New in N'awlins

Several tour operators are offering clients a chance to experience the culture and character of New Orleans and the South. Following are tours that capture the essence of the Big Easy, and the debut of Carnival’s largest vessel out of New Orleans.

By: Richard J. Simpson

Several tour operators are offering clients a chance to experience the culture and character of New Orleans and the South. Following are tours that capture the essence of the Big Easy, and the debut of Carnival’s largest vessel out of New Orleans.

Southern Sites

Agents can make up to 15% commission on a six-day, land-only trip from Mayflower Tours. New Orleans and the Gulf Coast features such New Orleans sites as St. Louis Cathedral, Bourbon Street and Jackson Square. Also included are visits to Biloxi, Bellingrath Gardens and Mobile; a Louisiana swamp tour; and a return trip to New Orleans along the Gulf of Mexico.

Eight meals, roundtrip airport transfers, accommodations and $30 in future travel credits with Mayflower are part of the package. Departure dates are Feb. 11, March 11, April 22, May 13, Sept. 23, Oct. 21 and Nov. 18, 2003.

The per-person rate is $829, single supplement $329. Air from the West Coast is available.

Call 800-323-7604. Web site: www.mayflowertours.com.

Collette Vacations is offering New Orleans and the Deep South 2003, an eight-day tour through Louisiana and Mississippi.

Clients will have the opportunity to see New Orleans’ culinary reputation by taking cooking classes at the New Orleans School of Cooking. They will also have beignets and cafe au laits at the famous Cafe Du Monde. A tour of Cajun country and a visit to the war town of Natchez with a local guide is on the itinerary.

The land-only trip with departures from Apr. 1, 2003 to March 1, 2004, includes seven breakfasts, five dinners and accommodations. Prices from $1,499 to $1,899, single.

Call 800-340-5158. Web site: www.collettevacations.com.

For those who want lengthier glimpses of the South, Globus is offering a nine-day tour called Charms of the South, beginning and ending in New Orleans.

The land-only trip starts with a welcome dinner followed the next morning with a tour of New Orleans, including stately mansions on St. Charles Avenue and the Mardi Gras Museum. Dinner is at world-famous Arnaud’s.

The tour continues with such highlights as a riverboat cruise to Biloxi, Miss.; a visit to the port of Natchez, which features sprawling plantations and impressive mansions; a tour of Frogmore cotton plantation; and a cruise along the swampy bayous of Atchafalaya Basin.

The package, offered through Oct. 27, includes accommodations, two lunches and five dinners. The rate is $1,499 per person.

Call 800-221-0900. Web site: www.globusjourneys.com.

Big Easy Departures

Carnival Cruise Lines has scheduled two one-time departures to the Caribbean from New Orleans before it starts its seven-day service year-round.

The four-day weekend cruise departing Nov. 15 and six-day cruise on Nov. 21 will be aboard Carnival’s newest class of vessel and largest in the fleet, the 110,000-ton Carnival Conquest.

In addition, the cruise line plans to operate a four-day Thanksgiving weekend cruise on Nov. 27, followed by the launching of year-round seven-day Caribbean service from New Orleans beginning Dec. 1.

The inaugural four-day cruise, which includes a visit to Cozumel, starts at $479 per person, double. The six-day voyage, beginning at $649 per person, double, follows a two-day preview cruise for agents and features such ports of call as George Town, Grand Cayman and Cozumel.

Rates for third and fourth guests sharing a stateroom, as well as roundtrip air from several North American gateways, are available.

Call 800-CARNIVAL. Web site: www.carnival.com.

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