Cruise on the Mississippi River and New Orleans

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Description
NASHVILLE - MEMPHIS - GREENVILLE - VICKSBURG - NATCHEZ - ST. FRANCISVILLE - BATON ROUGE - NOTTOWAY - NEW ORLEANS

Cruise between Memphis and New Orleans on board the American Queen, the largest steamboat ever built reflecting all the opulence of the American Victorian era. We’ll take you to the land of bawdy blues and Southern belles, while also discovering the “Old South" and the complex history of the American Civil War.
Explore the places where the southern culture continues to enjoy a modern-day renaissance at the crossroads of Blues, Country, Jazz, and Rock and Roll.
Lose yourself in the atmosphere of New Orleans—the “Big Easy”— known for its round-the-clock nightlife, vibrant live-music scene, and spicy, singular cuisine reflecting its history as a melting pot of French, African and American cultures.
Take the trip of a lifetime with us!

DAY 1: NASHVILLE

Around 7.00 p.m, your host/hostess will welcome you at your hotel, check in . Enjoy an authentic barbecue dinner tonight. We’ll spend the night at the hotel.

DAY 2: NASHVILLE

Nashville is the capital of Tennessee. Founded in 1779, it was named for Francis Nash, an American Revolution war hero. Now the second largest city in the state, it is a vibrant center for the music, healthcare, publishing, banking and transportation industries, and is home to numerous colleges and universities. Today, the city is known as the "home of Country Music" and has become a major music recording and production center. In the 1850’s, Nashville earned the nickname of the “Athens of the South” by having established several higher education institutions, as well as being the first southern city to establish a public school system. We’ll visit the full-scale replica of the original Parthenon before hitting up Music Row, the heart of Nashville's entertainment industry. Here, you’ll find the offices of numerous record labels, publishing houses, music licensing firms, recording studios, video production houses, along with other business who serve the music industry. Our panoramic tour will then move on to the campus of Belmont University to see the historic and majestic Belmont Mansion. We’ll then discover the Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park and its 1/4 mile long Wall of History that touches on the most important natural and historical events in the area. We’ll have lunch in town. Afterwards, we’ll visit the Country Music Hall of Fame and its superb collection of instruments, gold records and stage costumes from country music stars over the years. Enjoy some free time on Broadway: the hottest place to be in town, where musicians play from the crack of dawn well into the dark of night. Enjoy a drink in one of the clubs or browse the kitsch in the souvenir shops. Don’t miss getting your fortune told by a mechanical Elvis! AS AN OPTION: For music lovers, join us for a visit to the Johnny Cash museum (an additional $16, to be paid on entry). We’ll return to the hotel after our full day. Tonight’s dinner will be a country music concert and buffet. We’ll spend the night at the hotel.

DAY 3: NASHVILLE - MEMPHIS

We’ll leave for Memphis (a 4-hour trip by coach) on the legendary "Blues Highway" (US Route 61), which begins in Nashville and ends in New Orleans. Once we arrive in Memphis, we’ll enjoy lunch in a charming restaurant on the banks of the Mississippi. Overlooking the river, Memphis is the birthplace of Rock ‘n Roll, the home of the Blues and the starting point of Soul. We’ll drive through the upscale, new urbanist-style neighborhood of Harbor Town on Mud Island before visiting the Cotton Museum, which retraces the history of the crop that created empires, transformed American culture, and changed the history of a nation and the world. Next, we’ll visit the National Civil Rights Museum, partially located in the motel where Martin Luther King was assassinated in 1968. Our panoramic tour will continue on to Beale Street, the heart of Memphis music and entertainment. After checking into the hotel, we’ll hop on the public transportation to go for dinner in town. Spend the rest of your evening by grabbing a drink and soaking up the sounds on Beale Street’s neon row. We’ll spend the night at the hotel.

DAY 4: MEMPHIS

No trip to Memphis is complete without a visit to Elvis Presley’s iconic homestead, Graceland. His mansion is the most-visited residence in the USA after the White House. The King’s mansion spreads out over 500 acres and includes his car collection, personal jets, gold and platinum records, and his iconic jumpsuits. The final stop on the tour is the Meditation Garden, where Elvis and members of his family are laid to rest. We’ll then visit Sun Studio, where the biggest musical artists in the world once went to record, including B.B. King, Johnny Cash and Elvis. In the afternoon, we’ll transfer you to the port to board your cruise ship: the American Queen. We'll enjoy a welcome cocktail and then you can settle into your cabin. We'll have dinner once the cruise begins. We’ll spend the night on board.

DAY 5: GREENVILLE

We’ll spend the morning cruising the Mississippi River. Take advantage of this time to kick back and enjoy the scenery as it rolls by. Lunch will be served on board before arriving in Greenville. We’ll have a brief panoramic tour of the city and visit the small history museum presenting the many faces of Greenville over the past three centuries followed by a visit to the Greenville Flood Museum where you’ll learn about the history of one of the greatest natural disasters the USA has ever known. We’ll have dinner and spend the night on board.

DAY 6: VICKSBURG

Because of the city's riverside location, Vicksburg prospered in the 19th century from the river's prodigious steamboat traffic. Vicksburg perfectly blends Southern culture and heritage with exciting modern-day attractions and is bursting at the seams with local culture, character, art, entertainment and outdoor adventure. We’ll visit the Anchuca Historic Mansion, whose name is purported to mean "happy home" in the Choctaw language. Built in 1830, Jefferson Davis’ older brother lived there from 1868 until his death in 1870. We’ll have a stroll down historic Washington Street and then visit the Lower Mississippi River Museum to find out how different communities, farming families, and the US Army Corps of Engineers have all utilized the river. Afterwards, we’ll return on board for lunch. In the afternoon, we’ll leave by coach for the Vicksburg National Military Park, the site of the American Civil War Battle of Vicksburg, waged from May 18 to July 4, 1863. The park includes 1,325 historic monuments and markers, 20 miles of trenches and earthworks, a 16-mile tour road, two antebellum homes, 144 emplaced cannons, the restored gunboat USS Cairo, and the Grant's Canal site, where the Union army attempted to build a canal to let their ships bypass Confederate artillery fire. It also includes a 116-acre National Cemetery, with 18,244 interments (12,954 of whom are unidentified). We’ll visit the USS Cairo, which sunk in 1862 after hitting a naval mine and was salvaged from the soot and silt of the Yazoo River in 1964. We’ll have dinner and spend the night on board.

DAY 7: NATCHEZ

Established by French colonists in 1716, Natchez is one of the oldest and most important European settlements in the lower Mississippi River Valley. Its strategic location on the high bluffs on the eastern bank of the Mississippi River enabled it to develop into a bustling port. We’ll visit Magnolia Hall, built right before the Civil War and one of the finest examples of Greek revival architecture, as well as Stanton Hall, which occupies a full city block. Afterwards, we’ll return on board for lunch. In the afternoon, we'll leave for the Frogmore Cotton Plantation and Gins and follow the early historical cotton planters and the lives of their slaves. It remains an 1800-acre working cotton plantation with a modern, computerized 900 bales-per-day cotton gin. Our tour will include a comparison of historical methods with the touch screen and mechanized farming and ginning of today. We’ll also learn about how the Civil War and the abolishment of slavery affected the cotton industry. We’ll have dinner and spend the night on board.

DAY 8: ST. FRANCISVILLE

St. Francisville is known for its small-town life, historic district with numerous homes, churches, office buildings, shops, restaurants and courthouse listed on the National Register of Historic Homes. Our excursion will be a veritable visit in a time capsule. We’ll take a walk down Royal Street to admire its elegant houses and different churches. Afterwards, we’ll return on board for lunch. The afternoon will be dedicated to visiting two very diverse plantations. The Rosedown Plantation was built during 1834-1835 and furnished with the finest pieces available from the North and from Europe. Catalpa Plantation is one of the few plantations still owned and occupied by descendants of the original builder, and its owner will give you a delightful tour of her ancestral home. We’ll have dinner and spend the night on board.

DAY 9: BATON ROUGE

Baton Rouge, named by French explorer Sieur d'Iberville, was initially a military post established by French colonists. It is now is the capital of the state of Louisiana and its second-largest city. The city’s rich cultural traditions are reflected through its African-American and Caribbean-influenced architecture, and experienced through its fiery Creole and Cajun cuisine. As home to the main campus of Louisiana State University and several smaller colleges, the city buzzes with youthful energy while holding fast to its traditions lying in its southern lifestyle and historic sites. We’ll take a panoramic tour of the city, beginning with Old Louisiana Governor's Mansion, modeled after the White House. It contains its own dazzling East Room, second floor Oval Office and beautiful Rose Garden. The city also houses the Louisiana State Capitol Building—the current seat of the Louisiana state government and the tallest capitol in the United States and the Old Louisiana State Capitol, a Neo-Gothic medieval-style castle overlooking the Mississippi, complete with turrets and crenellations. We’ll visit the Capitol Park Museum, which traces the history of the most vibrant state in America. See how American Indians, colonists from Europe, enslaved Africans, and Acadians from Nova Scotia—eventually known as Cajuns—populated and cultivated Louisiana, shaping it into one of the most culturally rich regions in the world. After lunch on the ship, we'll set out on an exciting excursion to the bayous. Under the shade of age-old cypresses laden with Spanish moss, the captain often lures a 10-foot gator alongside the hull so you can take pictures to show your disbelieving friends and family back home! You never know what you’ll see, and each tour is a unique adventure that never happens exactly the same way twice. We’ll have dinner and spend the night on board.

DAY 10: NOTTOWAY

Our ship will moor close to the South’s largest antebellum mansion, Nottoway Plantation, located between Baton Rouge and New Orleans. This absolutely charming American castle has luxurious gardens and parks. John Hampden Randolph began construction of this grand "White Castle" in 1849, built for his wife and 11 children. He made his fortune in sugar production and was at one time the largest slave owner in the South. The massive home was completed in 1859 along with a variety of other buildings including slave quarters, a schoolhouse, greenhouse, stable, steam-powered sugar house, wood cisterns, and other necessary buildings for an agricultural operation. We’ll then visit one of the most imposing plantations: Oak Alley, also known as the “Grande Dame of the Great River Road.” Perhaps the most photographed plantation in Louisiana, this home is famous for the quarter-mile avenue of 28 giant, live oaks leading up to the house. At the time Oak Alley was built, the region’s sugar industry was flourishing, and a chain of stately plantation homes lined the banks of the Mississippi. Today, you can step inside to gracious interiors that echo the romance of another era, where gleaming hardwood floors and shimmering chandeliers reflect both streams of sunlight and the venerable history of this magnificent home. Lunch will be Cajun-style. In the afternoon, we’ll visit Laura Plantation, a once 12,000-acre sugar farming complex. Learn about the compelling lives of generations of owners, women, slaves and children who called this typical Creole sugarcane farm their home. You’ll be introduced to age-old Creole traditions and more, including the skilled workmanship of enslaved artisans. After our tour, we’ll return on board. We’ll have dinner and spend the night on board.

DAY 11: NEW ORLEANS

Before visiting the unique city of New Orleans, you’ll disembark from our ship. New Orleans is one of America's most culturally and historically rich destinations. The night never has to end in New Orleans since bars and clubs are not required to close, and you can "do whatcha wanna" any night of the week. It is a city abundant in culture, food and history with so much to do. We'll first discover the city through its history and first colonists. We’ll set out on a panoramic tour through the famous French Quarter. We’ll jump on the St. Charles Streetcar to glide past dozens of antebellum mansions and historic monuments. We’ll then visit the elegant Garden District. Considered one of the best-preserved collections of historic Southern mansions in the United States, it is now home to artists and stars such as Anne Rice, Sandra Bullock, and Mos Def. Our tour will include a history of Hurricane Katrina and the work that has been done since then. We’ll enjoy lunch while listening to live music in town. Afterwards, we’ll enjoy a stroll through the French Quarter. Intimate and one-of-a-kind, New Orleans’ oldest neighborhood has exerted a spell over writers and artists since the time of Mark Twain, Lafcadio Hern and Tennessee Williams. Its architecture blends Spanish, French, Creole and American styles together in an idyllic, enchanting setting. Enjoy some free time to browse the art galleries, admire the architecture or take in some jazz music in a local club. After checking into the hotel, we’ll enjoy dinner while listening to Jazz.

DAY 12: NEW ORLEANS - NEW YORK

Breakfast at your hotel in New Orleans. Morning flight at your expense from New Orleans to the NYC area. Meeting at the hotel in Times Square, New York ( you should consult your travel agency). Afterwards we’ll visit the most iconic neighborhoods in Midtown 5th Avenue, Central Station, the UN and have a stroll through Rockefeller Center. Enjoy some free time in Times Square. Known as the “Crossroads of the World”, it has been a symbol of the magical hustle and bustle of the city since the 1930s. It's the home of the New Year's Eve Ball drop, the epicenter of NYC Theater, a mega advertising space, and a huge shopping center with some of the most well-known names. After checking into the hotel, we’ll have dinner and spend the night at the hotel.

DAY 13: NEW YORK

The New York Experience: Spend the day crossing the city like a real New Yorker. We’ll hop on a bus or the subway and grab a bite to eat on the go. We’ll also get a bird’s eye view of the never-ending metropolitan area from one of the most celebrated buildings, The Empire State Building. More than just a view, it’s an immersive experience within a national landmark. The newly restored lobby with its stunning art deco ceiling, murals, and elevator doors is just as impressive as the 360° view that awaits you on the 86th floor. We’ll have a quick lunch at one of the current salad bar hot spots. The day will continue with a visit to the Guggenheim Museum, whose architecture is as much a work of art as the collection it displays. Located on 5th Avenue, it is the most famous modern art museum in the world. Afterwards, we’ll cross the street to enter the “People’s Park”: world-famous Central Park. A visual masterpiece created in 1857, it has gone through major developments and restoration over time to carry on its initial purpose as an open-air oasis for the metropolitan city. Spend some free time walking through this beloved, natural gem. We’ll have some more free time in Times Square before having dinner and catching a show on Broadway(1). We’ll spend the night at the hotel.

DAY 14: NEW YORK

This morning we’ll set out on a panoramic tour through different historical neighborhoods in Manhattan: Greenwich Village, Soho and Tribeca, and Wall Street—each with its unique feel and pace. We’ll then visit the National September 11 Memorial and Museum: a beautiful, fitting memorial for those who lost their lives that day. We’ll have lunch and begin our afternoon with a trip to the symbol of the USA: the Statue of Liberty and adjoining Ellis Island. She is an icon of freedom and of the United States, and was a welcoming sight to immigrants arriving from abroad through the last century. Enjoy the lovely cityscape of Manhattan Island from the statue as well. A once in a lifetime experience! We’ll have dinner and spend the night at the hotel.

DAY 15: NEW YORK

This morning we’ll visit Harlem. We’ll tour the Cathedral Church of Saint John the Divine and stop to take some photos of the Apollo Theater, where many African-American performers made their name. We'll also drive through the campus of Columbia University, a private Ivy League research university. We’ll have lunch in a restaurant in Harlem. End of our services around 1.30 p.m.

For the safety of our passengers, the captain and crew of the boat may decide to modify the navigational itinerary. Alcohol can damage your health. Please drink in moderation.
More info
  • On board the American Queen, the morning excursions are Hop On/Hop Off and tours are provided only in English. These are buses that give passengers a wide choice of attractions: museums, churches, shopping centers, restaurants, etc. Passengers will be able to hop off individually or in groups depending on their interests.
  • CroisiEurope has an itinerary grouping together the most interesting sites for the morning excursions and will provide a French-speaking guide on each.
  • A French-speaking guide will escort all the excursions.
  • On board the American Queen, a buffet-style lunch will be served between 11:00 a.m. and 12:30 p.m.
  • The order of the visits can be changed, and the visits are subject to change.

This cruise is not recommended for persons with reduced mobility.