Local Review of The Paddlewheeler Creole Queen

On Memorial Day, I joined my family for an evening Jazz Dinner Cruise up the Mississippi River on The Paddlewheeler Creole Queen and thought it would be nice to share my experience with y’all.

The Creole Queen is a popular paddlewheel boat that operates on the Mississippi River in New Orleans, Louisiana. The boat offers a variety of cruises, including sightseeing tours, dinner cruises, and private events.


The Creole Queen was built in 1983 by Halter Marine, a shipbuilder located in Moss Point, Mississippi. The boat was originally named the Bonnet Carré and was a casino boat that operated in Lake Pontchartrain. In 1993, the boat was renovated and renamed the Creole Queen, after a famous steamboat that navigated the Mississippi River in the 1800s. Since then, the Creole Queen has become a popular tourist attraction and a symbol of New Orleans’ rich maritime history.

The Paddlewheeler Creole Queen is said to have a lot to offer when it comes to experiencing New Orleans, but it didn’t have the wow factor I expected regarding glitz and glamour. The boat itself is magnificent, but once you step onboard, it has an old-timey feel. The boat is powered by two engines that turn the paddlewheel, which propels the boat through the water. The boat’s exterior is decorated ornate detailing and bright red, white, and blue paint. The interior of the boat is air-conditioned and features three decks, each with its own bar, restroom, and seating area

Let’s say it’s worth a makeover; new curtains and carpet may do the trick. Still, it’s a beautiful Paddleboat.

The boat’s main level features a dance floor and stage, where live bands and performers entertain guests. The upper deck has a covered seating area and a panoramic view of the Mississippi River. The boat also has a full-service bar and restaurant, which serves traditional New Orleans cuisine, such as jambalaya, gumbo, and po’ boys. The boat is equipped with modern safety features and has a full-time staff of experienced captains and crew members.

My experience on Paddlewheeler Creole Queen. Dinner cruise via Groupon

Before I start, let me remind you that I was born and raised in New Orleans, and my perception of touristy activities may be biased and not in the wrong way. I may rave about an experience but never bad-mouth any establishment. If something weren’t to my expectations, I would recommend making yours more pleasurable. So, please do not hang on to my every word, as this is a review in the eyes of a local. I’m living the best life being a tourist in my beloved city, New Orleans!

On the river

The boat ride was a relaxing two-hour ride; if I was on a date, I might say romantic, especially being on deck at sunset. As a local, the cruise enabled me to appreciate the city’s beauty differently. On the other hand, it was a night cruise, and there was no narration or information about where you were on the river or what you saw, especially once it got dark. There was light, but not enough to make out things. An informational flyer would have been nice, at least for the tourist. The quote “Ships passing in the night” is how I felt admiring the magnificent ships in the distance, not knowing a thing about it, only it was a big ole ship floating by…

Living here, you are bound to know someone who works on the river, and that night, i had a cousin on board who could show us where he worked finally and the giant crane he operated for ten hours a day.


Jazz Dinner Cruise Ticket $84

The food was good, seasoned well, and served buffet-style. Per COVID-19 precautions, guests would tell the waiter what they wanted, and a gloved server would prepare the plate and bring it to your table. The tables were covered with white tablecloths and set, adding elegance to the main dining room. The menu consisted of New Orleans favorites such as Jambalaya, Shrimp Pasta, Gumbo, Red Beans & Rice, Cajun Baked Chicken, and Roast Beef Debris, with the dessert option being Bread Pudding with Whiskey Sauce. I enjoyed the Jambalaya. It was perfect and full of flavor. It tastes as if someone’s Great Auntie made it. My favorite was the Bread Pudding. How stale bread, milk, eggs, sugar, and liquor can taste so delicious! It had no raisins, but it was rich, not too dense. It was the Whiskey Cream sauce for me. So good.

Drinks are NOT included in the meal. For $84, one would expect a beverage to accompany their meal, if only a cold drink. If, by chance, you brought the “Cruise Only” ticket for $52, you have the option to buy dinner “Al la carte” for $8 per food item. For example, $8 for a bowl of Jambalaya, $8 for Shrimp Pasta, and $8 for Bread Pudding. The downside to the Al La Carte is that you can not dine in the main dining room with its lovely white tablecloths. No, you are to purchase a ticket from the bar and bring it upstairs to the drabby-looking dining room, where you are served cafeteria-style and sit at an unclothed table. Drinks were pricey but not weak, but a five-ounce cup of wine was $8, and a cocktail was $12+.


The staff and the band were the highlights of the cruise. The staff was incredibly hospitable and engaging. The band was made up of talented musicians who played their instruments with skill and enthusiasm, and the result was a lively, energetic performance that had the audience on their feet.

The band was made up of talented musicians who played their instruments with skill and enthusiasm, and the result was a lively, energetic performance that had the audience on their feet.

The setlist was a mix of classic Dixieland standards and some lesser-known gems, all played with a sense of joy and spontaneity. And the band’s interactions with each other and the audience added an extra layer of fun to the already entertaining music.

Overall experience

It was beautiful to connect with my family and the atmosphere along the mighty Mississippi River, but we rented a venue that didn’t use the space. It seemed as if everyone on the boat spent most of the time taking pictures and roaming the ship like little kids. We also stood along the rails or sat on the deck enjoying the night air. I found myself meditating, which could have been a good thing but once again, not for the price. I can reflect on the levee anytime or day for FREE, lol. But honestly, something or someone was missing. Maybe a date would have made the incredible view of the New Orleans skyline and the river magical.

Overall, the Creole Queen offers a unique and enjoyable experience for tourists and locals alike. The dinner cruise provided a stunning view of the city’s skyline and the Mississippi River, with the sound of a Jazz Band and tasty New Orleans cuisine made for a beautiful evening. The boat’s staff is friendly and knowledgeable, and the food and drinks are high quality.

The only downside to the Creole Queen is that it can be crowded during peak tourist season, and required Covid precautions may detract from the overall experience. However, despite this, the Creole Queen remains a must-visit attraction for anyone traveling to New Orleans.

I highly recommend only purchasing the cruise option. Have dinner at a restaurant before or after the cruise. If you are solo, hanging out with the girls or the kids, please go on the Day Cruise. During the day, you will have a tour guide to educate you on what’s happening along the route and explore the historic Chalmette Battlefield, part of the Jean Lafitte National Park and Preserve. The Night Cruise is for couples or a group. Singles do not think you can go on the Night Cruise to mingle; it’s not happening.

My last piece of advice is to look for deals like on Groupon before booking. There may be blackout dates, but you will save a few dollars.

Al la carte $8 each bowl

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