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The sweltering heat and New Orleans’ city commotion can overwhelm one’s senses. However, the Steamboat Natchez provides a relaxing two-hour cruise and relief from the weather and chaos.
The calliope whistles a familiar ragtime melody as passengers board the Steamboat Natchez. Steam bursts in visual rhythm to the organ’s siren song. Our paddle wheel steamboat experience awaits.
Everything slows to a comforting rhythm. The tour passengers move towards the outer rails for panoramic views or into the air-conditioned comfort near the food buffet. Others take seats on the upper decks or along the deck perimeters for the best views in the open air.
New Orleans and the lower Mississippi River offer many complex layers of southern history, geography, and cultural experiences. French, Spanish, Caribbean and other settlers have defined this exotic coastal city from its very intricate beginnings.
Jackson Square, near the riverboat tour departure point, was originally the site of a small French settlement in the early 1700’s. So much has changed since then. The majestic St. Louis Cathedral stands prominently in the park as one of New Orleans’ most recognized landmarks.
A few city blocks west of the French Quarter, the Central Business District (CBD), in contrast, sparkles as a modern urban center. In the other direction, the cruise carries guests downstream beyond industrial districts, with scenic views at every turn.
Come along and enjoy the ride with me!
Paddlewheeler Steamboat Natchez
The red paddle wheel churns through the muddy waters of the Mississippi River. The Steamboat Natchez cruise begins. The busy port city is alive and well. Over 31 million short tons of cargo processed through the harbor in 2013. Portions of the city are below sea level, therefore requiring massive pumps and canals for drainage since average annual rainfall exceeds sixty inches. The tour reveals the port’s industrial importance and provides insight into development along this Gulf Coast shoreline.
There are many activities available during the Steamboat Natchez harbor tour.
Dining and Jazz Entertainment
The daytime Harbor Jazz Cruises include a Dixieland jazz instrumental band during the buffet lunch service. This live music entertainment is available for your enjoyment even if you decline the lunch option on your admission ticket. The evening tour is ideal for a romantic sunset dinner event. There are several tour options available, to suit your schedule and interests.
Visit the Engine Room
The red paddlewheel is best seen up close, so head down the staircase to the lowest deck and then to the back of the boat and the paddlewheel is just an arm’s length away from the steam engine room. Much like a museum, the steam engine room has information placards to explain the functioning mechanics of the steam engine and how this room is the muscle of the ship.
The Tour Guide Broadcast
An experienced guide broadcasts tour information, including local history, river activity, and port statistics. The gift shop has snacks, souvenirs, books, and other ship-related items. Keep in mind that the ship does not have an elevator and use extra precautions when navigating the metal stairs.
The Mississippi River is at the heart of the existence of New Orleans.
My favorite views are near the end of the tour looking towards the Mississippi River Bridge with a backdrop of the French Quarter. Whether you are a local or a visitor, this steamboat tour is a unique way to relax with joyful music, Southern food, and an educational tour.
If You Go
The Steamboat Natchez Lighthouse Ticket Office is easy to find in the French Quarter near Jax Brewery and is just steps away from the departure point. The ticket office is open 9:00 am – 7:00 pm, but I recommend to book reservations online for the comfort of skipping the lines with assurance that you have a ticket for the most convenient time.
Learn More About New Orleans, Louisiana
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