Lisa, first let me introduce myself, my name is Randy. LOL you seem to have a very great family name there. You can arrive to check in about 11 or 12 that is better said to stand in line to get paperwork and such. New Orleans is very good and fast at checking in at least the last time we were there 2 years ago. You will get your sign and sail cards your cabin, if you dont have that already. Your carryon is scanned than it is time for your boarding picture and than on board you go. Depending on what you plan to do as far as taking stuff on shore. Your camera Id and money for sure. We always make sure we take bottle water from the ship with us and some snacks. You can book shore tours on board or just wander around yourselves. My wife and I have booked a tour in Jamaica with a private company, in Cayman we will probably take a cab or book with the ship and in Cozumel we will shop in the downtown area and eat lunch at a nice place called Pancho's. If you just wander around on the BB here I am sure you will find other answers to questions. Are you arriving early in New Orleans or staying there a day or two after your cruise? any more questions please feel free to ask.