The latest trip we went on was a deal we found on a site called Travel With Alan. This guy can put together some seriously awesome cruises if that is your thing. There are pros and cons of course when traveling with a group. Pro’s of course are the cost and what we found to be the biggest con is not being able to do our own thing easily. We will explain in Day one “N’awlins.
We arrived in New Orleans late and went straight to the hotel that had been booked for us through the agent. It was nice to have a representative from the agency handle all of our checked baggage and to have already checked us into the hotel. We actually left the airport with our room keys so we could go strait to bed.
The next morning we had a buffet breakfast that was organized by the group and we were then supposed to wait around the hotel until about 2:00pm until a bus would arrive to take us to the cruise terminal for Norwegian Cruise Lines. Six hours in a hotel lobby waiting for a but with about 150 other people? Um, no.
We asked the group coordinator if we could have them take care of the one carry on we had and get it to our room on the ship because we wanted to go into town and check out the French Quarter etc. Our question was met with stammering, confusion and a look like we were a crazy tree headed monster. It was obvious that no one had ever asked this before and we just realized it would be easier to go along with the plan. Sort of.
We quickly called for a ride via Uber. in 20 minutes and $16 later we were in the French Quarter. It is important to note that Roger has been there several times and actually lived down there for a while while a commercial diver in the oil fields of the Gulf of Mexico. Amy had not been down there and wanted to see just a few things to satisfy her curiosity.
The driver dropped us off in the heart of the French Quarter on Decatur Street. In minutes we were standing in line at Cafe Du Monde for beignets and coffee. A must for any first time visitor. From there we strolled around Jackson Square admiring all kinds of local artists. It is truly amazing how much talent there is in this city!
After the coffee was gone it was only two blocks to World famous Bourbon St. It was now about 10:30 in the morning and most shops were setting up for the day and cleaning up from the night prior. Every night around 8pm they shut Bourbon Street down to car traffic and it becomes a big street party. Yes, every night. We grabbed a couple Bloody Marys and headed down Bourbon.
Bourbon Street is much like you may have seen on the travel channel etc. it is a mix of Bars, Hotels, strip clubs, as well as its fair share of trinket and smoke shops. During the day it is pretty quiet outside of the few street performers that are out early for the day crowd.
We are in our mid 40’s and after a quick stroll we are over it. We have spotted a few hotels with balcony’s that would be a great place to come for Mardi Gras and do some serious people watching. You really have no idea how crowded it can get down here and if you are not into those crowds it is important to have your own space. The people watching is totally worth it and probably some of the best in the world.
We left Bourbon and walked up to the French Market. The French Market of New Orleans is one of the oldest markets in the country. It has been in daily operation since 1791! You will certainly find all that you are looking for here. Hand made souvenirs, hand bags, clothing and a great place to pick up some 1200 thread count Egyptian cotton sheets to have shipped home. Oh, and don’t forget to get some alligator on a stick!
Leaving the Market with a new selfie stick for the go pro that we will later find out will not work, we head back up St Phillip Street towards Rampart to catch an Uber back to the hotel. Walking the streets of the French Quarter is a feast of color and architecture for the eyes. Wrought iron railings, private courtyards and friendly people are everywhere. It really is a great place to stroll.
Getting back to the hotel we can see all of the rest of our group huddled around tables in the lobby of the hotel. they look miserable as they have just been sitting around for hours waiting. We share our morning adventure with a few people and the common question is, “What is Uber?” This would be a good time to mention that the average age of the group we were traveling with was probably around 75-80 years old.
In just a bit our buses had arrived and whisked us to the cruise terminal where the Norwegian Dawn was waiting to take us on the next ten days of our trip. By the way. the cruise terminal is exactly where we were earlier and we could have just walked on ourselves but, like we mentioned the group coordinator was already kind of concerned that we even wanted to leave the hotel. Sometimes it is better to let them think you are going along with everything 😉