NOLA to Cozumel
We just returned from the Carnival Triumph cruise out of New Orleans...just in time to take part in the Blizzard of 2011! At least we have our photos to remember the gorgeous Caribbean, warm temperatures and sunny skies!
If you've never taken a cruise before, this particular 4 night itinerary to Cozumel might be a perfect way to sample what a cruise is like! We traveled with another couple who had never cruised before...
We arrived in New Orleans and took a cab directly to our hotel, the Royal Sonesta, which is located right on Bourbon Street! The Royal Sonesta is a charming, upscale hotel with a gorgeous pool and courtyard gardens and is centrally located within steps of restaurants, nightlife and shopping!
After getting into our rooms and unpacking a bit, we were off to ACME Oyster house, right around the corner to indulge in our favorite meal...raw oysters, soft shell crab po' boys and Turbo Dog beer! With a Turbo Dog "to go", we ventured out in search of a liquor store to stock up for our cruise...
A fantastic benefit of taking a Carnival cruise, is that you are allowed to bring a bottle of wine on board for each person over 21, as well as a 12 pack of pop and bottled water. I packed a collapsible cooler in my carry-on bag, which is what we used to transport our purchases to the ship. In addition to being allowed to bring these items on board, Carnival offers the option to purchase liquor prior to your cruise, which will be waiting in your stateroom when you arrive. We purchased Sky Vodka at $40 for a 1 liter bottle. Iced tea, lemonade, orange juice, tomato juice and guava juice were readily available on board to make a refreshing cocktail over ice! This saved us a lot of money instead of buying drinks on the ship at $7-$9 per drink!
After our shopping spree, we walked Bourbon Street and found several places to stop into to enjoy live music and observe the antics of the lively crowds of partiers...lots of fun!
The next morning, a quick visit to famous Cafe Du Monde was in order, located across from Jackson Square, for a feast of beignets and cafe au lait...then we were ready to catch our cab to the cruise port.
Checking in with Carnival went very smoothly, and we were on board the ship within an hour! We had balcony staterooms next to each other on the Deck 8, midship. We attempted to acclimate ourselves to our surroundings, had some lunch and started partying!
We chose "Your Time" dining which allowed us to dine anytime between 5:45pm and 9:30pm at a private table for 4. We never had to wait more than 15 minutes for a table to become available! The food choices were excellent and tasty...lots of healthy options, too!
As our ship left New Orleans, we settled in for an 8 hour trip down the Mississippi River to reach the Gulf of Mexico. We finally saw the blue Caribbean from our balcony, as we woke to a gorgeous sunrise the next morning.
We had an entire day at sea to catch some rays, eat good food and relax! In the evenings there was the casino to play at, or catch a show or comedy act in the theater. There were several choices like dancing or piano bars or karaoke, too.
The next day we were up bright and early to disembark the ship to visit Cozumel...we chose to purchase a day pass at an adults only all-inclusive, a 10 minute cab ride from the cruise port. The Aura Cozumel Wyndham Grand Bay is a quiet and intimate resort with a beautiful beach! We spent our day enjoying the pool and drinks, as well as a yummy lunch, before heading back to the ship.
We did a little shopping at the cruise port before reboarding the ship. It was kind of surreal to see the 4 massive cruise ships in port! This was our ship and the Carnival Ecstasy next to each other.
The last day of our trip was at sea, heading back to New Orleans...it was a gorgeous day, until about 2:00pm, when the clouds started rolling in and the temperature began to drop...by the time we had reached the mouth of the Mississippi later in the evening, a DENSE fog enveloped the entire ship. It looked like we were floating into the abyss! We took lots of pictures, but none captured the sight we saw! Here's what it looked like at daybreak...
After disembarking at about 8:00am, we took a cab back to the Royal Sonesta, and left our bags with the bellman so that we were free to enjoy their pool and courtyard, or venture out onto Bourbon Street again for some food and drink! We found a quaint outdoor cafe, and enjoyed the sunshine and some lunch before heading to the airport.
This was the perfect venue to travel with friends, as we did! We saw lots of groups traveling together...families, school reunions, bachelorette parties. We all agreed that this was a perfect trip for a value price! We had so many different experiences in the 5 days we traveled...just enough activity to satisfy, yet plenty of time to relax! Our friends, Joe and Tricia said that this trip "exceeded their expectations"!