Janaury 2013 Cruise – A Quick and Fun Getaway! (Part 1)

There is never a good time to plan a vacation, even a short one. When times are slow, we’re out there hammering pennies from the pavement. When times are busier, as they thankfully are now, there are just not enough hours in the day!

Sometimes, everyone is better served if you take just a few days to recharge yourself – and that is what 26 of us just did!

We headed out at 7:00 Friday morning, January 11th for New Orleans. Sometimes, I would rather drive to New Orleans rather than fly. One reason is this “drive-thru daiquiri joint” in Pearl River, just outside of New Orleans.

Drive-Thru Daiquiri Joint

We arrived at the Drury Inn Suites at Carondelet and Poydras Street around 3:00 pm. Several in our group chose to fly down and we all arrived at the same time. The Drury is convenient to everything – Carondelet turns into Bourbon Street one block over, Harrahs Casino is 3 blocks down, and they have a complimentary happy hour and hot breakfast included with your room. They also have a rooftop pool.

Drury Inn New Orleans Rooftop Pool

It had rained the entire day, but the skies cleared just in time for us to enjoy a night on Bourbon Street. First a visit to Harrah’s, where Beth picked up a quick $100. After dinner at Pat O’Briens, we joined all the other tourists and freaks on Bourbon Street.

I ran across these two girls. They said they were doing this to pay off their student loans. I believed them.

Glitter Girls

This cat was just a freak and couldn’t possibly have had a student loan, and probably wouldn’t pay it if he/she did.


Regardless of your level of social tolerance, Bourbon Street really is something to experience.

The cruise ships normally arrive in New Orleans before sunrise, and you can usually see them from the roof top of the Drury Inn. Not today!


The Carnival Elation had arrived, so after breakfast, we loaded up the car and headed to the Erato Street Cruise Terminal. Normally we would have left our car at the Drury Inn, which usually includes parking in their cruise special. This year, they are adding on to the hotel and building a parking garage. In other words, we had no choice but to park at the cruise terminal ($75), where we arrived at 11:15 am and were on the ship having the first drink at 11:40. The Port of New Orleans and Carnival Shoreside staff have mastered the process here!

This cruise was my 20th sailing, the 14th with Carnival and the other six with Royal Caribbean and Princess. I keep returning to Carnival quite frankly because I have had more fun on their ships. Damien Smart, my Carnival Vacation Planner, has always taken great care of us, and everyone that sails with us. People may think I get rewards or kickbacks for these cruises, but I don’t. I just recommend people that I have good experiences with. Give Damien a call at 1-800-819-3902, ext 82885.

Meanwhile, up on Lido Deck, you can see just how busy the Mississippi River is at New Orleans.

Nashville’s own Ingram Barge Lines has a huge presence here and the boats they have here make the ones we see on the Cumberland look like toys. Years ago, Ingram Barge’s main office was located in the Shell Building in New Orleans prior to Mr. Bronson Ingram moving it to Nashville.

Ingram on Mississippi River

And then there are numerous freighters like these all around.


Most people don't realize that the Port of New Orleans is over 100 miles away from the mouth of the Mississippi at the Gulf of Mexico. The nice thing about cruising from New Orleans, no matter what the weather is on the high seas, your first and last 8 hours of cruising will be smooth!


Check back for Part 2 and find out all about the Carnival Elation and the ports of Progreso and Cozumel, Mexico.