Riverboat Cruise in New Orleans - What's Included, Cost, & Why You Should go

November 7th 2023
Mike Fisher
Riverboat Cruise in New Orleans - What's Included, Cost, & Why You Should go

Nestled along the majestic Mississippi River, New Orleans, the crown jewel of Louisiana, offers travelers an enchanting experience aboard its historic river boats. These vessels, steeped in rich history and cultural significance, not only provide a leisurely escape but also serve as gateways to the city’s fascinating past and vibrant present. In this article, we will embark on a journey to explore the history, culture, and tours available on New Orleans river boats, inviting travelers to indulge in the charm of the Deep South. One of the best ways to see and explore New Orleans, You’ll learn all you need to know to prepare yourself for the perfect Riverboat Cruise in New Orleans!

Table of Contents

History of Riverboats in New Orleans

historic new orleans riverboat

The Mississippi River has long been the lifeblood of New Orleans, shaping its culture and economy. River boats, once essential for trade and transportation, now stand as iconic symbols of the city’s heritage. The 19th century witnessed the golden age of steamboats, where these elegant vessels adorned the river, ferrying goods, people, and stories up and down its winding course. Today, these boats, while modernized for comfort and safety, retain the allure of a bygone era, offering travelers a taste of the past.

New Orleans river boats are not just vessels; they are floating cultural hubs. Step on board, and you’ll find yourself immersed in the rhythms of jazz, the heart and soul of this vibrant city. Live jazz bands serenade passengers, filling the air with the melodious tunes that have defined New Orleans for generations. As you sway to the music, savor authentic Creole and Cajun cuisine, a gastronomic journey that mirrors the city’s diverse heritage. Consistently revered as one of the best experiences for first-time New Orleans travelers, you won’t regret carving out some time on one of these timeless vessels.

Types of Riverboat Cruises

A New Orleans riverboat cruise can come in all forms. With multiple paddlewheeler vessels floating the river, and affordable rates, travelers really have their pick of the perfect experience. While two of the most well-known riverboats are the Creole Queen and Natchez, there are several other quality boats offering cruises on the Mississippi.

While there are slight differences to each boat, most cruises will offer similar perks including:

  1. Breathtaking sights of Downtown New Orleans, the French Quarter, and the Mississippi River.
  2. New Orleans-themed beverages and snacks.
  3. Where passengers can purchase memorabilia, books, or local crafts related to the history of New Orleans and the Mississippi River.
  4. Comfortable Seating and Viewing Decks.
  5. Family-friendly atmosphere. A choice experience for families with toddlers, teens, and seniors.

While many cruises offer similar attributes, the focus of the cruise varies from package to package. These focuses include history, haunted, dining, and jazz cruises. Just make sure to check with your cruise provider before booking to make sure they offer the experiences you are looking for (which may vary from the ones listed below)!

History Cruise

history riverboat cruise new orleans

New Orleans History Tours are a favorite among travelers, and guided tours on river boats are like time machines, transporting you back to the antebellum South. Knowledgeable guides share captivating stories of the river’s significance during the Civil War, highlighting landmarks that have withstood the test of time.

What’s Included in a History Cruise

  1. Guided Historical Narration: Knowledgeable guides provide engaging commentary about the history of New Orleans, the Mississippi River, and the significance of various landmarks along the route. Passengers learn about the city’s founding, its role in the Civil War, the steamboat era, and other pivotal historical events.

  2. Scenic River Views: As the boat sails along the Mississippi River, passengers can enjoy panoramic views of the city’s skyline, historic districts, and natural landscapes. The cruise often provides excellent photo opportunities of iconic sites such as the French Quarter and St. Louis Cathedral.

  3. Access to Historical Exhibits: Some riverboats have onboard exhibits or museums showcasing artifacts and information about the history of steamboats, river trade, and life along the Mississippi River in the 19th century. Passengers can explore these exhibits to gain a deeper understanding of the region’s heritage.

  4. Traditional Creole and Cajun Cuisine: Depending on the cruise package, passengers may be treated to authentic Creole and Cajun dishes. Meals often include local specialties like gumbo, jambalaya, and beignets, allowing passengers to indulge in the flavors that define New Orleans’ culinary scene.

  5. Themed Events and Activities: Some history cruises feature themed events, such as costume parties or historical reenactments, adding an interactive element to the experience. Passengers may have the opportunity to participate in activities related to the historical theme of the cruise.

  6. Live Entertainment: Many history cruises feature live jazz bands or other musical performances, creating a vibrant atmosphere reminiscent of New Orleans’ musical heritage. This entertainment adds a lively touch to the historical journey, infusing the cruise with the city’s rhythmic energy.

How Much Does a History River Boat Cruise Cost in New Orleans?

On average, a basic history river boat cruise in New Orleans could start at around $30 to $50 per person for a standard tour lasting a few hours. These cruises often include narrated tours, scenic views, and some light refreshments. However, for more specialized experiences, such as dinner cruises with gourmet meals, live entertainment, and extended tours, the prices can range from $50 to $150 or more per person.

Why You Should Go on a History Cruise

a history cruise in New Orleans offers a blend of education, entertainment, and cultural immersion. Whether you’re a history enthusiast, a music lover, a foodie, or someone simply looking to relax and enjoy beautiful scenery, a history cruise provides a multifaceted experience that captures the essence of this vibrant and historically rich city.

Here are some of the top reasons to go on a history cruise in New Orleans:

  1. Rich Cultural Heritage: New Orleans is steeped in history, blending French, Spanish, African, and Creole influences. A history cruise provides a deep dive into the city’s multicultural past, offering insights into its architecture, traditions, and diverse heritage.
  2. Educational Experience: A guided history cruise is like a floating classroom. Knowledgeable guides share fascinating stories about the city’s founding, historical events, and iconic landmarks. Learning about the past in the very environment it happened can be a truly immersive and memorable experience.
  3. Historical Landmarks: From the French Quarter to St. Louis Cathedral, many historical landmarks are visible from the river. A history cruise provides an excellent vantage point to appreciate these sites and understand their significance in the context of New Orleans’ history.
  4. Interactive Learning: Some history cruises offer interactive elements, such as exhibits, reenactments, or themed activities, making the learning experience engaging and enjoyable for both adults and children.
  5. Community and Social Interaction: Cruises often bring together like-minded individuals who share an interest in history and culture. It’s an opportunity to socialize, make new friends, and share experiences with fellow travelers.

Haunted River Cruise

haunted river cruise

New Orleans is known for its ghostly tales and haunted past. This seedy backstory can be explored through history tours on land and water. Specialized river boat tours delve into the eerie legends and supernatural stories, taking brave souls on spine-chilling adventures along the dimly lit riverbanks.

What’s Included in a Haunted Cruise

  1. Guided Haunted Narration: Knowledgeable guides provide chilling and captivating stories about New Orleans’ haunted history. They share eerie tales of ghosts, voodoo, and supernatural occurrences, enhancing the spooky atmosphere of the cruise.

  2. Access to Haunted Locations: Haunted locations in New Orleans are some of the most interesting and terrifying places in the city. These paranormal hot spots are where you’re likely to find ghosts, vampires, voodoo, and witches during your stay in the Big Easy. Depending on the cruise route, you might pass by or stop at locations known for their haunted history. Guides might share stories related to these sites, giving passengers a closer look at the places believed to be haunted.

  3. Paranormal Investigations: In some specialized haunted cruises, paranormal investigators or mediums may be onboard to conduct interactive sessions. Passengers may have the opportunity to participate in ghost hunting activities using specialized equipment, adding a hands-on element to the experience.

  4. Themed Decor and Ambiance: The boat itself may be decorated to enhance the spooky atmosphere, with dim lighting, eerie music, and thematic decorations contributing to the haunted ambiance

  5. Interactive Activities: Some haunted river boat cruises include interactive activities, such as tarot card readings or palmistry sessions, allowing passengers to engage with the supernatural themes on a personal level.

How Much Does a Haunted River Boat Cruise Cost in New Orleans?

Generally, haunted river boat cruises are considered specialized and themed experiences, so they might be priced slightly higher than standard historical or scenic cruises. Prices can range from approximately $25 to $65 or more per person, depending on the level of inclusions and the duration of the cruise. Some operators offer package deals for groups or families, providing discounts for booking multiple tickets.

Why You Should Go on a Haunted Cruise

a history cruise in New Orleans offers a blend of education, entertainment, and cultural immersion. Whether you’re a history enthusiast, a music lover, a foodie, or someone simply looking to relax and enjoy beautiful scenery, a history cruise provides a multifaceted experience that captures the essence of this vibrant and historically rich city.

Here are some of the top reasons to go on a haunted cruise in New Orleans:

  1. Immersive Ghostly Narratives: New Orleans is a city steeped in supernatural lore and haunted history. On a haunted riverboat cruise, knowledgeable guides share eerie and captivating ghost stories, bringing the city’s haunted past to life. Listening to these narratives in the very locations they purportedly occurred creates a genuinely immersive experience.
  2. Spooky Atmosphere: The combination of dim lighting, eerie music, and thematic decorations on the riverboat creates a spooky ambiance. The mysterious setting enhances the ghostly tales, making you feel like you’re stepping into a different world where the supernatural is real.
  3. Historical Education: Many ghost stories are intertwined with historical events and landmarks. On a haunted riverboat cruise, you can learn about the history of New Orleans while delving into the city’s supernatural side. It’s an educational experience that combines history and folklore.
  4. Scenic Views: While you enjoy the ghostly narrations, you’ll be treated to scenic views of the Mississippi River and the city’s landmarks. The contrast between the serene river and the eerie stories creates a unique and memorable visual experience.
  5. Paranormal Investigations: Specialized haunted cruises may include paranormal investigators or mediums who conduct interactive sessions. Passengers might have the opportunity to participate in ghost hunting activities using specialized equipment, providing a hands-on and thrilling experience for those interested in the supernatural.
  6. Thrilling Adventure: If you enjoy being scared in a safe and controlled environment, a haunted riverboat cruise offers a thrilling adventure. It allows you to experience the excitement of the unknown and the supernatural without any real danger.

Dining Cruise

steamboat natchez couple dining on riverboat cruise

Food lovers can rejoice in culinary cruises that showcase the best of New Orleans cuisine. Indulge in cooking demonstrations, wine tastings, filling buffets, full bars, and gourmet dining experiences prepared by creole and cajun chefs, all while drifting along the gentle currents of the Mississippi.

What’s Included in a Dining Cruise

  1. Gourmet Dining: One of the main highlights of a dining cruise is the exquisite meal prepared by skilled chefs. The menu often features a selection of gourmet dishes, including appetizers, entrees, side dishes, and desserts. Depending on the cruise, the cuisine might be Creole, Cajun, or a fusion of various culinary styles, showcasing the rich flavors of New Orleans.

  2. Beverages: Dining cruises typically include a variety of beverages. Non-alcoholic options such as water, soda, coffee, and tea are usually included with the meal. Some cruises might also offer complimentary wine, beer, or specialty cocktails, especially during dinner cruises. Additional alcoholic beverages might be available for purchase.

  3. Live Entertainment: Many dining cruises feature live musical performances to enhance the ambiance. Live jazz bands, solo musicians, or other entertainers provide background music, adding to the overall atmosphere of the cruise. Some cruises may also have dance floors for those who want to enjoy dancing under the stars.

  4. Professional Service: Dining cruises are known for their impeccable service. Professional staff members, including servers and bartenders, ensure that passengers have a pleasant and comfortable experience. Attentive service enhances the overall dining cruise experience.

  5. Special Dietary Accommodations: Many dining cruises can accommodate special dietary needs or restrictions. Vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, or other dietary preferences can often be accommodated with advance notice.

  6. Memorable Atmosphere: The combination of gourmet dining, live entertainment, scenic views, and exceptional service creates a memorable and romantic atmosphere. Dining cruises are popular for special occasions, anniversaries, and romantic outings.

How Much Does a Dining River Boat Cruise Cost in New Orleans?

The cost of a dining river boat cruise in New Orleans can vary widely based on several factors, including the cruise operator, the type of cruise (such as lunch, brunch, dinner, or specialty cruises), the duration of the cruise, the menu offerings, the level of service, and any additional inclusions or entertainment provided. Prices also depend on whether alcoholic beverages are included or available for purchase separately.

Lunch Cruises: Lunch cruises, which typically offer a shorter duration and a lighter meal, can range from approximately $30 to $60 per person.

Brunch Cruises: Brunch cruises, especially those held on weekends, can range from around $40 to $80 per person. Brunch cruises often feature a combination of breakfast and lunch dishes.

Dinner Cruises: Dinner cruises, which usually offer a more elaborate dining experience, can range from approximately $50 to $150 or more per person. Dinner cruises often include multi-course meals and are popular for special occasions.

Specialty or Holiday Cruises: Specialty cruises, such as those held on holidays (like Valentine’s Day or New Year’s Eve) or themed events, can be higher in price and often include additional entertainment, activities, or gourmet offerings.

Why You Should Go on a Dining Cruise

a dinner cruise in New Orleans offers a delightful combination of gourmet dining, scenic beauty, live entertainment, and romantic ambiance. Whether you’re a local resident or a visitor, a dinner cruise provides a unique way to experience the city, making it an unforgettable and enjoyable evening on the water.

Here are some of the top reasons to go on a dining cruise in New Orleans:

  1. Taste the Food of New Orleans: One of the main highlights of a dinner cruise is the opportunity to enjoy a gourmet creole and cajun meal prepared by skilled New Orleans chefs. These cruises often feature multi-course menus with a variety of delicious dishes, showcasing the culinary richness of New Orleans. It’s a chance to savor local flavors and indulge in a fine dining experience.
  2. Romantic Ambiance: Dinner cruises offer a romantic setting, making them ideal activities for couples and special occasions in NOLA. Whether it’s a date night, anniversary celebration, or marriage proposal, the intimate ambiance of a dinner cruise adds a touch of romance to the evening.
  3. Relaxing Atmosphere: Unlike traditional restaurants, dinner cruises provide a serene and leisurely environment. The gentle motion of the boat, combined with the soothing sounds of the water, creates a relaxing atmosphere, allowing guests to unwind and enjoy their meal at a leisurely pace.
  4. Special Occasions: Dinner cruises are perfect for celebrating special occasions such as birthdays, anniversaries, engagements, or graduations. The unique setting and attentive service make these cruises memorable and suitable for marking significant life events.
  5. Cultural Experience: New Orleans has a rich cultural heritage, and a dinner cruise allows you to immerse yourself in the city’s vibrant atmosphere. From the live music to the culinary delights, you get a taste of the city’s cultural diversity while enjoying the cruise.

{Read Reviews & Book New Orleans Dinner Cruises Online}

Jazz Cruise

creole queen riverboat cruise jazz band performing

Many New Orleans cruises feature live jazz bands or other musical performances, creating a vibrant atmosphere reminiscent of New Orleans’ musical heritage. This entertainment adds a lively touch to the historical journey, infusing the cruise with the city’s rhythmic energy.

What’s Included in a Jazz Cruise

  1. Live Jazz Performances: The highlight of a jazz cruise is, of course, the live music. Talented jazz bands or musicians perform onboard, serenading passengers with the soulful tunes of jazz. The music often includes a mix of traditional New Orleans jazz, blues, and other jazz genres, creating a lively and immersive musical experience.

  2. Dance Floors: Some jazz cruises feature dance floors where passengers can groove to the music. Whether you’re a seasoned dancer or just looking to tap your feet, the dance floor provides an opportunity to enjoy the music in a more interactive way.

  3. Gourmet Dining (Optional): While not always included, some jazz cruises offer gourmet dining options. Passengers can enjoy a delicious meal while listening to the music, creating a complete sensory experience. The dining options may include a buffet, multi-course meals, or à la carte selections, showcasing the city’s culinary delights.

  4. Themed Events: Some jazz cruises host themed events or special performances. These events might focus on specific jazz styles, pay tribute to famous jazz musicians, or celebrate jazz festivals. Themed cruises often include additional entertainment and activities related to the theme.

  5. Educational Commentary: Knowledgeable guides or musicians onboard may provide educational commentary about the history of jazz, its origins, and its significance in New Orleans. Passengers can learn about the evolution of jazz music while enjoying the live performances.

How Much Does a Jazz River Boat Cruise Cost in New Orleans?

Basic Jazz Cruises: Basic jazz cruises without dining options can start at around $20 to $40 per person for shorter daytime cruises. These cruises typically focus on the music experience and the scenic views.

Dinner Jazz Cruises: Jazz cruises that include a dining experience, such as dinner buffets or multi-course meals, can range from approximately $50 to $150 or more per person. The price often includes both the meal and the entertainment.

Why You Should Go on a Jazz Cruise

New Orleans is the birthplace of jazz, and there’s no better way to experience this iconic music genre than through a live performance on a riverboat. Talented jazz bands or musicians create an electrifying atmosphere, infusing the cruise with the soulful melodies and improvisational spirit of jazz. But jazz is just one of the several reasons to go on a jazz riverboat cruise.

Here are some of the top reasons to go on a jazz cruise in New Orleans:

  1. Cultural Immersion: Jazz is deeply rooted in the cultural fabric of New Orleans. A jazz riverboat cruise allows you to immerse yourself in the city’s musical heritage, providing a genuine taste of the local culture. You’ll be surrounded by the sounds that have defined New Orleans for generations.
  2. Dance and Groove: Many jazz riverboat cruises feature dance floors, inviting passengers to dance and groove to the music. Whether you’re a seasoned dancer or someone who just wants to tap their feet to the beat, the opportunity to dance to live jazz music adds an interactive and joyful element to the experience.
  3. Romantic Setting: Jazz riverboat cruises are often chosen for romantic occasions. The combination of live jazz, scenic views, and the intimate atmosphere of the boat makes these cruises perfect for date nights, anniversaries, or marriage proposals. The romantic ambiance sets the stage for memorable moments.
  4. Social Experience: Jazz riverboat cruises are social events where you can meet fellow music enthusiasts, share your love for jazz, and connect with people who appreciate the genre. It’s an opportunity to socialize and enjoy the music with like-minded individuals.
  5. Memorable Entertainment: Whether you’re a jazz aficionado or someone new to the genre, a jazz riverboat cruise provides an entertaining and memorable experience. The combination of live music, scenic beauty, and cultural immersion ensures that the cruise becomes a cherished memory.

More New Orleans Water-Based Tours

girl holding alligator on manchac swamp tour

New Orleans has a multitude of exciting things to do on the water. Explore the waterways of New Orleans and southern Louisiana to come up-close with wildlife, historical landmarks, and ancient swamplands. Here are a few of the top water-based tours you can try along with your New Orleans River Boat Cruise.

Airboat Tours: New Orleans airboat tours offer an exhilarating adventure through the scenic swamps and marshlands of Louisiana. These tours provide high-speed rides over the water, allowing visitors to witness diverse wildlife such as alligators, birds, and turtles in their natural habitat. With experienced guides providing informative commentary, passengers gain insights into the swamp ecosystem and the region’s rich biodiversity. Along with excitement, these tours also offer unique photography opportunities, allowing visitors to capture the picturesque landscapes and wildlife. Additionally, some tours incorporate elements of Cajun and Creole culture, providing a well-rounded and immersive experience for nature enthusiasts and cultural explorers alike.

{Read Reviews & Book New Orleans Airboat Tours Online}

Swamp Tours: New Orleans swamp tours offer a captivating exploration of the city’s unique and biodiverse wetlands. Led by expert guides, these tours take visitors on boat rides through the picturesque swamps, providing close encounters with fascinating wildlife, including alligators, birds, and turtles. The best way to see majestic Louisiana swamps, Swamp tours blend nature, education, and culture, making them a must-visit attraction for anyone interested in the beauty and diversity of Louisiana’s swamps.

{Read Reviews & Book New Orleans Swamp Tours Online}

Be in the know!

Be informed about our latest offers
You can unsubscribe at any time


© 2024 Tripshock
This website uses cookies. Please visit our Privacy Policy to learn how we use cookies and how to control your cookie settings. By clicking or navigating this site you consent to our use of cookies.