One thing you can not avoid is an encounter with the great Mississippi River while visiting New Orleans. The French Quarters go right into. Seafood is practically a staple of New Orleans and Louisiana’s cuisine. Strolling along the river walk is a must-do.
And of course, the best way to truly enjoy Ol’ Man River is to do what the cotton pickers used to do back in the olden days – take a steamboat river cruise.
The Natchez Steamboat is without a doubt the most historic of them all.
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There are several cruises you can take during the day from morning to lunch to dinner time. All of them offer Jazz Band and food. The buffet is extra, so you can enjoy a peaceful ride along the river and listen to the music and even do a few twirls on the dance floor at a super price for the whole family.
Traveling alone with my two boys I wanted to show them all of New Orleans and exposing them to the culture and traditions of this city. Taking them to museums doesn’t do anything for them. However, getting on a boat and seeing the river makes a huge difference.
Plus, for a single parent that is traveling with two boys in a new city this is a great way to feed them, entertain them and let them run around in a safe, educational environment.
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Things to Do on Steamboat Natchez
The most obvious is the river. The boat is a lot more than just a cruise along the river, it’s actually tour. And if you sit back you can learn quite a lot about the port, the history and the industry of this area. However, with kids, it’s not exactly possible to hear it all, but there is other stuff to do.
Engine Room – By far the most interesting is heading to the bottom level and checking out the engine room. You can meet the captain and see how the steam engine functions. It’s quite impressive.
Lunch time – we boarded the boat around 2 pm and went for the lunch buffet. It was a typical southern spread which was quite tasty.
And both my kids can contest that.
Jazz Music – Every cruise has a live Jazz band playing. It was fun listening to them, since we normally don’t get any jazz music where we live.
The whole tour is about two hours long, so it is a perfect treat for kids and parents. And I would make it a full-on affair with the buffet.
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History and Facts about Steamboat Natchez
- She’s the ninth steamer to bear the name NATCHEZ.
- It was her predecessor, NATCHEZ VI, 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., never having been beaten in a race.
- When the New Orleans Steamboat Company launched the NATCHEZ in 1975 they created one of only two true steam powered sternwheelers plying the Mississippi today.
- The NATCHEZ resembles the old sternwheelers VIRGINIA and HUDSON in her profile and layout.
- Her powerful steam engines were built for U.S. Steel Corporation’s sternwheeler CLAIRTON in 1925.
Information on Natchez Steamboat Tours
The tickets are actually bought through Grayline Tours. You can either contact them before coming to make a reservation, which is a good idea during the busy season. Or you can 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