We have talked a bit about Royal Caribbean cruises and Norwegian cruises from New Orleans but we haven't talked about Carnival cruises which just happen to be the cheapest cruises from New Orleans. Some would even argue that Carnival cruises are even the best cruises out of New Orleans.
I leave that debate up to you guys as I tend to think all cruises are great. What I can say for sure though is that is tough to beat the deals being offered by Carnival. You can get a five night cruise on the Carnival Elation starting at $229 a person for an inside cabin...thats crazy cheap. That means a couple can cruise to Mexico and enjoy 5 nights of fine dining, entertainment and a place to sleep. That's almost cheaper than rent for crying out loud.
To be fair the Elation is an older ship and you aren't going to get the same amazing features of the Navigator of the Seas... but its still a cruise ship. If an older ship isn't what you are after, Carnival also offers 6 and 7 night cruises on the newer Conquest for less then $400. Still an amazing deal.
I tend to like Royal Caribbean cruises a bit better because of the ships but prices like this are why I end up cruising with Carnival more often than not. To think a family of 4 could go on a cruise vacation out of New Orleans for less than $1,000 is amazing.
It should be noted for the families cruising that Carnival does tend to attract a bit more of the rowdy crowd. They don't call them the fun ships for nothing. Just make sure not to book a cruise during Spring Break of Mardi Gras and your family should have a blast.