There is one thing that you can’t avoid while visiting New Orleans. No matter which path you follow, you’re bound to run into the great Mississippi River. The French Quarter runs right into it, so if you’re in that area, be sure to go for a stroll along the river.
To me the best way to see the Ol’ Man River is to do it the way cotton pickers used to do it back in the olden days. Take a steamboat river cruise.
The Natchez Steamboat is without a doubt the most historic steamboat of them all.
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They offer several different hours when you can take the cruise. It can be done during the morning, lunch and dinner time. All of them include jazz music and food. This means that for their very affordable price you get to enjoy a peaceful ride, listen to great music and even do a few twirls on the dance floor.
For this trip I was alone with my boys and I wanted to show them as much of New Orleans as possible from all angles. My goal was to expose them as much as I could to the culture and traditions of this city. Just going to museums doesn’t really get them excited. However, getting on a boat and seeing the river and enjoying the music makes a huge difference.
This was also a great way to feed them and entertain them at the same time, all within an educational environment.
Things to Do and See on Steamboat Natchez
Let’s start with the most obvious one, the river. Riding this boat is much more than a cruise along the Mississippi; it is a full tour where all you have to do is sit back and learn a lot about the port, the local industries and many other historical facts. My only problem was that, with kids, it is almost impossible to hear the whole thing. But there are other things to do.
Engine Room – Heading down to the bottom level and checking out the engine room was by far the most interesting part. In here you will meet the captain and see how the engine works. It’s quite an impressive experience.
Lunch time – We took the tour that included lunch which boards at 2 p.m. We immediately went towards the lunch buffet. It was a typical southern spread and very tasty.
Both my kids approve of that statement.
Jazz Music – Whatever the hour of your tour, there will be a live Jazz band playing. We normally don’t get the chance to listen to any jazz where we live, so it was fun.
The whole tour is about two hours long. This makes it perfect for kids and parents. And I would make it a full-on affair with the buffet.
History and Facts about Steamboat Natchez
- She’s the ninth steamer to bear the name NATCHEZ.
- Her predecessor, NATCHEZ VI, was the one that raced the ROBERT E. LEE in the most famous steamboat race of all time.
- The NATCHEZ is proudly the undisputed champion of the Mississippi.
- It has never having been beaten in a race.
- When the New Orleans Steamboat Company launched the NATCHEZ in 1975 it was one of two true steam powered sternwheelers plying the Mississippi today.
- The NATCHEZ resembles the old sternwheelers VIRGINIA and HUDSON in her profile and layout.
- Her steam engines were built for U.S. Steel Corporation’s sternwheeler CLAIRTON in 1925.
Information on Visiting and Cruising the Natchez
The tickets for these tours are bought through Grayline Tours. You can make a reservation (my biggest recommendation, especially during high season) or go directly to the booth in front of the boat to get your tickets.
Address: 600 Decatur St., Suite 308 New Orleans, LA 70130
Phone: (800) 365-2628
Hours: Monday to Saturday
– Boarding 11:00am; Cruising 11:30am – 1:30pm
– Boarding 2:00pm; Cruising 2:30pm – 4:30pm
Child 6-12 $20.25
Child 2-5 FREE