PAWTUCKET, R.I. -- Collette Vacations, based here, beefed up its
roster of products to New Orleans this year with two new programs,
bringing the total from five to seven.
"New Orleans always sells," said Edie Silva, product manager for
the Deep South and the eastern U.S. for Collette.
"It's the food, the festivities, the music. It's easygoing. It's
the Big Easy," Silva said. "It gets a lot of publicity as a fun
city with many things to do."
Although Collette had packaged New Orleans in several ways in
past years, none ever captured the city in its holiday splendor.
That has been remedied for 2002 with the Cajun Holiday
The new motorcoach tour is a four-night visit timed to take
place during the Christmas season. It will be offered Dec. 2 to
Dec. 14. Accommodations are at the Ramada Inn on Bourbon Street in
the French Quarter.
The tour kicks off with dinner at the New Orleans School of
Cooking, where Creole and Cajun chefs demonstrate Louisiana-style
The second day includes a walking tour of the French Quarter that
visits the St. Louis Cathedral, the French Marketplace and Pirate's
Alley, which was Jean Lafitte's meeting place. The itinerary
includes Cafe Du Monde and the Christmas lights display at City
The third day features a walk along the garden and home district
of St. Charles Avenue and a visit to Bellingrath Gardens decked out
in holiday displays.
The last full day is set aside for independent exploration of
New Orleans, until evening, when a farewell dinner is held at the
Court of Two Sisters, a well-known local restaurant.
The land price for the tour is $659 per person, double.
Collette also introduced an independent city package to New
Orleans for 2002.
The package includes three nights at one of four hotels: the
Best Western French Quarter Landmark Hotel; the Fairmont Hotel; the
New Orleans Marriott Hotel; or the Monaco Hotel.
Prices start at $199, land only, or $429 with air from Dallas to
New Orleans. Included are accommodations; one dinner at one of many
dine-around restaurants; and a steamboat river cruise.
Specials now are being offered with the city package. A room
upgrade and a fourth night is available free with a three-night
booking at the Monaco Hotel from May 23 through Sept. 7 or from
Dec. 8 to 28.
The same offer applies to a three-night booking at the New
Orleans Marriott Hotel, July 2 through Sept. 15 or Dec. 16 to
A room upgrade is given with bookings at the Best Western French
Quarter Landmark Hotel through March, from May 28 through Aug. 30
or Nov. 18 through Jan. 23, 2003.
A room upgrade also is offered for booking the Fairmont Hotel
from May 23 through Sept. 7 or Dec. 8 to 28.
Meanwhile, Collette's other New Orleans tours remain popular,
according to Edie Silva, product manager for the Deep South and
eastern U.S. for Collette. The most popular, Silva said, is the
four-night New Orleans Getaway.
The tour, priced from $559 per person, double, includes many of
the components of the holiday tour, plus a jazz cruise on the
Mississippi aboard the paddle wheeler SS Natchez, dinner at the Two
Sisters restaurant and a jazz revue.
Collette includes New Orleans in its Music Cities Tour, an
eight-night itinerary that groups the city with other destinations
known for their musical histories and cultures: Branson, Mo., and
Memphis and Nashville, Tenn. The land price starts at $1,559 per
The New Orleans and the Deep South tour concentrates on Southern
culture. It includes the French Quarter, the New Orleans School of
Cooking, a paddle-wheeler ride, the Antebellum Museum, Cajun
Country and the Jean Lafitte Cultural Center. The seven-night tour
is priced from $1,079 per person, double.
Meanwhile, two of Collette's programs that include New Orleans
also feature major cruise components.
Battle and Cottonfield Steamboatin Adventures is an eight-night
trip that includes a cruise aboard the American Queen beginning in
New Orleans and including Baton Rouge, La.; Natchez, Miss.; Helena,
Ark.; and ending in Memphis. It's priced from $1,999 per person,
Collette pays travel agents 10% commissions on air and land. For
more information or to make reservations, call (800) 340-5158.