Last Christmas we had a bit of a hard time finding decent Christmas Eve dining options. Eating at the hotel as a last resort is expensive and not really what I had planned. This year I made sure we had something booked that we would all enjoy.
New Orleans had several options. Reveillon Dinner are very popular and many restaurants offer them even on Christmas Eve. They usually offer three to four courses for a fixed price. Unfortunately for me, they were pricey once I removed the seafood courses I would not want to eat. If you are looking for a great resource I used this website to see who had plans to be open during Christmas. https://holiday.neworleansonline.com/traditions/reveillon-dinners
The other interesting option was to take a river boat dinner cruise on the Mississippi river. I cannot do that at home in December! Both the Creole Queen and the Steamboat Natchez offer Christmas Eve dinner cruises.
Steamboat Natchez offers boarding beginning at 6:30pm, cruising from 7:30pm until 9:30pm. Tickets are $80 for adults, $45 for kids (6-12) and $26 for kids (2-5).
Creole Queen offers boarding: 6:00 p.m. at the Riverwalk/Canal Street dock with departure: 7:00 p.m. and returning at 9pm. Adult with dinner: $77 Child (ages 3-12): $39 Child (ages 0-3): FREE
Since I suddenly remembered to book this the second week of December the Steamboat was sold out. Creole Queen was closer to our hotel and I quickly booked three tickets for our family. In the end it worked out perfectly!
Categories: Trip Reviews
Tags: Caroling, Christmas Eve, Christmas Eve Cruise, Creole Queen, Jazz, Jazz band, Mississippi River, New Orleans, NOLA, River, Steamboat Natchez
Where we come from more things are open than not, especially until 8 or 9 pm on Christmas Eve. We figured in a tourist area we would have no issue finding dinner. Boy were we off, LOL!
We found Bunky’s Seafood and Raw Bar after touring around and across the causeways looking for seafood. I had remembered reading about it and figured it was going to be better than eating fast food or at the hotel. Texas Roadhouse was also open but we chose not to even park there when we realized by the people waiting it would be over an hour.
I had read about Florida’s obsession with Christmas lights. there are large festivals like Light up Viera. And websites that track Christmas displays with maps so you can find them. I was very excited to drive around and immerse ourselves in lights.
The Brevard County Lights website page showed a hit very close to our hotel on Verbania Court. Thought we could drive over on Christmas eve and check it out. OMG, I had no idea what we were stumbling upon!
We typed it into the GPS and were there in under 10 minutes. It was just turning dark and we quickly parked on a side street. (They must have very understanding neighbors!) We wanted to walk it and I still didn’t have the whole scope on what was on that road.
It was amazing! The whole cul-de-sac was lined in luminaries, it was so pretty. Arches over the street and so many inflatables!
Each home on the street was decorated to the max! Several had fires burning and lawn chairs out visiting with everyone. Everyone wished each other a Merry Christmas. Little kids were touring with their families in the pj’s. It was a perfect Christmas Eve!
Even Santa was out listening to Children’s requests. It was so sweet to see them lined up and so excited! IF you have the opportunity please make the drive to view Verbania Court to view their display.
Websites for the lights:
Our goal on this trip was to experience things we could not in the snowy cold Midwest. Surfin Santas definitely qualifies!
We checked out of the hotel a little before 8:45 and we were parking the car around 9am. We paid a local group $5 to let us park on their lawn off from A1. We had a short walk across the street to the beach by Coconuts.
The large group sang a couple of Christmas songs, took photos and it was time to hit the waves. Daughter was so jealous but being sick with a cold we were not going to let her surf in the 50 degree ocean.
It was very festive! You could purchase a $12 bloody mary for breakfast or a beer. LOL!
We chose to wait for the skydivers at 11am and people watch. They cleared the beach several times for the sky divers to come back in 20 minutes to push the people back again. That was kind of silly, wait until 10:40 or later and do it once…
The sky divers were impressive. I think there was close to 20 flying in the air and landing on the beach. They were even dressed as Santa!
A very fun was to get in the holiday spirit on Christmas Eve morning!!!!
They estimate there were 300 surfer and 4,000 spectators… A nice write up is here: http://www.floridatoday.com/story/news/local/2014/12/24/surfin-santa-event-attracts-record-turnout/20865211/