Information on:

Wilmington - Cape Fear Riverboats, Inc.

101 South Water Street #1

Cape Fear Riverboats, Inc. was founded in 1987. It is the brainchild of Captain Carl Marshburn. "I was running scuba dive charters and quite frankly was scared of the liability involved. That, coupled with some bad weather, made me rethink my line of work. I went to the Caribbean for a vacation and on the way back I saw an article about Stone Mountain Boats in an airplane magazine. I guess that’s what gave me the idea. I love to entertain people and this seemed like something good for Wilmington," he said. Although it took three years to get it started, his enthusiasm for the project was unwavering.

HENRIETTA III is named for 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 one and one-half million dollars for her owners.

Under the ownership of Cape Fear Riverboats, Inc., construction of HENRIETTA II, 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 II operated as a sightseeing and dinner cruise boat until she was sold on March 23, 2000. She is presently in Baltimore, Maryland and is functioning as a dinner riverboat under the name of the BLACK-EYED SUSAN.


L Hamm

Tuesday, Aug. 8, 2017
We took the evening scenic cruise on the riverboat and had a fantastic time. The captain gave us all the local history of the landmarks we passed and had a great sense of humor. You absolutely cannot beat the price. This is a great outing for families or even first dates. My husband and I actually took the cruise on a Friday night and I enjoyed it so much I took my 16 year old son on it the next night and he loved it as well.

Charlotte Lickfeld

Sunday, April 8, 2018
We really enjoyed the tour and learned a lot.

Kara Regan

Tuesday, June 6, 2017
We took the sunset boat tour. I was able to get some great pictures from the water of the downtown Wilmington area, bridges, battleship, and sunset. The information given was interesting. Staff was kind and helpful. It was something different and enjoyable to do. We wished the food barge was open in April, or if not that there was something that said so on the website. Seats on the boat are a little hard, bring something to sit on if that bothers you.

Mike Wamble

Tuesday, Sep. 19, 2017
What a bargain and what a fun trip. Narrative was funny and informative, I would take this cruise again ANYTIME!! I checked sunset the evening I went to make sure my timing was right, check out the pics!

Donna Howard

Tuesday, June 6, 2017
My daughter and I went on this cruise on Mother's day and we just loved it. It was sunny and warm but the breeze off the water felt so nice. The tour guide was funny and gave lots of interesting information about the Wilmington area along the Cape Fear river. I would definitely go again if in the area, but would love to go at night next time.

Cape Fear Riverboats, Inc. is not affiliated with AmericanTowns Media