Tuesday, March 4 ~ Panama Canal Cruise

ft-lauderdale

 

What a day!  I spent most of the first part being nervous that we would miss the ship.  There were phone calls from employees that weren’t sure what to do while we were gone, emails…

At 11:00 we were supposed to check out and housekeeping came by to check on us and I told her  “soon”.

My sandal broke, the part next to the heel separated from the sole.  <sigh>

Finally, we checked out at noon and set off to find the place to return the rental car that we never really used.  A wrong turn or 2 and we finally got there about 1:00.  Tom called for a taxi.  We waited and waited.  Tom called again.  Finally, the driver got there and we reloaded our luggage.

Fortunately, the port was only about a mile a way but there was a lot of traffic to the port and all cars had to stop and everyone had to show IDs.  That slowed everything up.

Dropped off our luggage and finally got in the terminal building.  It was nearly 2:00.  Tom had been thinking we had until 4:00 to get onboard – I reminded him that this ship sailed at 4:00.  We had to be on by 3:00.

Fort Port Lauderdale Embarkation 

Weather Forecast:  Sunny High 77 / Low 69

Sunrise 6:41 am / Sunset 6:23 pm

From the Navigator: As soon as all the passengers and crew are onboard and all pre-departure checks have been completed, the Captain will give the order to let go our mooring lines.  Once clear from the berth, Coral Princess will make her way out of the harbor before disembarking our pilot and altering our course to starboard.  We will then set southwesterly courses through the Straits of Florida toward the Old Bahama Channel, as we make our way towards Aruba.

A hustling, bustling port – not just cruise ships.  As far as I could tell, we were the only cruise ship there.

A lot of people got there about when we did but the lines moved fairly quickly…until it was time to actually board the ship.  That’s when you swipe your new card and they add your picture to the record for to be sure you’re who you say you are when you come back from port.

We got on the actual ship and were directed to the left.  We followed lots of other folks and ended up at an elevator.  Up to our cabin and our first 2 pieces of luggage were already there.  The third was only a few minutes later.  Very speedy!

I like this ship – Coral Princess!

2014-03-14 14.24.38 2014-03-14 14.24.36 2014-03-14 14.24.32 2014-03-14 14.24.17 2014-03-14 14.24.07

The cabin is (or seems) bigger than the one on Norwegian (NCL).  There is a desk instead of a couch (NCL).  The couch wasn’t very practical – the desk really is.

We have a walk-in closet which is really nice.  We haven’t even filled it halfway up (yet).  It’s at a right angle to the sleeping area which makes it seem like a separate room.

The bathroom is small.  I think the shower is smaller than NCL’s but I don’t spend that much time in there.

The end tables by the bed have actual drawers instead of open shelves.

The chairs on the balcony recline.  They’re fixed on NCL.

No coffeemaker, though.  NCL had one in the cabin.

We have a TV guide telling us what is on for the whole trip.  The new Hobbit movie will be on later.  Glad we didn’t see it in the movies.

Pool/Beach towels are in the closet.  We return them to the cabin and the steward brings us new ones.  We didn’t have to check them out and return them to the pool each day.  Hooray!

This ship has a self-service laundry on each deck.  I’ve never seen that on another ship.

We went off for muster  Here, we had to take our lifejackets and put them on at one point.  NCL, we didn’t take them.  They showed us how to jump off the side, if necessary.  Um, no.

I noted for future reference that many women on here wear white long pants.  Not likely!

Tom went off to a meeting, I did some church work – uploading Sunday’s sermons.

I took a little video of the sail away and some regular pictures.

http://youtu.be/snOVmXcPO-0

 

2014-03-04 16.27.33

The sheriff’s boat, acting as pilot

2014-03-04 14.03.35 2014-03-04 14.03.43 2014-03-04 14.03.52 2014-03-04 16.26.55 2014-03-04 16.26.58 2014-03-04 16.27.07 2014-03-04 16.27.41 2014-03-04 16.30.38 2014-03-04 16.30.46 2014-03-04 16.31.25 2014-03-04 18.49.05 2014-03-04 18.49.10

Tom came back and wrote some emails.  I think I napped.  I didn’t feel like getting dressed for dinner so we went to the buffet.  It seemed smaller than NCL but then I realized that they didn’t have the pizza and burgers mixed in.  The buffet was all real food.  Among other things, I had prime rib.  Yummy!!!   We got to sit right ”up front” in the center of the stern.  Very impressive!

We walked around a bit, trying to get our bearings.  This ship has a lot of wood on it, more “real” than the mostly metal ones I usually see.  Teak tables, wooden doors.

I understand that this ship line used to be P&O from England before they became Princess.  There are British hints all over, from the afternoon Tea Time, to the huge selection of teas at dinner.  There are also pictures from the P&O line on the walls and 2 grenadiers guarding the casino.  Tom thinks that P&O might have stood for Pacific and Orient – I’ll look that up when we get home.  (Note – it is Peninsular & Oriental Steam Navigation Company)

I had wanted to go to the 7:45 Welcome Aboard show but there was some email to be sent.  I think I rested my eyes.

Then, we went out and walked around some more – by Movies Under the Stars (MUTS) which seems to mostly be showing a variety of things.  There are 2 movies later this week that I’d like to see.  They put cushions on the deck chairs and give out blankets, popcorn,  cookies and milk.  It’s also right by the ice cream, pizza and grill so not too much chance of hunger.

We walked all around a couple of decks.  It seems like we’re nearly alone on this cruise.  Except for embarking, we’ve seen very few other people.

At 9:30, we did see  the show.  I thought that they would do snippets from upcoming shows but the singers/dancers did a “welcome to Princess” type song and dance and the comedian told some jokes.  The cruise director, Susan Rawlings,  told us a bit about what was coming up.

Walking around some more.  We decided to get some pizza but they were just closing up.  Back to the buffet – Horizon Court – and I had some fruit (and another egg roll)

There was a note on our bed after dinner that they would be happy to deliver whatever fruit we wanted to our cabin.  Nice touch.  Also, a Princess tote bag.

We had chocolates on our pillow!

Just a bit of church work, should have taken about 2 minutes, tops, but it took 11, thanks to this s-l-o-w internet connection.

I think I fell asleep almost immediately.  If anything, I read one paragraph in my book.

Early Tuesday

ft-lauderdale

 

We’re having breakfast and will be getting repacked and ready to leave soon.

I’m getting a bit antsy since we have a rental car to return, then a taxi from the rental place to the port.  Things like this make me nervous with all the “what-ifs”.

I’ve posted a couple links on FB if anyone wants to follow along or I want to look again later.

Webcam from the bow of the Coral Princess

Current position M/S Coral Princess

I also took several screenshots of the current cruise heading into port but I’ll wait until we get back and pretend that it’s us heading home :)

Beach Buddies

MaryO

 

 

Panama Canal Cruise

I know I’ve talked about my good friend, Alice, several places online but I don’t know if I’ve mentioned her here.  There were several places she dreamed of going but never got the chance to go.

My DH always wanted to go to the Panama Canal.  In November, I started looking at cruises and finally settled on this one.  It was a very expensive Christmas/anniversary/birthday gift – for many years – for him but I remembered Alice and thought that we have to do this now, while we have the opportunity.

Here’s where we’re going…

Coral_10DayPanCanCaymans13-14_R1_CA

Ft. Lauderdale, Florida
Tuesday, March 4

4:00 PM

Day 2

At Sea
Wednesday, March 5

Day 3

At Sea
Thursday, March 6

Day 4

Aruba
Friday, March 7

8:00 AM-7:00 PM

Dutch influence still lingers on this balmy Caribbean island, part of the former Netherlands Antilles until its independence in 1986. Aruba is a contrast: the island’s arid interior is dotted with cactus and windswept divi-divi trees while secluded coves and sandy beaches make up its coast. Aruba’s long and colorful heritage is reflected in its dialect. Called Papiamento, it is a tongue that combines elements of Spanish, French, Portuguese, Dutch, African and English.

Our Tour:

arubaSemi-Submarine, Shipwreck & Island Drive

Your tour begins when you board the ferry “Stingray” at Palm Pier, on one of Aruba’s best beaches. After a 20-minute transfer, you’ll board the semi-sub. This is a surface vessel where you sit five feet below the waterline, the perfect way to discover the fascinating sea life that lives in these crystal clear Caribbean waters. The semi-sub will head towards the wreck of the “Antilla,” a German freighter that was sunk off the coast of Aruba during World War II. The tour is narrated and you will learn about how this 440-foot-long freighter met its watery end. You will also be able to view coral and the plentiful sea life, before returning to dry land. Here you will board your air-conditioned transportation for the short yet scenic journey to the California Lighthouse for views of Aruba’s windward coast.

The lighthouse is named after the U.S. ship which sunk in 1893, years before the lighthouse was built. Your captivating day then continues as you drive to the Casibari rock formations, where you will have time to browse the gift shop and view the amazing landscape formed by diorite boulders the size of small houses. Energetic guests may wish to climb the 80 rustic steps to the formation’s summit for stunning views of the island. Finally, it’s time to head to Aruba’s rugged north coast, to view the breath-taking Baby Natural Bridge, carved by the surf from solid coral and limestone. You will also be able to view the collapsed original Natural Bridge, and visit the gift shop here. Your route back to the ship takes you past the fascinating ruins of a 19th-century gold mill at Boca Mahos, and at the end of the tour, you will have the option to independently explore Aruba’s capital city Oranjestad. You will then be responsible for your return to the ship, which is a mere five minute walk away.

Day 5

At Sea
Saturday, March 8

Day 6

Cartagena, Colombia
Sunday, March 9

7:00 AM-2:00 PM

One of the more interesting cities on your itinerary steeped in history. This was the transit port for all the wealth Spain derived from South America. The famous “Old City” is comprised of 12 square blocks filled with attractions, boutiques and restaurants.

Throughout Colombia, the Spanish Empire’s influence in the New World is self-evident. Its fortress walls, quaint narrow streets, and balconied houses are all vivid reminders of Spain’s hold on Cartagena and throughout the Caribbean and South America. This is the land of El Dorado and flamboyant adventurers in search of the ever-elusive gold. Cartagena’s well-constructed fortifications defended its borders against seafaring pirates whose attacks lasted for more than 200 years. Today this modern and bustling city, seaport, and commercial center still boasts much of its original colonial architecture. Your journey here will provide you with a significant link to the region’s grand past.

Our tour:

cartegnaScenic Drive of Cartagena & La Popa Monastery

Departing from the pier, you will be accompanied by an English-speaking guide, pass by the traditional district of Manga to admire the beautiful houses of the Republican time on your way to La Popa convent, built during the 17th century and dedicated to Nuestra Señora de la Candelaria, one of the city’s patron saints, enjoy the splendid view over the city and visit the small chapel for a look at the famous wooden statue of the Virgin, marvel at the wonderful gold leaves laminated main altar.

Continue on with your journey to a photo stop at the largest Spanish fort in the New World – Fort of San Felipe de Barajas, originally built in the 17th century, and snap pictures of the ancient towering walls and main entrance.

Take a 30 -minute drive to the walled city and marvel at the plethora of colonial buildings and age-old fortifications around every corner, as well as the old churches domes, the clock tower, symbol of the city and the city ocean views.

Continue your journey to the Navy Museum, established in 1986, restored ruins of the Jesuits school, discover the historic military efforts of Cartagena, enjoy the wealth of historical artifacts, maritime life and naval history of Colombia, enjoy a folkloric show and a refreshing soft drink.

After cooling down, take your transportation again for an overview of the modern residential area of Bocagrande, famous for its wide variety of shops, restaurants and hotels, before returning to the ship.

Day 7

6:00 AM-3:30 PM

The narrow isthmus separating the Atlantic from the Pacific Ocean had a colorful and turbulent history long before Ferdinand de Lesseps first dreamed of building a transcontinental canal.

Spanish conquistadors hauled Incan gold through the dense rainforest to ports on the Atlantic. English freebooters sought to ransack those ports and attack the treasure ships that sailed from Portobelo. And 49ers braved mosquitoes and yellow fever to get to the California gold fields. While the Panama Canal remains one of the great American engineering feats of the 20th century, visitors to Panama will discover a whole range of scenic wonders. Hike into the dense rainforest, home to over 1,000 species of animals. Or pay a visit to an Embera Indian village in the heart of Chagres National Park.

Disembarkation in Gatun Lake is restricted to passengers who have booked the following tours only: PC1-100, PC1-110, PC1-115, PC1-120, PC1-170, PC1-175, PC1-235, PC1-350, PC1-385, PC1-605, PC1-610, PC1-615. Passengers on these tours are taken ashore by tenders. Later in the day, the ship then retraces her route through the Gatun locks to dock at Pier 6 in Colon in the Caribbean. The tours return to this point. All remaining passengers are able to disembark in Colon, where they may explore the dockside shops. There are no tours offered in Colon.

Note: The Panama Canal Authority assigns specific time slots for the transit of a vessel through the locks. The ship will anchor in a designated area and will wait for instructions. Once clearance is transmitted to the ship, procedures begin to bring ship’s tour passengers ashore. Therefore, tour departure times may vary and will be announced onboard.

Our Tour:

trainPanama Canal Railway & Miraflores Locks (Dome Car)

Imagine traveling around the Panama Canal in a deluxe 1938 vintage executive railway car. During this six-hour tour you’ll not only take in the sights of the canal but transfer to the Miraflores Locks for an up close look at this engineering marvel.

After boarding your air-conditioned transportation you’ll make the short drive to the train station at Colon. Here, you’ll board your unique train. Reminiscent of the golden age of railway travel, the passenger cars feature luxurious wood paneling, tables, carpeted floors, soft lamp lighting, wooden blinds, air conditioning, bathrooms, large windows to appreciate the picturesque journey and open-air viewing decks that allow passengers to step outside and “smell” the tropical rainforest.

Then, you’ll leave the Colon station on an approximately one-hour train trip to the Pacific terminus of the Panama Canal, passing Gatun Lake and the isthmus’ dense rainforest. During your railroad journey, you guide will provide commentary on the railroad, Panamanian history, and the canal.

The rainforests of the Panama Canal are some of the most accessible green zones in the world. With over 50,000 acres of pristine rainforest, this natural gem hosts an incredible 105 species of mammals, 525 species of birds and 124 species of reptiles and amphibians. Enjoy a light snack and beverage during this part of you tour.

The Panama Canal requires a vast rainforest watershed to feed water to its lock system, which uses millions of gallons each day. Since the rainforests are so important to the national economy, the Canal Zone has had to actively preserve its natural resources, providing pristine green areas and excellent photo opportunities.

When your train arrives at Panama City’s train station, you’ll transfer to a coach that will take you to the Miraflores Locks Observation Center to view a documentary on the history of the locks. You will also have the opportunity for a close up view of the passing ships and functioning of the locks from the top floor of the center. The lock gates at Miraflores are the tallest of the three due to the extreme tidal variation that takes place in the Pacific Ocean. Depending on the size of each vessel, you can see one to three vessels simultaneously make the transit. From the moment the vessels enter the locks, it takes approximately ten minutes for the process to be completed. The water enters and leaves the locks by means of gravity only, there are no pumps or other man-made devices that assist in this process.

At the end of this fascinating adventure, you’ll return to the pier.

Day 7

Colon, Panama
Monday, March 10

5:00 PM-8:00 PM

Day 8

Limon, Costa Rica
Tuesday, March 11

7:00 AM6:00 PM

Costa Rica’s Limon Province boasts pristine beaches, sprawling banana plantations and dense rainforest.

These Caribbean lowlands are still sparsely populated–nearly a third of the province’s population lives around Puerto Limon–and conservation efforts have led to growing eco-tourism. Limon Province offers other charms as well. Afro-Caribbean influences abound, from the lilting speech and reggae rhythms brought by Jamaican settlers to the colorful bungalows lining small fishing villages. Limon is a zesty little slice of heaven.

Our Tour:

tramRainforest Aerial Tram, Nature Walk & Lunch

Board your air-conditioned transportation at the pier and travel to an acclaimed ecotourism and research facility near Braulio Carrillo National Park. Here, glide through the canopy in an aerial tram, offering intimate views of the forest from the treetops. The rainforest canopy is teeming with wildlife and is home to two-thirds of Costa Rica’s rainforest species. Towering trees, giant ferns, bursts of color and myriad wildlife make up a large part of this incredible hanging garden. A naturalist guide will accompany you on your ride, explaining the delicate balance of the rainforest and pointing out the amazing wildlife amongst us in this intricate ecosystem. After your tram ride, you’ll be served a tasty, traditional Costa Rican lunch buffet at the charming Rain Forest Restaurant, surrounded by the sights and sounds of the forest. The orchestra of creatures in the forest serves as wonderful background music while you dine. Following lunch, walk it off with a guided stroll through the rainforest for a deeper appreciation of this complex environment from a totally different perspective. You’ll have time to visit the gift shop for eco-friendly handicrafts made exclusively in Costa Rica before we head back to the ship.

Day 9

At Sea
Wednesday, March 12

Day 10

Ocho Rios, Jamaica
Thursday, March 13

9:00 AM4:00 PM

Ocho Rios (Spanish for “Eight Rivers”) is located on the northern coast of Jamaica–67 miles east of Montego Bay. Blue-green mountains, white-sand beaches, lilting breezes wafting across flower-adorned hillsides – Jamaica is a sensual feast. Stunning natural beauty and a unique society molded by British, African, Spanish and Asian influences make Jamaica an unforgettable port of call in the Caribbean. Ocho Rios is a superb slice of Jamaica. The area is named for its spectacular rivers and waterfalls, including famed Dunn’s River Falls.

Day 11

At Sea
Friday, March 14

Day 12

Ft. Lauderdale, Florida
Saturday, March 15

7:00 AM

According to the popular 1960 beach movie, Fort Lauderdale is “where the boys are.” The city’s reputation as America’s Spring Break capital, however, has been replaced with the more favorable image of a prime family tourist destination, attracting more than 10 million visitors annually. The most popular beach resort in Florida is even more rightly famed as the “Yachting Capital of the World,” with more than 40,000 registered crafts calling its waters home. The city also prides itself on being the “Venice of America” with more than 300 miles of navigable waterways. Fort Lauderdale boasts world-class theaters, museums, sightseeing, and shopping.

The city sits 24 miles north of Miami and is named after a series of forts built by the United States during the second Seminole War. The forts took their name from Major William Lauderdale, who was the commander of the detachment of soldiers who built the first fort. Look hard and you might find remnants of three of them today. More people seem to be interested in taking a water tour aboard the “Carrie B.”

Note: Luggage is stowed on the transportation during disembarkation tours. Disembarkation tours end at the airports; therefore passengers who have post-cruise packages at local hotels must disembark at Fort Lauderdale International Airport. Passengers will then be responsible for their transportation to the hotel.

Our Tour:

intercoastalIntracoastal Waterway by Boat & Las Olas Blvd with Fort Lauderdale Airport Transfer (Disembarkation)

Departing passengers shouldn’t miss this last chance to tour Fort Lauderdale’s finest boulevards, beaches and waterways, on an excursion that promises to delight. Your tour starts when you board your air-conditioned bus for a guided tour along Fort Lauderdale’s famed golden beaches, en route to trendy Las Olas Boulevard, which features a multitude of delightful art galleries, eclectic boutiques and busy sidewalk cafés. Here, you will have 20-30 minutes to browse the many interesting shops, enjoy a refreshing beverage or simply wander around this bustling, sunny neighborhood, before heading aboard the charming “Carrie B” paddle-wheel boat for a relaxing cruise along Fort Lauderdale.

Your captain and crew are friendly and approachable, and will be on hand to point out the many elaborate mansions and celebrity homes along Millionaires Row. You’ll also get close to the massive yachts docked outside the Bahia Mar Marina, Hyatt Pier 66 and the Hilton Fort Lauderdale Grande hotels. This super-fun vessel features both open and enclosed decks for your comfort, as well as a comprehensive snack bar. Returning to the boat’s docking location, you will then board your bus and head to the airport.

Webcam from the deck: http://www.kroooz-cams.com/coral/coral1.php

Day Four, Montego Bay, Jamaica – November 20

Jamaica

We were up fairly early this morning and watched the ship make good use of its azipods to dock next to the Star Taurus, a crude oil tanker.

2013-11-20 06.04.05

After that was successful, we went to the Garden Cafe for breakfast.

About 10:30, we went down to 4 and down the gangplank to check out a bit of Jamaica.  We were at the regular cargo pier (#2), so we took a shuttle over to the cruise terminal.

This terminal was several tacky shops but Tom got some postcards and I got a little bag for carrying my Kindle on deck.  He looked at watches in The Royal Store but didn’t buy anything.  They gave us a free Jamaica keychain for looking.  Whoopee!

We took the shuttle back and made good use of most of the other folks being on tours and such.  We had a hot tub to ourselves for over half an hour.

In a bit, a couple folks joined us.  One was a veterinarian and Tom told her about my Cushing’s experiences.  After about 45 minutes I got out to read for a while.  Then in the pool – salt water!  Who knew?

Tom thought I should go over and talk to the veterinarian but I said I was on vacation, not here to “talk shop” unless I found that Cushie-looking woman again.

We stopped by the Great Outdoors and had some coffee.  A yellow butterfly flew by but didn’t stop at our table.  It wasn’t as big as Alice’s butterfly, but I wondered all the same… How does a tiny thing like that fly up to the 12th deck of a ship?

I’ve been thinking a lot about Alice on this trip.  She would have loved this cruise, especially the Sea Days.  Looking all around at the vastness of the ocean, the beautiful clouds, sunsets, the moon.  I know her soul is out there, somewhere, in one of these beautiful things that God has created.

2013-11-20 10.56.06

Great Outdoors

2013-11-20 10.57.02

Great Outdoors

Back in our cabin, it was fun watching people hustle back to make the 3:30 all-aboard.  I got some shots of the ship just sliding out from the dock, parallel to it, instead of backing into the Star Taurus.  The folks on board that ship looked happy that we didn’t hit them, too.

2013-11-20 06.04.212013-11-20 07.18.14 2013-11-20 07.18.19 2013-11-20 07.18.34 2013-11-20 07.19.22 2013-11-20 07.20.13 2013-11-20 07.24.17 2013-11-20 07.33.37 2013-11-20 07.34.24 2013-11-20 09.04.21 2013-11-20 10.52.13 2013-11-20 16.22.12 2013-11-20 16.22.27 2013-11-20 16.22.56 2013-11-20 16.23.12 2013-11-20 16.24.34 2013-11-20 16.25.02 2013-11-20 16.28.12 2013-11-20 16.30.42 2013-11-20 16.33.25 2013-11-20 16.35.17 2013-11-20 16.35.39 2013-11-20 16.36.24 2013-11-20 16.36.46 2013-11-20 16.37.01

We bid a fond adieu to Montego Bay and head off into the sunset.

We tried the Garden Cafe for dinner tonight, too.  Pretty good – both plates worth!

The usual after-dinner deck stroll, then back to the cabin.  I was asleep by 9:00PM…and up at midnight doing my website chores and blog-writing.

We didn’t go to the show again.

Tonight’s towel animal was a lobster.

2013-11-20 20.03.55 2013-11-20 20.04.02

Today’s Stats:

Wednesday, November 20th, 2013

Today’s Forecast:  Mostly Sunny 85F/30C

Sunrise: 6:22 am

Sunset: 5:34 pm

Arrival: 8:00 am

All Aboard: 3:30 pm

Coming up…

Another cruise!

This year started off with another “Crusin’ with Susan” cruise which was fantastic.  I had it all set up to post daily entries (which I still haven’t gotten to do – and still may post since I have the notes.

We got back from that cruise and the next Sunday my DH had a heart attack followed by triple bypass surgery and months of rehab. I cleared out a room so he could have an office to work at home and start a new business. I moved almost all that stuff into the “sewing room”.

Then, over the summer my mom decided she would move in with us which required a LOT of moving stuff, getting rid of stuff, painting, clearing out a place for her things. She took over the “sewing room” so all that stuff had to come out…

At the end of the summer, my long-time best friend in the world died suddenly and I acquired her website – Power Surge which required a LOT of work.

I am so ready for a break and to go on this cruise.  It’s identical to the cruise I took with Susan in January except that we’re on another cruise line, Norwegian this time.  We are on the same ship (the Jewel) that DH, DS and I took in 2009 so it’s déjà vu in a couple ways!

cruise2013

Calgon Norwegian – take me away!

Beach Buddies

MaryO

Sorry ‘Bout That!

Before I went on my cruise, I set up several daily blog posts so I could fill them out as I went – or do them when I got home in case I didn’t have much Internet service.

I set them all to auto-post yesterday figuring that would be enough time to finish them all up.

Well, a major Life Emergency hit and I didn’t give these posts another thought…but they all auto-posted yesterday.

So, sorry for all the posts with just the image of where we were and the weather. I’ll try to get the real info and photos our there as soon as possible!

Thanks!

New Orleans, LA, January 11, 2013

New Orleans

Find more about Weather in New Orleans, LA
Click for weather forecast

We had the breakfast buffet at hotel and went to the little shops.  Then, for only $3.00 we got an all-day streetcar pass.  We took the streetcar to the French Market and back.

The streetcar driver was very helpful and knowledgeable.  We first got on at the Poydras Street Stop and he said that he had only one more stop – Julia Street – to go before he had to go to his terminal to turn around.  But he would ask us to leave in the “most polite and respectful manner”.

Along the way, he pointed out the Harrah’s casino, the Audubon Aquarium of the Americas, iMAX theater (“The Largest IMAX screen in the Gulf South”), the Mississippi river, paddlewheel boats (including ours) and more all the way to the French Market.

The French Market is a  series of commercial buildings, stalls and tents in the French Quarter.  These days, it’s mostly food and flee market and most of the stalls sell similar goods.  The food includes stuff like alligator kabobs and other novelties.

It stretches just inland from the Mississippi River downriver from Jackson Square, with the famous Café du Monde at the upriver end, down to the flea market stalls across from the New Orleans Mint building.

The New Orleans Mint operated as a branch mint of the United States Mint from 1838 to 1861 and from 1879 to 1909.   It was closed during most of the American Civil War and Reconstruction.

After its decommissioning as a mint, the building served a variety of purposes, including as an assay office, a United States Coast Guard storage facility and a fallout shelter. Since 1981 it has served as a branch of the Louisiana State Museum. It was damaged by Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and reopened in October 2007.

The New Orleans Mint has been designated a National Historic Landmark, and is currently the oldest surviving structure to have served as a U.S. Mint.

The New Orleans Jazz National Historical Park office and visitor’s center is in the French Market.

The French Market market is included on the Louisiana African American Heritage Trail.

We got on the streetcar and rode back to the Poydras stop.

Waiting for the paddlewheel trip  met 2 couples who were also going on our cruise.  One was from Devon, UK – they’d flown to Chicago then Amtrak to Memphis/Graceland. Another UK couple behind them was doing the exact opposite. The couple in front of us was Canadian and they’d just come off a cruise and after ours were going on one in Dubai.

We boarded the boat and headed downriver.  The guide pointed out several of the same sights we had seen from the streetcar.

The Creole Queen

The Creole Queen

IMG_1420

IMG_1421

IMG_1423

IMG_1424

IMG_1425

IMG_1426

IMG_1427

IMG_1428

IMG_1429

IMG_1414

Paddlewheel trip

The paddle

The paddlewheel

IMG_1431

IMG_1430

I just liked this message :)

I just liked this message :)

IMG_1417

IMG_1418

A pier that was damaged in Hurricane Katrina

A pier that was damaged in Hurricane Katrina

 

We didn’t get off at Chalmette battlefield. This was the location of what is often called The Battle of New Orleans, where United States forces under Major General Andrew Jackson defeated the British, led by  Lieutenant General Sir Edward Pakenham in January 1815. The battlefield is preserved as a national monument, and the military Chalmette National Cemetery is adjacent.

For those who are too young to remember:

Or the more popular:

In 1814, we took a little trip
Along with Colonel Jackson down the mighty Mississip’.
We took a little bacon and we took a little beans
And we caught the bloody British in a town in New Orleans.

We fired our guns and the British kept a-coming
There wasn’t nigh as many as there was a while ago.
We fired once more, and they began to running,
On down the Mississippi to the Gulf of Mexico.

We looked down the river and we see’d the British come
and there musta’ been a hundred of ‘em beating on the drum.
They stepped so high and they made their bugles ring
We stood beside our cotton bales and didn’t say a thing.

We fired our guns, and the British kept a-coming
There wasn’t nigh as many as there was a while ago.
We fired once more and they began to running,
On down the Mississippi to the Gulf of Mexico.

Ole Hickory said we could take ‘em by surprise
If we didn’t fire our muskets ’till we look ‘em in the eyes.
We held our fire ’til we seen their faces well
Then we opened up our squirrel guns and really gave ‘em… Well..

We fired our guns, and the British kept a-coming
There wasn’t nigh as many as there was a while ago.
We fired once more and they began to running,
On down the Mississippi to the Gulf of Mexico.

Well they ran through the briars, and they ran through the brambles
And they ran through the bushes where a rabbit couldn’t go.
They ran so fast that the hounds couldn’t catch ‘em
On down the Mississippi to the Gulf of Mexico.

We fired our cannon ’til the barrel melted down
So we grabbed an alligator and we fought another round.
We filled his head with cannon balls and powdered his behind,
And when we touched the powder off, the gator lost his mind.

We fired our guns and the British kept a-coming
There wasn’t nigh as many as there was a while ago.
We fired once more and they began to running,
On down the Mississippi to the Gulf of Mexico.

Well they ran through the briars and they ran through the brambles
And they ran through the bushes where a rabbit couldn’t go.
They ran so fast that the hounds couldn’t catch ‘em
On down the Mississippi to the Gulf of Mexico.

~~

We went by the Domino sugar plant which was in operation.  Susan was fascinated by the process.

We disembarked and headed for the hotel. After we crossed railroad crossing signs, the bars came down and Kansas City Southern went rolling by very close…too close for comfort!  No time to get back under them but time to whip out my phone:

Kansas City Southern.  Too close for comfort!

Kansas City Southern. Too close for comfort!

2013-01-11 16.44.55 2013-01-11 16.45.00

Back to Gordon Biersch for dinner. Pineapple mojito was less pineapple-y. I got sweet and spicy cashew chicken. Wonderful. Susan had half a turkey sandwich. Last night’s BBQ pulled pork had been too spicy, even though the waitress said “no spice”.

Susan found an interesting movie on TV, Perfect Pitch, so we watched that then off to sleep.