#Feelfree Cruising out of New Orleans
This is the first in a series of posts about our recent cruise on Norwegian Cruise Lines out of the port of New Orleans.
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Last month we cruised on the Norwegian Dawn out of the port of New Orleans. This cruise was chosen partly because of the port and partly because of the itinerary. We had a great time and wanted to share some tips with you. Some of these tips will be for this Itinerary and others will be applicable for almost any cruise you take. If you are planning on going on a cruise, follow these simple tips we offer in this series so you can have a great vacation.
One of the most important things to consider is that the vast majority of cruises are international vacations. This will require a passport. I should say this will require a passport that is not about to expire.
I flew a trip to Costa Rica one time with a family that had a big problem once we arrived. The young son’s passport was expiring in a few months and did not meet the minimum requirement for Costa Rica. The Costa Rican officials delayed our flight to MSP because they were deporting the young son. The poor little boy and his dad had to fly all the way back to Minnesota with us to get a new passport.
Make sure that your passports are not about to expire. If you don’t have a passport, get one and plan far enough ahead so you have it in time for your vacation. Having no passport or an old passport about to expire is a good way to ruin a vacation. Do the research on your destinations yourself. In this example, the young boy was allowed on a flight to a destination where his passport was invalid. The airline missed the expiration date on the young boys passport.
There have been so many times in my flying career where I witnessed first hand the frustration and anxiety of passengers when there is a flight delay. Even though the weather is good at the airport you are flying out of and good at the destination port city, you can still have flight delays or cancellations. The plane you are taking may be coming from an area of bad weather somewhere else in the country causing delays that may cause a delay for you.
Vacations are a time to relax and kick back a little. Why schedule a flight to catch a cruise at the last possible minute? Many cruises start with a day at sea. That means that if you happen to miss the start of the cruise, you are already two days behind. That is if you can even catch up to the cruise itinerary at all. Don’t do this to yourself. You don’t need the additional stress in your life. Give yourself a little extra time before your cruise. If taking an earlier flight is just not an option for you, consider buying insurance to cover expenses related to missing your cruise for almost any reason.
A couple of years ago my wife and I rode our motorcycles the length of the Mississippi River. This trip started at Lake Itasca in northern Minnesota and ended in Venice, Louisiana. The route we took followed the Great River Road and was nearly 2500 miles one way. Ever since that trip, I have been fascinated by the lower Mississippi River. I really wanted to see the area from the other side of the levees.
We drove to New Orleans to take this cruise. We planned our itinerary so we would arrive in New Orleans a full day ahead of the cruise departure. We had a day in New Orleans to explore. We also had a stress free night not worrying about flight delays or baggage issues.
With the extra day we were able to do something we had never done before. We toured a sugar plantation just upstream from New Orleans. This was a very interesting tour and well worth the time.
Many cruise lines offer pre or post cruise tours as well. You may want to take advantage of these opportunities if you don’t feel like creating your own itineraries.
Next in the Series, tips for arriving at the ship on cruise day.
Captain Dan’s Tips: No passport? Get one. If it has been a while since you looked at your passport verify that it meets the requirements of the itinerary you have chosen. Click Here for this cruise.
When cruising try to get an earlier flight or arrive a day early. Leave your stress at home.
If driving to the port for your cruise, check with the state travel sites or chambers of commerce to see if there are any lodging deals to be had while you are there. On our way to New Orleans we stopped at a Louisiana visitor center along the freeway and they had a clip board full of hotels offering discounts. We stayed in the French Quarter of New Orleans for a very good rate by doing this.
We had a great time on the Norwegian Dawn, and are sure you will too.