Memphis to New Orleans

Fares from $1,999
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Cruise Summary

SWEET SOUTHERN HARMONY - From Memphis to New Orleans – a region distinctly molded by its history – trace the melodious roots from which sprung a variety of genres. Whether it is the sound of New Orleans "Dixieland" Jazz, the strains of the uniquely American musical art form the Delta Blues – one of the earliest styles of blues music hailing from the Mississippi Delta – the rock and soul of Memphis, or homegrown country melodies from Nashville, it all harmonizes with the rhythms of the river. While you’re at it, enjoy a conversation with legendary American author Mark Twain….well, the next-best thing, at least: expert Twain tribute artist Lewis Hankins, who has more than four decades of experience at bringing the beloved literary hero to life. 

Theme:
• Southern Musical Heritage*

Included Tours:
• See ports of call below for information on included tours.

Pre-Cruise City Stay Package:
• Begin your journey with an unforgettable 3-day/2-night city stay package. Click Here for full details and package pricing.

Post-Cruise City Stay Package:
• Extend your journey with an unforgettable 3-day/2-night city stay package. Click Here for full details and package pricing.

*All themed entertainment, events and tours are subject to change without notice.

Itinerary

Vessel: American Queen



Day 1: Hotel Stay - Memphis, TN

Hotel Stay - Memphis, TN

Enjoy your complimentary stay at the Sheraton Memphis Downtown Hotel. The evening is yours to get self-acquainted with this city's famed eateries, unique shops and lively entertainment.

Our Hospitality Desk will be located in the hotel for your convenience between 2:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. It is here that our friendly staff can assist with everything from general questions about your upcoming voyage to reserving Premium Shore Excursions. An American Queen Steamboat Company representative, as well as a local representative, will be readily available to provide you with dining, entertainment, and sight-seeing suggestions so that you may maximize your time in Memphis.

Day 2: Memphis, TN

Departure 5:00 PM
Memphis, TN

Today is the day you have been waiting for! Prepare to embark on an unforgettable journey down America’s largest and most historical river.

If you haven’t gotten your full dose of Memphis yet, visit the AQSC Hospitality Desk (Open at 8:30 AM!) for ideas about how to spend your day. The official Voyage Check-In will be open from 9:00 AM to 12:00 PM. During this fast and easy procedure, our representatives will arrange your transfer to the vessel and answer any questions you might have. The process is simple and will have you back to exploring in no time, and, if you think of any more questions, the Hospitality Desk will be at your service until 3:00 PM, when the complimentary boat transfers will begin. 

It’s time to start your voyage and begin a luxurious voyage down the Mississippi River, where memories will be made that will last a lifetime!

Pre-Cruise: The Elvis Experience

Begin your journey along the Mississippi River with a king's treatment as we depart the hotel and weave our way through the streets of Memphis towards the home of the King himself - Graceland Mansion!

Enter through “The King's” front door where the presence of Elvis can still be felt within the walls as you walk through the same rooms as he did after a long day's performance. Custom crafted and state-of-the art iPads will help guide your way through each room, providing thoughtful narration by actor and Elvis enthusiast, John Stamos as well as personal commentary by Elvis' daughter, Lisa Marie Presley.

At this musical mecca, discover distinctly “Elvis” rooms such as the famous “Jungle Room,” an homage to “The King's” love for Hawaii, featuring green shagged carpets, exotically carved woodwork, and a Polynesian feel. View “Vernon's Office,” where Elvis' father, Vernon Presley, managed his career, as well as the Trophy Building and Racquetball Building, where you will find hundreds of awards and accolades, received throughout his career as well as those awarded posthumously. Just outside the mansion, a short stroll through the Meditation Garden, where “The King's” final resting place is located alongside other members of his family. Pay your respects to Elvis and his contributions to American music and entertainment, knowing his legacy resonates throughout the world and spans multiple generations.

But the adventure doesn't end there! This Elvis experience continues with exclusive exhibits including: • Graceland Mansion Audio-Guided Tour with New Orientation Film • Full Access to State-of-the-Art Visitor Entertainment Complex - NEW! • Elvis' Two Custom Airplanes • Elvis Presley Car Museum - NEW! • Elvis: The Entertainer Career Showcase Museum - NEW! • Elvis Discover Exhibits - NEW!

Before our journey continues enjoy some free time for lunch on your own at one of the many Elvis themed eateries! We then continue with Graceland in our rearview and Memphis's heart and soul - Beale Street ahead. Oozing with the gritty feeling of the blues and rock `n' roll, Beale Street's musical history is alive in every store front lining the road, street band performing on the corner, and brick paving our way. A larger-than-life iconic brass statue of Elvis marks the starting point of the “Walking in Memphis” portion of this exclusive excursion. Here, we will experience the most famous street in Memphis as our local guide leads us through the vibrant city he calls home. Our personal and exclusive guide shares his infectious enthusiasm and love for this southern city as he narrates stories of his favorite attractions as we walk past. A stroll along Beale Street is littered with music, history, culture and the sweet smell of smokey barbeque wafting through the alleys.

You will not want to miss this exclusive experience through the Music City!

All shore excursions, prices, and information are subject to change without notice.
 

Transportation
Provided
Duration
6.5 hours
Pre-Cruise: Soundtrack of Memphis

Today, we embark on a musical tour of Memphis, Tennessee, the “Birthplace of Rock and Roll.” Activities begin in the early afternoon with a relaxing driving tour of Midtown Memphis's 342-acre Overton Park, where our first stop is the iconic Levitt Shell amphitheater. Here, we'll be treated to a musical performance by our tour guide on the stage where Elvis Presley put on his first paid concert in 1954.

Our driving tour continues through Overton Square, a cultural hotspot of the 1970s that has since been revitalized into a thriving, modern entertainment district. We'll pass Galloway House, the Methodist church where Johnny Cash and the Tennessee Two put on their first performance, and “Soulsville, U.S.A,” where legends like Otis Redding, Booker T. & the MGs, Isaac Hayes, and others got their starts at Stax Records. Other sites include Priscilla Presley's high school, Church Park, and the W.C. Handy House Museum, the turn-of-the-century log shack that was home to the “father of the blues” himself.

As a brief intermission from our driving tour, we'll stop off at the Tennessee Welcome Center. Then, continue past sites that include Court Square, historic Beale Street, and the National Civil Rights Museum, built around the infamous Lorraine Motel where Martin Luther King, Jr. was tragically assassinated in 1968. And no visit to Memphis, “Blues City,” would be complete without seeing the Blues Hall of Fame.

Additional sites that we will see today include the South Main Arts District, the Gibson Guitar Factory, scenic Vance Avenue, Bluff Park, FedExForum, and the WDIA radio station, where soul music first hit the airwaves. We'll top off our tour with the magnificent Peabody Hotel, the famed Memphis Front Street (also known as “Cotton Row”), and Lauderdale Courts. Time permitting, we'll see Humes High School --Elvis Presley's alma mater --and Sun Studio, a rock and roll landmark. 

This excursion concludes at the dock of the vessel.

All shore excursions, prices, and information are subject to change without notice.
 

Transportation
Provided
Duration
3 hours

Day 3: Greenville, MS

Greenville, MS

Greenville is at the very heart and soul of Mississippi Delta. Located on the banks of Lake Ferguson, Greenville is a short drive to Indianola, the birthplace of B.B. King and many other blues singers, so naturally Greenville has its fair share of Blues integrated into its culture. Many authors and writers were born or reside in the small town of Greenville; local legend says that the Greenville water grows writers. The author of the Muppets actually got started here along with a long list of other impressive, renowned writers! The town is also known for their gardening, which they were recognized for growing the largest carpet plant in the nation; and museums of which the town has one for practically everything! This beautiful town is sure to win your heart with its southern charm and soul!

Greenville History Museum
Here, guests can learn about Greenville and all the important events and people she has to offer. The museum is home to many artifacts, photos, memorabilia, and souvenirs dating back to the early 1800s. See personal objects of local past citizens, businesses, or well-known historical present-day celebrities! Greenville History Museum has plenty of information about the Greenville Flood of 1927, including many pictures and stories.

Hebrew Union Temple
This guided, extensive museum about Hebrew history was built in 1906. Located in front of the temple is an original carriage stone - used for passengers as they climbed in and out of horse-drawn carriages in the 19th and early- 20th centuries. The temple showcases original stained glass and an original working organ both from 1906 and extensive artifacts and memorabilia from WWII.

1927 Flood Museum
Located in the oldest structure in Downtown Greenville, the Flood Museum depicts the history of one of the worst natural disasters the county has ever seen. View the flood artifacts and photos illustrating the flood’s impact during the long four months Greenville was flooded. Watch a short documentary illustrating the cause and effects of the Great Flood and the struggle of man against nature.

E.E. Bass Cultural Arts Center
The E.E. Bass Cultural Arts Center is home to the Armitage Herschell Carousel. This carousel was created in 1901 and is the oldest fully functioning Armitage carousel today. Mississippi at that time was still legally segregated, many people approached the owner about having separate nights for carousel rides, but the owner refused, he wished for everyone to ride together. Take a ride on this amazing machine and hear the whistle blow and travel back in time.

Washington County Courthouse
This is the third courthouse to be used by the country. The first courthouse was burned down by Union troops during the Civil War. It was replaced by a second structure that was used until the present courthouse was erected in 1890, made up of primarily Illinois brownstone. The front of the building showcases the Confederate Monument which faces south – like many do in Mississippi. “Guests will be greeted by an expert on the history of this beautiful courthouse.”

Trop Casino
Just a short distance from the dock, guests can find themselves in Greenville’s Trop Casino. The city’s newest addition includes a $6.8- million expansion including a riverboat and land based casino! Enjoy the latest slots and table games or enjoy a fine dining experience at one of the casino’s extraordinary restaurants!

St. Joseph’s Catholic Church
This fine Gothic Revival Church, erected in 1907, is the second building of this parish. It was designed and financed by Father P.J. Korstenbroek, who served at the church for 33 years and was memorialized in William Alexander Percy’s “Lanterns on the Levee”. Many of the stained-glass windows came from the Munich studios of Emi Frei.

Greenville’s Writers Exhibit
Located on the second floor of the William Alexander Percy Memorial Library, the exhibit highlights a number of writers from Greenville. Many of those featured helped to create an extraordinary literary atmosphere in Greenville. Writers who have called the city home have won the Pulitzer Prize, National Book Award and O. Henry Award. Writers influenced by the creative ambiance here include William Alexander Percy (for whom the library is named) Shelby Foote, Walker Percy, Hodding Carter, Jr., Charles Bell, Beverly Lowery, Ellen Douglas, Bern Keating, Julia Reed and David L. Cohn.

Small Towns, Big Legends - The Story of B.B. King

Join us on a journey to Indianola, Mississippi, the hometown of legendary Blues artist, B.B. King. Indianola captures the essence of the grass-root’s Blues and exposes a charmingly simplistic way of life so unique to the Delta region. Each rugged brick used to support this small town has been saturated to its core with the gritty, unrefined soul of “The Blues.”

Despite its modest and unassuming appearance, this humble Delta town birthed a musical giant. Known world-wide as “The King of Blues,” B.B. King called Indianola home for much of his life. Built to tell the story of B.B. King and how the Delta Region shaped his legacy, the B.B. King Museum and Delta Interpretive Center captures the story of the Delta Blues.

On arrival, a guided tour of the museum begins as a heartwarming documentary tells the story of B.B. King’s childhood and early beginnings.

Then, travel back in time as the chronological exhibits throughout the museum twist and wind through the musical journey of the iconic B.B. King, from his humble beginnings as a small child, to a determined young man with a guitar and a dream, through the turning points of his career that cemented his place in musical history.

Spawned in America’s Deep South, the Blues is meant to evoke emotion deep within one’s soul. The Blues must be felt, lived and tasted in order to be fully appreciated. A visit to Club Ebony, an iconic night club built at the end of World War II in 1948 that featured iconic entertainers such as Ray Charles, Count Basie, Bobby Bland, Albert King, and of course – B.B. King, will complete your day. King purchased the venue in 2008 to keep the tradition alive. Here, local Blues performers will entertain with rousing musical prowess while guests enjoy a truly southern snack in all of its rustic and gritty glory. This authentic southern juke joint will set itself apart from the rest of your trip.

All shore excursions, prices, and information are subject to change without notice.
 

Transportation
Provided
Duration
4.75 hours

Day 4: Vicksburg, MS

Vicksburg, MS

Vicksburg perfectly blends Southern culture and heritage with exciting modern-day attractions. Described as the “Key to the South” by Abraham Lincoln, this southern town carries a history unlike any other Civil War city. Vicksburg was founded in 1811 and grew as a vital river port city. It was a major component to the Civil War and carries much of the history within the town. Today, Vicksburg is a popular spot for tourists to learn about the battles of the city, taste the cuisine, visit the many museums, and pick out the perfect souvenir.

Church of the Holy Trinity
This incredible church spans over 125 feet long, 52 feet wide, and reaches 61 feet high to the apex of the roof. The church was constructed in Romanesque Revival style, finished in red brick, though it showcases zigzag tracery, which was highly unique to the style at the time. The stained-glass windows may be the main draw – there are 26. They were given as memorials and six of them were created by Tiffany Studios in New York under the supervision of Louis Comfort Tiffany.

Anchuca Mansion
The word Anchuca derives from an Indian word meaning, “happy home”, which is the exact vibe this home gives off. Built in 1830 by politician J.W. Mauldin, Anchuca is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places. During the war, the house was used as a shelter for those who had suffered. Tour the home and its beautiful furnishings.

Old Court House Museum
Now a National Historic Landmark, construction for this colossal courthouse began in 1858 and was completed in just two years in 1860 for $100,000. It survived Union shelling, a direct hit from a tornado in 1953, and is now home to the largest collection of Vicksburg’s history. The museum is filled with countless artifacts, including confederate flags, portraits, the trophy antlers won by steamboat Robert E. Lee in an 1870 race, an original Teddy Bear given by Theodore Roosevelt, and many more!

Yesterday’s Children Antique Doll & Toy Museum
Yesterday’s Children was featured in Southern Living, Delta Magazine, and Dolls Magazine. Enjoy a self-guided tour featuring over 1,000 dolls and toys dating back to 1843.

Biedenharn Coca-Cola™ Museum
At the Biedenharn Coca-Cola™ Museum, enjoy the wide variety of Coca-Cola™ memorabilia in an authentic candy store and soda fountain setting. This building is where Coca-Cola™ was bottled for the first time anywhere in the world in 1894.

Lower Mississippi River Museum
This museum’s mission is to show the federal government’s role in the Mississippi’s past as well as future efforts to maintain a healthy river. Guests can explore showcases of the history of Vicksburg and the region or exhibits about the 1927 flood and how it affected Vicksburg and the Mississippi River. Learn about the fish of the river up close in the museum’s 1,515-gallon aquarium or choose your own adventure on the river with the Mississippi Trail Interactive exhibit!

Old Depot Museum
This museum has a 250-sq ft diorama of the Vicksburg Battlefield. It also houses 250 ship models, model railroads with railroading artifacts, 150 model cars cover the development of the automobile, an architectural display with models depicting the different styles of architecture in Vicksburg, and more than 40 original paintings of war on the river and Civil War artifacts.

On the Front Lines of the Civil War

Travel the front lines of one the most important battlefields in the country. Cross into enemy territory, hear the stories and hardships suffered by soldiers and discover what makes Vicksburg such an important city in American history. Aptly described by President Lincoln as “the key to victory,” the Siege and Battle at Vicksburg is a landmark in time that shaped our country and how wars would forever be fought.

Set off for the historic Vicksburg National Military Park. Here, we will travel the 16-mile road that weaves through the 1,300 monuments and markers. As our luxury motorcoach navigates the bluffs and fields that once served as crucial battlegrounds, we’ll cross both Union and Confederate lines and make a few stops to allow for a close-up experience at some of the key points of interest along the way. Tour the USS Cairo and Museum, an Iron Clad River Boat that was raised from the depths of the Mississippi River and can be boarded and fully explored. Climb the steps at the Illinois State Monument, the largest of the 27 state monuments and walk the National Cemetery, a peaceful location holding the largest amount of Civil War burials in the country, as well as the Vicksburg Battlefield Visitor’s Center where an informative fiber-optic display depicts the progression of the siege.

All shore excursions, prices, and information are subject to change without notice.

Transportation
Provided
Duration
4.5 hours

Day 5: Natchez, MS

Natchez, MS

This charming river town was first inhabited by Natchez Indians and French explorers who shared the land. It was founded in 1716, making it the oldest city on the Mississippi. The city is known for its elegance, hospitality, and impressive preservation of history – found on every street corner throughout Natchez. Guests will enjoy the unique shops, restaurants, museums, and historical houses located in Natchez, as they explore the beautiful downtown areas.

Rosalie Mansion
In 1716, the French built Fort Rosalie overlooking the Mississippi River. In 1823, a mansion was built by a wealthy cotton planter on land north of the fort. The Mississippi State Society Daughters of the American Revolution have since gained ownership and have been maintaining the house and grounds since 1938. On this self-guided tour, discover the history of the house and the artifacts found throughout. Period-dressed docents can be found throughout the home to answer questions and to provide more information! Guests can explore the extensive gardens, gift shop, library, and carriage as well.

Natchez Visitor’s Center
Enjoy a short, 20-minute video in the Visitor’s Center Theater and hear about the history of Natchez. Then, explore the building at your leisure. At the entrance, a scaled display model of the city is showcased. Stop in the office for some general information and questions about the town and its history, including town highlights and points of interest.

William Johnson House Museum
William Johnson was known as the “Barber of Natchez”; he began as a slave and gained his freedom at age eleven. After his freedom, he began to work his way up in society, eventually becoming almost fully accepted within society. As the town barber, William Johnson was able to hear the stories and gossip of many of the residents, which he documented in his diary for over 16 years. His 3-story brick home was built in 1840 and showcases many original furnishings.

Magnolia Hall
This Greek Revival Mansion was built in 1858. The house was built before the breakout of the Civil War in town but did suffer some damage – a cannon ball was launched into their kitchen! It is now fully restored – the main floor offers a showcase of many antiques and furnishings and the upper floors offer a costume collection located in the Historic Clothing Museum. Tour the house and then stop in the gift shop for some souvenirs.

Stanton Hall
Irish Immigrant and cotton merchant Frederick Stanton built this Palatial Greek Revival mansion in 1857. It was appraised at $83,000 during that period, even before it was furnished. Take a 30-minute tour of the house – which takes up the entire block and is fully furnished. Afterwards you can stop for lunch in the Carriage House Restaurant, known for their fine southern cuisine.

King’s Tavern and Charboneau Distillery
Step off the motorcoach and walk through the front gate leading to the second-floor porch of this 1789 building – the oldest structure in the city of Natchez. Join us for an American Queen exclusive tour of the King’s Tavern – a newly opened restaurant and bar, owned by Regina Charboneau, a nationally known chef, and her husband Doug. Enjoy an exclusive tour of the distillery, followed by a guided tour of the bar, located just next door, with a custom drink on the house.

Natchez Association for the Preservation of Afro-American Culture Museum
Here, learn the history and culture of the African Americans over time. The museum will delve into the 300-year-old African American history, spanning four lifetimes from Colonial and Cotton Kingdom Natchez, to the Reconstruction and the Civil Rights Movements. As you explore this creative portrayal of the true African American story, you will unfold history to reveal Natchez in a light that is shown nowhere else around.

Home Hosted Visit with Ginger and James

The words “Southern hospitality” evoke images of ornate mansions flanked by arched porches and charming ladies offering warm smiles and stories of southern grandeur. Today, we will experience nothing less on this exclusive home-hosted visit to The Towers, one of Mississippi’s grandest and most elegant privately owned antebellum homes. Here, we will be welcomed like old friends by owners Ginger and James Hyland and guided through their personal home. Set on five manicured acres among ancient oaks, The Towers is a stunning estate of exceptional Italianate design with a rich past. 

Silks, antique lace sheers, and magnificent draperies adorn the walls of The Towers, but unlike most historical homes, there are no roped-off rooms here. This is a one-of-a-kind experience where we’ll be free to explore the home as if we were members of the Hyland family. As we relax on the mansion’s back porch, sipping refreshing mint-infused champagne and soaking in the beauty of the perfectly maintained gardens, Ginger will share stories of her star-studded past. Ginger—the daughter of Lawrence A. Hyland, president of Hughes Aircraft Company and one of the men credited with the invention of radar—will share impressive tales of her past growing up in California, including accompanying her parents to Hollywood parties with Howard Hughes, Walter Matthau, and Jack Lemmon. As an adult, Ginger was able to create her own legacy as the first female president of the American Quarter Horse Association.

Ginger is a charismatic host, and will give us an intimate tour of her house, including rare and stunning glimpses of her trinkets and Victorian-era treasures hidden throughout the mansion. Each piece’s story is more interesting than the last. For instance, the set of goblets elegantly placed atop her antique tables were crafted by Ludwig Moser, famous glassware manufacturer for European royalty, while the place mats they rest upon were hand-crafted for Princess Grace. The intricate, original Carrickmacross lace wedding veil on display is an antique version of the one Kate Middleton wore during her extravagant wedding. Ginger and James’ passion for collecting is obvious, as they can recite the history of every piece on display, and welcome all questions with enthusiasm for the stories of the past.

Our tour ends in the sunny, enclosed back gallery, where will enjoy a delightful taste of southern comfort food during a casual, private visit hosted by the Hylands. We’ll get an exclusive taste of Southern flare as we indulge in scrumptious snacks, as we are introduced to Ginger and James’s dear friend Rene Adams (who also happens to be a renowned local chef). Chef Rene will entertain us with stories of the history of food in the Natchez area, including culinary secrets and authentic recipes.

After a champagne toast, our visit will come to an end, as we bid farewell to our new southern friends. Until next time!

All shore excursions, prices, and information are subject to change without notice.

Transportation
Provided
Duration
2.5 hours
The Story of Cotton in the Antebellum South

Cross the river to Louisiana and visit historic Frogmore Plantation, designated a “Must See Site” by Rand McNally. Frogmore is the only historic & modern, 1800-acre working cotton plantation in the South. Take a seat on an original pew in an 1800s African American plantation church, as the mistress of Frogmore takes the audience back in time. Music fills the air as the “secret songs” are performed by local musicians. Enjoy the gospel songs and hear the narration about life on a cotton plantation.

Continue the experience exploring authentic slave cabins and cotton fields. Take a walk up to the fields and feel free to pick some cotton for a glimpse of the essence of life on a plantation. We encourage all to explore the historic steam engine cotton gin which the Smithsonian Institute states is the rarest of its kind in existence. After a complimentary beverage in the “Sharecropper Plantation Store,” contrast historical methods. On your return to Natchez, your guide will enlighten you with unusual cotton trivia and answer questions.

A visit to Longwood will complete the “Story of Cotton,” with a glimpse into the devastation caused by war and a changing America. This historic antebellum octagonal mansion is the largest of its shape in America. Also known as “Nutt’s Folly,” this unique mansion remains beautifully unfinished and stands symbolically in representation of the last burst of Southern opulence. A reminder of a time before war brought the cotton baron’s dominance to an end. After surviving decades of neglect and abandonment, Longwood stands strong today and is a can’t miss stop when visiting Natchez.

All shore excursions, prices, and information are subject to change without notice.

Transportation
Provided
Duration
4 hours
Inside Regina's Kitchen with Celebrity Chef Regina Charboneau

During our visit to Natchez, Mississippi, we will be welcomed into Twin Oaks, a beautiful, southern-style mansion and the personal home of award-winning chef Regina Charboneau. Regina is the author of numerous well-received cookbooks, and is recognized in the culinary world as the personification of southern hospitality. (In fact, she is often complimented for this by none other than Andrew Zimmern.) Regina never ceases to look forward to opening her front door to a limited number of American Queen Steamboat Company guests for intimate culinary experiences around her own dining room table.

Built in 1832, the historic Twin Oaks is a relic of the Antebellum Age of the South. Upon arrival, you'll get a taste of true, down-home hospitality as you're served up delicious southern libations to get nice and cozy before Chef Regina gives a tour of her home, all the while weaving in personal stories of her family and frequent visitors --friends, business colleagues, and celebrities who simply can't get enough of her cooking.

Regina's claim to fame is her much-coveted recipe for picture-perfect, buttery, flaky biscuits. She will share her secrets with you during this very intimate experience. If her southern-style biscuits weren't already enticing enough, Regina serves them on top of her homemade, creamy chicken pot pie. Her ability to take a seemingly simple, traditional dish and elevate it with such finesse never fails to amaze her guests. Not one to be content simply playing the hostess, Regina then invites you into her personal kitchen to get hands-on. You will work with your own dough right alongside her, following this expert's step-by-step instructions to recreate her mouthwatering masterpiece. But it's not all comfort food; you'll get a glimpse into some of Chef Regina's other dishes while at Twin Oaks.

You've never experienced a true southern experience until you spend some time here in Regina's kitchen. There is something about the relaxed atmosphere of Twin Oaks that makes cooking these dishes for yourself, with your own two hands, all the sweeter. Soon, you'll be ready to sample these incredible recipes straight from the oven, fresh, warm, and crispy! Our group of new friends will share some drinks, some pot pie, some laughs --and perhaps even a few surprises --around Regina's dining room table. Not only will you learn Chef Charboneau's inside secrets, but you won't leave her house empty-handed. Regina provides an American Queen Steamboat Company exclusive custom CDs loaded with your new recipes and even a few extras.

Chef Regina Charboneau was born and raised in Natchez, Mississippi. Her culinary success followed the talented chef from Mississippi, to San Francisco, where Regina birthed the idea of “Biscuits & Blues,” which became wildly successful and featured the flavors of her hometown. The nightclub has won multiple WC Handy awards for the Best Blues Club in America. Regina didn't stop there - in 2001, she returned home, where she purchased the historic Twin Oaks Mansion, where she currently resides and continues making strides in the industry. Whether Regina was collaborating as Chef De Cuisine and Culinary Director, sharing her knowledge in her cookbooks, managing and creating menus for her restaurants - including her newest - King's Tavern, or dabbling in the art of rum production with her family at Charboneau Rum Distillery, Regina is sure to bring a piece of the South to the table!

All shore excursions, prices, and information are subject to change without notice.

Transportation
Provided
Duration
2.5 hours

Day 6: St. Francisville, LA

St. Francisville, LA

Established in 1809, St. Francisville is the oldest town in the Florida Parishes. Below where St. Francisville is located currently, was a settlement called Bayou Sara in the 1790’s. When this settlement was destroyed by flooding and fires, many of the structures and artifacts were hauled up the bluff into St. Francisville, where they are still standing. The town is referred to as “two miles long and two yards wide,” but that definitely doesn’t mean they have nothing to offer! Stop in at one of the unique shops, historical homes, beautiful churches, or breathtaking parks and you will agree with that! Spanish moss trees grow throughout the town, lending a beautiful southern comfort to the atmosphere.

Royal Street
Take a stroll down Royal Street at any of the shops or just to admire the beautiful trees and homes. Or stop into Grandmother’s Buttons – a unique boutique that offers jewelry made of 100-year-old buttons. Inside the store, you can visit the button museum to learn the history of the business and the inspirations of the art. The store is located inside of a former historic bank lobby with 16-foot ceilings and a bank vault, even if jewelry is not in your plans – the architecture is beautiful!

Old Market Hall
The structure was built in 1819 and has a beautiful open layout. Now, the building is used as a market center for the towns’ local artisans and craftsmen to showcase their products and host their small businesses. Every day is different, you may see anything from jewelry and makeup, scarves and dresses, or snacks and produce!

West Feliciana Historical Society Museum
This museum is dedicated to the history, people, and architectures of West Feliciana Parish. Inside a former hardware store, built in 1896, the Historical Society Museum displays many artifacts, photos, costumes, and articles all portraying the history of St. Francisville. Just across the street, you can stop in one of the fine boutiques and shops!

Grace Episcopal Church
Built in 1860 and rebuilt in 1893 after the Union caused heavy damage in 1863, Grace Episcopal Church stands tall in St. Francisville. Enjoy a self-guided tour of the church and the grounds and make sure to check out the organ located inside – it dates all the way back to 1860! The church is one of the state’s oldest Protestant churches that still stand today.

Redemption & Rehabilitation at Angola Penitentiary

Recognized by the international travel community during the 2014 Seatrade Convention in Barcelona as one of the three most innovative experiences in the world, we embark on a trip full of second chances, rehabilitation, and redemption. Angola Prison—formerly America’s most dangerous penitentiary is known today as a model facility and takes great pride in the faith-based rehabilitation of its inmates, most of whom will never regain their freedom.

Based on your previous perception of prison, you can’t help but get butterflies as you turn to see the yellow gates and barbed wire of Angola Prison. That perception will be changed today. As we wind through Angola’s vast, rich farmland where over five million pounds of produce are harvested by inmates each year, gaze upon the fields that seem to expand forever. Our ride will wind along the tight roads paved through the grounds as we pass inmates hard at work harvesting crops. We push on, passing inmate housing, cattle herds, the K-9 training facility, and the Rodeo arena. Discover the history of this plantation turned penitentiary, made famous for its troubling history and it’s truly inspirational turn-around, annual Rodeo, and numerous sightings in movies including the blockbuster; “Dead Man Walking.”

We will stop in front of the prison’s first and most famous cell block, stepping off the bus for an exclusive tour of the Red Hat Cell Block. Listed on the National Registry of Historic Places, the penitentiary’s first cell block was home to the escape artist Charlie Frazer and was the site of 11 executions by electric chair. Hear the history of the dark places the prison had been to before its unbelievable transformation.

The journey continues, arriving at the penitentiary’s largest chapel where guests will have a once-in-a-lifetime chance to hear the enlightening stories from current inmates and the journey of their transformation into the inspiration and well-rounded people they are today. Our exclusive excursion ends with a stop at the penitentiary’s on-site museum. While here, learn more about the ongoing effort to change prisons in America, the history of Angola and pick up a unique souvenir as a reminder of the ongoing effort to ensure public safety.

All shore excursions, prices, and information are subject to change without notice.

Transportation
Provided
Duration
4 hours
Plantations of the Back Roads: St. Francisville

Today’s experience goes beyond the expectations of a “traditional” southern plantation and offers guided tours of two plantations with a more personal touch. Experience two southern plantations that have deep ancestral ties. Pay close attention to each home during the guided tour – see if the family portrait displayed in both plantations can be found!

We will begin at Rosedown Plantation, one of the most intact documented examples of a domestic plantation complex in the South. It embodies the lifestyle of the antebellum South’s wealthiest planters in a way very few other surviving properties can. The plantation’s landscape is a laboratory for the study and interpretation of the cultural traditions of slavery, the life style of the gentry, and long-standing scientific experiments in agriculture and horticulture. Rosedown was established in the 1830s by Daniel and Martha Barrow Turnbull, and remained in the hands of their descendants until the 1950s. Explore the elaborate home and sprawling gardens and visit the gift shop to search for souvenir reminders of your day exploring the “Plantations of the Back Roads.”

Then, travel to nearby Catalpa, a charming private home that has remained in the same family since the early 1800’s. Owner Mary Thompson, a descendant of the estate’s original family, is a gracious hostess who delights in sharing her grand home, its history and its connection with Rosedown Plantation. In every room of Catalpa, evidence of the family’s rich history lives on. The home is filled with furniture original to Catalpa in addition to china, crystal, silver and portraits that were once at Rosedown Plantation. At the conclusion of your visit, Mary invites all of her guests for a traditional southern farewell on the front porch with a complimentary glass of Sherry.

All shore excursions, prices, and information are subject to change without notice.

Transportation
Provided
Duration
4 hours

Day 7: Nottoway, LA

Nottoway, LA

Magic is in the air at Nottoway Plantation as the early melodies of Christmas echo through the halls of the great mansion and carry across the lush grounds.  Your evening at Nottoway Plantation is full of enchanted holiday traditions offering a glimpse into holidays past. This romantic evening is highlighted with the lighting of traditional bonfires along the levees. 

Day 8: Nottoway, LA

Nottoway, LA

Nottoway is the South’s largest, most glorious remaining Antebellum mansion with a rich history dating back to 1859. In a fabulous location along the great River Road overlooking the grand Mississippi River, this “White Castle” of the South transports visitors back to an era of glory and grandeur. Set amongst a natural backdrop of vibrant gardens and two hundred-year-old oak trees, Nottoway Plantation captivates all with a brilliant blend of  true Southern hospitality, history and mystery.

Enjoy an included tour of Nottoway Plantation, the South’s largest remaining antebellum mansion. This stunning historical plantation lies between Baton Rouge and New Orleans and offers a view of a truly grand plantation. The mansion flaunts three-floors, 64-bedrooms, and displays an incredible 22 white square columns which contribute to its’ nickname—“The White Castle of Louisiana.” The most popular room among guests is the White Ballroom, which is painted entirely in white and displays elaborate gold décor throughout. Rooms are trimmed in custom plaster frieze made from Spanish moss, clay, plaster, and mud and are all original to the house. And as if that weren’t enough, this immaculate mansion was constructed with 365 openings—one for each day of the year. Enjoy a guided walking tour of an American Castle as we explore within the pristine walls of Nottoway followed by a stroll through the lush grounds and gardens.

Life in the Bayou Cajun Swamp Tour: Nottoway

Today we explore a true Cajun Experience in the back bayous and swamps of Louisiana. Just down the historical River Road that beautiful Nottoway Plantation resides on, lays an oasis. Flanked by cypress and lush greens, Manchac Swamp offers a glimpse into what settlers of this area found upon arrival to southern Louisiana.

Travel through plantation country as our local guide enlightens us on the affluent southern Louisiana lifestyle during the era when sugar cane was king. After our 45-minute narrated tour of the river, we will arrive in La Place, Louisiana; home to the 250-acre ecosphere called Manchac Swamp.

For the next hour and a half we will be guided through this ecological environment by our knowable Cajun Captain. Enjoy the picturesque sights of moss-draped cypress trees and lush, exotic vegetation cover the wetlands as our tour boat navigates the swamp.

Because our boats are exclusive to this river, the swamp critters have even learned to recognize them as part of their own habitat. At the beckon of the Captain’s call, they emerge from the draping mossy Cypress trees to greet us. This ecosphere harbors American alligators, nutria, ibis, turtle, herons, raccoons, egrets, and species unique to Southern Louisiana. Get up close and personal with baby alligators as they come aboard the boat.

*While Louisiana’s Manchac Swamp is uniquely beautiful year-round, it is possible that alligators and other native wildlife may not be as active throughout these colder months. Please take this into consideration while booking this tour on dates October through December, as well as, February through March.

All shore excursions, prices, and information are subject to change without notice.

Transportation
Provided
Duration
4.5 hours
Grand Southern Plantation Tour: Nottoway

Embark on a journey from the capital city through the fields of southern Louisiana towards some of the South’s most prestigious, picturesque and historical plantations. Begin the adventure as we weave through the streets of Baton Rouge on our way to one of the south’s most stunning pieces of history, the Houmas House.

As we come to a stop in front of the Houmas House, its beauty confirms exactly why it is known as, “The Crown Jewel of Louisiana’s River Road.” Beyond its stunning architecture and perfectly manicured gardens, the Houmas House also offers its guests an incredible opportunity to delve into a deep, rooted history. Uncover history of the home, beginning with the indigenous Houmas Indians, the first owners of the plantation, who were given a land grant to occupy the land. Our personal guide, dressed in authentic period clothing will continue escorting us through the home, tracing the history to the Louisiana Purchase in 1803, when the property was established as a sugar plantation. After exploring the home’s unique artwork, antique artifacts, and immaculate gardens and grounds, experience culinary traditions of the region in a southern-style buffet lunch followed by free time to explore the home one last time at your leisure or to visit the gift shop.

Then, we head south through the sugarcane fields that helped build Louisiana and visit Oak Alley Plantation. A powerful testimony to the rich history of the antebellum south, Oak Alley invites visitors to explore all facets of her plantation past. The Slavery at Oak Alley exhibit, Civil War exhibit and Big House offer an experience as compelling as the plantation’s 25 historic acres and 300 year old ally of oaks. Then, enjoy the unique and exquisite gift shop at your leisure as we await our luxury motorcoach to continue our plantation journey.

On their own, each location offers the lavish luxuries of true Southern wealth, featuring awe-inspiring mansions, lush gardens, and the quintessential Southern experience—but combined—this tour offers a tri-fecta of Southern opulence and prestige. Don’t miss this exclusive opportunity!

Transportation
Provided
Duration
6.5 hours

Day 9: New Orleans, LA

Arrival 8:00 AM
New Orleans, LA

Thank you for cruising with us! We hope that you had a memorable experience and look forward to welcoming you aboard in the future. Enjoy New Orleans at your leisure or consider a Post-Cruise Premium Shore Excursion with airport transfer.

Post-Cruise: New Orleans Highlights Tour

Embark on an adventure through a city radiating an eccentric and authentic atmosphere and filled to the brim with history and culture close to the heart of America. Explore the history of New Orleans including the first settlers, religion, culture and Mardi Gras. On an exclusive New Orleans narrated driving tour, you will experience the city from an intimate first-person perspective. Relax in the comfort of our motorcoach as we glide past some of the most iconic attractions in the city including the French Quarter, Jackson Square and the Garden District, where elegant mansions stand as a testament to Greek revival, Italianate and Queen Anne Victorian styles. Then, we will travel down St. Charles Avenue, along the famous street car line, where New Orleans’ most prestigious and beautiful colleges, Tulane University and Loyola University are located.

Continue the day in New Orleans’ breathtaking City Park, a 400-acre park located in uptown between St. Charles Avenue and the Mississippi River, built on the site of the 1884 World's Fair. Here, we will take a short break to relax and soak in the awe inspiring scenery of “The Big Easy,” as you are treated to a complimentary coffee and a New Orleans’ signature Morning Call beignet. No trip to New Orleans would be complete without a stop at St. Louis Cemetery # 3, known better as the “The City of the Dead,” which is where we will conclude our exclusive journey through the city of New Orleans!

Note: Our Experience ends at New Orleans International Airport at 12:30 PM or at the official Post-Cruise City Stay Hotel at 1:00 PM.

All shore excursions, prices, and information are subject to change without notice.

Transportation
Provided
Duration
4 hours