There were several volunteers at the gate and outside on the main roads helping guide traffic and giving directions to people. Very helpful and pleasant. I understand that lots of people were able to rent cars from Enterprise and get to their destinations; we ran into other people from their cruise at the Breakers that day. Lots of people from the town were lined up to view the ship, the largest to ever dock in Ct.
After we dropped my parents off in the afternoon, we stopped off at Mystic to get coffee. The craft fair right off the highway by Mystic Aquarium had a giant Welcome Royal Caribbean Passengers banner (doesn't cost them anything, but it's still nice, I guess) and the arrival of EOS was all over the local news.
I do have to say that Newport was absolutely jammed with tourists AND sailboats, this being a holiday weekend with perfect weather, and I shudder to think what it would have been like with the Explorer in the harbor pumping all 3,000 people into the streets. This is no consolation to people who booked the trip hoping to see Newport, an incomparable town in the area, but it may have made things slightly better for the people who made it there on their own initiative from the ship and for people not on the cruise.
Anyway, New London has a lovely natural setting, Mystic is quite close and worth visiting, Newport is an hour's drive away, and there are the casinos. I think it's fine for a destination and I hope people who are disappointed in the switch can take some solace in that.
One comment: I can't say I saw much of a draw in New London itself, near the harbor, and it's instructive that we went to Mystic for coffee instead of New London. The area around the dock is fairly desolate, although it didn't feel unsafe. Perhaps someone who knows the town itself can speak to its attractions.
Serenade of the Seas, Nov. 2008 • Liberty of the Seas, Nov. 2009 • Eurodam, Jun. 2010
Solstice, Nov. 2010 • Summit, Aug. 2012 • Oasis of the Seas, Feb. 2013 • Reflection, Nov. 2016