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deladane

Detailed Photo Review of Carnival Dream 7 Night Western Caribbean Cruise 3/10/19

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Here’s a few more photos from the visitor center grounds…

 

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They have lots of picnic tables so if you pack a lunch, you can eat comfortably.  I think they also offer some lunches to purchase in the office.

 

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Some of the animals we might find out in the swamp…

 

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Can you see the two baby alligators?  One is right up front on the grass, and the other is sitting on the wood ramp out in the lake…

 

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4 hours ago, deladane said:

 

Oh wow, that's two very different places in the US! haha  Should be interesting when you try to pack for those weather changes, but that will make for an incredible vacation.  Let me know if you have any questions 🙂

Thanks, We are flying from Australia to San Francisco for the cruise and then after NOLA driving for 10 days through Louisiana & Texas and flying home from Dallas. It's like 3 holidays in one!

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21 minutes ago, Cairns Cruisers said:

Thanks, We are flying from Australia to San Francisco for the cruise and then after NOLA driving for 10 days through Louisiana & Texas and flying home from Dallas. It's like 3 holidays in one!

 

Oh wow! That sounds wonderful!  I hope you will have some time to explore San Francisco while you are here!  There is so much to see and do (and eat lol) in the Bay Area!

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5 hours ago, Cairns Cruisers said:

Thanks, We are flying from Australia to San Francisco for the cruise and then after NOLA driving for 10 days through Louisiana & Texas and flying home from Dallas. It's like 3 holidays in one!

 

Nice cruise, great ship, and great holiday!

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6 hours ago, Cairns Cruisers said:

Thanks, We are flying from Australia to San Francisco for the cruise and then after NOLA driving for 10 days through Louisiana & Texas and flying home from Dallas. It's like 3 holidays in one!

If you are driving through Texas, please go to the Fort Worth Stockyards to get a real feel of how Texas was. My son lives in a suburb of Dallas, and we went there with him and had an awesome day there. Make sure you see the cattle drive. It sounds like quite a vacation—a once in a lifetime trip. We are going to try driving to our next cruise, rather than flying, and looking forward to that. Taking our time, and stopping along the way. 

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8 hours ago, Cairns Cruisers said:

Thanks, We are flying from Australia to San Francisco for the cruise and then after NOLA driving for 10 days through Louisiana & Texas and flying home from Dallas. It's like 3 holidays in one!

 

I am a Native Texan who happens to currently live and work in Louisiana (with several Aussies by coincidence) if you need any recommendations on stops in either state feel free to reach out.    

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3 hours ago, grandmarnnurse said:

If you are driving through Texas, please go to the Fort Worth Stockyards to get a real feel of how Texas was. My son lives in a suburb of Dallas, and we went there with him and had an awesome day there. Make sure you see the cattle drive. It sounds like quite a vacation—a once in a lifetime trip. We are going to try driving to our next cruise, rather than flying, and looking forward to that. Taking our time, and stopping along the way. 

 

I visited there in 2013, so I can second that recommendation!  As I was born and raised in New York, experiencing the Fort Worth Stockyards was a true culture shock but it was so much fun to go to the rodeo and see the cattle drive!  And of course, I couldn't pass up this opportunity...

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At 9:30am, the guides came out and gathered everyone up to board the boats.  We were given yellow wristbands to indicate that we were on the VIP boat, so our guide could easily identify us.  Our guide’s name was Danny, and he helped us all safely board the boat and get comfortable before undoing the lines and taking our boat out into the river.

 

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Swamp tour selfie!

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The name of this swamp is the Greater Man Shack Swamp, and it is supposedly haunted (although I didn’t really see any evidence of that!).  Danny explained that alligators don’t come out of bromation (the name for hibernation for cold blooded animals) from the winter until late April or May, so with our tour being in early March, it was still too cold for them.  He said we probably would not see any big alligators, but that some of the smaller alligators were out and we would see lots of those.  We saw many, many alligators on this tour, but they topped out at four feet long, whereas had we taken the tour over the summer, we could have seen alligators four or five times that length!  Oh well, what can we do?  This is when we are here and we will make the most of it! 

 

Captain Danny

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Danny was great at making sure we all had a good experience on this tour.  Whenever we approached wildlife on the shore of the river, he gave a few seconds for one side of the boat to observe, then he turned the boat around so the other side could see it.  The alligators move very slowly, so there was plenty of time for everyone to see them, and we traveled the same path out and back so most of them were still in the same place when we passed on the way back at the end of the tour.  I took several hundred photos during this tour, but I’ll try to narrow it down to just a few to share with you.

 

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One guy in the water and another up on the log

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We followed the bigger boat down the river, but they stayed in the middle of the river whereas we could get closer to the sides where the animals were hiding.

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These raccoons were an unexpected surprise!  There is a group of 3 raccoons that live here and they recognize Danny’s voice and come out of the trees, knowing he feeds them every morning.  They were so fuzzy and chubby!

 

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thanks for doing this pre-cruise stuff.  We have never been to NO so it is good to see what tours are available.  I am not a drinker, so walking around town from bar to bar would not be a thing for me.  Can't wait to see more!  WE do plan to cruise out of NO if we can...

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A turtle on a log

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Don’t forget to take a moment to look up at the beautiful trees!

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It looks like this gator wants to jump up on the turtle on the log.  I loved how pretty the reflection looked in the water…

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This was the site of a mass grave for people who died in a hurricane in 1915

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1 minute ago, ABQrobin said:

thanks for doing this pre-cruise stuff.  We have never been to NO so it is good to see what tours are available.  I am not a drinker, so walking around town from bar to bar would not be a thing for me.  Can't wait to see more!  WE do plan to cruise out of NO if we can...

 

I'm so glad this is helpful for you!  From the moment this swamp tour ends to the moment we board the Dream, we still have 24 hours of time and trust me, we did not waste any of it!  We took 3 tours in 27 hours, plus a few other fun things in between, so that should give you a good idea of some non-alcohol options in NOLA 😉 

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Check out how crowded the bigger boat looked!

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3 gators hanging out on the log

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At one point, this alligator swam up really close to our boat.  He was just a few feet away and I was hoping he would open his mouth or try to jump up or something, but he just stayed in the water with his eyes staring right at us.

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Danny tried to entice the gator to swim closer by sticking out his hand, but this is as close as he got…

 

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On 3/25/2019 at 9:38 AM, deladane said:

 

Obsessing is all part of the fun!  I can't believe that 2020 is next year already... my first thought when reading that was that your Dream cruise is far down the road, but it's really just less than a year away!  Crazy!!  

Obsessing makes the fun last longer! I've never had 2 booked at once, so for the next month it's actually kind of crazy separating out my thoughts for each boat & each trip. My poor husband... But we're really excited for our Dream trip, we're meeting back up with a couple we met on the Breeze last year. We live in Texas & they're in Oklahoma, so although we chat regularly, this is how we've decided to meet up again lol!

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17 hours ago, deladane said:

Just to point out one more thing about both of these boats… These are flat bottom boats with a canopy overhead to provide protection from the sun (or rain).  Some of the other companies I researched had the stadium seating style air boats, but those do not have any cover overhead and I didn’t want to worry about weather issues on the day of our tour, so this was another perk for using Cajun Pride.

 

I highly recommend boats with a top to anyone else reading who may be interested in a Swamp Tour.  Last year we did a tour on an air boat and it POURED down rain on our return.  We were soaked and it was cold. Our tour was about a half hour south of NOLA in a wide open area, with a few trees here and there.  We did not see much, only two gators and some birds.  I think those are more for the "thrill" of going fast and whipping around.  We were heading back at the end of the tour when we hit the rain, but were out in it for about 15 - 20 minutes.  Our guide felt bad since wanted to get us back quicker, but we were in a no wake zone that is strictly enforced and the police boat was there when we were heading back.  I'm  just glad it was the week before Memorial day or we'd have been freezing.  Our first time in NOLA (over 20 years ago), we did a swam tour in a similar area in a boat that just had benches along all four sides, so all had good views.  The guides actually had bags of marshmallows that they'd throw into the water for the alligators.  The babies were hilarious!  They'd grab a marshmallow, take it under water and a few seconds later that marshmallow would pop right back up and the process would be repeated.  I am really enjoying this!!! 

Edited by pghsteelerfan

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We did a similar tour last year with Honey Island Swamp Tour I think they all go to the same spots but the tour was great and we saw some huge gators plus a family of racoons.  

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10 hours ago, grandmarnnurse said:

If you are driving through Texas, please go to the Fort Worth Stockyards to get a real feel of how Texas was. My son lives in a suburb of Dallas, and we went there with him and had an awesome day there. Make sure you see the cattle drive. It sounds like quite a vacation—a once in a lifetime trip. We are going to try driving to our next cruise, rather than flying, and looking forward to that. Taking our time, and stopping along the way. 

Thanks for the tip, we have until 8.00pm to fly home from DFW so that will be our morning visit now.

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9 hours ago, TXBBQDUDE said:

 

I am a Native Texan who happens to currently live and work in Louisiana (with several Aussies by coincidence) if you need any recommendations on stops in either state feel free to reach out.    

This is an amazing coincidence as I said to my wife,I don't want to drive straight through to San Antonio from NOLA. After checking into Lake Charles or Beaumont I said let's stay at Sulphur. I'd picked out the Hampton Inn and dinner next door at LeBleu's Landing. I'd love your opinion on either place or a better suggestion.

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7 hours ago, deladane said:

One guy in the water and another up on the log

47372316812_67b379212d_c.jpg

 

We followed the bigger boat down the river, but they stayed in the middle of the river whereas we could get closer to the sides where the animals were hiding.

47372316412_54948b2977_c.jpg

 

40459470033_735dc509dd_c.jpg

 

These raccoons were an unexpected surprise!  There is a group of 3 raccoons that live here and they recognize Danny’s voice and come out of the trees, knowing he feeds them every morning.  They were so fuzzy and chubby!

 

47372316652_13898a6f68_c.jpg

 

40459470243_1762a4022e_c.jpg

 

47372316452_08e9862234_c.jpg

 

I just love that last shot of the Raccoon!

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6 hours ago, AggieGirl05 said:

Obsessing makes the fun last longer! I've never had 2 booked at once, so for the next month it's actually kind of crazy separating out my thoughts for each boat & each trip. My poor husband... But we're really excited for our Dream trip, we're meeting back up with a couple we met on the Breeze last year. We live in Texas & they're in Oklahoma, so although we chat regularly, this is how we've decided to meet up again lol!

 

I hear ya about struggling to compartmentalize the planning for two trips at the same time!  We booked this cruise and our Paris/London trip in October 2018, when we were still also planning a week in Puerto Vallarta for New Years, so I had plans for 3 very different vacations all jumbled up in my head at the same time.  That was super overwhelming, so I'm almost thankful that all I have left right now is the Paris/London trip for June and I can just focus on that haha  

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5 hours ago, pghsteelerfan said:

I highly recommend boats with a top to anyone else reading who may be interested in a Swamp Tour.  Last year we did a tour on an air boat and it POURED down rain on our return.  We were soaked and it was cold. Our tour was about a half hour south of NOLA in a wide open area, with a few trees here and there.  We did not see much, only two gators and some birds.  I think those are more for the "thrill" of going fast and whipping around.  We were heading back at the end of the tour when we hit the rain, but were out in it for about 15 - 20 minutes.  Our guide felt bad since wanted to get us back quicker, but we were in a no wake zone that is strictly enforced and the police boat was there when we were heading back.  I'm  just glad it was the week before Memorial day or we'd have been freezing.  Our first time in NOLA (over 20 years ago), we did a swam tour in a similar area in a boat that just had benches along all four sides, so all had good views.  The guides actually had bags of marshmallows that they'd throw into the water for the alligators.  The babies were hilarious!  They'd grab a marshmallow, take it under water and a few seconds later that marshmallow would pop right back up and the process would be repeated.  I am really enjoying this!!! 

 

Oh no!  That must have been miserable!!  The weather forecast for the 2 weeks leading up to our time in NOLOA predicted major thunderstorms for that Saturday.  I checked every day, and the percent chance for rain/thunderstorms got higher and higher every day.  I even emailed the Swamp Tour company to find out if they ran their tours in extreme weather!  I was super thankful that the forecasts were all wrong and we had dry weather for our swamp tour, but it was nice knowing that if it did rain, at least we had a canopy for protection.

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4 hours ago, TXBBQDUDE said:

We did a similar tour last year with Honey Island Swamp Tour I think they all go to the same spots but the tour was great and we saw some huge gators plus a family of racoons.  

 

How great that you got to see huge gators!  You must have gone in warmer weather than we did 🙂  

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1 hour ago, Cairns Cruisers said:

I just love that last shot of the Raccoon!

 

Aww thanks!  Wasn't he so cute?!

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11 hours ago, Cairns Cruisers said:

Thanks Mal, Great to run into another cruiser from Cairns.

 

‘Every year for us now, it gets into your blood 😁 Next up is Mardi Gras from NYC next year.

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