Only 1 week until we head off to New Orleans for our January cruise. It's funny how everything is coming together. Initially, we had planned to leave on Wednesday, January 17 after work and drive as far as we could that evening, finishing the trip on Thursday so we'd have Friday in New Orleans. The more we talked about it, though, the more excited everyone got and now, instead of a 6 p.m. departure, it's going to be a 6 a.m. departure. We're going to drive all the way to Memphis on Wednesday so we can hit some good BBQ and blues on Beale Street that night. A little sightseeing on Thursday morning and then we'll get back on the road and finish the drive to New Orleans.
This past week has been quite the hassle trying to finalize paperwork with the cruise line and booking excursions. The only real excursion that we wanted to get was Amazing Race Cozumel which is run like the TV version where you run around town gathering clues for the next destination, etc. I'm guessing that I'll probably die somewhere fairly early on (being in the worst shape I've ever been in my life), but you get to move around the town and end up in a cantina for lunch and drinks at the end. Sounded like a lot of fun. I was able to book it for us on Monday with no problem, but the website went down right after that so George & Lynn couldn't get in to book it. There's a toll-free phone number but I'm guessing that everyone going on any cruise anywhere was using that number due to the website being down. Anyway, it wasn't possible to get through on the phone. We finally got it all straightened out on Wednesday night, though, with excursion booked, beverages ordered, paperwork and luggage tags printed, and hotel reservations for New Orleans in place.
The hotel thing has been something I've been putting off, but I really lucked into a great deal through Marriott. There's a new Courtyard in the French Quarter (used to be Iberville Suites) on the corner of Iberville and Dauphine Streets. That's one block in from Canal and one block over from Bourbon: perfect location. They have suites (the one I wanted would have been 2 king-size beds but that wasn't available) and we ended up with a King Suite, which has a king-size bed and a sofa bed. At least they're separated into different rooms so we'll have a little room to move around. The first night (Thursday) had a rate of $150+ plus fees and taxes, but the rate went up $100 for the second night. That would have been $200 for Thursday and $300 for Friday. We're sharing the room so splitting $500 for two nights would have still been ok BUT I was able to use some of my Marriott points for the second night so it will only be the $200 charge for 2 nights. What a steal!
Now we'll need to figure out where to eat and what else to do and where to stay in Memphis, but the big things are out of the way now so we can now focus on packing!