Back From New Orleans: TLC Travels’ Review

Just love when travel to a new destination comes together and turns out to be at least as good as expected or in the case of New Orleans, better!  From the French Quarter to the Riverfront, in and around the Garden District and the CBD-(Central Business District), and with little similarity to New York City in specific areas-(in my mind, anyway), New Orleans has proven itself to be a place to experience, if not again and again, at least once in your lifetime.

My stay at The Hilton New Orleans Riverside was enjoyable as well.  With it’s multi-faceted structure offering convenient enclosed access to Drago’s Seafood Restaurant, the Outlets at Riverwalk and the Cruise port terminal, Hilton Riverside rates high on my list.  Also, keeping in mind, while visiting New Orleans and depending on your agility, your Hotel stay location can mean everything and the Hilton Riverside gets high check marks for location, location, location!!!  Read more about and see pics of my stay at the Hilton here:-> Hilton New Orleans Riverside: TLC Travels Pics Review

There is so much to do and see in and around New Orleans and for a 1st time visiter, it can be a little much to try to take in at once.  We managed to make our way to and around different areas of the French Quarter everyday but I can’t and won’t detail a long day-by-day, hour-by-hour story here but just to highlight a couple of our daily activities:

Day 1: Our early morning flight from Charlotte NC put our arrival in New Orleans just prior to 10:30am.  Today being Hubby’s Birthday, we were extremely excited about combining this Travel familiarization work for #TLCTravels trip with his 60th Birthday weekend celebration.  As I had completed lots of pre-trip New Orleans research, I knew our 1st stop after check-in would be at Drago’s Seafood Restaurant which has a convenient location within the Hilton Riverside complex.  The food and service were great and yes, those Charbroiled Oysters are a must try!

Drago's Seafood Restaurant at The Hilton New Orleans Riverside.

Drago’s Seafood Restaurant at The Hilton New Orleans Riverside.

Day 2: Up early to try the “Hilton Breakfast” at Le Croissant only to find out that this Buffet is $21 per person.  We knew that we had lots of eating “to do” ahead of us so blowing thru $50 w/tax and tip right out the gate this morning for something that was not on my “to-eat in NOLA” list was a no-no.  “Omelette for him and Coffee and Beignets for me. That’s it! We’re good to go and Thanks!”

Today, Saturday’s agenda included getting up close and personal with and around the French Quarter by foot after breakfast and afternoon activities to include the Super City Tour with Gray Line Bus Tours and the Natchez Steamboat Lunch and Jazz Cruise.  Gray Line handles reservations for both which can be purchased as a combo tour package.  This day was cloudy, cool and drizzling rain periodically throughout the afternoon.  In spite of the threat of inclement weather, we found both activities to be very nice and interesting, something every 1st time visiter to New Orleans should do.  It will set the bar for your future visits.

Lunch and Dinner Jazz Cruises are available daily.

Lunch and Dinner Jazz Cruises are available daily.

Day 3: It’s Sunday and I have pre-arranged, a month ago, to complete a Ship Inspection on the Norwegian Dawn Cruise ship.  Since I am actively promoting Cruising from New Orleans, including and specifically on the Dawn ship, I really felt the need to get a “boots-on-deck”, “ass-in-cabin” feel of the ship since, to-date, I have never set foot on a NCL Cruise ship!  Well that was a complete bust with a huge disappointment! I arrived to the check-in office at the New Orleans Cruise Port Terminal only to be told that my name was not on the approved list for today! :-/  “What? You must be overlooking me on this list because I have been confirmed weeks ago and just re-confirmed a few days ago by my NCL Sales Rep.! :-/ ” Since my name is somewhat unique, the Port Agent actually remembered my name being on the approved list for two days prior when the Dawn sailed on a special 2-nighter Cruise to nowhere! She pulls out the Visitors Manifest from 2-days ago and confirms, “Yup! Here is your name on the 21st.  Sorry! There is nothing we can do about today, the 23rd. You don’t have pre-clearance for today!” Hands me back my Passport with a “you are now dismissed” feeling attached to it. 😦  Needless to say, this day did not end before a follow-up with our NCL Agent Support Rep. happened to report this disappointing debacle. I know crap happens but I’m certainly thinking,….”Damn! I really wanted to see the inside of that Cruise ship!”  Oh, and I didn’t make it to the Annual Po-Boy Festival either as originally planned to do after ship inspection!  Seemed to be a flow of disappointments this day and the rest of Sunday is now a blur!

Riverwalk Outlets Elevator down to access the Cruise Ship Terminal

Riverwalk Outlets Elevator down to access the Cruise Ship Terminal

Day 4: Boy, how time flies when you’re having fun is no joke! It’s now Monday, our last full day in NOLA and we have decided to try the City Sightseeing “Hop-On Hop-Off” Bus.  We didn’t want to waste any time trying to decide on where to eat breakfast before heading out on the HoHo Bus so we headed back to the Gumbo Spot as we had breakfast with them the day before and it was #DELISH!!  Their #ShrimpAndGrits though,….mmm, mmm #GOOD!  Again, I must recommend the HOHO Bus for New Orleans 1st timers.  Having the opportunity (as we did) to ride the entire route first to make note of where we wanted to get off on our 2nd loop around town so that we could explore neighborhoods of our specific interest was great.  Your daily HoHo Bus fare allows you to hop on and off all day, well, until the last bus runs about 4:30-5:30pm.

Hop On Hop Off

TLC Travels’ the City Sightseeing “Hop-on Hop-Off” Bus of New Orleans!

All in all, our 1st trip to New Orleans was a success.  From the Cruise Port Terminal to the Shops at Canal Place and so many points of interest in between, The Hilton New Orleans Riverside is a great Hotel choice and it’s location is one of the best!  I had the opportunity to experience the City of 2nd chances first hand while also gaining more knowledge about this intriguing and unique destination, New Orleans.  There is so much more to New Orleans that I couldn’t possibly fit into this one post and/or couldn’t possibly see it all in 4 short days so quite naturally, I’ve added the Big Easy to our places to visit again list.

To find out more information about visiting New Orleans, including cruises sailing from the Port of New Orleans, visit our photo blog:-> Hilton New Orleans Riverside: TLC Travels Pics Review

NOW is the time to inquire about Holiday 2015 Travel! Find out about Cruising from New Orleans for Thanksgiving 2015 here:-> Norwegian Dawn Thanksgiving 2015 Cruise from NOLA ~ #TLC -aka- #NCTina: Tina Little-Coltrane, Owner/Travel Promoter at TLC Travels’ Tours and Cruises!

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