We are going to take our first family cruise together, and its our first time on a Carnival ship. One of the reasons we selected it was the price and the Camp Carnival for kids. They are 4 and 3 and the program looks great. All in all, the cruise itself is costing us just under $1,100. 4 Night Western Caribbean out of New Orleans to Cozumel, with 2 full days at sea on the Carnival Elation. We booked an ocean view room. Balcony rooms were not an option and I didn't want to spring for a suite this time. -I booked the cruise through Cruises Only (Marriott) and will earn 9 points per dollar since I put it on my Marriott Credit Card. I am gunning for that lifetime status. -We are driving to New Orleans, so we are getting there a day early and staying at a Fairfield Inn about 11 miles outside of New Orleans, on certificate earned from opening the Marriott Credit Card. -I linked my Barclay Carnival Rewards MasterCard to our Sign and Sail. Through various promotions and regular spending, we have over $200 in rewards that we can use to wipe out charges through Carnival. We are really just looking to take 1 excursion during our day at Cozumel. We are leaning towards a beach day with buffet and unlimited drinks. Looks like fun. I cruised with my parents when I was younger, but this is our first cruise as a family, the first cruise my kids have been on, our first cruise to Mexico, and our first cruise with Carnival. Any tips or suggestions from anyone who has cruised out of New Orleans or with Carnival before? Thanks.