Join Us On The Henretta!

Sunset Cruises – Corporate Outings – Sight Seeing Tours.

Cape Fear Riverboats is downtown Wilmington’s longest continuously running boat tour. We’ve been offering a wide range of scenic Cape Fear River cruises since 1987. Our offers include narrated history and sightseeing tours, private charters, and exclusive nature tours with local ecologist Andy Wood. Our tours and charters offer downtown Wilmington visitors and locals an exciting yet relaxing option for holiday parties, anniversaries, birthdays, cocktail parties, romantic dates, and family reunions.

Welcome Aboard!

Upon leaving our dock we will cruise upriver to the forks of two major rivers then head south past Historic Wilmington on your left, the Battleship North Carolina and Eagles Island to your right .Our captains will give you a snapshot of Wilmington’s history from the early explorers to Modern day ships from all over the world.
You will enjoy a beautiful sun set on every cruise, and on occasion we have a spectacular moon rise to go along, a double treat for you. Bring your special someone and enjoy our open air vessel, while sipping your favorite beverage from our full bar. On your cruise we will visit the port where ships from around the world will be moored. The SUN Setting over Eagles Island, a MOON RISE over the city or Wilmington’s lights reflecting on the river are memories you will want to preserve so bring your camera.
Our boat becomes yours and with 33 years of experience we will make you make your event a memorial experience. We can host a private event or whatever occasion you may wish to celebrate. We can accommodate about 100 passengers on private charters. There are two decks for your pleasure so space is plentiful. Our dinning deck is climate controlled for year round comfort and our upper level is canopy covered for your guest enjoyment. You can enjoy a full bar on board and beverages must be purchased on board the Henrietta however food service has many options from which you may choose. Birthdays, family reunions, weddings or cooperate functions are all well suited for this unique setting that will make your event an experience all guest will remember fondly.
This tour showcases parts of North Carolina nature that are practically impossible to explore any other way! Experience the beauty and natural history of the Cape Fear region during a narrated nature cruise along these scenic and historic coastal rivers. Cruises are scheduled twice a month from May-October on a Wednesday morning. Since it’s a 4-hour trip, feel free to bring your own food however drinks must be purchased on board from our fully equipped bar.
Our Story
Cape Fear Riverboats, Inc. began in 1987 through the passion of Captain Carl Marshburn, boat captain, businessman, and strong advocate for tourism and history. Long before Wilmington was named one of TripAdvisor’s ‘Top Destinations on the Rise,’ Capt. Carl envisioned the downtown Wilmington historic district as a major tourist attraction. He knew people would enjoy water views of Wilmington coupled with rich narration highlighting the area’s history, legends, and charm.
“I love to entertain people and this seemed like something good for Wilmington,” he said. “I saw the need for family-friendly, fun riverboat cruises departing from downtown on our popular river that would not only be a great adventure for people of all ages, but also to accurately interpret the region’s nautical history, natural beauty and the unique river ecology.”
“Captain Carl Marshburn is truly a tourism leader”, states Kim Hufham, past president of North Carolina Travel Industry Association. “Since the early days of the Convention and Visitors Bureau, he has been a strong supporter and advocate of local and state tourism. It is due, in part, to Captain Carl’s efforts that Wilmington’s historic district has become such a popular and thriving tourist attraction.”
Our current tour boat, the Henrietta, runs both daytime and evening cruises on the Cape Fear. We encourage you to try our one of our exclusive nature tours to the Black River. Narrated by local ecologist Andy Wood, our twice-monthly nature tours (April-October) take you to some of the oldest forest in North America. Individual tickets can be purchased for friends and families, plus, group charter opportunities also are available for parties up to 48.
Our Previous Boats

From 2000 – 2015, we proudly sailed the HENRIETTA III on the Cape Fear River. HENRIETTA III is named for the original HENRIETTA, a trailblazer for steamboats on the Cape Fear River, which enjoyed a long and financially successful life. James Seawell at his plantation at what is now Fayetteville, North Carolina built her in 1817-1818. Seawell named the boat for his daughter, Henrietta.

HENRIETTA was launched April 30, 1818 under the command of Captain Charles Taws. Her first run from Fayetteville to Wilmington was in July 1818. She ran the river between Wilmington and Fayetteville for forty years. When she was retired from service, she had run at least one and one-half million miles on the Cape Fear River and had earned no less than 1.5 million dollars for her owners.

Under the ownership of Cape Fear Riverboats, Inc., construction of HENRIETTA, North Carolina’s only true sternwheel riverboat, began in mid-September 1987 in Greenville, Mississippi. She debuted in Wilmington on April 2, 1988 – almost exactly 170 years after HENRIETTA debuted into Wilmington. HENRIETTA operated as a sightseeing and dinner cruise boat until she was sold on March 23, 2015. She is presently in upstate New York and functions as a dinner riverboat.

Today, Cape Fear Riverboats currently operates a fantastic 2 deck sightseeing and charter vessel, also named the Henrietta!

We offer daily sightseeing river cruises, sunset cruises, black river nature cruises and Private Charters