Louisiana is a culturally unique place to visit. From its music to its food, to life along the river, you’ll find a rich and diverse culture that has been well-preserved. For instance, steamboat, paddleboat, and riverboat tours still cruise up and down the mighty Mississippi River each day. Read on to learn more about these amazing riverboat cruises on the Mississippi. You won’t want to miss this experience, especially if you’re planning a visit to New Orleans.
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In this article, you will find out more about:
- The History of Mississippi Riverboats
- Riverboat Casinos
- Live Jazz on Riverboat Louis Armstrong
- Riverboat City of New Orleans (with Video)
- Natchez Steamboat Tour
- Final Thoughts
The History of Riverboat Cruises on the Mississippi
Since the early 1800s, steamboats navigated the shallow waters and strong currents carrying freight and passengers along the Mississipi River. By the 1830s, more than 1200 cruised the river using steam power and fueling economic development and tourism in the US. It was the Golden Age of Steamboats.
Today, riverboats are a popular attraction on the Mississippi. Though they can be found throughout major hubs like Monroe and Baton Rouge, we recommend these unforgettable riverboat experiences in Louisiana that are based in New Orleans.
Whether you’re looking for a relaxing day on the water or an up-close look at local wildlife beyond the city, a riverboat tour is an excellent and affordable way to get around.
And, you may want to try your luck on board, too.
All the way from Illinois down to Houma, Louisiana, boats are allowed to operate casinos—or, more officially, ‘games of chance’ in the water. Even back in the 1800s, this was commonplace on riverboats.
Trips to the likes of the Amelia Bell in Lake Palourde, Louisiana make for a fun night, but many of these riverboats are antiquated and located off the beaten path.
While these old casinos are a beautiful sight, there are now websites that provide deposit bonuses and matches for trusted gaming anywhere in the world—so long as there’s service.
More contemporary riverboat cruises on the Mississippi offer another alternative. For instance, Riverboat Louis Armstrong features four decks of entertainment, while the riverboat City of New Orleans hosts themed parties for each holiday. These are both excellent options for those who associate the home of jazz with ceramic chips and want to find a way to game on the water.
Live Jazz on Riverboat Louis Armstrong
The Louis Armstrong arrived in 2019 as a fully renovated 3,000-passenger boat. This is one of the city’s newest riverboats that offers tours for visitors and locals.
The stunning riverboat offers guests four separate decks (mentioned above) to drift between, which includes a live jazz club and restaurant.
Since its start, the riverboat has received positive acclaim for its ambiance, music, and food. It may look like it’s been plucked from an 1800s American tale, but it features modern, state-of-the-art facilities and resources to make the trip unforgettable.
If you enjoy smooth jazz, you shouldn’t miss this tour. After all, the riverboat’s name is an ode to one of the great jazz musicians to come from New Orleans.
City of New Orleans Riverboat
Much like the Louis Armstrong, the City of New Orleans Riverboat is a new edition to the Mississippi. It made its debut in 2018 as a riverboat tour that offers a very special look into the New Orleans lifestyle: celebrating holidays.
Every year, the City of New Orleans fills its decks and takes to the water to help passengers ring in holidays like New Years, Valentine’s Day, Easter, and Thanksgiving. They even feature Christmas caroling tours with Santa on deck.
For this reason, tickets are slightly more expensive. However, passengers can board the City of New Orleans with full trust that they’ll deliver a fabulous holiday experience.
Just be sure to reserve your tickets in advance.
Natchez Steamboat Tour
As the only running steamboat in New Orleans, the Steamboat Natchez is a liner that provides daily cruises for those in the Southern City. Passengers are allowed an up-close-and-personal look at historic areas of New Orleans—all from the water.
Self-guided tours are available onboard, which point out important locations and provide information on the city’s fascinating history.
The tour lasts two hours and comes with a lunch buffet, though we recommend travelers take advantage of the Sunday Jazz Brunch Cruise. The Sunday Jazz Brunch Cruise features live music, as well as an expanded menu at the buffet.
Keep in mind that the Sunday Brunch scene may detract from the time spent in the ship’s museum or listening to tour guides. For this reason, it’s best to choose to take the Natchez Tour for educational or leisure purposes.
However, if you’ve picked up on the New Orleans lifestyle, you’ll find a way to incorporate both.
Final Thoughts on Mississippi Riverboat Cruises
A visit to New Orleans might be incomplete without experiencing a cruise of some sort on the great Mississippi. We think these riverboat cruises on the Mississippi are your best bet.
In an instant, you’ll step back in time to imagine yourself in the Golden Age of Steamboats!
Have you ever been on a riverboat cruise? Tell us about your experience in the comments below.
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