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Hillbilly Bruce

BEWARE!!! Of the Port of New Orleans

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New Orleans is a huge port, one of the largest in the nation by far, that does much more than cruises, there are hundreds of ships, tugs and other boats running around the mouth of the mississippi at anytime that have to go through some form of customs. Given our low population we are slowly trying to get back to normal but we dont have the amount of workers we need to do most jobs in the city.

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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).

 

 

Ummm, this could be part of the problem. If there were that many non U.S. Passangers passing through customs I would immagine that would cause a few delays.

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Ummm, this could be part of the problem. If there were that many non U.S. Passangers passing through customs I would immagine that would cause a few delays.

 

 

The problems with customs and immigration had nothing to do with the number of Germans onboard but everything to do with the fact that customs had only 1/2 of the customs booths manned. That, coupled with an abnormally large # of self disembark passengers created a nightmare.

 

Dianne

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The problems with customs and immigration had nothing to do with the number of Germans onboard but everything to do with the fact that customs had only 1/2 of the customs booths manned. That, coupled with an abnormally large # of self disembark passengers created a nightmare.

 

Dianne

 

You may be right. Considering that I don't generally read too much about how aweful the Port of New Orleans is (and I am not saying that it is great just that I have not read many complaints) it is possible that they only need half of the booths manned on a normal cruise. Because of the high volume of non U.S. guests and as you stated the large number of self debark passengers they got backed up. I am not saying that if I was in that situation I would not have been upset, however to write the kind of post the OP did is going a little overboard (and by a little I mean WAAAAYYYY overboard).

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You may be right. Considering that I don't generally read too much about how aweful the Port of New Orleans is (and I am not saying that it is great just that I have not read many complaints) it is possible that they only need half of the booths manned on a normal cruise. Because of the high volume of non U.S. guests and as you stated the large number of self debark passengers they got backed up. I am not saying that if I was in that situation I would not have been upset, however to write the kind of post the OP did is going a little overboard (and by a little I mean WAAAAYYYY overboard).

 

I think customs just had a problem with manpower for a couple of cruises out of NOLA. Pax who sailed a cruise or so after us didn't seem to have problems after some who did complained loud and long.

 

DH & I disembarked from a cruise during Super Bowl weekend, I think it was last year in FLL. Customs and immigration was backed up there as well with only about 1/2 of the booths manned. Our porter told us that several of the Customs workers had called in sick that day. Go figure.;)

 

Dianne

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We just returned from the 2/7/09 sailing from NOLA on the Carnival Fantasy. We arrived at the port terminal about 10 am. There was no traffic entering the parking building. We were so early they had only two porters at the luggage drop off point. Even this was no problem as there was only one car ahead of us. Security screening went very fast as we were early.

 

The VIP check in had not started and there were already 15-20 people waiting. About 1045 VIP check in started. The room was starting to fill as there were 80+ Platinum guests plus suit guests. Check in went very fast once started. They did run out of zone 1 boarding passes due to the high number but they told us to just show our Platinum card at the boarding. There were about 100-150 in the general lounge area when we passed through.

 

One thing I did notice different at this port was the embarkation photo place was mid way in the lounge area and did not slow down the boarding process (at that time). Boarding started about 1115 I estimate. There was a large group (200+) of travel agents there for a tour of the ship plus a wedding party that they boarded ahead of us. About 1130 the VIP's began boarding, even with the large number we were on the ship quickly. Straight up the gang way onto the ship and onto the elevators to the Lido deck.

 

Disembarkation was just as easy. The Fantasy arrived early and by 0715 the were calling the self assist. The last self assist was called about 0815. On Carnival it seems that half the ship does self assist. The VIP's with checked luggage were then escorted to the gang way at 0820. The porters were waiting as soon as we entered the luggage area. He loaded our luggage onto a porter cart and went around the corner to an almost empty immigration/customs area. 2 minutes later we were out the door heading to the elevator. The whole process from the time we left the lounge to the time we pulled out of the parking lot was 10 minutes or less.

 

It was one of the smoothest disembarkations we have ever had at ANY port. We did not encounter any traffic until we were up on I-10 but it was typical week day (Thursday) traffic and was moving smoothly.

 

I don't know what may of effected the OP port process but for our visit to the port of NOLA was the complete opposite. I have been on some ships where the entire crew was required to clear immigration prior to any guests leaving the ship.

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I cannot speak for the customs of the port but I have lived in NOLA for a long time before moving to Baton Rouge and I find it absurd that you relate your experienced with an understaffed customs to the a reason for not returning to the city as a whole. I certainly do not understand your complaints about the airport. I fly out of there many times a year and its consistently one of the fastest security lines I have ever been in since there is a limited number of flights leaving. As for a port its very nice that its centrally located unlike Galveston where I will be leaving in a few weeks plus there is plenty of hotels to choose from and something to see before you leave.. Again unlike Galveston.

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I haven't been to New Orleans since 1971 and am so looking forward to going back. I'll be driving down (one-way rental) from New York. Will spend 2 days in the city before boarding the Spirit for it's repositioning...disembarking in Boston.

 

I'm sure whatever problems the Port of New Orleans had on the OP's cruise were just circumstantial. I really look forward to my 2010 cruise...because I'm cruiseless in 2009, darn it.

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I cannot speak for the customs of the port but I have lived in NOLA for a long time before moving to Baton Rouge and I find it absurd that you relate your experienced with an understaffed customs to the a reason for not returning to the city as a whole. I certainly do not understand your complaints about the airport. I fly out of there many times a year and its consistently one of the fastest security lines I have ever been in since there is a limited number of flights leaving. As for a port its very nice that its centrally located unlike Galveston where I will be leaving in a few weeks plus there is plenty of hotels to choose from and something to see before you leave.. Again unlike Galveston.

 

In Response:

 

Federal Customs can be and are a problem at times everywhere.

We have had problems in Galveston, Miami, Ft Lauderdale,

and in Mediterranean ports. A hazard of cruising. Sometimes it is warranted and sometimes it seems not.

 

Galveston is on Gulf with immediate departure to Gulf.

Hobby airport is as close to Galveston as your airport is to downtown New Orleans.

Yes Bush Airport is further.

 

Hotels are plentiful, and almost all are back open. 97% from before storm are open. Many new ones have been built since and more in progress.

 

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and is all relative.

There are alot of fun things to do in Galveston.

Two Convention Centers, Festivals of all kinds continuously, Music Venues, Theater Venues, Large 1894 Opera House with Broadway Shows and Plays and Local and National award wining Musicians, Motorcycle Rally’s, Mardi Gras, Port of Galveston, Fishing, Night Life, Fine Restuarants, Outdoors, Parks, Tall Ships, Cruises, Marinas, Moody Gardens (with Beach, Gardens, Amusement Park and Education Centers with IMax) and with many interactive family things to do (Aquarium, Zoo, and travelling exhibits, and Rainforest) Large Aircraft Museum, Schlterbaun Water park (voted best park in US), Texas A&M University, Maritme Museum. Library with massive immigration information. Even with historical NO info.

One of largest most active Historical Foundations in US.

Many Museums and Historical Homes.

 

The Gulf of Mexico and bays are right at our city's edge.

We love our city and our beaches.

We the people of Galveston and Texas are proud

and recovering fast just like after the 1900 Storm.

 

Good luck to you and NO also.

But you’re direct negative comments about Galveston are unwarranted and only relative to you.

 

There are many unnice things that can be said about The State of Louisiana and City of New Orleans. But we are not beating you up from over here.

 

We are just getting on with our recovery.

God bless anyone including ya’ll...

that had to experience the wrath of these hurricanes the last three years.

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this was posted on another thread

 

Originally Posted by LHP

Usually we do self assist...I do not see you getting off by 8:30 ONLY because (it has been my experience) a lot of folks use self assist at this port and it takes awhile to get through Customs.

 

It also depends on how many NON US Citizens are on your cruise...that slows things down.

 

We just did the Triumph in January and we did NOT do the self assist...Customs was way backed up. The only thing that got us out of the Customs mess was that we used a porter. (best $5 I have ever spent)

 

But for the life of me, I can't remember what time we got to our car......

 

I'm not sure how using the porter helped with customs but it sounds a winner. anyone used a porter in NOLA? how does that help with customs?

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I can't remember if we used a porter in New Orleans, but in Galveston we used one and it saved us alot of time. We grabbed the porter while waitng in line and he took us and our bags to a customs line saved for the porters. We passed several hundred people still in line. We always do the self debarkation process.

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I cannot speak for the customs of the port but I have lived in NOLA for a long time before moving to Baton Rouge and I find it absurd that you relate your experienced with an understaffed customs to the a reason for not returning to the city as a whole. .

 

Hi Cruiser88,

 

When some folks have a bad experience anywhere some of them tend to over generalize. This could be the case with the OP. This January we cruised out of Miami for a week. When we returned, it was raining and the temperature was in the 30's. Yes, in Miami! Once we cleared customs no one was allowed to remain in the terminal. We had to go outside and stand in the freezing cold while we waited a looong and miserable time for our ride to show up. We weren't very happy but the thought of never visiting, much less cruising out of Miami all because of this one incident never even crossed our minds.

 

Being locals, my wife Dawn and I have cruised out of New Orleans on average once a year before and after Hurricane Katrina. We 've been on both NCL and Carnival and are looking forward to next year when RC deploys the Voyager of the Seas here. Being a realist, I understand that even five years out there are still issues that we have to overcome. However, there are many positive things happening right here, right now that will resolve some of the ills. Its a shame that anyone would decide not to explore all that our great city has to offer all because of one bad experience. :confused:

 

But to each his/her own.

 

Petro772, I wholeheartedly agree with you. :D

 

Jorge

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Here's hoping that our debarkation in Nov. will go ok out of NOLA. We have 1:10pm flights out of New Orleans Inter. Sounds like most of the times it goes smoothly. Guess if we get held up I will be calling the airport.

 

On another note, we're staying 2 nights before the cruise so we can sightsee the city some. Can't imagine coming all that way and not at least touring the city a little.

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We hit the full customs inspection in May too. I think people were not all off the ship until close to 2 pm... cant be helped. Just a matter of luck if your cruise is the one. Not sure why it took so much longer, as they didnt do anything special with us.

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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.

Just out of curiosity, how often does that happen? I will be cruising out of Galveston this November. We sail on a Saturday, I believe.

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Just out of curiosity, how often does that happen? I will be cruising out of Galveston this November. We sail on a Saturday, I believe.

 

Won't happen any time soon.

There are two max on any one day.

And that is on a Sunday.

 

Any cruise on a Saturday there will be only one ship.

 

And many all around improvements have occurred,

since those early days of cruising out of Galveston!

Greatly improved!

 

Seldom will happen!

Full customs inspections are either circumstancial situations(say drug smuggling suspicions),

or newly arrival ships into the US say from Europe on repositioning.

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I've cruise a number of times from New Orleans, both before and after Katrina and it has always been easy. Will be cruising again on Labor Day!:D

 

One thing we do is get a porter when disembarking. The porters have an express path to the head of the immigration line.

 

Any logjams are usually when everyone wants to be first off of the ship. We take our time and miss all that fun. ;)

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Last year we were on and off like the breeze. No problem at all except finding it. A local told us to stay low, low,LOW. ;)(I10)

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We've cruised out of Mobile, AL and NOLA and I must say that NOLA had their act together much better than Mobile ever thought about!!! Where NOLA had the lines to get your Sail & Sign cards (Carnival cruise) divided up by decks (I believe this is correct), Mobile had everyone in one VERY long line!!! I couldn't believe how quickly we got through in NOLA.

 

We leave two weeks from tomorrow (09.25.10) from NOLA again and I hope to have the same experience.

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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.

where do most need to spend the night before the cruise and also leave their car?

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I've cruise a number of times from New Orleans, both before and after Katrina and it has always been easy. Will be cruising again on Labor Day!:D

 

One thing we do is get a porter when disembarking. The porters have an express path to the head of the immigration line.

 

Any logjams are usually when everyone wants to be first off of the ship. We take our time and miss all that fun. ;)

 

We've cruised out of Mobile, AL and NOLA and I must say that NOLA had their act together much better than Mobile ever thought about!!! Where NOLA had the lines to get your Sail & Sign cards (Carnival cruise) divided up by decks (I believe this is correct), Mobile had everyone in one VERY long line!!! I couldn't believe how quickly we got through in NOLA.

 

We leave two weeks from tomorrow (09.25.10) from NOLA again and I hope to have the same experience.

 

Glad I thought to check here about porters & such! Last time out of NOLA we didn't need to check luggage & this time we definitely have too! Thanks for the info!

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