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fatbird

Mardi Gras cruise timing

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I'm looking for a cruise in 2021 and saw one on Equinox leaving 2-7-21. It stays 3 days in New Orleans right before the start of Mardi Gras. I can't decided if this would be a bad time to go because of all the crowds. Has anyone been there at this time of year? I like the ship and the city but don't want to be disappointed because of the timing. Thoughts on this would be appreciated.

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1 hour ago, fatbird said:

I'm looking for a cruise in 2021 and saw one on Equinox leaving 2-7-21. It stays 3 days in New Orleans right before the start of Mardi Gras. I can't decided if this would be a bad time to go because of all the crowds. Has anyone been there at this time of year? I like the ship and the city but don't want to be disappointed because of the timing. Thoughts on this would be appreciated.

The ship will be in port for Fat Tuesday. It will be extremely busy as it will be at the height of the Mardi Gras celebrations. 
 

We were on the 2019 cruise and if you are interested the Mardi Gras then a visit is a must. Being on the ship, you don’t need to worry about expensive accommodation.

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We were on the 2017 Mardi Gras cruise. It was a blast. Sure it was crowded but it's the crowds that make it fun. You are within walking distance of the parade routes and the trolly line makes it easy to get to Bourbon street.  If you've never been to Mardi Gras this is the way to do it.

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Was it so crowded that you had trouble getting service at the bars and restaurants? Did you have enough time to see everything you wanted?

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I went to college in New Orleans so I was lucky to live there for four years.My perspective - if you want to experience Mardi Gras then go to New Orleans for Mardi Gras. If you want to experience New Orleans do not go during Mardi Gras. 

 

Mardi Gras is a season...Carnival season (think of the Christmas season) that ends with Fat Tuesday (Mardi Gras). The days before Fat Tuesday are what most people think of as Mardi Gras and it is when the city is the most crowded and busy. It is a blast because it is a massive party and everything is festive but it is busy & crowded!

 

I absolutely LOVE New Orleans and go whenever I get the chance but would avoid going during Mardi Gras.

That being said I think being on a cruise that is in port for a few days during Mardi Gras would be one of the best ways to do it!

 

The specific cruise mentioned (Equinox 2/7/21) is in port for the big Mardi Gras weekend. The ship leaves NOLA on Fat Tuesday (2/16). There will certainly be a lot of fun to be had and you will be in a great location but it will be crowded.

 

Hope this helps!

 

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On 1/21/2020 at 9:31 PM, fatbird said:

Was it so crowded that you had trouble getting service at the bars and restaurants? Did you have enough time to see everything you wanted?

 

There are parade apps you can download to follow/locate the parades.

 

We arrived on Sunday night, walked off the ship, went a couple blocks up and ran into the Baccus? parade. Lots of people (mostly friendly locals) watching but we got close enough. Walked down the street during the parade and went into a mostly empty bar for drinks then back out to watch the parade.

 

The next day (Monday) we got off the ship and walked to the WWII museum. It's closed on Fat Tuesday. We walked back to the ship for lunch. After lunch we took the trolley (right outside the ship) up to near Jackson square/French Quarter and walked over to Bourbon St. We walked up Bourbon and collected beads and found another parade to watch on the apps.  We took the trolley back to the ship in the afternoon to rest and had dinner on board.   We went out that night for another parade and then got back to the ship rather late. Parades sometimes take 3-4 hours.

 

We lounged around Tues morning took the trolley back up to Jackson Sq in the afternoon and walked over to the French Quarter and to the cemetary. It was closed but there was a parade. We watched the parade and then walked over to Bourbon St in the late afternoon.  It was considerably more busy on Fat Tuesday than the day before. There were police on every corner.  Basically we went bar hoping. Never had a problem finding a drink or food.  By evening Bourbon St was packed but we had collected tons of beads and we staggered back to the trolley stop and headed back to the ship.  It was a lot of fun.

 

You can buy (expensive) tickets to sit in the grandstands to watch the parades but you can find and watch them from ground level for nothing. We never had a problem finding a place to watch. There are multiple parades every day and night.  I think we saw 4 or 5 parades.

 

We did not go to any fancy restaurants or jazz clubs. We just went to the Museum, the French Quarter, Bourbon Street and watched the parades. We missed going to the cemeteries, they were closed on Fat Tuesday. If you want to see them, go on Monday.

 

As was mentioned if you want to see New Orleans don't go during Mardi Gras. If you want to get a taste of Mardi Gras up close then this cruise is a great way to do it.

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I have a Cruise booked for Feb 7-14 of 2021 out of NOLA.  Fat Tuesday for that year is on the 16th two days after we disembark.  I was wondering if there will be lots of Mardi Gras activities on the Sunday Monday or would we need to stay on the Tuesday as well to do "Mardi Gras".  Thanks for any insight.

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On 2/26/2020 at 3:51 PM, kdr69 said:

I have a Cruise booked for Feb 7-14 of 2021 out of NOLA.  Fat Tuesday for that year is on the 16th two days after we disembark.  I was wondering if there will be lots of Mardi Gras activities on the Sunday Monday or would we need to stay on the Tuesday as well to do "Mardi Gras".  Thanks for any insight.

 

The party starts on Saturday and runs through Tuesday. Plenty of parades and stuff to do on Sunday and Monday. The French quarter and Bourbon street are very, very busy the whole time. The big party is on Tuesday night however.  I'm not sure you need to do Fat Tuesday other than to say you did it.

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I am a New Orleans native and now have a real adult job so can't take off infinite amounts of time.  😄 My favorite days are Saturday and Sunday. Sunday has 4 scheduled parades which all pass the hotel we stay at on St. Charles Avenue. We drive/fly home on Monday afternoon to get back to work. Tuesday is great but I don't feel like I miss much by leaving on Monday. 

 

Saturday

Krewe of Iris  - Day parade - starts Uptown

Krewe of Tucks - follow Iris

Krewe Endymion (Super Krewe) - Nightime - Starts in Mid City

 

Sunday

Krewe of Okeanos - Day parade - starts Uptown

Krewe of Mid City - follows Okeanos

Krewe of Thoth - follows Mid City

Walking Krewe of Box o Wine - Follow Thoth

Krewe of Bacchus - Evening Parade - Uptown (Uptown)

 

Monday

Krewe of Proteus - Evening - small

Krewe of Orpheus - Follows Proteus - (Super Krewe)

 

All of these parades go down St. Charles Avenue which is just a casual walk from the ship. I will warn you that it is like tail gating for locals. We get out on the street by 6am to secure our spot for the day with ice chests, chairs, canopies, music, etc. 

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