As mentioned in another thread, my husband and I were shocked by how smoothly things went in the Port of Manhattan when we returned on the Norwegian Gem on 9/11. Many kudos to everyone there for their kindness, professionalism and speed.
We were on Dawn last year, returning to NYC on 9/12, and were delayed on the ship due to customs (allegedly) for many hours. People were becoming irate and the crew couldn't serve drinks or food or anything because they were preparing for the next wave of guests. The cruise director was apologizing profusely over the PA and begging us not to blame NCL for the hold up; he said it was because it was so close to the terrorist attack anniversary that customs checks were intensified. (Of course, then the annoyed customs agent said, "Let me guess —*they blamed the delay on us?") All in all, it was an understandable but unpleasant end to what was otherwise a wonderful cruise.
So coming back on 9/11 this year (yeah, I paid more attention to the departure date than the return date, and then I was kicking myself...), especially on the 10th anniversary, and with terror threats swirling around the bridges and tunnels, we expected a total disembarkation nightmare. It was anything but. The ship was scheduled to be cleared by customs by 8 a.m. and they were 15 minutes ahead of schedule. There was a brief pause at the time the first tower was hit as everyone on the ship and working at the port took a moment of silence. Then everything resumed. We were in the last group to disembark and were off the ship by 10:30.
Overall, besides the hiccup with the Dawn's return last year, we've had nothing but amazingly organized experiences at the NYC port. We've left out of there five times now (four NCL, one Carnival). Just thought I'd share for anyone considering an NCL cruise (or other line) out of NYC.
Booked on Carnival Freedom, Feb. 2012 (Cozumel, Costa Rica, Panama)
NCL Gem, Sept. 2011
NCL Jewel, Feb. 2011
NCL Dawn, Sept. 2010
NCL Spirit, Feb. 2010
NCL Gem, March 2009
RCCL Explorer of the Seas, Feb. 2008
Carnival Miracle, May 2007
Carnival Conquest, April 2006
Caribbean Princess, Feb. 2005