New Orleans Revisited

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Clients should allow time for nearby treasures from Louisiana’s plantation past. One of the loveliest is Houmas House, a white-columned beauty built in 1828 on the River Road. About a 45-minute drive from New Orleans, it adjoins a 1770 structure housing Latil’s Landing, a fine dining restaurant. New at Houmas House is a Tea House overlooking a Monet-themed water garden—a highly romantic spot for high tea.

Romance also rules at nearby Bocage Plantation, opened as a B&B on Oct. 1. A circa-1837 mansion restored to its original grandeur, the River Road plantation house serves up four rooms for overnight guests, each furnished with fine antiques. Tours ($10) are offered daily. Room rates are $200.

cruising to/from the big easy Canny agents are quick to sell clients on combining a cruise with their land stay. The two options on tap, Norwegian Cruise Line and Carnival Cruise Lines, have recently recommitted to the city with freshened looks and offerings.

In April, NCL pledged to homeport one ship in New Orleans through Oct. 31, 2014. For now, it’s Norwegian Spirit—displaying a multimillion dollar refurbishment and sailing 7-day winter getaways to the western Caribbean.

This month, Carnival, which operates a year-round program from the Crescent City, replaced Carnival Fantasy with the larger Carnival Triumph. Currently scheduled: 4-day cruises to Cozumel, 5-day jaunts to Cozumel and Progreso, and new 7-day itineraries in the eastern and western Caribbean.