For our last morning on the ship, we decided to meet up at the dining room for breakfast. It was a little different than dinner and lunch, the way the service worked, but the food was delicious. I decided to risk it all and order eggs Benedict, which I'm usually pretty skeptical about, but it was worth it. Sadly, we had to say goodbye to Nicole, Brandon, and Kenzie after breakfast because they had to get off the boat early so Brandon could get back to work in plenty of time.
We had to be out of our room by a certain time, so we went back down to gather all our belongings. We decided to meet in the library to hang out until we could get off the boat, but they were actually setting up a wedding for the next cruise! I didn't realize people actually got married on cruise ships! Cool. So we moved up to the buffet and found a table right at the back of the boat with a nice view of downtown New Orleans.
Since the cruise line thought we were flying out that day, we were able to get off earlier than everyone else, but we waited with them until the highest number called. When we got off the boat, we had to go to this warehouse to pick up our bags then wait in a line to go through customs. It was a lot of waiting, but we finally got out! Aunt Joy and Uncle Robert took our bags to our hotel so we could just head downtown on foot.
We walked down the Riverwalk and then out to the French Quarter. Rachel really wanted fried oysters, so we had lunch at a restaurant called Felix's near Bourbon Street. I didn't know I liked fried oysters until I tried one, so I had jambalaya. It was good anyway.
After lunch, we walked down Bourbon Street for a while. It was pretty crazy down there with all the bars crowded and people everywhere. It was the Monday before Mardi Gras, and the festivities were already getting started. We walked around in the nearby area for a while too. That's when we saw a bunch of religious people yelling at the drunks on speaker phones. What they had to say and their signs were pretty humorous, I must admit.
We were able to get a table at Cafe du Monde for some beignets and coffee. Well, I had hot chocolate. It was so busy that the service was a little slow, and we had to grab a table that hadn't yet been bussed. But it was so worth it. It was incredibly good and worth all the hype!
We were going to watch the parade that night, but we were all getting exhausted from walking around. Plus we were all pretty much in shorts and t-shirts. I was the only one with a light jacket and it was a lot colder than we anticipated. The parade wasn't going to start until after the sun went down, so we decided to head back to the hotel. But not before people watching! There were definitely some interesting people and interesting outfits.
A cab driver at the port had given my mom his card, so she called him to pick us up. That was a whole ordeal. We ended up waiting almost an hour for him because of the traffic from the parade. Once he picked us up, we got on the highway to get back to the hotel and we saw the parking lot that was the highway going the opposite direction. Apparently there was another parade after that and the traffic was just a nightmare!
When we got back to the hotel--which was very nice, I might add--Rachel and I decided to hang out in the hot tub for a while. It was outside and quite, which was nice. Afterward, we went to the business center to get online for the first time in a week. Unfortunately, we had to wait for over 15 minutes while two boys were on the only two computers looking at random girls on Facebook and chatting with someone. Super annoying! When we got back to the room, we all settled in and watched The Voice. None of us had ever seen it before, but I liked it a lot.
The next morning, we had to get up at 5:00 something in order to catch the shuttle to the airport. When we got there, the security line was out of control. At DIA, they have a really big roped off area to accommodate long lines, but this line was so small, so the real line extended all the way across the main lobby. We got in a second line that turned out to be a lot shorter, but we were ahead of a family of four who we later discovered were running late for their flight. When we were about 10 minutes from just having our boarding passes looked at, we heard them say they had to board their flight in exactly 10 minutes. Sucks to be them! We didn't even get out of security for another 15 minutes after that. I wonder if they made their flight.
When we got to the gate, we all grabbed some breakfast in the terminal and waited to board. The flight was full, so my mom and I checked our bags. Getting on the plane, we discovered none of us were sitting together for either return flight. I ended up sitting in the first row of non-first class seats, so I got off the plane really fast. I tried to read The Help while in flight, but I literally fell asleep with the book open!
Our layover wasn't too bad in Houston. My mom and I grabbed some food to eat on the plane before boarding and Rachel was able to check her bag on that full flight too. While on the flight back to DIA, I ended up finishing The Help and starting The Hunger Games! Before I knew it, we were back in Denver, which was actually quite a bit warmer than we all expected.
Overall, it was a good vacation, but I don't know if cruises are my favorite. That last afternoon on the boat really got to me. We got off the boat Monday morning, but it wasn't until Wednesday evening that I no longer felt like I was on a rocking boat. Also, I'd rather go to some exotic location and be able to spend more time there than traveling. I think next time I go to Mexico, it will be to an all inclusive resort.