Let’s face facts, we all love to eat. As Canadians, we are very lucky in the variety and styles of cooking that one can sample without leaving the country. Having said that, I find it far more exciting to actually eat an Italian dish when in Italy. Seems more logical to eat a Caprese salad in Capri than to pick one up at the local Sobeys. I have yet to find buffalo mozzarella, olive oil or roma tomatoes that are even close to what we ate in Italy, the same yet vastly different. Eating catfish in New Orleans, English breakfast in England, pannenkoek in Holland, Belgian chocolate in Belgium, pasta in Sorrento, pizza in Rome. I could go on, as both Lori and I have no issue whatsoever sampling what is local, and jump at the chance to try new foods. Here are some of our prize meals.
Safely back in Calgary it is time to summarize, review, price and recommend. First the beginning, the flight from Calgary to New Orleans.
We flew via Continental Airlines, with a connecting flight in Houston in both directions. We chose Continental for a couple of main reasons. First, they had the flights that fit our need, second, they are connected with Air Canada, which allowed us to earn Aeroplan. Total cost for flights was approximately 650 each, return including luggage fees. The flights were on time (early on the return to Calgary). I had two issues. On the way down they ran out of hot food for purchase, which was a downer on a flight that I had to at the airport for at % in the morning. Second, in-flight entertainment did not have a free option, only pay. Overall, I would easily fly with them again, especially knowing what to expect.
There is an app for Iphone as well.
Lots to see and do in New Orleans. we spent 3 night at Garlands Guest House and Creole Cottages.
1129 Rue St. Philip
New Orleans LA 70116
This is a bed and breakfast about 100 feet off of Rampart Ave, right beside Louis Armstrong Park. We paid about 150 per night and the accommodations and breakfast were very good. I would rate it 4 of 5. I would double-check the rates etc. as the place had been sold, with new owner operators taking over on April 1. We were there on the 27th of March for our last night.
We ate at the following establishments
Great little restaurant. Easy 4 out of 5. Reasonably priced and bring your own booze.
900 Dumaine Street
New Orleans, Louisiana 70116
504 522 7222
tuesday – friday: 11am – 2pm + 5:30pm – 10pm
saturday: 9am – 2pm + 5:30pm – 10pm
sunday brunch: 9am – 2pm
Muriels Jackson Square Restaurant
we highly recommend this place. The service was great, the food reasonably priced and very well prepared. If in New Orleans, you have to go here for at least one meal. At least 4.5 of 5 stars.
Average place, a little pricey for the quality, but a nice place to sit if you can get balcony seating. Pleasant staff.
River’s Edge Restaurant
RUN AWAY. DO NOT EVEN THINK ABOUT EATING HERE.
We popped in and out of several other places, but these stand out. Bourbon Street is full of bars and music, we enjoyed the House of Blues, with Rafael Saadiq and the Funky Pirate with Mark Penton and the Pentones. I look forward to maybe getting back here again some day.
We cruised on the NCL Spirit (Norwegian Cruise Lines). This particular cruise line does free style cruising, meaning that there were no set dinner times and tables and dress was casual. The service was what you would expect, top-notch. If we had any issues, it was with the entertainment. Very low quality and we did not enjoy it. We tended to ignore it. Other than that, there were lots of activities on board to keep us occupied. I can easily recommend this cruise company. Overall cost was about 1200 per person after excursions and extras, and we didn’t feel ripped off at all.
Costa Maya, Mexico
Boat Blast and Snorkel. This was entertaining, driving a 2 seater out into the ocean to a portable dock and then snorkelling the Belize Reef. This was a good excursion as it was not to strenuous and involved a 40 minute bus ride, which gave us a view of the area. I would recommend this as suitable for most as you do have to snorkel and there is a beautiful beach to spend some time relaxing on.
A 37-mile drive along the Western Highway brings you to the Caves Branch River and its winding path, through the Maya Mountains and numerous ancient caves once inhabited by the Maya. Upon arrival at Caves Branch National Park, you head out for the caves with your equipment. This excursion was the most interesting part of our trip. The drive was good as again we had the opportunity to see the countryside and a bit of Belize City as well. Suitable for all, you can get wet, so protect your camera.
Roatan Island, Honduras
Tabyana Beach & Gumbalimba Park was the excursion we picked. A great day, suitable for all, The park was fun, with parrots and monkeys o interact with and many picture opportunities. the Pirate cave was a bit lame. Tabyana Beach beach is spectacular. The nicest spot on the whole cruise was Roatan, and we will be back for sure.
Cozumel by Jeep and Snorkel was the tour we chose. Awesome tour guides. I would say that this was the fullest day we had. We drove to Punta Sur Eco Park, Cozumel’s unique Ecological Reserve. We saw salt water crocodiles close up, a lighthouse, Mayan ruins and a spectacular Corona commercial beach with awesome snorkelling. The snorkelling was strenuous but the rest of the tour was suitable for all, and if you didn’t snorkel, the beach was there.
The link for all NCL excursions is here’
And that was our trip. We enjoyed the company, and we enjoyed the cruise. I was skeptical, but would do one again.
Good morning Mexico. Another new country, although I said I would skip Mexico until it was safer than Iraq, or Afghanistan or at least downtown Winnipeg (joke people..just a joke). Didn’t have much choice though, our giant really expensive taxicab stopped here. We got off the ship and headed for our buses to the excursion. Lori had chosen the “Boat Blast”. A 45 minute bus ride to a beach where we drove speedboats out to a reef and snorkelled. Sounds great on paper, but in reality, not so much. I have driven a boat maybe 5 times, and have never snorkelled, and we were going to do this for basically the first time 2 miles out in the ocean. What could possibly go wrong. We’ll see as we progress. But first, the bus ride.
We got off the ship onto a stunningly beautiful cement pier, jutting out into the bay, put there by the Mexican government to entice cruise ships. Guess they bribed them as well cause it had all the charm of, well, I can’t think of anything, but it wasn’t nice.
From here we walked to the meeting point and got on our bus. I would have taken some pictures on the bus ride, but it would have looked like home to my Martensville friends. Flat, scrub and lots of rocks. Kind of surprised me as I thought the Yucatan was jungle.