Best time to visit New Orleans

Paddlewheeler Cruises in New Orleans 2024-2025

How about relishing authentic Louisiana meals and live jazz music with the best city views

Best time: year round (best: April–June 15 | November–December)

Paddlewheeler Cruises
Paddlewheeler Cruises
Steamboat Natchez. New Orleans
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A traditional New Orleans paddlewheel boat is the one that shaped the city's history and brought a unique charm to it. Once, it was only used for trade and transportation. Nowadays, buying a ticket for a paddlewheel cruise means going back in time and enjoying the Mississippi river's beauty.

There are two main paddlewheel ships in the city: Natchez and Creole Queen. Steamboat Natchez had its premiere tour in 1983. This board is known for its old-fashioned vibe in the interior as well as for the unique museum-like Steam Engine Room. Departing from Jackson Square, Natchez usually makes two voyages a day. The Creole Queen departs from Spanish Plaza and can accommodate 1,000 passengers. Creole tour includes live music, a traditional buffet, and an evening dance tour. Both river floaters can be booked for special occasions, such as weddings, birthdays, and private parties.

Even though both cruises operate all year long, the best seasons to explore the lower Mississippi River runs from April to mid-June and from November to December. During Easter, Christmas, Thanksgiving, or Valentine's Day, companies offer special themed tours.

American Queen and American Duchess can be great options for few-day luxurious cruises. These high-level paddlewheel riverboats travel along the Mississippi and make multiple Louisiane stops on their way.

Practical info

What distinguishes the Creole Queen and Natchez riverboats?

The Creole Queen and Natchez riverboats both provide paddlewheel cruises in New Orleans with live music and dining, but differ in the boarding location, capacity, and interior design. The Creole Queen departs from Spanish Plaza and can welcome up to 1,000 passengers, while the Steamboat Natchez departs from Jackson Square, has a museum-like Steam Engine Room, and can accommodate up to 800 guests. Show more

What's noteworthy about the Steam Engine Room on Natchez?

One of the exceptional attributes of the Steamboat Natchez is its Steam Engine Room that has vintage equipment that powers the boat's paddlewheel and is displayed like a museum. The visitors can enjoy a guided tour of the engine room, gain insights about steam technology and the history of paddlewheel boats in New Orleans. Visitors can witness an operational steam engine and acknowledge the significance of steamboats in shaping the city's history. Show more

When is the ideal time to go on a paddlewheel cruise in New Orleans?

Paddlewheel cruises are available all year round in New Orleans, but the best times to explore the lower Mississippi River are from April to mid-June and from November to December due to pleasant weather and fewer chances of rain or storms. Special themed tours are also available during Easter, Christmas, Thanksgiving, or Valentine's Day, making them ideal choices for holidays. Show more

Can private events like weddings be organized on the riverboats?

Yes, both Creole Queen and Natchez riverboats can be reserved for private occasions such as marriages, birthdays, and corporate events. The event can be customized according to the preferences and needs of the party, whether it's a reception party or a full dinner cruise. The boats' event departments offer catering, decoration, and music services that could be personalized based on the specific requirements and budgets of clients. Show more

Are there any longer paddlewheel cruises that can be taken in the region?

In addition to Natchez and Creole Queen, American Queen and American Duchess also provide multi-day paddlewheel cruises in the New Orleans area. These premium riverboats can voyage and make stops in Louisiana, offering luxury accommodations, gourmet dining, and onboard entertainment such as live music and lectures. These cruises are ideal for those who are more time-rich and want to delve into the region's history and culture. Show more

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