Riverboat, New Orleans
Steamboat Natchez is a tourist trap-NOT...at least the dinner jazz cruise. The other reviews here don't mention that the 7:00 pm cruise features the Dukes o f Dixieland traditional jazz group, and are worth the price of admission with or without the dinner. My truck driving rock n roll buddy had to be dragged to see this, but he wound up buying one of their cds! Yes, the Mississippi "tour" at night is only semi-interesting because its DARK, but the music is the attraction here. Tip....this music is for the tourists, good, but vanilla. As a jazz player myself, I saw that these guys were going thru the motions (still good). If you want to see dixieland or jazz as good as it gets, ask them on a break where they're playing later that nite. Follow them. If you wind up at Fritzels on Bourbon st., where their piano player often goes, a great nite is guaranteed!
Sure, a big steamboat with the red wheel on the back looks like fun, but think again before you go on this tour. First of all, always remember that on water, its going to be far colder than it is on land. We were not dressed properly for this and froze the entire time.
There is a narrator who will be your "guide" on the tour, but she really does no more than annoy you to the extent that you think jumping overboard might be a good idea.
The boat goes up the Mississippi River a bit, past some Battleships (which was the only interesting part) and then goes back the same exact way it came. There is an inside dining room that is heated and has food, but you can only eat if you have purchased that along with your ticket. The food didnt look all that great anyway.
I would suggest go to the river, take a pic or two of the Steamboat and move on to the bigger and better things New Orleans has to offer.
Unique Suggestions: Wear a jacket if you are there in the winter months and be sure to get a seat rather than trying to stand at the rail. Probably purchase the meal along with your ticket as well to give you something to do.
Fun Alternatives: We were advised to take a ferry across the river to what I guess is a big Mardi Gras Museum (??). This way, you can take a little ride on the river, but not be stuck on the Natchez for over an hour.
Geez - we should have listened to that advice!
The steamboat Natchez runs a riverboat cruise that I could have done without. On my third trip to New Orleans I finally tried it out because I had seen all the hoopla around the dock where it is usually parked on my first two trips. As soon as I got in line after I purchased my ticket for an afternoon cruise complete with lunch, I knew I had made a mistake. The first thing they do is get you in a great big line and make you have your picture taken with a life preserver that says "Natchez" on it, so they can try and sell you the picture when you get off of the boat. Once you are on the boat, you have time to walk around and upon departure you are supposed to go inside and get your lunch. This was very disorganized seeing as some people purchased tickets for just the cruise and were trying to eat the food, and some people who had purchased tickets to actually eat lunch were never directed where to go. Lunch was served up cafeteria style with people spooning out the food as you went down the assembly line. The food was fine for what it was, but in New Olreans you can eat like a king somewhere else for less money. After we ate we went right outside to see the Mississippi in all of it's glory. It is always beautiful to ride this majestic river, but the drone of the 'tour guide' over the loudspeaker talking about nothing of much importance got old after a while. This isn't the worst thing I've ever done in New Orleans, but I certainly wouldn't tell someone it was a must see. There are other ways to ride the Mississippi for FREE, and get much more enjoyment out of it.
Unique Suggestions: If you are a steamboat or naval enthusiast, then by all means go on this Mississippi River trip. Don't shortchange yourself however, and be sure to explore while you are on the boat. This is not announced, but if you go to the lower deck you can go in the engine room. Basically you can go in, see men running the boat, and see how it is powered. There are historical pictures hanging in this mechanical room on the lower deck with captions giving you bits of steamboat history. Walk all about the lower deck and get a close up look at the paddle wheel also. Again, for steamboat, or historical boat enthusiasts, this would probably be a good trip. If that doesn't describe you, then skip the whole thing.
Fun Alternatives: For the rest of us who might just want the experience of riding the Mississippi without paying the price for some less than average food and listening to some boring commentary from the ships speakers, allow me to suggest an awesome alternative. You can take a Free (that's right, free) Ferry ride across the Mississippi and back. This ferry acts as a shuttle for people going back and forth between Algeirs and the French Quarter. There are some attrations in Algeirs, such as the Mardi Gras Museum (which I've not yet been to), but I've only taken the ferry for the beautiful ride on this famous river. There is a nice open air deck and you can stand right up by the rail with the wind in your hair and enjoy a trip on the Mighty Mississippi for free!
You'll find the ferry at the end of Canal Street in the French Quarter.
Steamboat ride on The Natchez that cruises up and down the Mississippi River. There's really not much to see along the river and not much to do on the boat. Waste of a good 2 hours.
Whatever you do, do not, i repeat, do not go on the riverboat 'cruise'. It is was the worst experience of our trip. It costed about $20US and lasted for a couple of hours. I wanted of that damn boat within half an hour!! Basically all you saw were cruddy old buildings and big, ugly tankers waiting to be allowed to unload whatever crap they were hauling. Example: 'The tanker to our right is flying under the Maltese flag. They've been waiting for three days now. The tanker to the left is flying under the Panama flag. They just docked yesterday and will probably have to wait until Monday before they're customs papers are in order. The tanker to the blahlbahlbah....' Try to imagine this in a monotone for two hours straight. If it was warmer that day i'dve swam for shore....
Another trap is The 'World Cafe.' Supposedly world famous for its coffe and beignets(donuts for God's sake!!). The coffee was absolutely vile and the beignets were pieces of deep fried batter under about three inches of confectioners sugar!! Truly heinous. The thing that got me, was that the place was always packed!! I saw one woman ask for extra sugar too...yeesh!!
Well the so-called riverboat trip is basically a boat going up the river and showing you other boats that are waiting for their custom papers. oh what a thrill
Also a beignet is basically a DONUT. It is smothered in icing sugar within an inch of its life. And the 'world famous coffee' I can live without also.
Steamboat Trips are good to visit from city but they are expensive and nothing very special, just some hours on the lazy river. But tourists must try it once. About USD 50 (2 hours with dinner and jazz band on the steamboat).
While we were on the Natchez dinner cruise, we won a raffle for a cruise or a trip or something to somewhere tropical, I think St. Thomas. Well, in order to actually take the trip (and you could get t-shirts or dinner, too) you had to sit through a '90 minute presentation' about a timeshare. Hubby and I thought this wouldn't be a big deal, sit for 90 minutes and be bored, then say no and leave, right? WRONG! To start with, their driver was half an hour late picking us up, and was almost an hour late picking up the other people that had won with us. Then, 90 minutes turned into almost 3 hours. To be honest, it sounded like it was a good deal, and if we could have afforded it, we might have actually done it. BUT we couldn't afford it. So, after almost three hours of learning more about the saleswoman's family and her life than we were about the timeshare, I asked for the bottom line. We looked at the bottom line, realized we couldn't afford the bottom line, and told her so. Although the saleswoman herself was nice, her supervisor who had to go over everything with us again before we could leave was not exactly polite when we made it clear to her that we really just couldn't afford it. I believe her exact words to the saleswoman were, 'Get 'em their gifts and get 'em out.' Then, when we got our certificate for the free dinner, we were told that the driver would take us back to our hotel again, and to wait outside. We waited for fifteen minutes, no driver. Since we actually had other things to do besides be treated badly, we took a cab back to our hotel. Basically, when they weren't trying to sell something, they were rude. Beware of this, unless you have the time to spare and are really interested.