Jump to content
Cruise Critic Community

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

Hillbilly Bruce

BEWARE!!! Of the Port of New Orleans

Recommended Posts

The Port of New Orleans is the WORST place to sail in or out of that I have ever seen, or even heard of before.

 

DO NOT SAIL INTO, OR OUT OF, THIS PORT!!!

 

The problems have less to do with NCL (the cruise line we sailed with) than with our glorious “Homeland Security” - bad planning and incompetent operation galore.

 

I thought it was bad when we arrived, standing for 30 minutes in a very confused line waiting to get to the security checkpoint. (For example: There were only three “lanes” and one was closed supposedly because those workers were “at lunch” - what kind of planning is that? Is it so hard to schedule enough workers to allow for the obvious breaks needed by the workers during the busiest embarkation times? Government fat-a$$ed bureaucracy at its worst!) But wait, it gets worse...

 

Our ship arrived two hours early back at New Orleans. But even so, disembarkation began over an hour late. (I don't know why.) It only got further and further behind schedule as the various groups were called. (NCL normally has one of the best disembarkation processes of all the budget cruise lines – but not at this port.) Turns out, we should have waited onboard until they removed us under threat of force. Maybe by then the line would have been shorter.

 

When our disembarkation group was announced, we went down the gangway and the line stopped. And it didn't even move an inch for over 30 minutes. Finally, the line started moving... SLOWLY. No explanation, or apologies from NCL or port security staff. And they would NOT let you go back on the boat for any reason – once in line, you were stuck there.

 

No water. No food. No RESTROOM. NOT EVEN ANYWHERE TO SIT! The elderly and sick stood and suffered along with us without pity or assistance whatsoever. (Wheelchair passengers were moved to the front of the line, for what little good that was – at least they had someplace to sit during all this!)

 

We were stuck standing in line for TWO FULL HOURS!

 

Halfway through the winding line, we got to the luggage collection area. Then we had the extra-special joy of lugging ALL our belongings through the rest of the process... A new line that wound around and around moving a few steps forward, then a wait of a few minutes, then move a few steps forward, and repeat...

If a person (or persons) did these awful things to people, it would be called
kidnapping
, with cruel and unusual punishment added on.

 

But when the government does it, it is called “Homeland Security.” :mad:

Recently, airline passengers gained a sort of “flyer's bill of rights” - obviously the same sort of thing is needed for cruise ship passengers as well. At least those trapped on planes sitting on runways have seats... We didn't.

 

I've heard that every port in the U.S. is getting worse and worse, but the Port of New Orleans is by far the very worst I've experienced.

 

The port staff claimed that their budget had been cut, and they were understaffed, and no overtime was being approved. What the HELL??? How many billions of dollars is flushed down the Homeland Security toilet every year? And how many MILLIONS of that is spent on port security? And you're telling me they can't hire enough people, or afford to pay them overtime? Bull$h*t!!!

 

My fellow Americans, we should be ashamed of what we've allowed our Congress-critters and associated low-life bureaucratic parasites to do to our once great country. How much more are you willing to endure?

 

The port operation in New Orleans is a disgrace to our country.

 

There was a huge group of German visitors on board our cruise (so many in fact, that NCL wisely chose to duplicate all ship announcements in both English and German). I also stood in that despicable disembarkation line next to visitors from Canada. What do you think they will tell their friends and family back home? I can guess... It will likely be: “Don't visit The United States!”

 

This was my second trip sailing out of New Orleans (both times after September 2001, and once before Katrina). It was bad the first time, but insanely bad the second.

 

Please, for your own sake: STAY AWAY FROM THE PORT OF NEW ORLEANS! At the very least, wait until you have heard NUMEROUS reliable “glowing” reports (from Non-Pollyannas) about how they've cleaned up their act. But don't hold your breath for that. Government rarely improves – it usually only gets worse.)

 

After this, I'm not planning on ANY more cruises anytime in the foreseeable future (maybe sometime decades later if I hear things have improved). But I'll NEVER return to New Orleans after this nightmare. It was such a terrible experience, it hurts to even think about it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Congratulations - you win the prize for the most OTT (over the top) posting I've read in the past few days! Talk about hyperbole?!

 

You hated the cruise and you hated the Port of New Orleans - maybe cruising isn't for you........

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We were on the same cruise, in fact we met Hillbilly bruce. He is really a very nice perosn, but obviously speaks his mind and had a very bad experiences on this cruise.

 

Yes, NOLA isn't the best port, the port authority should find a way to move the lines, but it wasn't that bad. We arrived about 11am and were on the ship about 12:15pm. As for debarkation, the thing that amazed me, when we can stay in our cabin til our color tags are called why so many choose to gather in the reception area.

 

I do recommend anyone sailing out of NOLA make sure their flight isn't scheduled to depart until about 1pm, just to be on the safe side. The airport wasn't the best either. We probably will not use NOLA again. One reason, we have done this itinerary so many times, the other is the conjestion. If we do use it again we will drive..

 

Nita

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

DH & I were on this cruise as well and vouch for the long lines at disembarkation. We sailed the Spirit out of NOLA the same week after Thanksgiving last year and there were no long lines or hassles disembarking last year. However, last year all lines at customs were open. This year only half of them were open.

 

Regarding congestion at the airport, DH & I always fly in a day early and leave a day after the cruise in order to enjoy NOLA as long as we can. There was no congestion at the airport on Monday. In fact we were able to check in and go through TSA screening faster than we have at most other airports.

 

While the entire process of getting off the ship at the end of the cruise was not the best, it wasn't as bad as some other cruises we've taken. However, I do think those of us who experience these long, delayed disembarkation processes need to write to the cities tourism boards to express our concerns.

 

Cities trying to lure our tourism dollars such as NOLA need to know how we feel so that they can start to fix what's broken if they want to continue attracting cruise passengers and the dollars we bring to those cities.

 

Dianne

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Recently, airline passengers gained a sort of “flyer's bill of rights”

FYI, the airline bill of rights has not ever passed. NY passed a state-specific one, but it was overturned on appeal. If you know of where this has passed and been upheald, please tell us!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
We were on the same cruise, in fact we met Hillbilly bruce. He is really a very nice perosn, but obviously speaks his mind and had a very bad experiences on this cruise.

 

Yes, NOLA isn't the best port, the port authority should find a way to move the lines, but it wasn't that bad. We arrived about 11am and were on the ship about 12:15pm. As for debarkation, the thing that amazed me, when we can stay in our cabin til our color tags are called why so many choose to gather in the reception area.

 

I do recommend anyone sailing out of NOLA make sure their flight isn't scheduled to depart until about 1pm, just to be on the safe side. The airport wasn't the best either. We probably will not use NOLA again. One reason, we have done this itinerary so many times, the other is the conjestion. If we do use it again we will drive..

 

Nita

 

driving down is nice...just use the GPS address, the port is only a couple of turns off the freeway. parking was easy, as long as it's not parade time. that's the only way i would do it...i loved the ports and new orleans, but have had bad times with their unofficial taxis.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
We were on the same cruise, in fact we met Hillbilly bruce. He is really a very nice perosn, but obviously speaks his mind and had a very bad experiences on this cruise.

 

Yes, NOLA isn't the best port, the port authority should find a way to move the lines, but it wasn't that bad. We arrived about 11am and were on the ship about 12:15pm. As for debarkation, the thing that amazed me, when we can stay in our cabin til our color tags are called why so many choose to gather in the reception area.

 

I do recommend anyone sailing out of NOLA make sure their flight isn't scheduled to depart until about 1pm, just to be on the safe side. The airport wasn't the best either. We probably will not use NOLA again. One reason, we have done this itinerary so many times, the other is the conjestion. If we do use it again we will drive..

 

Nita

 

So an international flight (to Canada) leaving at roughly 5 pm should be alright to make it to if things are still bad in Feb?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

U.S. Customs in New Orleans is one of the most understaffed of all U.S ports. They know months in advance when the ships are going to arrive. It is hard to believe they do not add to the staff when a cruise ship is off loading 3,000 to 5,000 passengers and crew.

 

I think it is time for the city of New Orleans to put some pressure on Customs. If they want tourist to come to their city why would they want all these cruise passengers to be so upset by the time their feet hits dry land in New Orleans.

 

Making us stand in line for hours is not very good planning.

 

Here are a few contacts, let them know your feelings:

 

Port of New Orleans

 

Mr. Robert Jumonville, Director

Telephone: (504) 528-3230

Fax: (504) 528-3460

Email: jumonviller@portno.com

 

Mr. Johnny Cefalu, Deputy Director of Cruise and Tourism

Telephone: (504) 528-3219

Fax: (504) 528-3460

Email: cefaluj@portno.com

 

 

US Customs & Border Protection

1380 Port Of New Orleans,

New Orleans, LA 70130

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Here is an email I just got from "Port Director, New Orleans"

 

Thanks for forwarding the Cruise Critics comments, Steve. Please rest assured that the situation is not to our standards, and I have had numerous conversations with the Port Director of Customs and Border Protection. We are jointly working together to solve this "budget and staffing" dilemma as soon as possible.

Regards,

Robert Jumonville

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Also experienced the fiasco at NOLA on Dec. 7. After a pleasant cruise with smooth sailing, if you will, the 3 hour wait standing in line for disembarkation ruined it for us. I asked about bathroom facilities 40 minutes into the wait, and the person directing us (like cattle) said it was on the other side of customs. She admitted the building should have been designed better with a restroom along the waiting line. Total exhaustion set in after finding our luggage and wrestling with it for another hour in line. We used the port at NOLA in 05 (prior to Katrina) and had a similar experience but with a different cruise line....so I do not place any blame on NCL. It was pitiful to see the disabled and small children trying to endure this. I'm sure the disembarkation left a bad taste with many.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
So an international flight (to Canada) leaving at roughly 5 pm should be alright to make it to if things are still bad in Feb?

 

Gee, I thought 12:40 would give us lots of time. Let's hope things improve in the next few weeks.

 

Viv

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Gee, I thought 12:40 would give us lots of time. Let's hope things improve in the next few weeks.

 

Viv

 

 

Ya, even before all of this port hassle came to light we decided to go with the latest flight possible. I have heard traffic can be a pain sometimes too.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This is something that anyone who cruises or travels much needs to know. Stuff happens, and if you cruise or travel enough, chances are you will encounter a similar situation at some point. We have encountered it at the ports in NYC, Ft. Lauderdale, and Miami, to the extent people succumbed to heat in FLL ambulances came etc. These are much more heavily trafficed ports than NOLA and they should have their acts together, but ship happens and you have got to go with the flow, make the best of the bad situation and plan accordingly to ensure you having plenty of time to get to the airport, train or whatever it is you need to get to after the cruise. I have sailed out of NOLA 3 times and we never have had any issues there both the old terminal and new one. But if customs hold things up, or some bozo wants to try something new, it can gum up the whole works. If you are sick and need assistance getting off the ship, make arrangements in advance so you are not standing in line with no where to sit, because this stuff can happen at any port.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
So an international flight (to Canada) leaving at roughly 5 pm should be alright to make it to if things are still bad in Feb?

 

 

What date in Feb? It will be Mardi Gras time in NO and with parades scheduled there will be roads closed and traffic will be bad.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Interesting.. there was beverage, food, bathroom and seats when I went out of New Orleans on the Carnival Fantasy..

 

Also no problems with Homeland Security..

 

Strange post.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
What date in Feb? It will be Mardi Gras time in NO and with parades scheduled there will be roads closed and traffic will be bad.

 

We get in right before Mardi Gras (Feb. 22) so I am expecting it will take us awhile to get to the airport. Hopefully they can clear things up at the port by then so we just have to worry about travel time to catch our flight on time.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I sailed the Carnival Fantasy last year during Mardi Gras. It was a fantastic cruise, embarkation took a little over an hour. . .debarkation about an hour. I feel that it is average for a cruise. We had a 10:20 am flight so we did self debarkation and got to the airport with about 40 min to spare. No problems getting to the airport, it was on a Thursday morning and there were no parades at that time. The streets were all open.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I was on the Spirit the same time as the thread starter was.

I used the express self-disembarkment process and was tickled pink.

Of course, I had to stand in line outside but I was in the first group that was off the ship and I was at my car by 830. There was no traffic, there never is.

I have never had problems with New Orleans, it definately took longer to get on the ship than to get off and that usually is the case.

I think that people generally are more in a hurry to get off the boat when they have flights, etc. They are tired and their patience just is not there.

 

Try getting on a boat at Galveston, when there are three ships leaving the same day, essentially the same time. You will appreciate the small inconvience that you had at the Port of New Orleans.

 

As far as parking, you cannot ask for any better. Pull up, leave your luggage on level 3 and go park your car. You may have to walk a little bit but that's no problem, even for handicaps for there are elevators and it is safe.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
This is something that anyone who cruises or travels much needs to know. Stuff happens, ... because this stuff can happen at any port.

 

And that is exactly the problem. Any unreasonably long lines at ANY port should be unacceptable. But as long as sheep are willing to be held up in line for hours without good reason, the sheep-herders will continue to do exactly that. What reason do they have to change?

 

My 2 cents.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
We get in right before Mardi Gras (Feb. 22) so I am expecting it will take us awhile to get to the airport. Hopefully they can clear things up at the port by then so we just have to worry about travel time to catch our flight on time.

 

I hate to be the bearer of bad news... Feb. 22 is the Sunday before Mardi Gras & there are going to be parades everywhere! The airport is also going to be extremely congested. Our kids get out of school for the whole week of Mardi Gras, so this is prime vacation time for us.

 

I'm not saying that you won't make your 5pm flight, but you might want to give yourself more of a cushion if you can possibly reschedule.

 

Hey, consider sticking around NOLA for a few extra days & take in some parades! :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We didn't have any trouble with New Orleans when we left on the Conquest. I remember there were bathrooms and I don't remember any really long lines for embarking or disembarking.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Upfront I will acknowledge that, being from New Orleans, I have never cruised anywhere EXCEPT out of the port of New Orleans. That said, I have not encountered the conditions you describe. It did take some time to disembark from NCL Spirit in January but we did not stand in line, we hung out in our room until our "color" was called and I got a good bit of my mystery novel read. Is it possible that there was some special circumstance, that you and I don't know about, that required extra screening on leaving the boat that day? Or is there some chance that you tried to disembark at the wrong time and perhaps you would not have needed to be in line so long if you had realized it wasn't your turn? I wasn't there, I'm not trying to tell you what happened, I'm just saying I don't believe this to be standard for the port of New Orleans. Also, as another poster points out, there are most certainly bathrooms along the way.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Upfront I will acknowledge that, being from New Orleans, I have never cruised anywhere EXCEPT out of the port of New Orleans. That said, I have not encountered the conditions you describe. It did take some time to disembark from NCL Spirit in January but we did not stand in line, we hung out in our room until our "color" was called and I got a good bit of my mystery novel read. Is it possible that there was some special circumstance, that you and I don't know about, that required extra screening on leaving the boat that day? Or is there some chance that you tried to disembark at the wrong time and perhaps you would not have needed to be in line so long if you had realized it wasn't your turn? I wasn't there, I'm not trying to tell you what happened, I'm just saying I don't believe this to be standard for the port of New Orleans. Also, as another poster points out, there are most certainly bathrooms along the way.

In defense of Bruce, we were on the same cruise but had VIP disembarkation. There were only 3 customs agents working that morning to handle some 2000 passengers. If they only spent 30 seconds per passenger thats over 5 hours.

 

With the VIP we were through early, went to our hotel, dropped our luggage and went exploring. We stopped in Pat O'Briens. We'd been there maybe 20 minutes when another couple from the cruise ship sat down next to us. They said that it was 2:30 when they got off the ship:eek:

 

IMHO the customs area was sorely understaffed. We sailed the same week last year and had no problem (not VIP that time).

 

As for the rest of Bruce's rant, I cannot agree with warning everyone to stay away from NOLA or that the port is a disgrace to the country, etc. etc. If the situation repeats itself then I think it's time to sound an alarm.

 

In another thread Bruce has stated that he is done with cruising on "budget" lines and is done with Cruise Critic. So, don't look for any response from him.

 

For us, we love cruising out of NOLA. But, if we waited in the lines like they had for our cruise we'd be upset with Homeland Security and not with the cruise line, city or port authority.

 

Charlie

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Upfront I will acknowledge that, being from New Orleans, I have never cruised anywhere EXCEPT out of the port of New Orleans. That said, I have not encountered the conditions you describe. It did take some time to disembark from NCL Spirit in January but we did not stand in line, we hung out in our room until our "color" was called and I got a good bit of my mystery novel read. Is it possible that there was some special circumstance, that you and I don't know about, that required extra screening on leaving the boat that day? Or is there some chance that you tried to disembark at the wrong time and perhaps you would not have needed to be in line so long if you had realized it wasn't your turn? I wasn't there, I'm not trying to tell you what happened, I'm just saying I don't believe this to be standard for the port of New Orleans. Also, as another poster points out, there are most certainly bathrooms along the way.

 

I am actually going to open a separate thread just to reassure people. We sailed out of NOLA on Dec 21, and have nothing but great stuff to say. Getting on and off was the easiest of any cruise we have done.

 

We left our cabin at 8:25 on the morning of Sunday the 28th, and arrived at the airport at 9. Yup, walked off the ship, waited less than two minutes for a customs guy, walked out into ground transportation, and got whisked to the airport. We shared with another family for the airport ride, and it was $12 per person. I'm not sure of the "taxi" definition, but I think that we were actually on a tour van to the airport.

 

Viv

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

  • Forum Jump
    • Categories
      • 2019 Cruisers' Choice Destination Awards
      • Celebrity Cruises President and CEO Lisa Lutoff-Perlo invites you to #CrewUpWithWomen
      • Forum Assistance
      • New Cruisers
      • Cruise Lines “A – O”
      • Cruise Lines “P – Z”
      • River Cruising
      • ROLL CALLS
      • Digital Photography & Cruise Technology
      • Member Cruise Reviews
      • Special Interest Cruising
      • Cruise Discussion Topics
      • UK Cruising
      • Australia & New Zealand Cruisers
      • North American Homeports
      • Ports of Call
      • Cruise Conversations
×
×
  • Create New...