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Galveston, Gulfport,Houston, Mobile & New Orleans

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  #21  
Old April 21st, 2012, 03:23 PM
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Loving this review..keep it coming!!! We'll be there in September for our cruise on the Conquest.
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  #22  
Old April 21st, 2012, 04:24 PM
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You might check out the Hampton Inn Garden District. It's supposed to be very nice and they do have parking. it's supposed to be in a lovely area, and it's right on the streetcar line which is so convenient and for seniors it's only 40¢.

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We are also first timers to No. We are leaving on Navigator on Jan 12. When will you be there?

Cruzin Lady
Thank you for the Hampton Inn suggestions, I will definitely look into that.

We are going on the January 27th Conquest.

Really looking forward to seeing New Orleans, and leaving on the cruise from there. I'm excited about "cruising down the river" for several hours before we get to open water. That will definitely be a new experience, and we'll have an aft stateroom so it will be fun to sit on our balcony and watch everything go by. Might even skip dinner that night and just order a sandwich from room service so we don't "miss anything" on the river.
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  #23  
Old April 22nd, 2012, 12:51 PM
twotall twotall is offline
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Actually, we are booked at the Drury Inn for the night before our cruise but I'm considering cancelling because of the parking situation. We normally fly when we cruise and just rent a car, but this time we are driving and I hate the thought of not being able to park at the hotel. With them building a new parking structure they are doing off-site parking through valet service, and they don't expect to be done by the time we cruise. So, I may decide to find a different hotel.
Thanks again for your kind words.

During our stay they were still parking cars on-site. You're right though, by next January they'll probably be parking off-site.

Will you really need your car while at the hotel? We found that we were able to get everywhere we wanted by walking or using the streetcars. We didn't have a car and didn't really need one.
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  #24  
Old April 22nd, 2012, 12:56 PM
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I'm excited about "cruising down the river" for several hours before we get to open water......we'll have an aft stateroom so it will be fun to sit on our balcony and watch everything go by.
We had an aft balcony on the Voyager and it was great to see the sites. We printed out this guide and found it to be very helpful.

http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1211622

Enjoy the aft, it was the best cabin we've ever had.
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  #25  
Old April 22nd, 2012, 01:03 PM
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Default Our First Streetcar Ride

We arranged a wake up call for 8:30. Both Emma and I had showered before we went to bed so it didn't take us too long to get ready and head downstairs for breakfast. Katelyn jumped in the shower and Kristen caught a few extra winks. Drury has a pretty standard hotel breakfast buffet. The food was good but certainly nothing fancy. Emma and I filled our plates and then sat down to eat and watch the weather report. According to the report the city received about two inches of rain overnight. Luckily the storms had moved off to the east and the forecast was for clouds early and then sunshine. We finished eating around 9:20 and the buffet was set to close at 9:30. We grabbed some oatmeal, fruit and yogurt for Katelyn and Kristen and headed upstairs to the room. The girls were basically ready when we got back. They quickly ate some breakfast and we headed out.

We walked down Poydras to the St. Charles streetcar stop. It turns out that we weren't the first ones to arrive. These guys were there before us



Actually they are really neat tiles that must have been installed by someone with a sense of humor. Its neat how they installed them to make it appear that the cockroaches were coming out of the manhole. These tiles aren't the only unique sidewalk covering we saw. The previous day during our walking tour we saw a large area of sidewalk that had been resurfaced with pennies. Kind of cool and unique.



We didn't have to wait very long for the streetcar to arrive. TIP: Plan your activities to take advantage of transit system “jazzy” passes. We originally considered going to the Garden District on the first day followed by the zoo and a mid-city dinner the next day. This would have meant purchasing several different streetcar rides. By modifying our plans we were able to purchase a one-day jazzy pass for the four of us for a total of $12. It made sense to visit the zoo and Garden District on the same day as they are relatively close to each other. The streetcar was somewhat crowded when we boarded. Emma and Katelyn were able to find seats and Kristen and I stood in the back. It took a few stops but eventually the streetcar started to empty out and we were all able to get seats.

TIP: Use your smart phone GPS feature to track your progress on the streetcar. I was in charge of navigation and knew generally where we were going; however, I was not familiar with all of the cross streets and didn't really know when we were getting close. In addition, it's sometimes difficult to see the street signs as you are riding along. This is especially true if you are standing in the back. I found that by watching Kristen's smart phone display I could tell exactly where we were and knew ahead of time when we needed to prepare to get off. This wasn't as much of an issue on the way to the zoo as there were several people headed there but it did work well on all of our other trips.

We arrived at the zoo stop and a bunch of us exited the streetcar. The zoo shuttle van arrived within seconds after we did. We didn't realize that the zoo had a shuttle service. It turns out that they run a van non-stop between the streetcar stop and the zoo entrance throughout the day. We didn't hop on because we were planning to walk through Audubon Park.

Next up - Audubon Park
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  #26  
Old April 22nd, 2012, 01:10 PM
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Default Audubon Park

TIP: If you're visiting the zoo be sure to take some extra time to walk through the adjacent Audubon Park. Audubon Park is certainly one of the nicer urban parks that we've visited. Most of the below photos were taken by Emma. She enjoys taking pictures and does a very good job for her age.









The park is surrounded by many beautiful homes




Next up - the zoo
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  #27  
Old April 22nd, 2012, 01:20 PM
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Default Audubon Zoo

We took our time and really enjoyed the park. It took about 45 minutes for us to make our way down to the Magazine Street entrance. TIP: Research how to walk between the park and the zoo ahead of time. There are no signs at the Magazine Street entrance pointing the direction to the zoo. There's also no paved connection between the park path and the Magazine Street crossing. Luckily I had looked at aerial photos before we left and I knew what general direction we needed to head. We had to walk through some grass and cross Magazine Street to enter the zoo parking area. We ran across some other people and confirmed that we were headed in the right direction. There were no signs saying which way to go but it didn't take long and we were at the main entrance.



I was able to print off a coupon before we left and was able to use it for the four of us. We saved a total of $11 off our three adult and one child admissions. Here's the coupon link:http://www.neworleanscoupons.com/cou...dubon-zoo.html

We knew that we weren't going to spend the entire day at the zoo and wanted to focus on our favorite animals first. Emma has always been partial to elephants so we headed there first. The zoo is home to two female Asian elephants named Panya and Jean. We arrived just as Jean was getting a bath.



The head zoo keeper was explaining the differences between Asian and African elephants when we walked up. He was very interesting to listen to and provided a lot of information. As he was talking the other keeper finished Jean's bath and lead her up to the edge of the enclosure. Everyone was then invited to walk up and touch her. The head zoo keeper stated that only a few zoos in the world allow visitors to touch their elephants and encouraged everyone to take advantage.



We took several minutes to talk with the zoo keeper while others were touching the elephant. It turns out that he volunteered for several years before joining the zoo as a paid employee. He received his bachelors degree in biology. Another zoo keeper indicated that she had her degree in zoology. It was good for Emma to hear about their experiences and what education they had. I won't be a bit surprised if Emma volunteers at a zoo when she gets older.

We walked around the Asia section and saw some of the big cats including the rare white tigers.



We also ran across this really cool elephant fountain.


We left the Asia area and went in search of hippos, Emma's other favorite animal. Unfortunately, the zoo got rid of their hippos back in 2009. Emma was disappointed but we still got to see some other cool animals including the rare white alligator. Emma was hungry so we decided to take a break and sit down for awhile. She got chicken tenders from the cafe in the swamp area. They were actually pretty good. The rest of us just had some water as we were planning to grab a late lunch in the Garden District. We walked around for a while longer and then headed for the gift shop and front gate.

We decided to take the shuttle van back to the streetcar stop in order to save some walking. I waited at the stop while the girls shopped in the gift store. The van arrived withing a short amount of time and we headed back to the streetcar line. We then rode the streetcar to the Garden District and hopped off near the intersection of St. Charles and Sixth Street.

Next up – Lunch and the Garden District
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  #28  
Old April 22nd, 2012, 07:29 PM
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Originally Posted by twotall View Post
We had an aft balcony on the Voyager and it was great to see the sites. We printed out this guide and found it to be very helpful.

http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1211622

Enjoy the aft, it was the best cabin we've ever had.
I saw that thread and did print the guide a few weeks ago, it's in my "cruise folder" already.

Yes, I'm so excited about the aft balcony.

As far as needing a car while we at the Drury the night before the cruise, no we probably wouldn't "need" it but I don't like valet parking, and there would be things in the car that I would worry about being taken.

The bugs "coming out of the manhole cover" was interesting, as was the sidewalked repaved with pennies!

Can't wait to hear about lunch and the Garden District!
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  #29  
Old April 23rd, 2012, 01:19 PM
twotall twotall is offline
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Default Lunch and the Garden District

We were all hungry by this point (except for Emma) and were ready for lunch. It was about 2:30 and we knew that we were going out for dinner later on so we decided on a light lunch. I had researched several restaurants in the area including Domilise (which had good reviews and is relatively close to the zoo) and Casamento's, Mahony's and Joey K's (which are all on Magazine St. pretty close to our walking tour). In the end we chose The Grocery at the corner of Sixth and St. Charles. This is a very casual hole-in-the wall neighborhood joint which specializes in hot pressed po'-boy sandwiches. Certainly nothing fancy but the sandwiches were great. Kristen, Katelyn and I ordered a tuna melt and a chicken pesto to share among the three of us. It did take slightly longer than expected to get the sandwiches after we ordered but the wait was worthwhile. Both sandwiches were excellent and we would certainly go back again sometime. It should be noted that there is limited seating inside. Maybe enough seats for about 20 people or so. There are a few tables outside for maybe another dozen. I would imagine that it may be hard to find a seat during the lunchtime rush. Don't let that discourage you though because the food is great.

Similar to the previous day, I had e-mailed the text from a Garden District walking tour to Kristen's phone. I pulled up the e-mail and off we went. The Garden District is really amazing. The homes are all beautiful.











I will say that the walking tour of the Garden District was not nearly as informative or entertaining as the tour of the French Quarter had been. It was still worthwhile to have but just not as good. Towards the end we just ignored the tour and explored on our own.

We were planning to stop into Layfayette Cemetery No. 1 to have a look around. We had read several times to be careful in the cemeteries as they are often the target of petty thieves. We were going during the busy daylight hours so we weren’t really that concerned. It turned out that the gates were all locked and we weren’t able to go in. We peeked in from the outside and then walked back towards St. Charles Street.

We rode the streetcar back to Poydras and hopped off in front of our hotel. It was about 5:30 and we grabbed a very small snack before heading up to our room to relax for awhile. It had been a long but enjoyable day visiting the park, zoo and Garden District. We rested for about an hour or so before getting ready to head out for dinner.

Next up – Mid City Dinner, Italian Desserts and Our Second Night Out
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  #30  
Old April 24th, 2012, 07:01 AM
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Did you find out why the cemetery gates were locked?

We'd like to take a tour of a cemetery while we're there. I've heard they aren't all that safe, so rather than going on our own, just the two of us, I think a tour might be the way to go for us.
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  #31  
Old April 24th, 2012, 01:26 PM
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Did you find out why the cemetery gates were locked?

We'd like to take a tour of a cemetery while we're there. I've heard they aren't all that safe, so rather than going on our own, just the two of us, I think a tour might be the way to go for us.
No, we never asked why the gates were locked.

The same company that offers the vampire tour also offers cemetery tours. Their daily tour takes place about the same time as we were eating lunch. I was hoping that we could be in the cemetery at the same time (for safety reasons) but our timing didn't work out.

I would agree that its probably best for you to visit with a tour group.
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  #32  
Old April 25th, 2012, 04:02 PM
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What a great review....I'm loving it.

We are looking at cruising out of New Orleans in August on Carnival ..... The last time I was in New Orleans for in 1984 during the World's Fair and it was not a great experience. After reading your review I must say that I am now looking forward to sailing from New Orleans.

Looking forward to the rest of your review.

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  #33  
Old April 26th, 2012, 08:23 AM
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This is a GREAT review with AWESOME pictures. I love NOLA and can't wait to go back in Feb.
Thanks
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  #34  
Old April 26th, 2012, 01:44 PM
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Default Mid-City Dinner and Italian Desserts

By the time we left our hotel it was almost 7:00. We walked to the corner of Carondelet and Poydras just as a streetcar was arriving. We decided to catch a ride over to Canal just to save some walking. At first the conductor didn’t want to let us board. She indicated that we needed to walk a block down to St. Charles because the car was only going to Canal. We told here that’s where we wanted to go and showed her our day passes. She understood and welcomed us aboard. We did have to stand for the few blocks but it saved a bit of time and walking.

We hopped off the streetcar at Canal and walked just a few yards over to the Canal line stop. Once again Bourbon Street was hopping. There were lots of people filtering into the area. We waited about 5 minutes or so for the streetcar to come along. We jumped on and easily found seats. It turned out that Katelyn had the pleasure of sitting next to a gentleman who was quite inebriated. She looked over towards us and held her nose from the smell of alcohol. He was really more humorous than anything else. He pulled out his phone and showed her pictures of his dogs and in slurred speech asked if she thought they were cute. At least he didn’t show her pictures of anything else. About half way through the trip the conductor announced what street we were approaching. Upon hearing this the gentleman got up, screamed a profanity, and then ran off the streetcar and headed back in the direction from which we came. Apparently he had missed his stop.

There were actually several interesting characters on the streetcar as we headed up town. In addition to “drunk man” there was “drummer man”. He had on a pair of headphones and proceeded to play air drums quite vigorously throughout the entire trip. I’m guessing that he must have real drumming experience because his feet and arms were flailing about as if he was playing real drums. He was oblivious to the fact that he came close to whacking several people with his arms. There was also “sleeping man” aka “standing man”. This gentleman hopped on shortly after we left downtown. He proceeded to stand up front near the conductor in the center of the aisle. He wasn’t holding onto any railings or handrails. Almost immediately after staking out his spot his head lowered and his body began to sway as if he’d fallen asleep. As others exited or entered they had to shuffle around him. He really did a good job of balancing despite not holding onto anything. His head remained down the whole time. I’m guessing he must be a regular because the conductor didn’t say a word about him partially blocking the aisle.

As the streetcar progressed uptown away from Bourbon Street the neighborhoods began to get a little rougher. There were a few stretches with some abandoned buildings and wrecked cars on the street. Kristen asked if we were going to a safe neighborhood. I assured her that according to what I had read it should be fine. It wasn’t too long after that when the neighborhoods started to improve again. By the time we reached Telemachus St. the neighborhood seemed perfectly safe. We hopped off and walked up one block to Mandina’s Restaurant which is on the corner of Cortez and Canal.

We chose Mandina’s because of the diverse menu offering both Italian and Creole cuisine. We walked in and noticed there was no hostess station. There were also no signs saying whether to be seated or not. We walked somewhat aimlessly towards the far end of the bar and were eventually greeted by a gentleman with a clipboard. He took our name and said it would only be a few minutes. We grabbed a couple of drinks and waited patiently at the end of the bar.

The system for seating in this restaurant is somewhat unique. When a table is cleared the gentleman with the clipboard shouts out a name. When he makes eye contact with the selected party he simply points in the general direction of the open table and then moves on to other business. The selected party is left on their own to walk and find their table. To be fair the dining room isn’t very big and this system actually works really well. We just found it to be unique and somewhat entertaining.

It wasn’t very long before our name was called. We managed to find our table and our waiter quickly asked us for our drink order. Kristen and I both had items from the bar so we just ordered ice waters. Katelyn and Emma both had sodas. The menu offered something for everyone. I chose the fried catfish and shrimp basket with a cup of turtle soup as an appetizer. Kristen ordered the chicken parmesan. Katelyn ordered the eggplant parmesan and Emma once again had chicken tenders. The turtle soup was outstanding. The girls were all somewhat hesitant but they each tried a spoonful and thought it was good. My catfish was very good. The shrimp were a little bland but I added some of the local hot sauce which was on the table and it really helped. Kristen’s meal was really good. I sampled a few small pieces of her chicken and it was great. Katelyn said that her eggplant was also good. Emma enjoyed the chicken tenders. We all left the restaurant feeling full and satisfied. We would definitely recommend this restaurant to others.

We headed up Canal a few blocks to Carrollton Ave. On our way we passed by a small pizza restaurant – the sign outside said Theo’s. We’d obviously just eaten but the smells coming from the restaurant were amazing. There were a fair amount of people inside eating and a steady stream of customers coming and going with take-out orders. While we didn’t stop in it sure looked like a good place to check out in the future. We turned right on Carrollton and walked down a block or so to Angelo Brocato’s. One item of note if you are unfamiliar with the area and approaching from the direction of Canal, that is that the restaurant next door looks very similar to Brocato’s from the outside. I actually stepped out to the edge of the sidewalk and looked at the roof mounted signs to make sure we were going in the right place.

Angelo Brocato’s was one of the highlights of our trip. They really have amazing Italian desserts. Between the four of us we must have sampled a dozen different items and every one of them was outstanding. The Cannolis were a highlight as were several of the cookies that we tried. Emma had a small vanilla ice cream that was also very good. We will definitely go back again someday.

It was after 9:00 by the time we left Brocato’s and headed for the Canal St. streetcar stop. I mentioned the rough neighborhoods earlier. Never once did we feel unsafe in area between Mandina’s and Brocato’s. We walked several blocks and sat at the streetcar stop and were never once concerned. Anyway, we were sitting at the stop for about 5 minutes or so and there was no one else there. Looking up and down the tracks I saw no sign of any streetcars. Before we’d left for the trip I had researched and the Canal St. line was supposed to run into late in the evening. I started to doubt myself and grabbed Kristen’s phone to look up the schedule online. Sure enough the streetcars were supposed to be running. It was a few minutes later before another passenger came and sat down by us. We waited another 10 minutes or so before the streetcar heading uptown passed by. It took about 5 more minutes or so for the streetcar to return on our side of the tracks. By this time several people had joined us at the stop. TIP: check the streetcar schedules before you leave and be prepared to wait a bit during the late evening hours.

We boarded and began our trip downtown. Once again we had some interesting characters on board. “stoner man” was sitting in the first seat behind the conductor on the right side. He appeared to be completely out of it the entire trip. He seemed dizzy and somewhat incoherent. We were all surprised when his street was called and he sprang up and ran out the door as if he were completely sober. The last we saw him he was running at a full sprint up the street away from the streetcar. We also had “roly poly police man” on board. I must first say that our family has nothing but respect for police officers. They place themselves in harm’s way every day in order to keep us all safe. So my comments are certainly not meant to apply to all police officers. Let’s just say that this particular police officer never saw a doughnut shop that he didn’t like. He fulfilled all of the poor stereotypes. He was shall we say rather robust and boarded with several snacks that he ate as we traveled downtown. I’m guessing that he hasn’t been involved in a foot pursuit in a loooong time.

We reached Bourbon St. and hopped off. Music filled the area and the intersection was crowded with people. We needed some band-aids and made a quick stop into CVS which is located on the corner. CVS was filled with interesting folks including several women whose outfits were better suited for a gentleman’s club than a pharmacy. We quickly got what we needed and headed back to the hotel.

Kristen and I planned to go back to Bourbon St. for a little bit while the girls showered and got ready for bed. We basically dropped them off at the room, made sure they had everything they needed and headed back out to return to Bourbon St.

Next up – Our Second Night Out
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  #35  
Old April 26th, 2012, 09:41 PM
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Default Our Second Night Out

It was almost 11:00 by the time we made our way back to Bourbon St. We walked about a block in from Canal and encountered a marching band playing in the center of the street. They were surrounded by the crowd and were slowly working their way back towards Canal. They were playing festive jazz music and were quite entertaining. Kristen spotted a daiquiri shop and decided that she wanted a banana daiquiri. It tasted pretty good but at $9 was pretty expensive considering it contained very little alcohol.

There were significantly more people out and about then there had been the previous night. We did not see any children as we had the night before. We worked our way up a few blocks and heard a band approaching from behind us. We stopped to listen and quickly realized that it was a wedding procession. There was a small 4-5 piece band in front followed by the bride & groom and the entire wedding party and guests. Everyone was holding little white parasol umbrellas. The crowd parted and let them all march through. Everyone was cheering and clapping. It was really a pretty cool experience. Not sure that I’d want to spend my wedding day on Bourbon St. but I can see why others would.

We had seen another wedding party the previous day while on our tour of the French Quarter. We’re actually not sure if it was a real bride and groom or if they were just part of a photo shoot. We encountered them at the corner of Royal and St. Peter St. There was a photographer, assistant, bride & groom and several members of a wedding party all dressed up. We assumed that they were a real couple but became skeptical when the bride struck a few very provocative poses. I don’t know of many brides who aim for an R rated wedding album….but I suppose to each his own.

Anyway, we made our way several blocks down Bourbon St. to where there were only a few bars and clubs. We turned around and started heading back towards Canal. Up and down the street we saw several women who were scantily dressed. Apparently it is the required dress code. Given all of the suggestive clothing, we actually saw very little behavior that crossed the “adult” line. Most of the women seem to simply enjoy the attention they received by teasing the crowd. Very few took it to the next level. Overall the crowds were well behaved and people were just having a good time. It was almost midnight by the time we made it back to Canal St. Kristen wanted to stop in CVS again to get a different type of sunscreen for the cruise. We made our purchase and were booted out of CVS as they were closing at midnight.

We walked back down Carondelet towards the hotel. Once again we felt perfectly safe walking even though it was midnight. There were plenty of people around and the sidewalk is generally well lit. The girls were both in bed reading by the time we got back. Emma had showered but Katelyn was going to wait until morning. I decided to shower and we all got to sleep by around 1:00 a.m. or so.
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Old April 26th, 2012, 09:57 PM
twotall twotall is offline
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Default Saturday March 24 - Embarkation Day

Our original plan for Saturday was to get up early, have a small breakfast at the hotel, walk around the French Quarter for a few hours, catch lunch at Mother’s and then head back to the hotel to gather our luggage and leave for the port. Given that we were out so late the previous night we decided to change our plans a bit and sleep in a little longer.

Just like the previous day I arranged for a wake up call at 8:30. Emma and I repeated our routine of going downstairs for breakfast while Katelyn and Kristen showered and got ready. We took a slight detour on our way to breakfast. We went upstairs to the pool deck and were able to see our ship from the top floor. Emma was very excited to go to the ship.



We ate breakfast and then brought some food up for the girls. They ate while I piled our suitcases onto the luggage cart. I had asked the night before if we could store our luggage while we went out. The person at the front desk said that it was no problem. We left our room and I rolled the overflowing luggage cart down to the front desk. The clerk said that she would just leave everything on the cart and pulled it in the office behind a locked door.

We walked down to St. Charles turned left and headed towards Canal and the French Quarter. We slowly made our way along Royal St. as we had done two days prior. Kristen happened upon a bracelet in a jewelry store window. The bracelet had a simple black band with a fleur de lis covered with diamonds. Kristen assumed that they were fake diamonds and went inside. I strolled in a few minutes later just in time to hear the clerk tell her that it cost “thirty-two fifty”. Kristen was thinking $32.50 but I knew right away that the clerk meant $3,250.00. I walked out and it took a few minutes for Kristen and the girls to follow. Kristen was laughing and said that she had to pretend not to be shocked when she realized the actual price. She said that she told the clerk that it was very nice and that she wanted to think about it some more.

Having avoided spending a few house payments on a bracelet, we continued our way down Royal. We reached St. Peter and turned left. The girls wanted to go back to the same gift shop they had been in on Thursday. Both Emma and Katelyn wanted to purchase masks as souvenirs.



It took a good amount of time for the girls to decide on which masks they wanted. When they were finished we made our way down St. Peter towards Jackson Square. The atmosphere in the square was really cool. There was a group of street musicians playing jazz and they were very talented. There was a clown near St. Peter St. making balloon animals for the kids. Emma waited there with Katelyn so that she could get an animal.



Kristen and I worked our way around counter clockwise all the way over to Decatur St. by Café du Monde. Many local artists were displaying their works for sale. Some of them were very talented and had some really nice pieces. We doubled back and made it all of the way to the front steps of St. Louis Cathedral before encountering the girls. We decided to go inside and have a look at the church. Unfortunately the only photos I got were very blurry. It is a beautiful church and certainly worthwhile spending a few minutes to visit.





We made our way back outside and headed along the final leg of the square that we had not yet seen. About half way down towards Decatur we ran across a local artist that created paintings for children. Emma decided that she wanted to spend some of her allowance money and purchased a very nice painting of a circus elephant for her bedroom.

We reached Decatur and turned right towards Canal St. As I said earlier our plans changed a bit this morning. Instead of stopping for lunch we chose to eat a bigger breakfast at the hotel. The girls decided that they would rather stop into to the Riverwalk Mall and do some shopping before we had to board the ship. We walked along Decatur to Peters St. and then crossed over Canal. Peters turned into Tchoupitoulas St. We stayed on Tchoupitoulas until we reached Poydras. We could see the entrance to the Riverwalk Mall from where we stood. TIP: Consider splitting up your party to retrieve your luggage. By splitting up the girls were able to do a little shopping and I was able to retrieve the luggage. This saved on cab fare as the standard downtown rate is $7.00 per person. We thought there was no reason to pay for everyone to ride in the cab if it was just a short walk to the pier. The girls headed towards the mall and I headed up Poydras back to the hotel.

Passing by Mother's I noted that there was a long line outside. This restaurant admittedly caters to the tourist crowd but they are supposed to have good sandwiches. Its probably a place that we will try the next time we're in town.

I made it back to the hotel and the front desk clerk called for a cab. I wheeled the luggage outside and waited about 10 minutes for a cab to arrive. The driver helped me load the luggage and we left for the pier. While we were driving I got a text from Kristen saying that they had walked through the mall and were ready to meet me. In my mind I thought this was pretty quick. I thought the girls must not have shopped very much. I replied back and told her that I was on my way but it would be a little bit before I got there.

The vehicle entrance to the pier is quite a ways further up river than I had envisioned. Luckily there was no traffic and we quickly made our way back down river to the Julia St. pier. I verified the fare with the driver and gave her a $20 for helping with the luggage. This was a lot cheaper than what it would have been if we had all ridden over in the cab.

TIP: Treat your porter well and your porter will treat you well. I know that there's a long standing debate on CC about tipping porters at the pier. My opinion is that you do get better service if you tip well. I gave the porter $20 for handling our 7 bags of luggage and I kept the remaining bag with me. I asked the porter for directions to the Riverwalk Mall and he pointed me in the general direction.

I walked inside the building first to check things out before heading over to the mall. The line of passengers extended beyond entrance door #4. I walked down towards entrance #1 and was told by more than one person that the end of the line was in the other direction. I asked another person for directions to the mall and he provided better details than the porter had.

There is a staircase along Julia Street near the whale lot on the far side of the railroad tracks from the pier building. In order to get to the mall you simply walk out to Julia St., head up the escalator and walk straight into the mall. This brings you into the mall food court.

I texted Kristen and told her that I was in the food court and asked where I could find her. This is when I realized that there was a miscommunication. Kristen indicated that she didn't see a food court. It turns out that she and the girls were still in Section A of the mall. They didn't realize that there was an escalator at the far end near the Gap and that the mall continued upstairs. This explained how they had “finished” shopping so quickly. It was about 1:00 at this point so I told them to take their time. We had a little over an hour before we needed to head over to the pier. I went outside on the upper patio and took a seat looking out towards the ship.

I spent the next 45 minutes or so just watching the activities on the ship. The girls finally arrived with a Cafe du Monde bag in hand. They explained that they didn't realize about the continuation of the mall. They also stated that surprisingly Cafe du Monde in the mall was a lot better than the location on Decatur. The beignets were hot out of the fryer and there were no long lines. They had brought a beignet for me and I concurred that it was better than we had a few days prior. After I finished eating we made our way back through the food court to the escalator and back down to Julia St.

By the time we made it back to the pier building the end of the line had progressed to entrance #1. We were on the ship about 20 minutes later ready to begin our cruise.

Next up – Our Cruise
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  #37  
Old April 26th, 2012, 10:14 PM
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I am loving your review ..... you are making me feel so much better about our choice to cruise out of New Orleans. Looking forward to the rest of your review.

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Old April 27th, 2012, 09:48 AM
my3boysmom my3boysmom is offline
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Quote:
We worked our way up a few blocks and heard a band approaching from behind us. We stopped to listen and quickly realized that it was a wedding procession. There was a small 4-5 piece band in front followed by the bride & groom and the entire wedding party and guests. Everyone was holding little white parasol umbrellas. The crowd parted and let them all march through. Everyone was cheering and clapping. It was really a pretty cool experience.
SECOND LINE!!!! Love those!
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Old April 27th, 2012, 01:41 PM
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Loving your review. We go to New Orleans for the first time in Nov. and I've enjoyed seeing so much of it ahead of time along with your detailed description. Thanks for posting this. Looking forward to more!!
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Old April 28th, 2012, 04:25 PM
twotall twotall is offline
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As I said at the beginning there are many great cruise reviews on this site and I really wanted to focus on New Orleans and not the cruise. So I'll just make a few brief comments.....

We ended up boarding the ship about 2:30 or so and went straight to our rooms. We were pleasantly surprised by the fact that all of our luggage had already arrived. It certainly may have just been a coincidence but I think it did benefit us to tip the porter nicely at the pier.

Our First Day at Sea
We had an aft balcony and were enjoying reading our books while at sea on the first day. We had a direct view of the ship's wake and noticed shortly after noon that we were turning. It wasn't much longer after that when the captain came on the ship-wide intercom system and announced that there was a medical emergency. We were turning around back toward New Orleans so that the Coast Guard could meet us and evacuate the sick passenger.

I need to hop on my soapbox for a moment..... I was disappointed by the fact that the captain felt the need to apologize for impacts to our itinerary due to the medical evacuation. I cannot believe that anyone would complain over a matter such as this. Certainly the well being of the passenger and the passenger's family were much more important than any port stop or shore excursion. I'm thinking the captain apologized only because he had received complaints or he was anticipating that he would receive complaints. Its sad that people can be so inconsiderate.....hopping off now.

The captain and crew of the Voyager handled the situation in a very professional manner and did a great job. The members of the Coast Guard who flew out to the ship and made a textbook evacuation also did a great job.

We never found out the fate of the passenger that was evacuated but we certainly hope that they made speedy recovery.

Just a few pictures:

The view from our balcony. We were very lucky in that we experienced calm seas throughout the entire week. These were about the roughest seas we encountered. If you really focused you could feel some movement on the ship - but it was hard to detect.


One of many beautiful sunsets. We experienced some showers for a few hours while in port at Cozumel. We were swimming in the ocean so it didn't really bother us at all. Besides that we basically had sunny and 80 degrees all week long.


Empty pool deck. The ship was full but surprisingly there were many times when the pool deck and hot tubs were near empty such as this day while in port at Falmouth Jamaica.


Pictures of the Voyager. She is a beautiful ship and very well maintained.




Next up – Our Final Day in New Orleans
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