Journey along the mighty Mississippi in style on one of these stunning New Orleans steamboat cruises.
Despite being well into the 21st century, there is more than one steamboat company in New Orleans, which is a testament to the enduring popularity of this romantic old mode of transportation. Steamboat rides and cruises are commonly accompanied by musical performances or dinner, but for a more cost effective steamboat experience on the Mississippi, there are some ride-only tours available. Here’s a look at your best steamboat cruise options in New Orleans.
New Orleans Day Jazz Cruise on the Steamboat Natchez
The Steamboat Natchez is thought to be the only remaining authentic steamboat left in New Orleans. Built in 1975 and occasionally requiring some upkeep, this stunning vessel is an impressive relic of a bygone era of Mississippi travel. Guests on these two-hour steamboat cruises, which usually depart daily at 11:30am, can also visit the impressive engine room, which is like a working museum piece. A live band playing calliope music adds to the local atmosphere. From $39 per person.
New Orleans Creole Queen History Cruise
The Creole Queen is another pretty paddleboat that regularly plies the waters of the Mississippi from New Orleans. This beautiful white vessel, with yellow and blue fringe, elegant balustrades and a red paddlewheel, runs tours along the river to Chalmette Battlefield. It was here that the Battle of New Orleans took place in 1815 between the British and United States’ armies. Disembark here for an hour-long guided tour of the battlefield before resuming the boat ride. From $39 per person.
Sunday Jazz Cruise Aboard a Steamboat
Another unique aspect of New Orleans is the city’s musical pedigree. There has long been a connection between New Orleans and jazz, with many people believing that the genre was actually born right here at the end of the Mississippi River. And there’s a steamboat cruise to combine both features that runs every Sunday. The trip sets out from the French Quarter and makes for a perfectly laid-back start to the afternoon. From $39 per person.
Evening Jazz Cruise on the Steamboat Natchez
Another New Orleans cruise, also aboard the Steamboat Natchez, takes place in the evenings on most days of the year. There is occasional narration from the captain, helping you to make the most of the landmarks visible along the route, as the day turns to night. Then it’s over to the resident jazz band, the Dukes of Dixieland, to provide the evening’s entertainment while the skyline of New Orleans slowly illuminates beneath the moonlit skies. From $50 per person.
New Orleans Evening Jazz Boat Cruise
There’s a similar evening cruise aboard the Creole Queen paddlewheeler. Sullivan Dabney Jr. and the Muzik Jazz Band play an upbeat brand of jazz perfect to dance to. Or you can make the most of the serene promenade deck, where stunning sunset views (depending on the time of year) cast New Orleans in a different, calmer light. As with all steamboat cruises on this list, there is a bar on board, but beverages do cost extra. From $52 per person.