Sixthman Julie’s Guide To New Orleans

Eight out of our upcoming twelve cruises will be heading out to sea from the Port of New Orleans, and I couldn’t be more excited to spend time in my beloved old stomping grounds. Not only am I a proud Tulane grad and former resident, I can also credit the historic city with setting the stage for meeting my husband during a post – Hurricane Katrina service project.

Sure, you can - and should - research the best bars and restaurants when you're planning your trip. There are a ton of "Best Of" lists and websites out there, and I encourage you to use those and go with anything that tickles your fancy -- you truly can’t go wrong! But below is straight from a Sixthman source (so you know I know how to have fun!) that visits frequently enough to still consider herself a local. This is not a Top 10 list. This list includes my nostalgic favorites, some new-to-NOLA highlights, and everything in between. I’m here to share MY New Orleans with you - where to go, what to eat, and where you’ll catch me for a couple days either before or after our cruises.

If you’re coming to town a day or two before, or staying a few days after, your cruise – read on for tips, tricks, things to see, and places to eat. A LOT of places to eat. And before you dive in to this blog, tune to WWOZ 90.7 to get you in the mood (because that’s what I did)!

NOLA-ISMS

SAY IT RIGHT: First things first, it’s not really “N’awlins" anymore. As long as you don’t call it New Or-LEEEEENS you won’t stick out like a sore thumb, but most of us call it NOLA these days.

CASE OF THE MONDAYS: Check the hours before you make a trip! It’s normal for places to be closed on Mondays to allow the service industry employees at least one day off during the week, and because “people got to make groceries” -- aka go to the grocery store.

GO CUP: They don’t call it “The Big Easy” for nothing, including how easy it is to grab a beer and go!  Want to grab a cocktail but also keep it moving?  Ask for a “go cup” or pour it into a plastic cup yourself on your way out because typically there’s a stack by the door!

STREETCAR VS. TROLLEY: In San Francisco it’s called a trolley. In New Orleans it’s called a streetcar.

NEUTRAL GROUND: Meeting up with a friend or catching an Uber? New Orleans is built along a long, winding river so instead of directing people North or South, you’ll use River Side, Lake Side, or Neutral Ground – the median in the middle of a divided road.

I’M ALL ABOUT THE EATS

I once won a Trivial Pursuit game by answering this question: “Which city consumes more mayonnaise per capita than anywhere else in the world?” You guessed it - New Orleans! (Or at least it was at the time, so don’t send me hate mail if that’s not true anymore.)  From poboys to remoulade, NOLA has all the delicious eats, and many of them contain mayo.  

There are a zillion options for where to eat the most delicious meal of your life. Some of the best restaurateurs and chefs call New Orleans home. (If you’re fan of Bravo’s Top Chef you’ll find at least ten restaurants with a former contestant in the kitchen!)

The cuisine has become incredibly ethnically diverse in the past several years, and some of my favorite restaurants include Vietnamese, BBQ, or some sort of Asian fusion, but I’m mostly sticking to the traditional faves here. Just keep in mind that a “Taste of New Orleans” isn’t solely poboys and jambalaya… although it CAN BE! YUM!

BRUNCH:

My favorite meal of the day! It’s totally acceptable to eat all of your favorite savory things topped with a sunny or poached egg, and it magically is called brunch.  Endless buffets to try a little bit of everything?  Bottomless cocktails?  You can count me in for all of these things. 

Photo credit: wikimedia commons

Photo credit: wikimedia commons

Go fancy and all in for a brunch (some with live jazz) at any of these places that are well worth every penny:

If you’re feeling a little more casual, check out:

Any of the above places make for a great brunch OR breakfast but to me, brunch = cocktails! So below are top choice diners and breakfast spots that serve great morning treats (and lunch and/or late night snacks), minus the alcohol: 

DINNER:

My friends and I have a game called “ONE MEAL IN NEW ORLEANS”. If we are only in town long enough to enjoy one meal at one restaurant, where would we go? It’s the most difficult decision you will ever have to make, and these are our dinner MVPs:

  • Jacques-Imo’s: (Uptown) They won't take reservations for fewer than four people, so get there early, and order the Shrimp and Alligator Sausage Cheesecake to start!
  • Dick & Jenny’s: (Uptown) Creole cuisine with a Southern twist.
  • LOLA’s: (Mid-City) Authentic Spanish food with a twist.
  • Mopho: (Mid-City) Vietnamese and New Orleans cuisine together.
  • Charlie’s Steakhouse: (Uptown) There's no shortage of great steakhouses in New Orleans, but if you want something extra New Orleansy, Charlie’s is your spot! Along with being the originator of steak here, it’s also the seventh-oldest restaurant in the city.  Ask for Glen or Matt at the bar, and tell them I say hello!
  • Cochon: (Arts/Warehouse District) Cajun, Southern cooking and butcher.  Also great for lunch!
  • Clancy’s: (Uptown) Elegant Creole classics and martinis in a bustling, homey space.
  • Brigtsen’s: (Uptown) Award-winning contemporary Creole cuisine in a cozy, Victorian cottage setting.
  • Cafe Reconcile: (Central City) Only open on weekdays for lunch and Fridays for dinner, but it’s worth noting because this is a restaurant with a mission! Not only is it old-school New Orleans soul food at its best, it provides a successful job-training program for at-risk children.

POBOYS:

They’re satisfying for breakfast, brunch, lunch, second lunch, …you get the idea. Don’t let the line out the doors scare you away because they move pretty quickly.

  • Mother’s: (Central Business District – CBD) Order the Ferdi Special!
  • Domilise’s: (Uptown) The hubs loves the hot sausage, I love the fried oyster. Why choose?!  Get both and share!
  • Crabby Jack’s: (Jefferson Hwy) Remember how Jacques-Imo’s is on the tippy-top of the dinner list?  This is their more casual poboy spot.  The slow roasted duck poboy will change your life!

DEFYING CATEGORIES:

They’re not just restaurants, they’re not just bars, these places defy categories and hold a special place in my heart.

  • Bakery Bar: (Uptown/Garden District) It falls under the “delicious brunch” category but it’s SO much more. A cozy spot with incredible doberge cakes, desserts like salty balls (WHAT?), inventive cocktails, and yes, incredible brunch.
  • Twelve Mile Limit: (Mid-City) Want the experience of a fancy cocktail bar with the atmosphere of a dive bar? This is your spot. Great BBQ and the best juke box in city!  
  • Port Of Call: (French Quarter) This place has arguably the best burger in the city—also, do you want mushrooms on your baked potato? YES, you do. There’s usually a wait, but a giant Huma-huma or Monsoon will keep you company until your table is ready!
  • Lilly’s Cafe: (Lower Garden District) This is casual pho spot on Magazine St., and I love all their brothy goodness to help cure a hangover.  Best in the city!
  • Ninja:  (Uptown) Don’t ask me why this is a must stop for me, but it is.  I’ve even created my own roll here.  Ask for their Crunchy Roll INSIDE of a Rainbow Roll for my favorite sushi. 
  • F&M Patio Bar: (Uptown) (Also Grits Bar next door) Late night dance party! Hop up on that pool table and shake your thing.  Get the cheese fries. Your tummy and your tomorrow will thank you!

THE MUSIC

It’s the reason we’re all a part of the Sixthman family, right?! So it’s only natural to get out and discover all of the incredible music NOLA has to offer…Jazz, Blues, Irish, Cajun, you name it, and you can find it here. The best part is you can simply wander around the part of town you’re in, and when you hear something you like just pop in for a bit!

Frenchmen Street is THE street for the best variety of live music with tons of bars and venues to check out. You can’t go wrong anywhere on Frenchmen, but these are a few of my favorites:

Are you looking to get down and dirty in a dive bar? Get to know some of the locals at these venues:

Pro-tip: Expect to pay a cover charge at the above places. All of those artists are trying to make a living, after all!

Planning in advance? Check your calendar for which artists are playing at these larger venues:

A DAY IN THE LEISURELY LIFE

Spending a few days in New Orleans? Time to take it easy and explore! If you’re a go-with-the-flow guy or gal looking for a leisurely day, this section is for you and features my preferred paths to bop around.

GO DOWNTOWN TO UPTOWN ALONG ST. CHARLES ON THE STREETCAR:  This is my favorite stretch of road (and if you enjoy scenic exercise – favorite running path, too). Travel underneath the beautiful canopies of enormous oak trees decorated with Mardi Gras beads hanging around from years of Krewes tossing beads to Carnival revelers.

Notable Stops:

  • Igor’s: Combination laundromat and bar with the best Bloody Mary in town. What makes them so tasty? Someone told me the secret ingredient is BBQ sauce! It’s now a staple at my house for brunch.
  • The Columns Hotel: Beautiful spot to relax on the patio and listen to the streetcar roll by. I used to live next door, and I still miss the soothing sounds of the streetcar--not to mention the scent! It has been much debated, but I’m here to tell you that the smell of the streetcar when it passes by is that of ARTICHOKE.
  • New Orleans Original Daiquiris: (Uptown) When you’re Uptown on the Riverbend, hop off and grab a daiquiri and walk along the line. (Remember, you’re allowed to walk around with a cocktail here!)

WALK ALONG MAGAZINE STREET: For shopping, dining, or a casual stroll there’s no place that compares to this six-mile stretch. Stay hydrated and keep your energy up with drinks and snacky-snacks along the way.

Notable stops:

  • Bulldog: (Uptown) Fifty different beers on draft and cheese fries. All of my NOLA friends have a collection of Bulldog pint glasses from their “Keep your pint glass nights” on Wednesdays!
  • Casamento’s: (Garden District) Cash only for oysters and other seafood bites.
  • Coquette: (Garden District) if you’re feeling like a fancier cocktail or eats.

 

HAVE A CRAWFISH BOIL:  What's New Orleans without crawfish and local beer?!  Grab a heap of these delicious freshwater crustaceans at Big Fisherman and take it over to Audubon Park or The Fly (on the Mississippi levee) with a 6-pack of Abita Beer. My go-to's are the Amber Ale and Purple Haze.  We treat crawfish boils like tailgates! They're a great way to hang out with friends enjoying a day of good eats, drinks, and games.

 

THE INFAMOUS FRENCH QUARTER: You may already know about the powdered heaven beignets at Café du Monde and the nonstop party on Bourbon Street, and listen, those are important to see! Pro-tip: If you’re walking around the Quarter and someone bets you $20 that they can tell you where you got your shoes… spoiler alert - you got them on your feet!

Notable stops:

  • French Market: Take a walk through this outdoor space that combines farmer’s market, flea market, and more!
  • Pat O’ Brien’s Bar: Not just a place to grab one infamous Hurricane (…one and only one. You may regret a second.) It’s also a great place to hang outdoors on the patio or sing along with their dueling pianos! Make sure to grab a professionally shot black & white photo for approximately $7 to remind you of all the memories you are sure to forget. I have an entire album of these gems to look back on:  you can see my hair length go up and down, my waistline go in and out, and you can see every guy I ever dated… And now, the hubs and I always make a point to take a Pat O’s photo when we visit to keep adding to this album of memories and milestones! Happy to share this tradition with you to make your own if you decide to visit more than once!
  • Felix’s: Here’s a pearl of wisdom, Felix’s is a must for oyster lovers. Walk in, stand at the bar, and just keep ordering one at a time until you’re done!  If there’s a line, Acme across the street is also a great option!
  • The Gold Mine: Late-night dance parties and Flaming Dr. Peppers!

GET CULTURED

In a city so rich with culture and history, there is literally something for everyone in this city! Beyond the food and music I dived into above, here are a few more stops I recommend: 

I really could go on and on about the city I love the most, but that covers my top-ranked NOLA favorites! I hope you get to try a few of them and they become some of your favorites too. I’m beyond excited to set sail out of New Orleans, and as I've written this I'm reminded just how many things I love to eat and drink and do there!  BRB, I’m going to go run a million miles so I can eat all the things. Can’t wait to get back!

The Art of Sixthman

When we're not busy planning all those LIVE LOUD moments for your vacation, a handful of us at Sixthman spend our time gettin' artsy! Check out the galleries below, created by the one and only Sixthman staff! 

kyle

Name: 
Kyle.  @vileATL is my art account on Instagram 

Job title(s):  
Operations Specialist and Tour Manager

What is your art background?
Some classes in college.  Culinary school (does that count?)  

Describe your artistic style:  
Lowbrow pop-graffiti-esque skullish stew.  Spray paint and acrylics.  

Where do you find inspiration?  
Street art, music, tattoo culture, horror films, other artists.

Are you working on any projects currently?  
I was just selected for Colony Square’s “1st Annual Festivity and Trees” project.  20 local Atlanta artists were commissioned to paint 8ft wooden trees that will be displayed at midtown’s Colony Square for the month of December.  

How have you used your art skills at Sixthman? 
I built the “AHOY” backsplash in the kitchen.  

Free Art Friday:  
Free Art Friday has played a huge role in my getting back into my art.  It’s a social media driven idea where artists create something, hide it in the city, then snap a picture with the hashtag “#FAFATL”.   Followers of the hashtag then run out to find the piece in a kind of scavenger hunt.  Atlanta has one of the largest communities with over 55,000 posts.  They’ve been hugely supportive of me and my art.


amy

Name:
A K Mann

Job Title: 
Sr. Graphic Designer

What is your art background:
I have a BFA in Illustration from VCU, and an AA in Graphic Design from The Art Institute of Washington.

Describe your artistic style:
I like to try a wide variety of mediums, depending on the project or my mood. I always come back to oils as the ultimate fine art medium. There’s just something about oil paintings that takes my breath away. My style changes depending on the medium used or project I’m working on.

Where do you find inspiration:
This is a tough one, cuz it’s hard to find if you don’t have it. Sometimes it’s the things you don’t expect to inspire you that do. The little things, or just simple emotions. I am often inspired by light (yeah yeah, I know that makes me sound like a nutty art kid). My two “landscape” paintings were inspired by how street lights paint a picture out my window every night. There’s a whole world out there but you only capture pieces of it depending on how the light is shining. It can make things bright and warm or ominous and scary. I’m also very inspired by social issues and pop culture. 

Are you working on any projects currently?
I have some ideas floating around for my next project, but recent events are pulling me in another direction. I’m still in the planning stages, so it’s too soon to really talk about what exactly I’m doing.

How have you used your art skills at Sixthman?
Everyday in some fashion. A few times a year a get to incorporate my real artistic skills into a project. Those are the projects I love working on, and the ones I can really be proud of.


jen

Name:
Jen

Job Title(s): 
Creative Leader, Senior Warrior, and Partner Relations

What is your art background:
Grew up doing tons of art at home and taking art classes every summer, and always opted into the art classes in school when available. I started going to college for art (wanted to do hand-drawn animation), but the school got rid of my program mid-way through. I switched majors but still finished a minor in fine art, specializing in painting.

Describe your artistic style:
So much color. And tedious detail. I really don’t have one specific style, and I use lots of different mediums and like to try new things. (Just in the photos below, you'll see acrylic, watercolor, tissue paper and more. I've recently started playing around with solar carving... using sunlight to carve wood with a magnifying glass.) Tons of color is normally a must have, and as far as details go, I always joke that I own so many paint brushes, but I only use about 3 of them - the smallest ones. 

Where do you find inspiration:
I travel a lot (mostly to nature/backcountry type places), so the locations I visit definitely inspire me. Folk art is awesome. And then I also LOVE Atlanta street art – it’s one of my favorite things about living here. Every time I drive around town, there’s new art to see. (And sometimes I even find cool stuff, due to the Free Art Friday movement Kyle mentioned.) So yeah, I’m kinda all over the place.

Are you working on any projects currently?
I have so many half-done projects, so technically yes. But nothing I’m actively going home and working on each day. I did finish up my biggest project of the year (most likely), which was a painted guitar I donated to a charity auction for Rock By The Sea . Pics of that below.

How have you used your art skills at Sixthman?
Most recently I created a few linocut designs for merchandise at our Sixthman Sessions show in Chicago this summer. Our guests could hand-press their own posters at the event, which was a really fun spin on traditional event posters. I’ve done several other things, like sketch out the initial design for our office mural using our existing cruise art, and I usually design the album art for our Sixthman Sessions albums.


jess

Name: 
Jess

Job title:  
Warrior

What is your art background? 
I’ve been making and creating for pretty much my entire life. I began going to art camps during my summers as a kid and as soon as I entered school, I took every art class I could. I have a Bachelors degree in visual art with a concentration in ceramics from St. Andrews University in North Carolina. After graduating I got a job as a sign artist for Trader Joes (yep, I got paid to color all day) and took a position as a resident ceramic artist at Roswell Art Center West. Since then I’ve worked as a graphic designer, a freelance chalkboard artist, and even had a stint making glass beads!

Describe your artistic style:  
I love to work with bold color, patterns, and textures. No matter what medium I work in, those three things run throughout. Even though my focus was in ceramics during college, I’ve branched out a lot in recent years. I like to joke that I’m a “Jess of All Trades” without that whole “master of none” thing. Some of the mediums that I enjoy working with are traditional acrylic on canvas, acrylic on carved foam-core, watercolor, and jewelry. I’ve also been teaching myself to sew!

Where do you find inspiration?  
Nature is probably my primary source of inspiration but I’m also inspired by a lot of street art and muralists around the world. My favorite artists are a husband-wife team named SupaKitch and Koralie (@realsupakitch and @realkoralie on Instagram – seriously, check them out!).

Are you working on any projects currently?  
Sewing has its hooks in me right now – there’s always some new technique to learn! I started small and made cloth napkins and a duvet cover and have now worked my way up to making some of my own clothes and bags. Currently I’m making a duffel bag for a friend and a diaper bag for my nephew!

How have you used your art skills at Sixthman? 
I began putting my sign-making and chalkboard skills to use by creating custom a chalkboard for each of our Sixthman Sessions performances. I also recently completed a 11x5 ft mural of Sixthman’s values in one of our conference rooms. Oh, and anytime someone wants something nicely written, I’m happy to oblige. ;)

"What the hell did I get myself into?"

It’s still dark outside my hotel room high in the Miami Marriot. My bags are packed and 10 floors below me my new(ish) co-workers are gathering in the lobby. It’s embark day, an old hat for them, and 2 miles to the east Norwegian Pearl is ready to load up 2500 passionate music fans — and this very nervous new Marketing Manager — for the sixth sailing of the KISS Kruise. I’m due downstairs in a matter of minutes, and my normally self-assured demeanor is shot. I’m pacing a stripe in the carpet, trying to shove my stomach back down out of my throat and asking myself like a broken record: What the hell did I get myself into?

Understand that I’m the new guy here at Sixthman. So on this morning I’m describing, I’m stoked, just as I have been every day in the 3 months since moving to the exciting world of music festivals at sea leading up to my first boat ride — but I can't shake the nerves. I’m not nervous with apprehension, but rather with curiosity and excitement (or, at least, I got really good at telling myself that). I’ve watched, studied and learned the KISS community — and all of our wonderful communities — from afar, but I need the front lines exposure I was about to get to really make it all click. What would finally get me there? What would make it click? When would I really get it? Now that it’s over, I realize I was foolish to expect one definitive moment. Instead, I got too many to count, as I hope you’ll get the first time you sail on one of our festivals (or, for you veterans, I hope you get each time you come back). Here are just a few of the many times I finally got it:

Coming out of the tunnel and seeing the Pearl for the first time

What a sight. This is definitely what the Apollo astronauts felt like when they approached the shuttle, right? Definitely.

Greeting passengers at the terminal

I come from a music venue and concert promotion background, and my favorite part of that world was always the few moments before doors opened for a show. Translate that to embark day, and I could see the fans lining up for the terminal to open. Same feeling, wildly new setting. Then, of course feeding off your energy as you prepared to board the ship. My hand hurt from high fives.

Walking onto the gangway for the first time

No, THIS is how the astronauts felt. Awesome.

A sail away shot and we’re off!

My first cruise shift was helping pass out trays of Caborita shots to a pool deck full of fans before KISS themselves came out for a toast and a family photo as we sailed from Miami. I had been on board all of 15 minutes, and suddenly I’ve got trays of booze in my hand, standing on the pool deck stage trying not to tip them all over the front row. Remember that “how the hell did I get here” question?

Working my first pool deck show

The moment where the lights go down and a band hits the stage is special in any setting. But this re-defines setting. Put 2500 of the most passionate fans in front of their heroes on the pool deck of a cruise ship? Those pictures I’d seen a million times didn’t do it justice.

That first sunset...and the second...and third...

Someone mentioned it, pretty passively — “make sure you don’t miss your first sunset…” That person is officially in my top 3 favorite people ever (as soon as I can remember who it was).

Being back on land (sea legs are a real thing, by the way), I’ve been asked time and again to describe my experience. I’ll leave it to say that these “firsts” only scrape the surface, and it’ll probably take far longer than the week I’ve had to process my first Sixthman cruise to really answer that question. One thing I know for sure: now that I know what I got myself into, I know I can’t wait for more.

Click here to see photos from The KISS Kruise VI 

All The Feels

There's no doubt Sixthman cruises can be fun, crazy, and exciting. But sometimes a cruise can mean much more than you'd expect. The following message was sent to us after our sailing season this past spring, and we realized that THIS is why we do what we do. It's is exactly how we want you to feel. All of you, from Kid Rock's Chillin' the Most Cruisers, to the Walker Stalker Cruisers and everyone in between.

I've removed the cruise and band names from the original message, because that's not important right now: 
 

"Thank you for hosting ______. Today marks a year since I booked my cabin and I wrote something:

Last year I booked what would be some of the best days of my life. Some of the most positive days of my life. When I booked this trip, my feeling at that time was more along the lines of, "I get to see my favorite band play and meet them again!" But after, I realized that was such a small part of it, a bonus even. Of course I loved seeing ______ and all the other bands, but what really caught me was the people. The whole vibe was just..... I've never felt like that in my entire existence.

I felt truly happy. All these years wondering where do I belong, where do I fit in. It's there. Literally, THERE. Everyone was so nice and I felt free and positive. I didn't feel judged, not for my hair, not for the way I look, not for anything because honestly no one cared and everyone was so accepting.

They're just the greatest bunch. I enjoyed meeting my friends, old & new, even if I was too shy and awkward for my own good (I tried guys). I need people like that in my life every day. With the Internet and social media, these people technically are there every day, just as long distance relationships.

On ______, I felt like I could do anything & achieve anything. I felt so inspired and motivated to be the best me I can be (and I probably was). That's how real life is supposed to be, that's the attitude that I should have for my whole life. I know I have to make the best of what I have.

I don't know how a post about booking a cruise became a speech about how I view my life. Every time someone asks me, "How was your trip?" all of this is what I want to say, but how could I go on a long winding story about that without being looked at like a weirdo? So I just say, "It was good."

There will always be people who say, "It's just a cruise, calm down." I know it is, but it's so much more, too. It's one of those things where you have to be there to experience yourself. I learned life lessons that I didn't know I needed. I'd do it all again in a heartbeat. I don't regret going. It's one of the best decisions I have ever made in my life.

I don't know why I'm sharing this. It felt right for me to do it but mostly, I wanted to say thank you. Thank you so much for showing me what life could and should be."


Sound familiar? I hope at least some of it did. And if you know the feeling, I hope you were able to fill in the blanks with your own cruise name and favorite band or actors names, regardless of which Sixthman community you belong to. To be honest, this was kinda-sorta how I felt when I stepped off my first Rock Boat back in the day. 

Sometimes these vacations come along with more than just music, even though the music is probably why you signed up to sail originally. The communities that are drawn to each of our events are so extremely special, and we hope you find inspiration and motivation not only from the bands you follow, but from each other. 

For the record, this particular comment was written by a Parahoy Cruiser from Malaysia named Adora (far left in the picture below). Thanks so much for traveling halfway across the planet to cruise with us, and for sending us your thoughts and allowing us to share your experience with others! 

To leave you with a random (but relevant) fact - there's actually a word for this whole "no one gets how cool this trip was" thing. It's "exulansis," which means, "The tendency to give up trying to talk about an experience because people are unable to relate to it, whether through envy or pity or simple foreignness." (Ok, so it's not in the REAL dictionary, but it's in the Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows. And on Google, which gives it just a tiny bit of credibility, right?) 

*bye-five*
~jen

 

Wait. There ARE Beverage Packages?!

THIS JUST IN:

Sixthman + Beverage Packages changed their relationship status from “It’s Complicated” to “In a Relationship”.

Yes. You read that last part correctly. Hit the LIKE button because we are now offering a variety of beverage packages on ALL of our events! And thank you – Sixthman and Drink Packages are very happy together.

If you’ve sailed on a Sixthman event in the past, there is a 99% chance you’ve asked the following question: “Sixthman Jayne, I see that Norwegian offers alcohol packages. Ummm…how do I get my hands on one of those?!” I cannot tell you how many times I’ve typed the sentence, “There are no drink packages on chartered events like ours.”

Until now.

We know you’ve probably got a bazillion questions about how this new drink package thing is gonna go down. There's a whole page of info for you to delve into! But for now, let’s hit some highlights:
 

Yes, the Ultimate Beverage Package will be available! It’s Ultimate for a reason. You’ll get all the cocktails, wine, beer, soda, and juice you can handle. (Not for the faint of heart.)

 

 

 


Yes, Corks & Caps Wine and Beer Package will be available! If you’re not a fan of the hard stuff, go with this package for unlimited wine, beer, soda, and juice.

 

 

 


The Unlimited Fountain Soda Program will be available! And at Norwegian’s children’s rate at that. Grown up sized sodas – kids price!

 

 

 


We’ve also put together an additional Bottled Water Package at a discounted rate. You’ll receive a 24-pack of .5 liter Ice River Springs bottles for a flat rate of $10, if you order before we set sail.

 

 

 

Great! Sign me up!

All these packages will be available for purchase through your Sixthman account about 4-6 weeks prior to sailing, and you'll get an email when they go on sale.

PLUS! There will be a 10% discount on a la carte drinks on board, AND we’ve beefed up the Buckets of Beer. Any drink you purchase will be 10% off! (10% off the price – not 10% less liquid). When you buy a bucket of 5 beers, we’ll throw in a 6th and a 7th for FREE! So whether or not a beverage package is right for your cabin, everyone wins with these new savings!

The Ultimate Beverage and Corks & Caps packages must be purchased for ALL GUESTS staying in the same cabin, and you cannot mix and match. The Soda program and Ice River Springs bottled water are available for individual purchase. If you want to go all the way and get the Ultimate Beverage Package, your roommate will have to purchase it too. Them’s the rules. If there isn't a package that suits the needs of you and your cabin mates, the best part is, you can still take advantage of the overall 10% discount AND the bucket specials!

You’ll be charged an 18% gratuity at the time of purchase. Be good to your servers, y’all!

So there you have it, Beverage Packages - plus some!

Do us – and yourselves – a favor: please, drink responsibly. 

CHEERS!

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Thinking About Cruising? Get A Passport

sxmpassport

Hi, my name is Joy and I’m an addict. The adrenaline rush of being the last person on the ship is my drug of choice. Eight cruise seasons under my belt and I’ve never enjoyed a sail away show, never high-fived from the gangway and rarely stow my carry-on in my cabin before the ship is deep into international waters. I’ve skinned my shins on escalators as I ran with luggage towards the gangway. Missed the gangway altogether and entered through the belly of the ship where they load the luggage? I’ve done that too. Are you familiar with the heartbeat that rises from your chest and makes a home in your throat? I never start a cruise without it. From 9am – 3pm or later I sit in the port and watch ecstatic fans walk onto a cruise ship to start the vacation they’ve been dreaming of only to hustle at the last minute and run on board before the ship leaves me behind. It’s one of my favorite parts of my job.

Does this sound like your idea of a good time? Probably not. Want to know how to avoid all of that stress for both of us? Get a passport.

Let’s set some records straight. This is international travel in the 21st century. Neither Sixthman nor the cruise line sets the rules or required documentation to board a cruise. I’m going to answer some commonly and not so commonly asked questions that get into more anecdotes and helpful hints than what you will find in an FAQ or government website, but the documentation required to sail is fairly cut and dry and always subject to change.

If you are at all uncertain about the documentation you plan to bring (specifically if you are not a US citizen) please check at least one of the following resources before you leave home:

Norwegian Cruise Lines
U.S Customs and Border Protection


I’m a US citizen and I heard I don’t have to have a passport to cruise, is that true?

This is technically true. All cruises that leave from and return to the same US port are what the cruise nerds call a “closed loop sailing.” If you want to be a REAL cruise nerd, I can drop even more knowledge on your head: a cruise that leaves from one US port and returns to a different US port is known as an “open-jaw sailing.”  At the time of writing this all of our events, past, present and foreseeable future are closed loop cruises. If you do not have a current passport you will need to bring a government issued Photo ID (such as a driver’s license) AND proof of US citizenship. Without a passport you should NOT plan to board without both a photo ID and proof of US citizenship.


What counts as proof of US citizenship?

If you are a US citizen who was born in the United States you must bring a state certified US birth certificate. This is the certificate issued by the Department of Vital Statistics in the state where you were born and not the pretty hospital certificate presented to your parents in the hospital. The version NOT accepted will typically but not always have your wee bitty baby foot prints on it, or say “hospital certificate” and/or “this is not a legal document” somewhere on it). If you are a US citizen without a passport but were born in another country, your Birth Certificate won’t help you but an original certificate of U.S. Naturalization, original certificate of U.S. citizenship OR U.S. Consular report of your birth abroad will be accepted in addition to your government issued photo id.


My six-year-old is really excited about soft serve, belly flops, and stage diving! Does she need a photo ID?

Children under 16 years of age will need a passport OR if they are U.S. Citizens will be permitted to sail with a state certified US birth certificate only. Don’t let your six-year-old stage dive.


My birth certificate says “Betty Spaghetti” but my Driver’s License says “Princess Consuela Banana-Hammock,” what about meeeeee?

If the name on your birth certificate is different than the name on your photo ID because of marriage, adoption, divorce, or a Friends episode induced lapse in sanity you will just need to bring a document showing the legal name change (such as your marriage certificate, etc).


This all seems like an awful lot of paperwork for one trip!

It is. Get a passport. An adult passport is just a little over $100 and is good for 10 years. Think of all the adventures that await you!


NO JOY! I do NOT want a passport you cannot make me! I am an AMERICAN! Freedom, eagles, and stuff . . .

I’m going to let you be you. Also, stuff happens. Like that one time in 2012 when I lost my passport inside of my couch. By the time I found it 2 ½ years later it was already expired and I’d traveled on over a dozen cruises with my wrinkled and worn out birth certificate without incident. Whether you are against owning a passport for political reasons or you are like me and just can’t always get your s!@t together, you can go the birth certificate or passport card route. However, it is your responsibility to be aware that without a passport book you cannot fly into or out of an international port of call.

To make it a little more real: If your flight is delayed and you miss the ship before it leaves Miami you can only fly into the next port of call to salvage part of your vacation if you have a passport. If there is a family emergency while you are away and you need to fly home from a port of call you won’t be able to do so without incurring costly fees to secure a last minute passport. These are all things to consider before rolling the dice! After admitting my own personal passport folly I’d be remiss not to tell you one last thing here:

BOTH NORWEGIAN CRUISE LINE AND SIXTHMAN STRONGLY RECOMMEND THAT ALL GUESTS BE IN POSSESSION OF A PASSPORT PRIOR TO SAILING.

I really didn’t mean to yell. Let’s go back to being cool.

Did you say something about a passport card?

A passport book is the most common form of passport and will allow you to travel internationally by land, sea, or plane. A passport card is most commonly used by US citizens living near a border who travel by land frequently to Canada or Mexico. It is also accepted in lieu of a passport book when cruising in the Caribbean.  A passport card is generally considered more convenient (you can slip it in your wallet) and less expensive. However, you cannot travel by air with a passport card so see above on the reasons why I still recommend a book over a card.


What about enhanced driver’s licenses?

An enhanced driver’s license has the same function and limitations as a passport card. However, only a limited number of states even offer this option. If you are uncertain if your driver’s license is enhanced or not, it’s not. You would know. (Having a hologram on your license does not mean it’s enhanced.)


 Are the Bahamas part of the US?

No. Yes, we get that question all the time. It’s okay. Geography is hard!


What if I am not a US citizen?

Guests from all over the world are invited to party with us! You will at the very least need a passport. There are lots of variables here in regards to additional Visas and Waivers needed dependent upon your country of origin, your current residency status, etc. If you have traveled to the US previously or are a current US resident you are likely already well versed in what you need. However, if you are at all unsure please call US Immigrations at 1-800-375-5283 or check with U.S. Customs and Border Protection to be sure your identification will be satisfactory.


I listened to you Joy. I got a passport; I did all of the right things. I just left my passport in the taxi on the way to my hotel and the ship sails tomorrow. What do I do now?

First contact the taxi company and do everything you can to get it back. But, maybe that is not an option. Maybe your passport was stolen or you called the taxi company and they never found it. Maybe it’s locked in your car at the Dallas airport. You could have left it anywhere. The ship leaves in 24 hours (or 12, or 8, or 3) and you don’t know what to do. I’ll add another disclaimer that this is international travel and we can never promise that you will be able to board the ship without the documents detailed above. However, all is not lost and we will always try to get you on board. Sometimes it works. Sometimes it does not.

Below are recommendations we will make (NONE OF WHICH ARE GUARANTEED to get you on board but are all worth trying in case of an emergency). Please note that most of these recommendations only apply to U.S. Citizens:

  • Try to secure a copy of your birth certificate, ideally a state certified copy that can physically brought to the port (fax or email would be the next best thing but are not guaranteed solutions).
  • File a police report immediately if you know for sure your passport was stolen and bring a copy of that report to the port.
  • Contact the office of vital records in the state where you were born to see if they are able to authorize the send of your birth certificate by fax or email (this is not legal in every state and not generally an option if we are sailing on a weekend or federal holiday).
  • Before you leave home store an electronic copy of your passport photo page and birth certificate.
  • If you arrive at the port knowing you don’t have all of the documents required to sail in hand, do not check your luggage with the porters. Yes, this may sound pessimistic. Yes, we will try everything to get you on board but this is international travel. Without the proper documentation you may not be able to sail. The only thing sadder than watching the ship leave without you is watching the ship and all of your luggage leave without you.
  • Breathe. Don’t panic. Maintain a positive attitude. Help us help you. In the end there may not be anything we can do regardless, but the calmer you are and more willing you are to listen to our recommendations, the better. Everyone at Sixthman and NCL has a “leave no (wo)man behind” mentality on embarkation day. We want you to be enjoying an umbrella drink with the sail away band and not dealing with documentation just as much as you do! 

I have my passport! My photo is so cuuute. I would show it to you but I stuck it in my luggage before I checked it with the porter.

Oh honey. There are 2500 (give or take) other guests boarding right now, almost all of whom are checking at least one bag each. Your luggage may not be delivered to you room until shortly after the ship sets sail. Customs and Border Patrol is going to require that we check your passport before you step on board. Stow your passport in your purse (or your man-purse). There are even cute covers you can buy for them!


Oops! I left my passport at home. I’m so silly. Don’t worry though, I sailed last year. You have my passport details on file. If you need I can show you pictures of what a good time I had last year!

What a cute picture. You have really slimmed down since the last cruise. Congratulations to you! Sorry, this is international travel. Documents in hand only. Neither the cruise line nor Sixthman stores your passport information from the year before. Even if we did, Customs and Border Patrol will not accept this in lieu of your physical passport.


Come clean, these questions weren’t submitted by actual guests. I’m just a voice in your head right?

So technically, these questions are an artifice to get out the information, and I made them up. But, every single one of these questions is either one I’ve gotten in the port in person or one our ninjas hear regularly on the phone.

Another cruise season is creeping up and I’m already looking forward to hugging my favorite Port check-in staff and returning guests. I love the smiles on your faces as you pass by me on your way onto the ship and the matching t-shirts you never cease to impress me with. Be sure to say hi to me when you see me and show me your most hilarious passport photos!

Here’s mine: