After watching the parade, we ate breakfast at a little place that Eric had spotted while watching the parade. We wanted something authentic to New Orleans. The restaurant was called, “The Creole Skillet” They were serving Sunday Brunch. We once again were greeted by a cheerful New Orleans waitress. We ordered a Gumbo Soup and an omelet with crawdads, shrimp, alligator sausage, mushrooms, and a special sauce. The Gumbo soup was spicy, but tasty. The omelet, however, was not on my list of foods to every order again. Maybe because I am pregnant. Or maybe because I don’t have the acquired taste of Creole dishes, but I gave it to Eric and ordered white chocolate bread pudding. (For breakfast!) And that was yummy!
Brightly colored doors on our way to breakfast.
We headed back to the hotel, packed up our luggage, checked out, and headed to Riverwalk, the entrance to the cruise ship terminal. I had carefully picked a hotel that was within walking distance to the Cruise ship. And it turned out to be only about a 10 minuet walk. Boarding the ship was uneventful. We had to go thru the same security that you do at an airport. We were herded like cattle to different checkpoints, taking off half of our clothes to make sure we were all safe, law abiding passengers. I did laugh out loud to myself at one point. All these strangers, unbuckling belts, taking off layers of clothing, shoes, and any thing else demanded of you. Each of us in our own little world, trying to just get to the other side. And with an urgency that adds to the stress. No one wants to be the one to stop the line of hundreds of people waiting for their turn to endure the security check points. Thankfully Eric and I knew better than to carry any weapons, illegal drugs, or any of the other harmful/dangerous items that they are looking for.
Walking to our Ship’s terminal.
The hundreds of bags of luggage that were being put on the ship.
Once on the other side, we were “checked in” to our ship. We were issued a passenger identification key card. This looked just like a credit card. They took our picture, which would now show up anytime the card was swiped thru a computer on board. This was also our room key. And it worked just like a credit card as well, since they made you provide a credit card to link to this card. So on board, anything purchased, you just handed your card over, it was swiped, you signed, and then at the end of the cruise, you settled your account. Once carded, we were then allowed onto the ship.
The friendly gentleman who greeted us on the ship.
We spent the afternoon exploring this monstrous vessel, which I was told was the smallest of the fleet that we sailed. I could not, and I repeat, could not, make head or tails of the ship. Or maybe more accurately I should say, I have issues with direction. This has been a problem my whole life. I can never rely on my sense of direction because if I did I would never get to where I needed to go. And being on this ship for only a few minutes, had me realize I was going to spend a lot of time just walking in circles. Going up one elevator, down another, and still not where I thought I would end up. I quickly made a note to myself not to leave Eric’s side. (Whom should I point out is very quick with getting from point A to point B, even on a big ship.)
When booking our cruise, we chose “Freestyle Cruising” This is a style of cruising where you do not have schedules. You eat when you want to eat, where you want to eat, with who you want to eat with, and dress how you want to dress. Compared to some ships that have a very strict schedule that assigns you tables, makes you dress up in evening wear for your dinner, and tells you where you will be eating each night. So “Freestyle”is just a much more relaxed way of going about you meals and day.
The New Orleans skyline.
We set sail at 5:00 p.m. that evening. It took us 8 hours to sail down the Mississippi River before we entered the Gulf of Mexico. It was already dark, and the lights along the shores were twinkling as we passed by. Somewhere in the middle of the night, I awoke to a sound so loud that I was sure we had hit another ship and we were all going to drown. (I have a few anxiety issues about drowning out at sea.) The ship was rocking back and forth, and then another crash hit the boat. Terrified, I woke Eric. Actually, he probley had claw marks on his arms from my attack on him. I quickly explained to him that we were getting ready to sink and that I wanted off the ship now. Eric’s response, “It’s just the waves Cheryl, go back to sleep.” Let me explain that I had just almost had a heart attack, and that “just going back to sleep” was not an option. I intently listened for the ship’s alarm to sound any minuet, so that I could run to deck 4 with my life jacket and make sure I got a spot on the life boats. I looked out the window. The waves were crashing up against the side of the boat, and with each crash came a sound like we had just smashed into an iceberg. Eric assured me there were no icebergs in the Gulf of Mexico, and that I really should go back to sleep. I considered this suggestion, but my adrenaline was no where near sleep mode. Eric suggested that I should be sedated so we could both get some rest. Good idea. But I didn’t have any drugs that would do the job. Forgot to put that on the packing list. I did manage to eventually fall asleep. Which ended Day 1 aboard this ship.