How Long Does It Take a Cruise Ship to Leave New Orleans?

By Anna Duncan

Cruise ships leaving New Orleans can be a thrilling experience, one that many people look forward to with anticipation. The Crescent City is the perfect jumping off point for a voyage, offering many options for sightseeing, dining, and exploring the culture of Louisiana.

If you’re ready to set sail from New Orleans on a cruise ship, you’ll want to know how long it takes to leave the port.

The amount of time it takes for a cruise ship to leave New Orleans depends largely on the size of the vessel and its departure time. Large ships may take up to an hour or more to fully depart from the port.

This is due in part to their size and maneuverability; large ships require more time for turning and docking than smaller vessels do. Additionally, smaller ships require less preparation time before departing the port than larger ones.

For most cruises leaving from New Orleans, boarding starts approximately two hours before departure time. During this time, passengers must check-in and board their ship; this process can take some time as staff members check passengers’ passports and complete other necessary paperwork. Once everyone is aboard and settled, the crew can begin preparing for departure.

Once all preparations are complete, it usually takes about 15 minutes for a cruise ship to depart from its mooring in New Orleans’ port district. After initial departure from the dock, it takes anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour for a cruise ship to be at least five miles away from shoreline.


It typically takes around two hours in total for a cruise ship to leave New Orleans — with boarding time accounting for much of that — but actual departure only requires 15 minutes or so. After that period of time has passed, it generally takes 30 minutes to an hour before the vessel is at least five miles away from shoreline.