We took this cruise from New Orleans, But we flew in the night before and stayed at the Whitney hotel near Bourbon Street and also a short drive to Julia street cruise ship terminal. The hotel was very expensive because of Mardi Gras at $259 US a night. We took it anyway because it was only for one night, it is essential to sleep in the night before in order not to miss your ship.
We had bought the priority access prior to the cruise and I can tell you that it was 100% worth it. When we got to the pier by taxi people everywhere luggage everywhere, we left them with the people who tend to your luggage and then we walked inside. At 10:30 AM there was already a couple of thousand people waiting to go on. Even though our embarking time was set for 12:30 we still showed up at 10:30.
It is a bit chaotic but we quickly went to the front of the line and sat down for about an hour. When they start the embarkation, They start with people needing assistance then The guests who are frequent cruisers I seem to remember that they were platinum then the Haven and then people with priority access. If not we would have had to go on by numbers and wait our turn.
OK for two people or a small child on top of the two people but no more, it was clean and kept