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Recent NOLA/Port of New Orleans Departure Experiences? - NCL


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A few years ago (and in these boards!), NOLA cruise terminal experiences seem like a nightmare: no signage, no staff knowledge, long lines and bottlenecks, confused pax, and just... general mayhem.  Not the way to start a cruise, amiright?

 

Does anyone has any recent (Oct 2023 - January 2024) experiences with Port arrival, security, embarkation/debark to share?  What should we know prior to boarding and post-cruise departure? We are heading out of NCL/Julia Street terminal next month late Feb 2024, after Mardi Gras.  Most of the CC boards talk about self-parking and lot issues, but we're not local and are planning on using cab/Uber/Lyft. Double bonus awesome points if you have Haven line/lounge knowledge, portside?

 

(x-posted to Ports of Call > New Orleans forum)

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Not really during your date but i think this will be helpful.

March 2022.  Haven.  We experienced the difficulties you described.  We arrived at the port around 0930 to stand in line for security for over an hour.

March 2023.  Haven.  Having learned our lesson, we arrived at the port around 1100 and the lines were short.  We were on board by 1130.

Part of the issues with the 2022 cruise were the absurd restrictions imposed by the port regarding masks, vaccinations, etc.  We had to show our vaccinations three times before clearing security.  Plus there were port personnel moving up and down the line correcting people in how they wore there masks.  That was useless since as soon as they departed, the masks were pulled down.  There were none of these in 2023.

In both cases, there were no specific Haven lines.  All passengers go through the same security lines.  This was where the bottleneck was in 2022.  After clearing the security line, Haven passengers have their own checkin desk which we never saw a line.  Checkin was very fast and profesional in both cases.  There is a Haven Lounge Waiting Area but it is unimpressive.  The Lounge is about 20x30, rows of plastic chairs, soft drinks, coffee, etc.  Some have reported having the conceirge give a short briefing plus having you fill out a form for dining and entertainment before escorting you aboard.  In both cases, we were in the lounge for less than five minutes. We already had our dining and entertainment.  

We were taken to the Haven.  In 2022 our room was in the Haven proper and it was ready.

In 2023, we had an aft haven which wasn't ready. We left our bags with the conceirge and went to the American Diner for lunch. (Not worth it btw even though it was complimentary.)  We milled around until the mandatory safety drill. Our assigned location was one of the mdr.  We were scanned in, saw a brief safety video and were released.  After the safety drill, it was announced that the rooms were ready. We retrived our bags and went to our rooms.

The only real hassle we had in 2023 was debarkation.  We took a cab back to the Riverside Hilton. A freight train blocked the tracks and we had to wait 15 minutes for the train to clear.

Questions:

Edited by RocketMan275
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7 minutes ago, RocketMan275 said:

Not really during your date but i think this will be helpful.

This is exactly what I was looking for, and I believe I saw one of your prior posts about this subject, too, when I was looking around CC! SO Helpful, thank you! (notwithstanding my verb typo in my original post ugh!!)  

 

The timing on security vs. Haven line is great to know.  Part of the prior issue my group had is that no one knew where to go, and no staff knew either, so that tracks if folks were asking/looking prior to security.  It sounds as if there is ample signage (or at least a clear route where to go/look for this) 'now'. 

 

And GOOD note re: arrival prior to 11AM.  I think we'll take this advice - after all, that means a more leisurely breakfast in the Big Easy anyway.  😉 

 

Any tips about port arrival via cab transport?  Did you get dropped off, or? Any issues with a clear porter queue, or was that all "cruise port normal"? THX

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1 minute ago, pettygirl said:

This is exactly what I was looking for, and I believe I saw one of your prior posts about this subject, too, when I was looking around CC! SO Helpful, thank you! (notwithstanding my verb typo in my original post ugh!!)  

 

The timing on security vs. Haven line is great to know.  Part of the prior issue my group had is that no one knew where to go, and no staff knew either, so that tracks if folks were asking/looking prior to security.  It sounds as if there is ample signage (or at least a clear route where to go/look for this) 'now'. 

 

And GOOD note re: arrival prior to 11AM.  I think we'll take this advice - after all, that means a more leisurely breakfast in the Big Easy anyway.  😉 

 

Any tips about port arrival via cab transport?  Did you get dropped off, or? Any issues with a clear porter queue, or was that all "cruise port normal"? THX

We parked at the whale lot in 2022.

We took a cab from the Riverside to the port in 2023.

This is a bit hard to describe.  The cab drop off was between the ship and the terminal.  There were porters there.  The drop off point was not in front of the terminal where most arrive.  We dropped our bags and entered the terminal very close to the scanners.  There were multiple scanners in operation.  It went well.

I really think most of the issues with the 2022 embarkation were with the port personnel who worked for the the Mayor of NOLA who was a covid fanatic and kept covid restrictions on even after mardi gras.  We had booked a room at the Riverside for 2022 but cancelled since she was requiring face masks.   We stayed in Mississippi.   Of course, one you boarded, all the covid restrictions were not in effect.

If you arrive 1100 or slightly later, I think things will go smoothly.  Just don't expect a lot of Haven treatment until you clear the haven check in desk.

Glad I could  help.  

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