New Orleans
Cruises & Boat Tours

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Our most recommended New Orleans Cruises & Boat Tours

New Orleans: Day Jazz Cruise on the Steamboat Natchez

1. New Orleans: Day Jazz Cruise on the Steamboat Natchez

Savor the beauty and romance of New Orleans and take a journey back in time aboard the Sternwheeler Steamboat Natchez, the only authentic steamboat in New Orleans. Cruise along the Mississippi River, enjoying an optional delicious lunch, a brunch, or simply listening to the incredible live jazz band onboard. Your two-hour cruise from the heart of the French Quarter takes you back to a time when life was as slow and graceful as the current on the Mississippi. The tour will take guests to see New Orleans from the river, one of the world's most active ports. Visit our museum quality Engine Room to learn how steam powers this magnificent boat through the “Mighty Mississippi.” Add an optional Creole lunch, prepared fresh on board, and savor the tastes of New Orleans as you relax on your 2-hour cruise, before docking back where you started the tour. Sample Menu Lunch Monday - Saturday on 11:30 AM - 2:30 PM cruises Southern Fried Fish Red Beans and Rice Jambalaya Salad Du Jour Community Coffee and Iced Tea included Menu items are subject to change by season and availability.

New Orleans: Evening Jazz Cruise on the Steamboat Natchez

2. New Orleans: Evening Jazz Cruise on the Steamboat Natchez

Journey back in time aboard the Sternwheeler Steamboat Natchez – the only surviving authentic steamboat in New Orleans. Sit back, relax and enjoy the New Orleans atmosphere as the smooth jazz of the Dukes Trio fills your ears. This 2-hour cruise from the heart of the French Quarter will take you along the graceful Mississippi River. Seating is available indoors and on deck for the very best views of the river and the City of New Orleans. The indoor areas are climate-controlled and the outdoor space allows for tours of all levels of the boat. There is nothing more charming than an evening on the Steamboat Natchez. Ending back where you started, leave your cruise feeling invigorated by the Mississippi's fresh air. Sample Dinner Menu Natchez Tossed Salad: Mixed greens, tomato, cucumber, red onions and croutons with a sugar cane vinaigrette and served family style Chicken and Sausage Gumbo: Made with a traditional Louisiana roux and served with rice Baked Chicken: Served with a mushroom ragout Bayou Seafood Pasta: Crawfish tails and shrimp tossed in a white wine and garlic Parmesan cream sauce with penne Herb-Garlic Fingerling Potatoes: Fingerling potatoes roasted with fresh rosemary, thyme, garlic and ground pepper Pasta Primavera: Fusilli pasta, zucchini, squash, mushrooms, cherry tomatoes, in a zesty basil pesto Green Beans Almondine: Southern style green beans topped with toasted almond slivers White Chocolate Bread Pudding: A soufflé of local Leidenheimer French bread in a rich custard with a decadent white chocolate sauce Bananas Foster: A New Orleans original. Fresh sliced bananas sautéed in butter, brown sugar, vanilla, cinnamon and rum. Served warm atop vanilla ice cream Garlic Rolls Community Coffee and Iced Tea included Menu items are subject to change by season and availability.

New Orleans: Creole Queen History Cruise with Optional Lunch

3. New Orleans: Creole Queen History Cruise with Optional Lunch

Sit back and enjoy the views or a drink at the bar while journeying down the Mississippi river. Learn about New Orleans' complex, but interesting story, focusing on the critical Battle of New Orleans. Join a cruise narrated by a local guide and embark on a journey into the past as you head downriver to the Chalmette Battlefield at the Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve. As you travel to the battlefield, learn about the settlement of New Orleans, its river, and the historical landmarks that line the banks of the Mississippi River. As you cruise, treat yourself to a traditional lunch on board. (If relevant option selected.) Stop at the battlefield and hear about the legacy of the area on a 1-hour guided tour along the shore with a talk by National Park Rangers. After, return to the starting point where your tour will end. SAMPLE MENU LUNCH: • New Orleans Style Shrimp Pasta • 10” Roast Beef Po-Boy • Creole Jambalaya • Crawfish Bread • Caesar Salad • Red Beans & Rice • Fresh Baked Cookies • Zapps Potato Chips (Menu items are subject to change by season and availability)

New Orleans: Oak Alley Plantation & Swamp Cruise Day Trip

4. New Orleans: Oak Alley Plantation & Swamp Cruise Day Trip

Experience 2 typical Louisiana features—plantation homes and bayous—on a guided day trip from New Orleans with hotel pickup. Tour Oak Alley Plantation, with entry tickets, included, and look out for wildlife on a boat trip through the swamplands. Start with a pickup from your French Quarter hotel. Head out of New Orleans and travel to Oak Alley Plantation, one of the best-known in the area. Built in 1837-39, the plantation is famous for its alley of 28 evenly spaced live oak trees. Take a guided tour of the historical plantation and gain an educational insight into the times of slavery. Afterward, enjoy a fully narrated boat tour of the swamps. Keep a lookout for alligators, turtles, water birds, and other local wildlife. Listen as your captain tells stories of local Cajun and Creole history, and the people who live in the Bayou area. Finish your tour with the return journey to New Orleans, where you’ll be dropped off at your French Quarter hotel.

New Orleans: High Speed 16 Passenger Airboat Ride

5. New Orleans: High Speed 16 Passenger Airboat Ride

Embark on a high-speed adventure through the swamps and marshes just 35 minutes from New Orleans and experience the amazing scenery by airboat. Slow down or stop to take pictures and get a personal tour from your local captain. Avail of airboats with stadium-style seating so that the person in front does not obstruct your view. Be amazed as alligators come so close to the boat that you can stare into their reptilian eyes! Encounter magnificent birdlife, including bald eagles, pelicans, ospreys and owls. Every tour is unique and you never know what will be around the next corner! Reach speeds of up to 35 miles per hour, propelled by a huge fan that blows air from the back of the boat in excess of 200 miles per hour. Ride in shallow water and access areas where traditional boats cannot go.

New Orleans: Bayou Tour in Jean Lafitte National Park

6. New Orleans: Bayou Tour in Jean Lafitte National Park

Bring your cameras and adventurous spirits as you explore the Barataria Preserve of the Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve. Meet your guide at the meeting point or at one of the 8 pickup locations in New Orleans (if transportation option is selected), and travel to the swamp. Tours pick up daily from convenient hotels at 8:30 AM, 10:30 AM, and 12:30 PM. You’ll be taken on a 1.5-hour pontoon boat ride around the waters of the area. Get the chance to spot alligators, local wildlife, and two other friendly creatures, Sunshine the Pig and Patrick the Possum.  Listen to stories and legends told by your informative local guide. Following the tour, enjoy a delicious Cajun lunch at a local eatery down the street, the perfect way to refuel. After lunch, you’ll be driven back to New Orleans and dropped off at the original meeting point or pickup location you have selected.

New Orleans: Manchac Bayou Swamp Cruise with Optional Pickup

7. New Orleans: Manchac Bayou Swamp Cruise with Optional Pickup

Join this tour in the Manchac Swamp on a real life adventure for the whole family. Your local captains will take you on an exciting journey to explore Louisiana's abundant wildlife in the bayous of Cajun Country. Journey by boat, Cajun-style, for a tour through the heart of Southern Louisiana's swamplands. Your swamp boat will take you into the meandering bayous where you'll see moss-draped cypress trees, fascinating plant life, and the creatures who make their homes here. Listen to informative commentary as you sail into the bayou. Swamp creatures are used to seeing the tour boats, so you'll likely catch a glimpse of various birds, snakes, deer, and fish, and possibly even an alligator. As your boat drifts through the waterways, you will learn about the Louisiana Wetlands, the inhabitants of the swamp–particularly the life and habits of the American Alligator–as well as the unique history of the local Cajun town of Frenier.

New Orleans: Oak Alley Plantation & Airboat Swamp Combo Tour

8. New Orleans: Oak Alley Plantation & Airboat Swamp Combo Tour

Discover Louisiana on a guided day trip from New Orleans to the historical Oak Alley Plantation, with entry tickets included, and a bayou airboat ride. Benefit from round-trip transportation from your New Orleans hotel. Start your experience with hotel pickup, and relax on the drive to Oak Alley Plantation. Enjoy a guided tour of the plantation home by guides in period dress while you hear and learn about the times of slavery.  Take in the house's Greek Revival architecture, the antique farm equipment exhibits, and walk around the grounds where 28 evenly spaced, huge oak trees grow. Browse the blacksmith shop and souvenir shop, or stop for a snack (at your own expense) in the restaurant. Continue onto Barataria Basin for an airboat tour of the bayou swamplands, where your local captain will guide you through the swamps, marshes, and lakes. Travel at high speeds for an exciting ride, then slow down to spot local wildlife on this exciting airboat experience. Look out for alligators, birds, and other animals. Every airboat tour is unique, so you never know what you’ll see. Even in winter — when alligators hibernate — you’ll have a good chance of spotting these reptiles.  Back on dry land, return to the bus for the drive back to New Orleans, where you’ll finish off your trip with a convenient drop-off back at your hotel.

From Lafitte: Swamp Tours South of New Orleans by Airboat

9. From Lafitte: Swamp Tours South of New Orleans by Airboat

Climb aboard a unique airboat to explore Louisiana’s wetlands south of New Orleans in a truly unique fashion. Board an airboat just 30 minutes from downtown New Orleans, and listen to informative commentary as you zip through the bayou and squeeze into tiny canals hidden deep in the swamp. For 105 minutes, the captains at Airboat Adventures share some of the most beautiful and secluded areas of Louisiana. Wildlife such as alligators, turtles, and birds are common sights, but you never know what else might come out to visit! Round-trip transfers are available from New Orleans for guests without a car. Upon arrival, check-in to the Airboats Adventures facilities, before departing on the airboat to zip across the swamps. Grab a snack at the gift shop, or check out Sugar and Flour, the only albino alligators on the bayou. Picnic tables are available both inside and out, where you can relax before your airboat departure. The boats can hold between 6 and 27 people. Opt for a small boat, with capacity for 6-8 passangers, for a more personal tour, when the captain can spend more time with each guest. But even the large boats, with capacity for 15-27 passengers allow an up close experience with the wildlife of the Louisiana swamps. Sit back and enjoy the ride through a unique landscape, and listen as you captain feeds you fascinating bayou facts. You never know; he might haul in a ‘gator if the opportunity arises, or even let you hold a baby ‘gator!

New Orleans: High Speed 6-9 Passenger Airboat Tour

10. New Orleans: High Speed 6-9 Passenger Airboat Tour

Experience the best of both a swamp tour and an airboat ride. Travel at high speeds in the airboat then slow down and stop for pictures. Along the way, enjoy a personal tour by your local captain. The airboats have stadium seating so every airboat seat is great for experiencing the tour and viewing wildlife. Yes, gators will get close, real close. So close that you will be able to look into those reptilian eyes. Alligators do hibernate in the colder months, but your experienced captains know where to look for them. On average, during the winter, you have better than a 50/50 chance of seeing a gator. In the warmer months, you will see a gator. Every New Orleans Airboat Tour is unique and you never know what could be around the next corner. Tour an area that is a combination of swamp, marsh, and lake, spotting anything from a Bald Eagle to a Pelican, from an Osprey to an Owl. The airboats are driven by a 454 Chevy engine that will produce speeds of up to 35 miles an hour. They are propelled by a huge fan that will blow air from the back of the boat in excess of 200 miles an hour. These tours are truly a blast. They ride in inches of water and go where traditional boats can't. The boats were designed to take you to inaccessible areas of the swamp, places that you cannot reach by foot or car, ensuring a unique experience.

Frequently asked questions about New Orleans Cruises & Boat Tours

What are other things to do than Cruises & Boat Tours that are worth visiting in New Orleans?

The other unmissable things to do in New Orleans are:


Boat tours in New Orleans: Everything you need to know

You could probably come up with some popular songs and works of American literature in which the Mississippi river was the setting (and sometimes the character). While in New Orleans, don’t miss your chance to cruise down the second largest river in the United States. See the city from a typical paddlewheeler and discover what inspired Mark Twain or Johnny Cash on a New Orleans river cruise.

Sightseeing boat tours in New Orleans

Whether you’re a first-timer or a returning visitor, embark on the ultimate sightseeing experience in New Orleans. Board a genuine steamboat and cruise down the Mississippi River. See the French Quarter from the river on this two-hour cruise to the sounds of Jazz. This activity includes live narration, so you’ll learn all there is to know about the Big Easy.

For a well-rounded NOLA experience, add the Creole lunch option to your river cruise. Feast on local delicacies like the chicken and sausage gumbo, green beans almondine, and white chocolate bread pudding.

New Orleans dinner and cocktail cruises

If you don’t feel like checking out the party scene on Bourbon Street, take the New Orleans’ night in on a dinner cruise. Aboard the Creole Queen, a typical Mississippi paddlewheeler boat, enjoy Creole cuisine while listening to the resident Jazz band.

Head to the promenade deck for a cocktail and raise a glass to historic Jackson Square. Or, if you feel like it, there’s still time to dance after dinner on this two-hour cruise.

Choose a dinner cruise aboard the Steamboat Natchez if you prefer the option to eat outdoors. You’ll also listen to the sounds of Dixieland-style Jazz as the city's skyline unfolds before your eyes.

New Orleans bayou boat tours

Home of alligators and other swamp species, the bayous in the Mississippi River Delta are must-sees if you’re interested in visiting beyond New Orleans. You can choose from many swamp boats tours. All of them allow travelers to get close (but not too close!) to local bayou residents.

If you’re visiting on a tight schedule, choose a guided tour that takes you to the bayou at Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Reserve. This is the closest swamp to downtown, so you’ll get there in about 25 minutes. For convenience, the tour includes pick up and drop off at your hotel.

After spotting the bayou wildlife with an experienced local guide, travelers can enjoy a Cajun lunch at a local restaurant.

If you’re staying for a few days and want to combine two-day trips into one, choose a swamp tour that includes visits to former plantations. You can choose, for example, The Oak Alley and swamp tour boat combo, a one-day tour with pick up and drop off included. You get to visit the plantation in the morning and take the swamp tour in the afternoon.

New Orleans airboat tours

Want to travel to places in the bayou that other boats can’t reach, and you don’t mind a little speed? Consider an airboat tour. These fast boats with a giant fan in the back can reach smaller canals that bigger riverboats can't. Some boats take small groups of up to six people, while others can accommodate close to 30 passengers. Choose tours on smaller airboats if you'd like a more personal experience. Follow the tips of your local guide to spot Flour and Sugar, the bayou's albino alligators. In addition to the bayou’s most famous residents, peel your eyes for turtles, frogs, raccoons, cranes, and wild pigs.

Good tips and things to know for New Orleans boat tours

  • Check if the boat company allows passengers to bring food and drinks from outside. Do so especially if you’re not planning to eat aboard one of the cruises with optional lunch or dinner.
  • Wear comfortable shoes and clothes, appropriate for traveling on a boat. Prepare for splashes on open boats. If you’re opting for an airboat tour, choose one that provides hearing protection.
  • If you’re traveling with small children, look for a boat with onboard bathroom facilities for convenience.
  • For travelers choosing a swamp tour, follow the local guide’s recommendations when it comes to feeding or approaching the resident wildlife.

Other Sightseeing Options in New Orleans

Want to discover all there is to do in New Orleans? Click here for a full list.

What people are saying about New Orleans

Overall rating

4.5 / 5

based on 857 reviews

Captain Danny was wonderful and showed us some great spots. He was knowledgeable as a tour guide, but also was down to earth and answered the more personal questions we had asked as tourists wondering about hurricane damage and how one moves on after. My husband and I sat in the front row and got splashed twice, but with the heat and wind we dried off and were able to resume our day without being uncomfortable. Loved seeing the Louisiana Swamp puppies.

Great trip. Everything ran to time with pick up on the dot from the amazingly politely Dionne. Our captain was so much fun. Can thoroughly recommend.

Super friendly staff, very fun experience. Love that there’s a bar in the waiting area and the shuttle was very convenient.

Very very very very fun interesting beautiful and guide was fun and very knowledgeable would definitely do it again!!

very fun, lunch was great and the views were worth it.