"The swamps were beautiful, with overhanging trees with Spanish moss in abundance — not to mention alligators, with their log-like silhouettes floating at the surface."
One of the highlights of my recent visit to New Orleans was an adventure through the Louisiana swamps on a high-speed airboat — complete with up-close encounters with many alligators.
There is no need to worry about booking tours too far in advance — there’s an abundance of tour agents and operators in New Orleans, offering options including plantation tours, steamboat rides and swamp tours. I booked through a tour agent on the corner of Royal and Canal streets, and chose the swamp tour run by Airboat Adventures.
A 30-minute drive from the downtown, Airboat Adventures offers three to five tours each day. You can choose from a smaller and faster six-to-eight-person airboat, or a larger and slower vessel for 15 to 25 people. They cost $US95 ($127) and $US75 ($100) respectively, including hotel pick-up.
I chose the fast option, and didn’t regret it for a moment. Skimming over the surface of the water with a propeller taller than me pushing us from behind, it was a real wind-in-your-face adventure, throttling through the swamps at incredible speeds.
The swamps were beautiful, with overhanging trees with Spanish moss in abundance — not to mention alligators, with their log-like silhouettes floating at the surface. At one point, our guide — a born-and-bred Cajun whose claim to fame was that he was almost cast in the TV show Swamp People — pulled the boat up on the banks of the swamp for a live demonstration of how he interacts with these incredible reptiles.
The ride lasted around two hours and included sightings wildlife including bald eagles and the opportunity to handle a baby alligator.
You may also like
Arrivals & Departures: Stargazing and sustainability: Celebrity's new purpose-built Galapagos cruise ship
An open-air stargazing platform, eco-friendly innovations and the largest cruise ship suites in the region will be some of the features aboard Celebrity Cruises' Galapagos Islands ship Celebrity Flora.
The Travel Club Show : Amazing aurora borealis
Stephen Scourfield has seen the Northern Lights, aurora borealis, in six different countries. He shares some amazing footage, reveals the best place to see the lights and explains how to photograph the incredible effect.
Travel Story: The Panama Canal: Cruising through one of the world's great shortcuts
It might be more commonly associated with commercial shipping, but the Panama Canal also provides a once-in-a-lifetime experience for cruise ship passengers.