Unless Carnival brings in a better ship than the one short hop Fantasy class ship, doesnt sound like much is going on.
I wish RCI would bring back a full time ship to the gulf, either NO or Galveston. We went from feast to famine.
The problem with the choice of which of those ports to go out of for me is that NO is just plain more expensive. The hotels cost more and parking is more. If Im just doing a cheapie short hop ship, its enough to sway me to keep going out of Galeveston. EZCruise parking is running a special for a 5 day cruise for $30 to park. Its $12 a day out of NO and no close parking lots with discounted rates. A hotel with free parking is more at NO and none shuttle you to the port (that I know of).
With Carnival always looking to rearange things, it could end up with a larger ship in N.O. but I doubt it will happen until near the end of the contract. I thought the Carnival Pride would be a good candidate being it is going to be displaced by the Carnival Splendor in 2009, but it looks like it is going to San Deigo.
I loved New Orleans when the Conquest was there, I did 2 cruises from there but since the smaller ships are there I'd have little or no interest in returning. I'd like to see one of the bigger boats come back.
I personally am glad they are keeping Carnival in New Orleans! It is so much more convenient to drive to New Orleans and surely less expensive as we don't have to buy plane tickets (which means we can cruise more). Bring it on carnival - even the larger ships!!! :-)