I love Carnival and have cruised many times. I also live in New Orleans, LA and manage a 1M square foot office building right in the heart of downtown.
I attended a Superbowl meeting today and the New Orleans Police Department told us that in the middle of Superbowl week-end, there will be three Carnival Cruises coming in and leaving from the Port of New Orleans. For those of you that are not familiar with New Orleans, the Superdome is downtown, probably less than 2 miles from the Port!
If you are one of these cruisers arriving or departing this particular week-end, please know that the City of New Orleans will be an absolute zoo this week-end. Something that would usually take you 30-40 minutes to get to could take you as long as 2 hours to go a few miles. All of the exits with the exception of 1 in and around the Superdome will be closed. The next two exits past the Superdome are the exits for the Port. There will also be a lot of additional funcitons in and around the port during this time.
If your ship leaves on Sunday, keep in mind the SuperBowl is downtown that day. Finding a hotel that week-end is almost non-existent and if you can find it, it will be in excess of $300 to $750.00 per night IF you can even find one.
So, be prepared and try to come in the night before to avoid this huge traffic mess. I think the New Orleans Police Department is really playing it down because they are accustomed to large crowds. However, many people that come to New Orleans to leave are typically from areas in around New Orleans and typically may be seniors.
You need to plan ahead NOW. Don't wait and drive in the morning of and expect to breeze right through. I would arrive in New Orleans at least 4 hours prior to your departure time to give yourself time to navigate through the furniture. Avoid the Superdome traffic at all costs!!!
There are really no alternate routes so you just have to sit in the traffic. Taxicabs will have a difficult time getting you to the port from the airport. The airport also will be a zoo as well.
Don't mean to scare anyone away. Just don't want you to miss your boat. Plan ahead and get here REALLY early. You basically have to go through the traffic for the Superdome to get to the port.