My husband and I and two of our friends decided to sail out of New Orleans on Carnival Dream, after having experienced a similar itinerary via Carnival Magic out of Galveston in March of 2015 -
Our experience was, for the most part, even better on the older sister 'Dream' - The food and service was a step up or two on this latest cruise, and the main shows/entertainment was actually far superior on the 'Dream' (when compared to our experience on 'Magic').
(Better feature on the 'Magic' than on the 'Dream' was WaterWorks... The slides seemed faster and more thrilling on the former.)
New Orleans and the French Quarter certainly offer up ample opportunity to enjoy a few pre-cruise drinks and great food, ahead of your trip on the ship. Arrive a night or two early to enjoy the worldly-unique city -
Very, very hot the day we were in Port of Key West, but the city is always vibrant and fun around which to walk -
The more lackluster of the Bahamian ports: a good day to stay on the ship for some sun and a swim after exploring the port Plaza briefly.
If you don't head to Atlantis Resort for the day, check out John Watling's Rum Distillery tour and Tavern - was a highlight of the trip!