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CruisinChris412 January 11th, 2012 12:02 AM

My Visit in New Orleans!
Okay, so, I came to the conclusion that I want to do a review. BUT I don't want to do a review of my cruise. Maybe I will, but for the mean time, I will do a review of my time in New Orleans and end it with my embarkation. I have lots of pics. Our camera was crappy, so, I apologize if the clarity sucks. Also, I'm not that internet savvy. Hopefully, I can figure this out easily. I might need some help if I can't get this going the way I want! :o

So, I hope everyone enjoys!

CruisinChris412 January 11th, 2012 12:23 AM

December 28th

CruisinChris412 January 11th, 2012 02:15 AM

Our flight to New Orleans was delayed one hour. This didn’t really bother us because we made it to the airport approximately 30 minutes before the original departure time. The flight was smooth, and we became really excited when descending into NOLA as we saw all the marsh and wetlands. The best thing about the airport was the flat rate of $33 for a cab ride from the airport to pretty much anywhere in New Orleans. I thought the cab ride from MSY to the Sheraton was at least a $50 cab ride in Nevada.

We liked the hotel a lot. The lobby was nice. The décor and ambiance of the lobby was nice. We stayed on the 43rd floor facing north. We could see Lake Ponchartrain, Capital One building, Shell building, the entirety of Canal St (which was a nice view), the French Quarter in particular Hotel Monteleone and the cemetery. We never got sick of our view.

We wanted to eat at ACME Oyster but the line was ridiculous. I thought we were avoiding big lines by going there on a Wednesday. Fyi, there were lines and people everywhere. So, we walked up Iberville across Bourbon and ate at Deanie’s. The BBQ shrimp was really delicious. The sauce/broth had a nice peppery after taste. The shrimp were a pain. I think they should consider at least removing the head of the shrimp! It posed a challenge to remove the shell, but it was good. They gave us a roll of sourdough for the sauce. We ate the BBQ shrimp at the bar while we waited for a table. So, we simply ordered some po-boys when we were seated. My gf got shrimp and I got crawfish. Let me add that I thought crawfish pieces would have been bigger.

We then wanted to catch Mark Braud at Preservation Hall and that idea was cancelled by an insane line. The line went down St. Peters on to Royal St. We said the heck with it, and we noticed we were by the Cat’s Meow and we went there. We liked it here. The karaoke was entertaining. They film performances and stream them to the internet and to various other TVs throughout the facility. The best part was there is a window in the corner facing Bourbon and people would stop and stare through the window in captivation. Hilarious. Maybe you had to be there. Cat’s Meow also set the stage for the layout of pretty much every other bar on Bourbon. Most of the bars are like houses converted into bars. They have a courtyard area, too. We thought these were nice. Also, they had balconies on their 2nd floors you could stand on and overlook Bourbon St.

After the Cat’s Meow, we went to the Absinthe House. I’ve been dying to try absinthe and the Absinthe House seemed appropriate to try absinthe! Well, I almost died trying the absinthe. I got an absinthe frappe, and it was the most disgusting drink I’ve ever had in my life. Lol. It was very potent and it was $16 for one drink! My gf and I were kidding that the drink was strike 3 with strikes 1 and 2 being the lines at ACME and Preservation Hall. We joked that all the thought I put into planning the trip was a series of searches on google such as “most touristy places in NOLA”. Lol Anyway, we walked over to Howl at the Moon. It was a dueling piano bar with three pianists and a set of drums, too. It was very entertaining. They have one in Reno, but not 3 pianists and no drum set. One of the pianists was a Texas Rangers fan and we offered $5 to wear my St. Louis Cardinals World Champions hat. He did and my gf was elated. Great entertainment.

We went back to the hotel and had a nightcap at the Pelican Bar in the hotel lobby.

Okay! Before I forget, the coolest thing about the Sheraton was the “Go Green” incentive. If you decline to have housecleaning make your bed and tidy up your room, they give you a $5 voucher to use in the hotel. We used these at the Starbucks on the 1st floor.

CruisinChris412 January 11th, 2012 02:42 AM

12/28/11 Pics
5 Attachment(s)
Here's a brief description about the pics I chose for this night.

1. Upclose of me and Krystyna! I'll try to stick to pics or snippets that don't involve our ugly mugs, but this is us!

2. A view of Bourbon St from the balcony at the Cat's Meow.

3. Me standing at the corner of Bourbon and Iberville. My gf was literally standing at the end of the line for ACME Oyster when she took this.

4. Me looking at that absinthe drink growing pissed over spending $16 for one of them.

5. One of the pianists at Howl at the Moon rocking my hat! Go Cardinals!

CruisinChris412 January 11th, 2012 02:51 AM

We got a good night’s sleep and headed towards Café Du Monde. We walked down Decatur St from Canal St to get there. Let me just say that the architecture throughout the quarter is really cool. Very old. Very historic. Anyway, there was a line at Cafe Du Monde, but it moved fast. It was strange when we got to the front and the “hostess” just told us to grab a table ourselves and someone will clean it off and serve us. So, we did. We got beignets and coffee. The beignets were very delicious, the coffee wasn’t that great. My gf got an iced café au lait, and she liked hers. Mine was hot and lacked robustness. What I did with each beignet was put as much sugar as I could and then took a bite. The sugar was very flavorful. I had an embarrassing, awkward moment here, too. The server brought us the tiniest glass of water with our beignets and coffee, and you know, I’m not an expert on the ways of dining here. So, I asked what the water was for and if I’m supposed to put the water in the coffee. The server was foreign, and I guess I came across as questioning the quality of the water. She assured me that the health inspector comes by twice a year and the water was safe. Something got lost in translation!

We then walked east on Decatur and made a brief pit stop by walking over to see the river. We then made our way back over to the French Market and flea market. We got some alligator beef jerky which was good. Tasted like beef jerky only spicier. My gf bought a mardi gras mask. We made our way over to the Beauregard-Keyes House, and then down Chartres to the US Mint. We paid an entrance fee and we liked it. The mint artifacts were interesting and the building was cool. We didn’t understand the jazz exhibits on the 2nd floor. Also, this Mint did not produce paper money, only coin. I thought that was interesting. After leaving we noticed we were right by Frenchmen St and Marigny. This was exciting because it wasn’t that bad of a walk from Canal St.

Next, we went to Central Grocery for a muffuletta. There was a line. This meal was disappointing. I thought the sandwich was overrated, and I wouldn’t do it again. The sandwich tasted like everything “Italian”, but it could have had more meat, and eased up on the olives. The cheese and soft bread were the highlights. We walked over to a staircase/amphitheater design south of Jackson Square and ate it there. There was a dance crew doing their little break dancing gimmick. They were entertaining, and cracked a lot of jokes. They could’ve done more breakdancing. Instead of just showing individual moves, they could have busted out a continuous dance and/or moving circle. Then, we walked through Jackson Square and over to the Cabildo building. It wasn’t getting late so, we didn’t go inside. Let me just say that I had planned on taking snapshots of over a dozen buildings/museums, but time, crowds and lines became a factor.

After freshening up at the hotel, we hopped on the St. Charles streetcar and made our way down the Garden District. This was really cool. I swear it stopped at every stop and we still got to the end relatively quickly. I didn’t understand why the lights would randomly go out. And for the life of me, how the heck do you know which street you’re approaching? I was glad we were going to the very end! Lol The houses on St. Charles were beautiful. I was worried I wouldn’t see any of them at night, but they all had holiday decorations and lights. I chatted with a real-estate agent on the streetcar and he informed me the houses are in the multi-million dollar range.

We walked from Carrollton and St. Charles to Oak St and visited Jacques Imo’s. Again, there was a wait. We waited about an hour and a half. But at 7:30 they were quoting 2+ hours and even stopped taking people. We went next door to the Maple Leaf and bought our first alcoholic drink under $5! Lol There was a band getting ready to play and they were friendly enough to exchange words. Fyi, the hostesses at Jacques Imo’s will go to the Maple Leaf and look for you there if you request. The food at Jacques Imo’s was good. My girlfriend got their shrimp creole and I got a stuffed porkchop. The porkchop was big and very filling. It was stuffed with seasoned ground beef and shrimp. Let me add that conquering that sucker sort of transformed me into a porker of my own. This began some insane spree of gluttonous, gorging and became a theme for the rest of the trip.

We took a cab over to Magazine/Louisiana and we stopped by a bar called Salu and got some sangria. The sangria was good, but I was expecting to see pieces of fruit in the drink. My gf never had it, and she really liked it. We walked over to the Bulldog and there was a nice sized crowd there. Lots of locals and college aged patrons. I was shocked to see that this bar served a line of Rogue beers. I was impressed. They even had Rogue’s hazelnut brown ale. Then, I walked, well rolled because I was so stuffed from that porkchop, down one of the streets back to St. Charles to take the streetcar back to the Sheraton! I’ll just add that the streetcar runs less frequently at late night. This was also the beginning of my gf’s phrase for this trip: “I have to pee”.

CruisinChris412 January 11th, 2012 03:16 AM

12/29/11 pics
6 Attachment(s)
1. View from the hotel. That's Canal St.

2. Inside of Cafe Du Monde

3. Riverwalk facing west. You can kind of notice the streetcar tracks.

4. Gator jerky from French Market.

5. One of the north-to-south streets. It looked cool. Every street in the FQ looks cool.

6. View of Chartres St

CruisinChris412 January 11th, 2012 03:27 AM

12/29/11 more pics
5 Attachment(s)
1. My gf posing in between some of the exhibits at the Old Mint

2. Beauregard-Keyes house. General Beauregard led Confederate forces on the attack of Ft Sumpter. The property is pretty big.

3. Muffuletta sandwich. Yes, I ordered a whole one and almost ate the whole thing.

4. One of the breakdancers doing a head spin. This show was really cool for kids.

5. Me atop the stairs. The background is Decatur St and Jackson Square. The drink in my hand was the Italian limonata I got at Central Grocery, really delicious.

CruisinChris412 January 11th, 2012 03:38 AM

12/29/11 more pics...
5 Attachment(s)
1. A view of the sunset from our hotel room. The building on the left is the Shell building, and the building on the right is the Capital One building. Fyi, there aren't any BofA's in NOLA...

2. Me on the streetcar. I thought we had a bunch of pics of the streetcar, but I can't find them

3. Some house on St. Charles St

4. Me in front of Jacques-Imo's. I say this place should expand if they have such a large following like they do

5. Pitcher of sangria. It was good, but not what I hoped for.

CruisinChris412 January 11th, 2012 03:52 AM

Today, we woke up early because we were heading out to Honey Island Swamp for our swamp tour. We were still full from our piggish adventure yesterday, so, we skipped breakfast plans. The shuttle picked us up, and soon we were on i-10 heading east towards Slidell (there was a 20 car accident out here on Wednesday, heard some people died :( ). In fact, this was the sole reason I chose this company versus other swamp tour companies: I wanted to head out by Lake Ponchartrain, and we had to for this tour. It was the only daytime sightseeing we did of the city outside of the French Quarter. New Orleans is super flat. I don’t think there is a single hill in the entire metro area. During the drive, we did see some houses and an old hotel devastated by Katrina. A little tidbit, if you will, about Katrina: A local told me the fleur de lis became the official symbol of NOLA and to the locals represents the spirit and strength of NOLA. She also said it became especially important post-Katrina because it symbolized the city rising from the ashes. I’ll also add that Ponchartrain is huge. It is ginormous. The bridge we drove across was very low too. It was the longest lowest bridge I’ve been on.

When we arrived at the headquarters, there were other groups there. In fact, this company seemed to have a lot of business. The headquarters was a two story building, and its appearance really set the mood for the tour. There was a porch with screen-like netting around it. There were some bridge walkways. Once, we checked in they gave us a colored wrist band and we waited for our guide. Now, most of the tour guides were younger, fitter individuals. They all had accents. When our tour guide came out, he yelled “okay orange group over here”. He seemed like a cliché bayou Cajun. He was older and seemed like he had been doing tours for decades. He was hard core. He was from Bayou Le... something. I asked him about Bayou Le Batrie (from Forrest Gump lol) and he said it’s in Alabama. This was devastating news for me.

The entire tour is the swamp off of the Pearl River. We first started with some houses on the south side of the draw bridge. Then, he punched it and we went I believe north on the river. The swamp is cool. It’s super dense. There’s water everywhere. We saw signs of meadows and areas to stand but there is water EVERYWHERE. It was really cool floating through the bayou waterways. I’ve never seen anything like this. We saw some heron and a bunch of cypress trees. We learned a lot about what Cajun means, the swamp, the history of the swamp, effects of Katrina. Our guide was awesome. It was a nice touch that he could share and incorporate his life’s experiences with tour. For example, when talking about the Spanish moss, he shared stories about how his grandmother would use the moss as a padding material for mattresses. We also checked out some of the houses “on” the river. There were either houseboat-like dwellings or houses on stilts. It was interesting.

The biggest disappointment was there were NO GATORS! They were in hibernation. They take like one breath every 12 hours. I still think they should try to have some sort of zoo-like exhibit or a pet gator at the HQ. I mean, the gator has to be a huge selling point. A group of young ladies were extremely upset about the lack of gators. They should get a pet gator. Give the customers their gator fix. I explained this to another group on the shuttle and one of the girls in this group happened to have done this tour before when there were gators. She explained I missed nothing, whipped out her cell phone, showed me a picture of them feeding a gator, and said that’s all I missed. I’m thinking not only did you see a gator, but they fed one, too! I got a rubbing it in impression, but she was just sticking up for the company. It was still a great experience gator or not. I recommend doing it, especially if you haven’t even seen a swamp.

For breakfast/lunch/dinner, we went to ACME Oyster House. There were only a handful of people in line. In fact, everybody ahead of us only wanted a table, and not the bar. So, we got seated ahead of them. Now the bar isn’t a “bar”. It’s the oyster bar. Our waiter was one of the guys shucking the oysters. He was quite the character. It was a nice experience and a nice touch watching them shuck oysters the whole time. I give him props for standing there and shucking oysters for long periods of time. So, we immediately ordered the charbroiled oysters as an appetizer. They were awesome. They’re cooked over fire and there’s like cheese in them. I ordered a seafood ettoufee, and my girlfriend ordered a jambalaya. My girlfriend also ordered an Abita beer called “andygator”. It was really potent, and delicious. Drink them with caution and food in your stomach!

Next, we walked down Royal St on our way to Frenchmen St. Royal St seemed to live up to the name. There were lots of higher-end shopping and lots of art. It was interesting and worth checking out. In Marigny, we first went to the Spotted Cat, then DBA, then Apple Barrel. The Spotted Cat was cool, and the band playing was awesome. I still don’t know what their style of music was. One guy explained to me it’s like zydeco, but not quite? But they sounded great. It was a trio with a guitar, harmonica and a washboard. The washboard was cool. It was literally a washboard with two tin cans on the side and a bell (like one a hotel desk). I didn’t get all the details for the band at DBA, because we sat on the opposite side away from them. We had more Abitas and tried an in-house concoction called a St. Violet. It was some alcohols with champagne. Very good. We then went to the Apple Barrel and this place was really cramped and really small. There were a few acts going on. One guy was jamming on his guitar. Above the Apple Barrel is Adolfo’s. We should’ve tried the place. The menu seemed amazing, and we chatted with their number one fan outside.

We then went back to Bourbon St and started off at Oz. Now, I didn’t realize it was a gay bar. I just had to crap, but there were no doors in the men’s bathroom. So, I had to squeeze my cheeks and try the next place. We went to Krazy Korner to get some hurricanes and check it out. I took a shot, and that’s where another transformation happened. See, while on Frenchmen St, I drank a solid 6-pack of Abita ambers and that St. Violet drink and more. Then, I drank liquor. I’m sure everybody knows the old adages: “liquor before you beer, and you’re in the clear” and “beer before liquor, gets you sicker quicker”. They’re really true, and I hate that I still don’t learn my lesson. Sometimes, I think I have an iron stomach or iron liver, rather. Anyway, so I got super drunk this night and pigged out again. I ate a hotdog at one of those hotdog carts. I went to some place I don’t know and got a roast beef po-boy with gravy. Then, we got a hand grenade at the original Tropical Isle. Then, we went to Pat O’Brien’s for a hurricane. Then, I bought a $6 slice of pizza. I don’t remember how we got back to the hotel! :o

CruisinChris412 January 11th, 2012 04:19 AM

12/30/11 pics
5 Attachment(s)
1. A canoe standing up against the HQ of Cajun Encounters.

2. Our tour guide. He was awesome, and really knew his stuff.

3. The bridge in the 2nd pic on the other side. The Pearl River looks mighty.

4. A random house along the river. We saw around 20 houses.

5. A heron on the hunt. It looked big in person, like my height!

CruisinChris412 January 11th, 2012 04:32 AM

6 Attachment(s)
1. The bayou. We were getting into some really tight spaces.

2. More bayou. Technically speaking, bayou refers to the slow moving streams off of a main river

3. Trees in water! yay! The Cypress trees were the coolest.

4. Water, trees and moss every where. I'd love to see this swamp during the summer when everything is green

5. An oxbow forming

6. We bought these pies at the HQ. We woke up the next day to find them open all over the bathroom floor in the hotel! :rolleyes:

CruisinChris412 January 11th, 2012 04:44 AM

6 Attachment(s)
1. Mmmmm, charbroiled oysters. I don't really like oysters, but these are savory.

2. Chaz was playing at the Spotted Cat. I should have bought one of their CDs. Really unique music that puts you in a good feeling the way 50s and 60s Oldies can. Check out the washboard.

3. This band was good, too. The bartender and fellow patrons were really sociable at dba.

4. You can have a dollar stuck on the ceiling. It costs a dollar.

5. Good thing we didn't discover Hand Grenades the past 2 nights. We would've been sauced up every night.

6. During the night, my gf dropped the camera. It must have put it in black-and-white mode because the rest of the pics were in black and white. She took a lot of silly pics this night! I don't know where she got that rose from either. lol I hope I got it for her!

Ckrewz January 11th, 2012 10:02 AM


Originally Posted by CruisinChris412 (Post 31910188)
. I took a shot, and that’s where another transformation happened. See, while on Frenchmen St, I drank a solid 6-pack of Abita ambers and that St. Violet drink and more. Then, I drank liquor. I’m sure everybody knows the old adages: “liquor before you beer, and you’re in the clear” and “beer before liquor, gets you sicker quicker”. They’re really true, and I hate that I still don’t learn my lesson. Sometimes, I think I have an iron stomach or iron liver, rather. Anyway, so I got super drunk this night and pigged out again. I ate a hotdog at one of those hotdog carts. I went to some place I don’t know and got a roast beef po-boy with gravy. Then, we got a hand grenade at the original Tropical Isle. Then, we went to Pat O’Brien’s for a hurricane. Then, I bought a $6 slice of pizza. I don’t remember how we got back to the hotel! :o

Fun review to read until this part..... this just sounds yucky! :eek: ;)

Hope you enjoyed NOLA!

CruisinChris412 January 11th, 2012 01:22 PM

December 31st
I didn’t really have a hangover, but I pounded lots of water. My girlfriend had a rough time though. We also broke the stupid camera, too. I fixed it though. Anyway, we woke up to fog. There was fog everywhere. From our floor, we could barely see the streets. We eventually got around to leaving around noon. The French Quarter was alive and bustling. There were jazz bands playing, lots of people and even more people. We went to one of the fortune tellers and my girlfriend got her palm read. Now, I don’t know if I got ripped off, but I paid $25 for her reading. I’m not sure if you’re supposed to haggle with these people, but part of me thinks it might not be wise to attempt to haggle with these you know… majestic people, if you will. We then went over to the voodoo museum on Dauphine St. It was interesting, but not what I expected. It’s small. I mean, like two bedrooms of artifacts. Voodoo is really interesting, and has a lot of correlations to Christianity. We lucked out because one of those walking groups were there and we got to listen in on their guide explain the people, history, rituals, beliefs, etc. Oh yeah, while working over here, we noticed a huge group of people with a band playing as they were walking the streets and throwing beads. They were celebrating their wedding. Really cool.

We then walked over the SS Natchez for our lunch cruise. A nice touch was there was a gal playing a calliope. It’s like an organ but it blows smoke for various keys. It was very entertaining and got us excited for the cruise. While waiting to cast off, we saw the Voyager of the Seas and some Carnival ship. It got us amped for our cruise. J The steamboat was really packed because the earlier one didn’t sail because of the fog. It was still cool. The food was good, but you could only get one plate. The mac-n-cheese was awesome. The creamed spinach was good. The chicken was good. The bread pudding was great. Then, we explored the ship. Checked out the engine room. It’s a good cruise for taking it easy. You basically go down the river to Chalmette and come back. I was hoping we’d go up the river, but no biggie. Anyway, there really isn’t that much to see as far as what you can see on land. The various ships in the river were the highlight in regards to viewing, and the views of the city, too. One thing that was cool was that you could hear the crew’s conversation over the docking process through the intercom. Also, there were some crew members on the deck communicating/shouting in their maritime jargon over the docking process and what not.

Afterwards, we went the room to get ready for NY and last minute things for the cruise and souvenirs. I went to the store right across from the Sheraton, and I don’t know how this place is in business. Their prices are ridiculous. The only thing I bought here was a 20oz Dasani water the first day there for $2.50. They were trying to sell bottle of Yellowtail for like $18. Yellowtail? Get out of here. The little pints of rum were like $15, too. They’re out of their mind. We went to Walgreens and loaded up!

We ended up going to Pierre Maspero’s for dinner. All in all, it was a positive experience. We finally got around to trying shrimp remoulade. We both got some pastas. My girlfriend’s was delicious. Mine sucked. Some of the noodles weren’t even fully cooked. I should’ve complained. Their banana foster cheesecake was amazing though. Oh yeah, some guy started puking from being too drunk. It was funny since it didn’t get on me. We then went to Bourbon St and got a Hand Grenade. Again, these are solid, potent drinks to get you going. Then, we saw a fight which was awesome because one of the guy’s girlfriend’s socked the other guy in the face.

Then, I screwed up. I saw some keys on a trash can by me. I asked other people near me if it were theirs. I decided to give it to a cop, and he asked “what do you want me to do with it?” He then instructed me to go to the substation on Royal St and give it to them. I really didn’t want to do that, but I felt like I was in too deep. What do I do now? Set them on the ground? So, I get there, and the cop at the counter wanted me to fill out a report. I’m like ***? Don’t you have a lost and found?

Anyway, we made our way back to Bourbon and felt it was time to start going towards the river. We stopped by Pat O’Brien’s Express door (awesome idea) for a quick hurricane, and continued down St. Peters St until we got to the crowds by Jax Brewery and the riverwalk. We still had about an hour before midnight, so, we grabbed more drinks at some beer cart. Inevitably, we were crammed on the riverwalk at midnight. We had a perfect view of the fleur de lis dropping on Jax Brewery and the fireworks. I’m not sure who held the fireworks or where they came from, but they appeared to come from the other side of the river. It was a lengthy show, too. We didn’t want to stay out too late, so, we went back to the hotel. We ended up grabbing drinks at the bar in the hotel lobby and got to bed around 2am.

CruisinChris412 January 11th, 2012 01:55 PM

12/31/11 pics
6 Attachment(s)
1. Some of the crowds around the Cabildo building watching a jazz band play

2. Krystyna getting her palm read

3. Just a cool view of a street. You can see flags raised and plants decorating balcony railings. Like I said, every street is cool and a sight to see

4. A display of voodoo dolls

5. A display of gris-gris items. They're items that are supposed to be lucky.

6. An example of an altar and items to place on an item. There is a tampon there. I guess if you want to keep your man from cheating, put some menstral fluid in his food? :eek:

CruisinChris412 January 11th, 2012 02:08 PM

6 Attachment(s)
1. The wedding party galavanting through the streets!

2. Natchez. You can see the smoke from the calliope.

3. Close up of the calliope.

4. Krystyna on the bottom deck of the Natchez. You can kind of notice the "smoke" on the water I think from the fog that day. Also, there is a long cargo like boat. There were a bunch of loooong boats.

5. We saw this ferry transporting cars and such.

6. Us in the Sheraton lobby getting ready for NY Eve

CruisinChris412 January 11th, 2012 02:17 PM

6 Attachment(s)
1. Krystyna's pasta. It had chicken and corn, really good.

2. Banana foster cheesecake. Really delicious.

3. A random balcony on Bourbon

4. Fleur de lis. You can really only see the sparks. Sorry

5. Fireworks

6. More fireworks.

CruisinChris412 January 11th, 2012 03:13 PM

We woke up early and excited for our cruise! We quickly checked out and left our luggage with the bell desk. Then, we walked to the Super Dome to try to catch some of the pregame action. Naturally, there were fans everywhere. Let me add, that the walk from the Sheraton to the Super Dome wasn’t that bad. I ended up really liking the hotel’s proximity and easy access to everything we wanted to do. Anyway, we got to the Super Dome at about 11:30. So, we kind of missed the thick of things, and Championship Square was dying down. We watched a little bit of the first quarter. The Saints scored right away and everybody got really excited. It gave us goose bumps. I got some gumbo from the Praline Connection tent. It was really good. Although, there was a huge piece of crab shell in it. I wasn’t sure what to do with it, so, I discarded it.

Then, we got our luggage and took a taxi to the cruise terminal. The terminal was really close. Although, the overall value for the ride was fishy at $7 per person. Anyway, the embarkation was okay. The lines were minimal. The whole process was really easy. There weren’t any hang-ups with paperwork or my passport which had a corner of the back cover chewed by Albert (my beagle). I did have a bottle (pint) of rum in my pocket; I spaced it that the cap was metal. :o I turned it over to the alcohol guy. The alcohol in our luggage was fine. They were all in their original bottles. No fancy, MacGyver tricks. Anyway, we paid corkage for 3 bottles of wine, but I never got billed for them. Weird.

We boarded the ship on Deck 7 in the Atrium. It was lovely. They still had a Christmas tree up and a miniature northpole set by the fountains in between the stairs. That was a nice touch. Once we bought our soda card, we went to our room. Our room was ready for us with no wait, and I believe the time was approximately 2:30. We had a mid-ship, starboard balcony room. For first impressions, we liked the room a lot except for the ugly green couch, the hair dryer and the dirty balcony windows. The bathroom was much bigger than our bathroom on the Mariner of the Seas. We also liked the lights on the head board and hooks on the wall which I used to hang my hats! We liked that the door separating our room from our neighbor was metal. We used it like a refridgerator door and posted our dailies and paperwork on them with magnets!

Anyway, we went up to the pool decks for pictures and sightseeing. We ate at Raffles buffet and then got a bucket of Coronas at the Bier Garten. We then went back to our room. The ship was delayed for around an hour. I guess two NCL employees didn’t come back to the ship.

We were unwinding on the beds when the ship starting moving. I thought they would have sounded a loud horn, but we didn’t hear it. I thought it was nifty that we had an small ship escorting us down the river into the gulf. You couldn't really see much on the shores of the river because it was so dark outside. Although, the New Orleans skyline was a nice view. Anyway, we were off and heading down the Mississippi for the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean! Next stop, Cozumel! :)

CruisinChris412 January 11th, 2012 03:40 PM

01/01/12 pics
5 Attachment(s)
1. Super Dome with fans posted up on the stairs getting ready to watch the game on the TV in the pic 2

2. The big TV above the stage in Championship Square

3. Bowl of gumbo. It was really delicious. You can see that piece of crab shell. Oh yeah, the word "praline" is pronounced "praw-leen", not "pray-leen"

4. The front of the Sheraton from Canal St. I took it while waiting for a cab to leave. :(

5. The Christmas Tree in the atrium. The clarity sucks, but you should be able to see the little northpole/winter village replica.

CruisinChris412 January 11th, 2012 03:50 PM

more pics
5 Attachment(s)
1. One angle of our room

2. Another angle. It's dark, sorry.

3. Bathroom. Check out the hair dryer in the upper right.

4. Krystyna on the balcony with the riverwalk in the back

5. View of the gangway from our balcony

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