New Orlean's Jazz Fest & Caribbean Cruise (April 27-May 6)

** Be Sure to Scroll Down the Whole Page for Full Details! **

"Roll Up The Rug" & "The Rockin' Horse Barn" 

---- PRESENT ----

2018 New Orleans 
Western Caribbean Dance Cruise & All That Jazz

Join a group of your fellow dance aficionados for a fabulous weekend in New Orleans at the city's world-famous Heritage Jazz Festival, followed by a one-week dance cruise onboard the Carnival Dream as we sail the spectacular tropical waters of Mexico, Honduras, and Belize!  Sign up for the whole package or for just the cruise -- it's going to be a fantastic adventure any way you put it together!

April 29 - May 6 (Sun-Sun) 

Departing from and returning to New Orleans, LA.  


Full details for the Fri-Sun New Orlean's "Heritage Jazz Fest" portion of this event are posted below (please scroll down the page).  More information can also be found at the New Orleans Jazz Festival website.  
  • Please Note:  You will need to sign up for the Jazz Fest weekend and purchase those tickets separately from the cruise package.  


Please note that while there is plenty of room for all to attend Jazz Fest, the cruise portion of the event has limited space, so you will want to reserve your spot quickly and make sure you get on the ship.  

Full details for the cruise portion of this event are posted below 
(please scroll down the page).    
  •  To check current pricing and reserve your spot on the cruise, please contact Bridgett Quinn (with "Cruise Specialists") at (800) 544-2469;  or email her at  

The 2018 New Orleans Jazz Fest Lineup Has Been Announced!

CLICK HERE to see the details

Check out the video below for highlights.....

*** New Orleans Jazz Fest ***


April 27-29 & May 3-6, 2018:  Fri to Sun (2 weekends) in New Orlean's, LA


(CLICK HERE for full details from the Festival site)

The 2018 New Orleans Jazz Fest is scheduled run April 27-29 and May 3-6 at the Fair Grounds Race Course on Gentilly Boulevard.  To give you a sense how large an event this is, the 2017 Jazz Fest drew about 425,000 people who came see such big-name acts at Stevie Wonder, Maroon 5, Dave Matthews, Lorde, Aaron Neville, Harry Conick Jr, Preservation Jazz Hall, Dr. John, Amos Lee, Herb Alpert, Lake Street Drive, Sonny Lambeth, Tab Benoit, Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Dr. Michael White, Irma Thomas & the Iguanas, and many dozens more...   CLICK HERE to see the 2018 Lineup  

The current 2018 lineup and festival details are now available on the official website at 

In the meantimehere are a few details you may want to know now for planning purposes:


  • WHAT: The 2018 New Orleans Jazz Fest will feature over 100 national touring and local acts on 12 stages, plus more than 70 food vendors, local, regional and international arts and crafts, interviews, second-lines, kids' activities, demonstrations and cultural displays.

  • MUSIC: The lineup includes national and international touring acts as well as New Orleans and regional favorites. The lineup often represents pop, rock, gospel, jazz, rap and R&B. The official schedule usually is unveiled in January before the festival.
  • WHEN: Music begins at 11 a.m. each day of the fest, and ends by 7 p.m. In 2018, the first weekend runs from April 27 to 29, and the second weekend begins on a Thursday, running May 3 to 6.  

  • ADMISSION: Advanced-purchased, single-day tickets are $65 each if purchased by April 26th.  Tickets at the gate are $80.  Tickets for children (ages 2-10) are $5.00; children under age 2 are free.

Single-day tickets to Jazz Fest are sold by the weekend, with each ticket valid for a single day's attendance. General-admission Jazz Fest tickets are subject to additional service fees and handling charges. The cheapest way to buy tickets is to pay in cash at the Superdome Box Office.  You can get detailed ticketing info from the Jazz Fest website. 

  • WEATHER:  New Orleans' Spring weather can be variable. The average daytime temperatures usually are in the low 80s, but heavy rain and sudden cold fronts occur. Plan to pack light sweaters, light ponchos, umbrellas, shoes or boots.

  • HOTELS & TRAVEL:   If you are coming from out of town and need a hotel room or a place to stay and want to make arrangements on your own, you may want to look for options on any of the numerous online search engines such as,, AirB&,, etc.  According to the feedback we have gotten so far, most of the participants who are coming have arranged AirBnB housing, which appears to offer the least expensive options to date (ranging $50-$90/night).  Housing prices will go up as the festival dates near.   
If you don't want to go this route, we have made tentative group reservations at the New Orleans Best Western (near the airport).  You will want to  contact Bridgett Quinn (with "Cruise Specialists") at (800) 544-2469 or email her at for any questions you have about the pre-cruise hotel package.   

(**Please note that while I have mentioned a few of the search engine options available to you, Dave and I cannot officially endorse or vouch for any of these)  


Some hotels and airfare companies offer specials in conjunction with festival organizers.  See the Jazz Fest website for full details on those. Early reservations are recommended.  The New Orleans Metropolitan Convention and Visitors Bureau can be a resource and can be reached at 800.672.6124 or 504.566.5003, or visit

  • MEETING AT THE FESTIVAL:  Since many of you will be making your own housing and travel arrangements, we will plan to meet together as a group at the Festival on Saturday, April 28th on three separate occasions.  This is completely optional, and will mostly be for socializing and deciding where folks might want to go and dance together.  Our tentative meeting times will be 10:30am (1/2 hr before the gates open), 3:00pm, and 7:00pm (when the festival closes).  The specific meeting times and locations will be formalized closer to the festival dates.  You may choose to join us for any or all of these meetings as you see fit.  The intention of the 7:00pm meeting will be to allow us to walk into town together for dinner and, of course, for more music & dancing in the French Quarter where the festival continues in full swing!  

  • PARKING: No public parking onsite. Handicapped-accessible parking is limited, but available, at the Gentilly Boulevard lot. A handicap license plate or placard, or other state-issued identification, is required. For information about other services for people with disabilities, call 504.410.6104, email or visit the disabilities page on the Jazz Fest site.

Bicycle parking is at the Gentilly Boulevard and Sauvage Street pedestrian gates. Pay attention to signs about bike parking. New Orleans has expanded bicycle routes in recent years. For a downloadable map, go to the BikeEasy website.

For more check out our Ultimate New Orleans Jazz Fest 2014 Parking Guide: map, list, prices. Prices will vary from year to year.

  • PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION: The Regional Transit Authority provides regular service during Jazz Fest. City buses will drop you three blocks from to the gates on the Esplanade Avenue side of the Fair Grounds. Streetcars also provide service, dropping passengers near City Park. From the streetcar stop, it's a tree-shaded eight-block walk to the nearest Fair Grounds entrance at Sauvage and Fortin streets. (The regular fare is $1.25 per person, 40 cents for seniors with ID. Also, one-day Jazzy Passes, available from drivers, are $3.) For details, visit

  • JAZZ FEST SECURITY: Jazz Fest's security plan is re-evaluated and adjusted annually. Security measures feature bag searches and limitations on the sizes of some carry-in items. (See the "DON'TS" list below). There also may be random pat-downs and vehicle searches at entrances.

  • DON'TS:  The 2017 list of things not to bring included hard coolers; soft coolers larger than 12-pack size; beverages; wagons or pull carts; large chairs with rockers, foot rests, side tables, etc.; pets; glass; tents; metal poles; beach or pole-style umbrellas; canopies or other shelters; inflatable items; athletic games; and wheeled personal transport devices, including bicycles, Segways, skateboards and go-peds. No audio or video recording equipment. No vending or solicitation. Other restrictions apply. (For example, reserving tarp space larger than 6 feet by 8 feet is prohibited anywhere on the Fair Grounds. Inserting stakes or poles in the ground, or using ropes to reserve space is forbidden).

  • DO'S: In 2017, they included push strollers for children; wheelchairs/medical scooters; single collapsible chairs; soft coolers (12-pack size or smaller); ground tarps smaller than 6 feet by 8 feet; factory-sealed water for personal consumption; small bags and backpacks (17 inches by 12 inches by 10 inches); handheld, personal-sized umbrellas.

The festival is owned by the nonprofit New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival and Foundation Inc. It raises money to support year-round cultural and education activities in the city. Visit the foundation website to learn more.

  • SHUTTLES: Gray Line Tours usually operates a shuttle from parking lots to the festival grounds, with round-trip transportation daily. Details are available closer to the fest dates.


Dance Cruise Overview:

DATES:  April 29-May 6, 2018 (Sun to Sun), departing at 4:00pm, returning at 7:00am from New Orleans, on board the Carnival Dream 

ITINERARY:   Ports of call include Costa Maya (Mexico), Mahogany Bay (Honduras), Belize, Cozumel (Mexico), and two days at sea.

  • Sun, April 29: (Optional) New Orleans Jazz Fest (8am-2pm); Board the Carnival Dream (departs 4pm)
  • Mon, April 30:  Fun Day at Sea
  • Tues, May 1:  Costa Maya, Mexico (12-8pm)
  • Wed, May 2:  Mahogany Bay, Honduras (8am-6pm)
  • Thur, May 3:  Belize (8am-5pm)
  • Fri, May 4:  Cozumel, Mexico (7am-5pm)
  • Sat, May 5:  Fun Day at Sea
  • Sun, May 6: Arrive New Orleans (8am), (Optional) Final day of Jazz Fest

DANCE CLASSES & GROUP ACTIVITIES:  Group classes on the ship will include a mix of morning and/or afternoon sessions in a variety of dance styles (swing, social ballroom, Latin, blues, fusion, WCS, NC2S, tango, line-dancing, etc), with a strong focus on both partnering & connection, as well as introducing fun new step patterns and stylings.  Other group activities may include afternoon & evening dances; a cocktail social hour, games night, special dance outings in ports; as well as many other fun "non-dancing" activities onboard the ship and on dry land.  

THE "CARNIVAL DREAM":  Sailing some of the most popular cruise vacation destinations in the world, this amenity-filled ship is a crowning jewel of the Carnival fleet.  For details about the ship and any questions you might have about the cruise, please scroll down to the "Cruise FAQ" panel below.

PRE-CRUISE HOUSING IN NEW ORLEANS:  If you are coming from out of town and need a hotel room or a place to stay and want to make arrangements on your own, you may want to look for options on any of the numerous online search engines such as,, AirB&,, etc.  According to the feedback we have gotten, most of the participants who are coming have arranged AirBnB housing, which appears to have the least expensive option to date (ranging $50-$90/night).  Housing prices will go up as the festival dates near.

       If you don't want to go this route, we have made tentative group reservations at the New Orleans Best Western (near the airport).  You will want to  contact Bridgett Quinn (with "Cruise Specialists") at (800) 544-2469 or email her at for any questions you have about the pre-cruise hotel package.

CRUISE PACKAGES & COSTS:  The deadline for our guaranteed group pricing rate is now past,  but this may be to your benefit.  While members of our group were initially limited to two room categories (interior or balcony staterooms), you may now select rooms from any of the ships categories.  But act fast because these are selling out quickly, and prices are no longer guaranteed but will be subject to change (usually getting more expensive as the travel date nears).  All bookings still need to be made through Bridgett (see her contact info below) in order to be included in our group activities.  

=>  The price includes your cruise, taxes, port charges, and dance workshops.  It does not include transportation, optional onboard amenities, gratuities, excursions, or incidentals

=>  Deposit required: $250.00 per person/ singles pay $500.00 deposit

=>  Final payment due: Feb 13th, 2018 

TO REGISTER:  Contact Bridgett Quinn (with "Cruise Specialists") at (800) 544-2469 or email her at  


  • For questions about cruise pricing, registration, booking your cruise ticket, or any other travel plans, contact Bridgett Quinn (with "Cruise Specialists") at (800) 544-2469 or email her at   
  • For dance-related questions, please feel free to contact Ari at or Dave at

Why you should join us and what makes this cruise so special:


--> IT'S ALL TOP SHELF!:  You'll get world-class dance instruction during the day, with many more opportunities for one-on-one coaching, dancing, socializing, and mingling during the afternoons and evenings. Add to this the ship's own special amenities and many available activities such as the fitness center, spa, pools, live music, sports, golf, theater, lectures, shows, entertainment, and more, as well as the comfort of the ship's outstanding hotel and dining facilities, and you've got yourself one incredible week of no-worries, hassle-free fun!


--> A GREAT ITINERARY, A FABULOUS SHIP, AND THE PERFECT WAY TO SEE NEW ORLEANS & THE WESTERN CARIBBEAN!   We'll cruise the sunny water's of the Western Caribbean, taking in the beauty and spectacle of Mexico, Belize, & Honduras.  We'll have opportunities to visit quaint seaside towns and ancient sites in Cozumel, Belize, Mahogany Bay & Costa Maya; and we'll get to enjoy TWO full days at sea! (ideal for dance classes and well-deserved R&R)  

       Sea days are frequently a cruise passenger's favorite -- they're wonderfully relaxing (or as busy as you want to make them), with opportunities to take advantage of everything the ship has to offer.  We'll do most of our dance classes and privates during the sea days.  

--> IT'S A DANCE ADVENTURE, TAILORED TO YOU!   You'll meet people from all over the USA and abroad, form great memories, and make lasting connections.  We'll have games, mixers, special discussions, and plenty of non-dancing social activities planned, with lots of room for spontaneity, improvisation, and your input in our activities.  As for dancing, classes will move swiftly, and we'll really be able to take advantage of the many opportunities the ship provides for music and dance, all this while at play with a fun group of fellow dance-enthusiasts!    

--> YOU'LL BE WITH WORLD CLASS DANCE INSTRUCTORS & DANCE-CRUISE VETERANS!   Ari brings more than 30 years of experience in the dance and dance-cruise industry to the table, having organized and led numerous dance cruises throughout the USA, Central & South America, the Caribbean, Europe, and beyond!  Ari is very well-known for his focus on the fun, social aspects of partner-dance, with an emphasis on teaching the nuanced art of connection and play (vs. focussing on performance or competition).  His fun, friendly, well-organized, and informative classes are guaranteed to bring smiles to your faces, better awareness of the language of dance to your partnered movement, and much joy to you and to your dance partners!

Cruise FAQ's:

Where does the ship leave from and how do I get there?  The ship leaves from the port of New Orleans, LA.  If coming from out of town and not using one of the pre-cruise hotel package options, you will need to arrange your own travel to the port which is very accessible from the New Orleans airport, and anywhere in the vicinity.  There are many shuttles and taxi's available throughout the region, as well as Uber, Lyft, and other shared ride services.   

Who is the organizer and administrator for this cruise?  This dance portion of the cruise is being co-organized by Ari Levitt at "Roll Up The Rug & Dance, Inc" & Dave Serfling at "Rockin' Horse Dance Barn".  The ship booking and travel portion of the event is being administrated by the travel professionals at "Cruise Specialists, Inc."  

  • For questions related to either the cruise and/or your travel, please contact Bridgett Quinn (with "Cruise Specialists") at (800) 544-2469 or email her at 
  • For questions regarding the dance workshops, please contact Ari at  or Dave at

If I am single and would like to share a room, how can I find other participants who would like to do the same?   If you are interested in connecting with other single participants who would be interested in sharing a cabin, please indicate this on your registration form.  Alternatively, you can direct any specific questions or requests to Bridgett at Cruise Specialists and she will be more than happy to help arrange room sharing for you. You can reach Bridgett at (800) 544-2469 or email her at 

How can I find out more about the ship?  More information about the ship can be found on the Carnival website

When do I need to have my down payment submitted by?   A deposit of $250 ($500 for single occupancy) is due with your reservation of the cruise.  Full payment is due Feb 13th, 2018.

What is included in the price?  What additional charges/fee's should I anticipate?  The price includes your cruise, taxes, port charges, dance workshops, and all onboard gratuities. It does not include transportation, optional onboard amenities, excursions, or incidentals.

Are prices guaranteed?  Yes, but only through Feb 13th, 2018, or until the number of group cabins allotted to us by Carnival are sold out.  After that, the prices will be more expensive, cannot be guaranteed, and will fluctuate based on Carnival's current room charges and availability.  Please check with Bridget at Cruise Specialists to confirm the latest status and pricing for rooms (Carnival frequently runs special deals that Bridgett can help you negotiate, so be sure to call her and check on the latest offers)

What is the refund policy?    Final payment is due on Feb 13, 2018.  You would need to cancel before Feb 12th to receive a full refund of your deposit.

What is the typical day's dance schedule?  Dance workshops will take place from 10am-noon during the day at sea, and on the free mornings or afternoons when we don't dock until the late morning or come back in the early evening.  Other classes will be inserted during cruising times when not in port. The schedule will allow you to fully take advantage of all of the ship's activities and amenities during the rest of the day.  There will be plenty of music and dancing in the afternoons and evenings, as well as opportunities for more informal gatherings and "tune-up" lessons.

What kinds of dance classes will be offered?  Specific workshops topics will be decided closer to the sailing date (and on the ship) in order to best tailor the lessons to the group's abilities and interests.  Styles will be selected from among swing (ECS, WCS, blues, shag), latin (salsa, cha cha, merengue, rhumba), ballroom (waltz, foxtrot, etc), night club 2-step, 1-step, fusion, and line-dancing.  We can be fairly flexible with how all of this is set up.

Will there be opportunities for private lessons?  Yes, these can be arranged individually with Ari or Dave onboard the ship or beforehand by email.  If you are taking advantage of the pre-cruise Jazz Fest Weekend in New Orleans, we can also schedule lessons on shore then.

What level will the dance classes be geared toward and what will be their focus?   Group classes will be geared toward the non-novice beginner/intermediate level dancer (ie: you should be comfortable with beginning level dance steps, connection, and framework, and be ready to move forward from there).  If you still consider yourself a novice dancer, not to worry.  You have plenty of time between now and April, 2018, to sign up for some local partner dance classes and get ramped up! (I would recommend classes in swing, salsa, latin, or ballroom, although just about any kind of social partner dance would be fine).  

The class format will be very much geared toward fun, playful social partner dancing, which is to say that we will not be focussing on performance choreography or competition styling.  In each workshop, we'll start by laying the groundwork for strong partnering foundations, imparting a clear understanding of how connection, framework, and energy can be utilized to create playful movement and improvisations, and reviewing basic steps and combinations. On top of this we build a wide-ranging repertoire of fun moves and variations.

What is the evening dress for the ship?  Each night on the ship, there is typcically a different theme for dress.  Our week of cruising will include two formal nights, two informal nights, and three casual nights.  The recommendations for dress typically applies only to the ship's dining room and public areas after 5:00pm, and are as follow:

  • Formal attire (optional):  For men this might include either a jacket & tie, a suit & tie, or a tuxedo; and an evening dress or gown for women.  
  • Informal attire:  For men this might include shirt, jacket, and slacks; and a summer dress, or slacks & blouse for women.  
  • Casual attire: This is fairly flexible, though the ship does request that you not wear shorts or jeans.

What travel documents will I need?  As per all international travel, you will need to bring a current passport from your country of citizenship.  A driver's license is also recommended.  No special visas or further documentation will be required for US citizens in these ports-of-call.   

Do I need any special immunizations for international travel?  While you should make sure that your regular shots are up-to-date, no special immunizations are needed for travel to these ports.  


If I have any questions, who should I contact?  

  • For questions related to either the cruise and/or your travel, please contact Bridgett Quinn (with Cruise Specialists) at (800) 544-2469 or email her at
  • For questions regarding the dance workshops, please contact Ari at or Dave at

Statistics about the "Carnival Dream" (from online sources)

Guest Capacity: 4,631 passengers

Tonnage: 130,000 GT, 112,127 NT, 13,815 DWT

Built: Built at Fincantieri Shipyard (Italy). Construction began Feb 4, 2008

Cost:  US $741,100,785


Call sign: 3ETA7

IMO number: 9378474

MMSI number: 370490000

Inaugural Cruise: Sept 21, 2009

Godmother: Marcia Gay Harden, American theater & film star

Dining and Snacks: The ship has 10 restaurants and eateries, including: The Steakhouse, Bonsai Sushi (Japanese), Seaday Brunch; The Blue Iguana Cantina (Mexican), Mongolian Wok, Guy’s Bar-b-cue, Pizzeria del Capitan (Italian), The Chef’s Table, the Lido Restaurant, Guy’s Burger Joint, and various cafes and snack bars throughout the ship.  Room service and ice-cream are also available 24-hours a day.

Dinner Seatings:  2

Seating Assignments in Main Dining Room:  Our group has been assigned “Early Seating” in the main dining room, which will be our obligatory seating for the first night.  After that, outside of the main dining room, you may dine wherever and whenever you please. 

Dining Hours:  6:00pm & 8:15pm

Main Dining Room Dress Code: 2 formal nights, 2 informal nights, 3 casual nights. No shorts at night in the main dining room.  If you would like to dine more casually or in shorts, you can always eat at the Lido Buffet or other more casual lounges.  

Tipping Recommended?:  Not necessary.  All gratuities have already been covered in your group pricing.

Showrooms/Lounges: The ship hosts a 756-person theater (Tropical Theater), outdoor poolside 220 square foot movie screen, 9 story central atrium with aerial Cirque du Soleil type performances in the evening, Casino Royale with slots & table games, 16 bars & lounges (including one non-alcoholic bar in the teens-only disco), card room, a library, two nightclubs, Diamond Lounge, Concierge Lounge, an outdoor & indoor cinema, and an arcade

Guest Services: On the top decks are various services and amenities available to guests: the Day Spa and Fitness Center, Beauty Salon, Solarium (indoor, adults-only, pool area), half court basketball, volleyball, ping-pong, 18-hole miniature golf course, jogging track, waterslide park, three pools, and four whirlpools. The ship also contains many shops, a photo and art gallery, business center, and medical center.

Internet:  On board there is a conference center, and the ship hosts pervasive wireless internet connectivity at a charge of 65¢ per minute. Guests can also access the internet directly through the Online Internet Center.

Number of Crew: 1,369

Registry: Panama City, Panama

Length: 306 m (1,004 ft)

Beam:  37.2 m (122 ft)

Draft:  28 ft  (8.5 m)

Height: 195 ft

Number of Decks: 15

Speed:  22.5 knots (41.7 km/h; 25.9 mph)

Guest Cabins: There are a total of 1,823 staterooms aboard, 1,075 of which are ocean view, and 678 are interior. All staterooms convert to a royal king size bed configuration and have private bath, vanity area, closed-circuit flat panel LED televisions, electric mini-bar, hair dryers and individually controlled air-conditioning 

Pools: 3

Whirlpools Spas: 4