There is no better city to start your cruise from than New Orleans.You may be headed to sandy beaches in foreign lands or neighboring cities along the Mississippi River, but you can get a head start on your vacation with jazz, Creole cuisine, historic architecture and much more in this port city. Here are a few suggestions on how to spend your pre-cruise vacation…
There are several hotels in walking distance to the cruise terminals, including the Omni Riverfront, Downtown Marriott at the Convention Center, Old No. 77, Embassy Suites, and Renaissance Arts Warehouse District Hotel to name a few. All of these are located in the booming Warehouse/Arts District.
Located in the Warehouse District as well, this museum is a must-see while in New Orleans. Voted the second best museum in the world, it includes extraordinary artifacts, powerful images, cinematic experiences and much more.
A trip to New Orleans would not be complete without delicious food. Try Emeril’s contemporary (and less expensive) spot, Meril, for shared plates and local flavors. If looking for Cajun delicacies (think alligator sausage and gumbo), Cochon is the spot for you. Both are located in the Warehouse District as well.
Tour an authentic Creole home, just 40 miles from the Warehouse District. Walk the grounds and see the expansive estates and slave cabins that embodied this area over 150 years ago. If you don’t have a car with you, no problem! There are various companies that will get you there. Tours by Isabelle and Gray Line Tours are just two of the transportation services the plantation recommends. *Please note, ride sharing services can not pick you up from this area.
Just a five minute ride from the Warehouse District, the French Quarter is full of great options for dinner, as well as beautiful architecture to admire. Two recommendations include Irene’s and The Gumbo Shop. Reservations are recommended for both.
Every night of the week, this legendary music hall hosts the best in traditional jazz. It is open to all ages, so it is a great place for a family outing.
Legacy Kitchen is a great spot for a breakfast in the Warehouse District any day of the week. The menu has a variety of southern favorites from chicken and waffles to beignets. For a quick bite and healthy options, check out Two Chicks Cafe. On the weekend, Compere Lapin is a great option and has won many James Beard awards.
Get a taste of Mardi Gras year-round at the largest float-designing building in the world. Climb on the floats, see some costumes and get a behind-the-scenes look on how the famous New Orleans holiday is produced. It is located just steps from the cruise terminal.
If needing some last minute items for your vacation ahead or just want to pick up some New Orleans souvenirs, there are plenty of places to shop close by. The Riverwalk has a collection of outlet stores while Canal Place has a variety of higher end shops. If interested in those famous New Orleans antiques, or just wanting to window shop, Royal Street is the spot.
Heads up - If planning on driving to New Orleans, park at the nearby Port of New Orleans for $20 a day while you are on your cruise.