Posted June 22nd, 2017, 01:50 PM
Debarkation Day and New Orleans
This is everyone's least favorite day of the cruise. Luckily, though, we had chosen to extend our vacation by spending two nights in New Orleans at The Blake Hotel. M had never visited the city, though this was my third time there. On debarkation morning, we were reminded that it really was December when we woke up to a cold, rainy, 50 degree day. We were in one of the very last groups to leave this ship, which was fine, since we had no real plans for the day. After making our way to our car, we drove to the hotel, where we were thankfully already able to check in. The hotel was in a convenient location, near Jackson Square, and the room was very comfortable. There was some construction/repair work being done during our visit, including in one of the elevator shafts, but we had no problems with the hotel. The Blake Hotel also offers valet parking, which is extremely handy in New Orleans.
We decided to walk around the city a bit and just "wing it" a bit during this portion of our visit. We found a local brewery for lunch, and both the burgers and the beers were great.
After a little more sightseeing, we were getting quite wet and chilled, so we decided to check out the aquarium. It was a fun and interesting way to spend some time, and we were happy to be warm and dry! In addition to being cold and rainy, it was also a very windy day; my Dollar Tree umbrella didn't fare well, but it wasn't the only one to meet a premature demise that day.
I won't include all the photos I took at the aquarium, but I will say that this is definitely a stop worth making if you enjoy these types of places. It was a larger and nicer exhibit than I expected.
As we walked back to the hotel, the rain intensified. We ducked into a convenience store to buy ponchos (because, of course, we hadn't thought to bring our Carnival ones with us), which only marginally blocked some of the rain and wind. That walk was not exactly a highlight of the trip. Live and learn!
Chilled to the bone, we took advantage of Grub Hub and ordered dinner that could be delivered to our hotel room. Yay for modern conveniences! I don't remember which restaurant we ordered from, but I do remember that the food was plentiful and hit the spot.
The next morning, we used Uber to get a ride to the French Quarter and stood in a ridiculously long line to get a table at Cafe Du Monde. Personally, I think beignets taste suspiciously similar to funnel cakes, but a visit there is on every "must do" list for first-time visitors to New Orleans.
We walked around the French Quarter all morning, even running into a couple we had enjoyed talking with every evening at our favorite bar on the ship. I always have to visit the French Market when I'm in New Orleans and buy at least one new pair of earrings from Oscar's booth. I never fail to get compliments when I wear any of the earrings I've purchased from him over the years.
For lunch, we ate at a little diner near the French Market and then, deciding we'd had all the cold weather we cared for that day, we did a Google search for "things to do indoors in New Orleans". We discovered Old New Orleans Rum Distillery and decided to catch another Uber over for their tour. What a great decision this was! The tour guide was knowledgeable and highly entertaining. I highly recommend this place for those who are looking for something slightly off the beaten path in New Orleans.
We walked through Jackson Square before heading back to the hotel for the evening. We ate in the hotel's restaurant for dinner, which was very good and not as overpriced as we expected. The next morning, our vacation was officially over, and we drove back home.
This was a fun trip and the perfect way to kick off the holiday season. I'm already looking to do another cruise in December of this year, although I'll probably stick with an inexpensive 5-night trip out of Mobile and save up for more of a splurge in 2018. I really liked the Dream, although I think the Freedom class is still my favorite size and layout of a Carnival ship of the ones I've experienced so far. M and I did purchase Cheers on this trip and, although we never got crazy or even drunk, we did find that it was more than worth the money, as both of us enjoy frozen drinks, mixed drinks, and wine, which can get expensive when you purchase by the glass. Overall, I highly recommend this ship and itinerary. We had a blast, and I can't wait to get back on the ocean again!
If you have any questions about the ship or anything else associated with this trip, I'll do my best to answer them.
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- August 2013 - Grand Cayman & Cozumel - Review
- October 2010 - Half Moon Cay & Nassau