The Port of New Orleans, also known as Port NOLA, is the sixth-largest cruise port in the U.S. It has two adjacent terminal complexes and is located a short 10-minute drive from Canal Street and the French Quarter. Both major cruise lines and smaller lines sail from the port to various destinations, like the Caribbean, the coast and the inland river system.
Read on for our breakdown of the Port of New Orleans, including address information, cruise line terminals, directions, services and more. Also, be sure to check out Cruise Critic’s ranked cruise deals from the New Orleans cruise port and see what tips, tricks and secret advice our Cruise Critic members have to say about cruises from the Port of New Orleans.
The Port of New Orleans currently has two terminals. Below is a list of the terminals at the New Orleans cruise port and where each cruise line docks:
Note that river cruises dock more specifically at Thalia Street Wharf and Poydras Street Wharf. Poydras Street Wharf has the American Queen Voyages and Viking River Cruises while Thalia Street Wharf has American Cruise Lines.
If you’re planning to take your car, below are directions for the New Orleans cruise port:
Via I-10: Whether you’re driving to Port NOLA from the east or the west on I-10, take Exit 34A (US 90 W) at Tchoupitoulas St. (it’s the last exit before crossing the river on the Crescent City Connection Bridge) and follow the ramp. Turn right onto Tchoupitoulas St, left onto Henderson St. and again left onto Port of New Orleans Pl.
You’ll need to cross the railroad tracks to enter the Port of New Orleans. Erato Street Cruise Terminal will be on your right. Julia St. Cruise Terminal is located just a little bit farther downriver, next to The Outlet Collection at Riverwalk shopping complex.
Via the Crescent City Connection Bridges (US-90): Take Exit 11A towards Tchoupitoulas St. and stay right at the fork. Make a left on Henderson St. and again on Port of New Orleans Pl. You’ll find Erato Street Cruise Terminal on your right. Julia Street Cruise Terminal is adjacent to it along the same street.
From the City Center via Public Transportation: New Orleans is lacking in the public transportation arena. It's possible to use the city's streetcars to get to the New Orleans cruise port from some locations, but the network is very limited. The Riverfront Trolley line does stop just steps away from the nearby Convention Center, but it has a very limited route through the French Quarter.
The Erato Street Cruise Terminal Parking Garage is located on top of the terminal. There are porters to assist passengers inside the garage with transporting luggage to the ship. Once you've parked your car, take the elevators down and you're inside the terminal.
The Julia Street Cruise Terminal Parking Facility is located next to to the terminal. Passengers are directed to drop off their luggage at one of four doors at the terminal where porters collect it. Drivers then continue on to the parking facility.
Both parking lots charge a four-, five- or seven-day flat rate. Other rates are available on request at Port NOLA for passengers with longer itineraries.
Parking spots are guaranteed for all cruise passengers departing from the Port of New Orleans and assigned on a first-come, first-served basis. Overflow parking lots with free shuttle service to the cruise terminals at Port NOLA are available on the busiest months.
Disabled veterans get free cruise terminal parking at New Orleans cruise port.
Passengers flying into Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport have an array of public and private transportation options to choose from.
Direct shuttles to and from Port NOLA charge a flat rate that includes 3 bags per person. Tickets can be purchased online or on arrival at the ticket booth located in the Baggage Claim area. Shuttles depart every 30 minutes.
There is no direct public transit link between the airport and Port NOLA. However, the E1 and Airport Express buses shuttle passengers between the airport and Downtown. The express bus is usually faster and has two stops within a 10-minute drive of the New Orleans cruise port. Both buses depart from the outer curb outside the Ticket Lobby on Level 3.
The easiest and fastest way to get from Louis Armstrong International Airport to the Port of New Orleans is by taxi. There is a taxi stand right outside the terminal and the drive takes about 20 minutes.
Taxis can drop off and pick up passengers directly in front of their desired terminal at Port of New Orleans. A line of taxis is always waiting for passengers during debarkation.
There is a refreshment stand and a small store selling souvenirs and personal items in the cruise terminals at Port NOLA. There is an ATM inside, as well, if you need some quick cash.
The Port of New Orleans is within walking distance of dozens of shops and restaurants. French Quarter bars, restaurants and shops are all within a 10-minute drive of the Port of New Orleans. However, the most convenient options can be found at The Outlets at Riverwalk, which is conveniently located at the top of the Julia Street Cruise Terminal.
Amtrak offers a variety of routes to and from New Orleans, including itineraries departing from Chicago, New York City and even Los Angeles. All of them stop at Union Passenger Terminal, which is about a 10-minute cab ride from the Port of New Orleans.
Passengers should contact their cruise line before departure day about having a wheelchair waiting for them in the terminal.
There are elevators inside Erato Street Cruise Terminal Parking Garage connecting all levels with the passenger terminal.
Porters can receive luggage and take it to the cruise ship.
There are multiple bathrooms within Port NOLA.
There is Wi-Fi in both cruise terminals at the Port of New Orleans.
Both terminals at the Port of New Orleans have ample seating.
Checking in: All passengers go through the same security line upon entering either terminal at Port NOLA. Once inside the embarkation lobby, signs and staffers direct passengers to the line for their loyalty levels or cabin categories. Porters are based at multiple locations in both terminals to assist passengers. There are VIP lounges at both terminals, as well.
Luggage storage: Passengers can drop off luggage with porters at the terminals before their cruise and explore the city. Passengers disembarking must move their vehicles from the parking areas by noon to allow space for embarking passengers.
For those flying home, a local baggage transfer service (Advance Check-In!) will transfer baggage from the port to the airport -- a great option for those who want extra time to explore the city before catching late flights.https://www.advancecheckin.com/services.html
Baggage Pick up/Customs: After passengers have disembarked their cruise ship, they'll find their bags laid out by deck and/or zone. Signs direct passengers to the appropriate area. Porters are available to help.
After picking up their bags, passengers must clear Customs and Border Control at the Port of New Orleans. Once through, you're in the "passenger pick-up" area of the terminal.