My husband won this cruise and all we had to do was to pay port charges and tax, etc. He was a first time cruiser and I had cruised four times previously. We only had a few choices and elected to leave from New Orleans so that we could experience the city. I was a little hesitating due to the security issues in Mexico and reading some of the reviews. I was pleasantly surprised as the ship and crew were excellent.
We booked our own air and hotel and it was really easy to get to the port. We stayed one night at Marriott and cab fare was just $15 but it was so close to hotels that when we disembarked we walked with our luggage to the Harrah's hotel and did not need transportation.