
- 1 mile from the port
- Free parking for 8 nights
- Hampton Inn & Suites New Orleans Convention Center
- $110 average nightly rate
- 0.6 miles from the port
- Parking for $14 per night
- Free shuttle to and from the port
- The Queen Anne Hotel
- $91 average nightly rate
- 1.3 miles from the port
- Free parking for 7 nights (must book 2 nights)
- Maison St. Charles
- $111 average nightly rate
- 1 mile from the port
- Free parking for 7 nights
- Courtyard Marriott New Orleans Westbank/Gretna
- $107 average nightly rate
- 3.5 miles from the port
- Free parking for cruise duration
- Free shuttle
Must-Try Restaurants Near the New Orleans Cruise Terminal
Even if have just a few hours to kill before your ship takes off, you are likely going to be hungry. Why not spend some of that time sampling some of the excellent cuisines that New Orleans has to offer?
Here are some restaurants within walking distance of the cruise terminal. Most of them are located right in the French Quarter, so you’ll get a unique blend of French and Cajun cooking that you’ll only find in Louisiana.
So park your car, then head on over to one of these amazing places for a tasty treat you won’t forget.
Barcadia Bar & Grill: Step into some nostalgia in this casual bar and arcade room, featuring dozens of arcade games from the ’80s. Serving some of the best burgers and sandwiches around, this is a great place for the kids in your group (or the kids-at-heart) to enjoy.
Cochon Butcher: Both a local butcher and sandwich shop, Cochon has delicious food to offer any meat lover. They work with a large network of local farms to provide their customers with the freshest fruits, vegetables, and meats.
Try a Cajun Pork Dog on Pretzel Bun, Moroccan Spiced Lamb on Flatbread (with cucumbers, tzatziki, and chili oil), or their Le Pig Mac.
Ugly Dog Saloon & BBQ: If BBQ is your favorite, then be sure to stop by the Ugly Dog Saloon. Serving customers in the Warehouse District since 1998, they serve Cajun smoked sausages, St. Louis style ribs, and spicy alligator chili. This isn’t your normal BBQ joint.
They bring a little extra flavor and kick to everything they serve. You may want to have your favorite antacids on standby when you eat here.
Emeril’s: Heard of Chef Emeril “BAM!” Lagasse? This is his flagship restaurant, located right in the heart of New Orleans. Expect to pay roughly $30 per person here, but your taste buds will thank you.
This restaurant serves New Orleans Barbequed Shrimp, Flash Fried Creole Marinated Calamari, and a double-decker burger that Emeril’s named the “Who Dat” Burger.
What Are Some Fun Things to Do in New Orleans?
In addition to excellent dining and food options, there are plenty of sightseeing opportunities to take advantage of near the New Orleans Cruise Terminal.
Shopping is by far a favorite tourist past time. Whenever you visit a new place, you want to take something home that reminds you of where you visited. Often this results in the phenomenon of arriving home with more than you left with.
But having items you bought in far places that you’ll never visit again can hold memories of family vacations, or serve as trophies that you traveled to cool places.
New Orleans has many souvenirs to offer tourists visiting for their cruise. The French Quarter especially, which is easily within walking distance of the port, has the French Market.
Six blocks of shopping that also covers roughly three centuries of New Orleans and Louisiana history. This can be a great place to get your retail therapy going while remaining close to the port.
Mardi Gras World
This fun attraction educates you on the history of Mardi Gras and what it means. It’s available year-round with floats, tours, and King Cake. And the best part is they’ll pick you up from anywhere for free! Just call them at 504-361-7821 when you’re ready to visit and they’ll come to get you. Find more details right here.
The National WWII Museum
Just a few blocks down the road from the cruise port is an extensive National World War II Museum down on Magazine St. Learn more about World War II than you ever did in school and what it really means to people today. They have numerous exhibits, movies, and lectures to tell the story.
The museum also has a restaurant on campus that embraces the history and memories of the WWII era called BB’s Stage Door Canteen, complete with entertainment. Be sure to stop in here for a history lesson or two and get some lunch while you’re there.
Don’t know what you want to do in New Orleans? That’s okay! If you’re new to the city, it can be tough to know where to go and what to see.
One way to experience New Orleans is to go on a tour. There are various types of tours that will take you to various areas of the city. They have everything from rides on the bayou, cemetery tours, carriage rides, walking tours, and more.
Tours available in New Orleans are:
- New Orleans Haunted Ghost, Voodoo, and Vampire Tour – $14
- City Sightseeing New Orleans Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tour – $39
- Steamboat Natchez Jazz Dinner Cruise – $49
- Food Walking Tour of the French Quarter – $54.99
- New Orleans Swamp and Bayou Boat Tour with Transport – $56
- New Orleans Airboat Ride – $55
- Three Hour City Tour of New Orleans – $36
- New Orleans Original Cocktail Walking Tour – $27.90
- Cemetery and French Quarter Horse and Carriage Ride – $40
- New Orleans Food and History Tour – $70
Conclusion on Must-Know Things About the New Orleans Cruise Terminal
New Orleans is a city that’s full of life, spice, and fun. If you’ve never been before, we highly suggest arriving a day or two before your cruise leaves to fully experience everything the city and cruise port has to offer you.
Giving yourself a buffer of time can also come in handy should there be any flight delays, traffic, or any issues with the cruise ship.
From details about the cruise port, to parking, hotels, and things to do in the area, it is important to be informed before you arrive in the city. Plan as much as you can ahead of time, but also allow for the chance to have some spontaneous fun while you’re there.