New Orleans to Memphis

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Cruise Summary

A TASTE OF THE TRUE SOUTH - Memory flows deep and sentiment eddies and swirls along the Lower Mississippi River. Experience authentic Southern culture as you journey through living history and soak in the romantic spirit of the Antebellum era. Fertile cotton fields, vast sugar cane plantations and imposing pillared mansions will transport you back in time, as will the Civil War battlefields. 

Theme:
• Musical Heritage of the Delta*

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

Premium Shore Excursions:
• See ports of call below for the options available to you. Click Here to learn more and to place reservations.

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 - New Orleans

Hotel Stay - New Orleans

Welcome to the Big Easy, a vibrant and energetic city sure to keep you entertained and satisfied while you prepare for your voyage up the Mississippi! Today, indulge yourself with the treasures of New Orleans, as you uncover iconic cuisines spiced with the cultural flavors of the city’s past, explore the unique sites and attractions lining the historic streets as seen in the famous French Quarter, or admire the beauty of nature in the stunning Garden District or City Park.

Not sure where to start?  Visit the Hospitality Desk in the official Pre-Cruise Hotel at any point if you need any suggestions or questions answered, we will be more than happy to help you make the best of your time here! The desk will be available between 1:00 PM and 8:00 PM today, where an American Queen Steamboat Company representative, with the help of local New Orleans representative, can assist with everything from questions regarding your voyage and reserving shore excursions to general questions regarding the city of New Orleans.

Day 2: New Orleans, LA

Departure 5:00 PM
New Orleans, LA

Today is the big day! Spend your last day here in the city of New Orleans before embarking on an unforgettable journey!

The official Voyage Check-in will be open between 9:00 AM and 12:00 PM located in the Pre-Cruise Hotel. 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!

We would like to invite all guests to join us on a Premium Pre-Cruise Shore Excursion at 10:00 AM as we begin an exclusive adventure through New Orleans before continuing to the vessel Dock at 3:30 PM. Reservations are required, so stop in at the Hospitality Desk for more information.  

After you are comfortably aboard the vessel, wave “Au Revoir” to New Orleans as we set off on an incredible adventure up the Mighty Mississippi! 

Pre-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.

A stop in Jackson Square will be the perfect location to treat yourself to authentic New Orleans styled lunch at one of the many cafes and eateries or to pick out the perfect souvenir of your visit to this iconic city. 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 complete journey through the city of New Orleans!

Note: Our experience ends at the vessel dock.

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

Transportation
Included
Price
Call for pricing
Duration
5.5 hours
Tour Capacity
100 guests

Day 3: Oak Alley, LA

Oak Alley, LA

Located in the Saint James Parish, Oak Alley is a much-photographed plantation that combines architectural splendor and the natural wonder of its 300-year-old oak trees. Spend time strolling beneath the canopy of these trees, and learn about the rich history and culture of this southern estate.

 

Featured Onboard Presentation:
Tim Hobbs - House of the Rising Sun

Featured Onboard Entertainment:
Annika Chambers

Disembark from the American Queen and walk across the street to enjoy the beauty of Oak Alley’s rich past. Located on the Mississippi River between the historic Louisiana cities of New Orleans and Baton Rouge, Oak Alley Plantation has been called the "Grande Dame of the Great River Road.” Nowhere else in the South will you find such a spectacular setting! The quarter-mile canopy of giant live oak trees, believed to be nearly 300 years old, forms an impressive avenue leading to the classic Greek-revival style antebellum home. Oak Alley’s setting will remind you of the movie “Gone with the Wind” and makes you feel like you are on a Hollywood movie set. During this included tour, enjoy a guided tour of the Big House and explore the magnificent grounds.

Life in the Bayou Cajun Swamp Tour: Oak Alley

Today we explore a true Cajun Experience away from the American Queen. Begin with a guided visit to the iconic “Big House” at Oak Alley Plantation. This absolutely breathtaking Greek-Revival plantation got its name from its most distinguishing feature – a quarter-mile walkway lined with 300-year-old oak trees leading to the grand front door of this historic southern home.

Then, 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 the 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
Included
Price
Call for pricing
Duration
4.5 hours
Tour Capacity
100 guests
Laura...A Creole Plantation: Oak Alley

Our day begins at Laura Plantation, where we will enter the fascinating world of true Louisiana Creoles who, at this historic site, lived apart from the American mainstream for over 200 years. Surrounded by fields of sugarcane and featuring 12 buildings on the National Register, your guided visit takes you through the newly restored Big House, the grounds, the formal French Parterre, the vegetable & fruit gardens, the Banana Land grove and the 170-year-old slave cabins where the west-African folktales of Compair Lapin, known in English as the legendary “Br’er Rabbit,” were recorded.

Laura’s acclaimed tour, named the “Best History Tour in the US,” by Lonely Planet Travel (UK), is based upon personal, compelling accounts found in the French Archives Nationales as well as from Laura Locoul’s own Memories of the Old Plantation Home; of the plantation’s Creole owners, women, slaves and children. Before leaving, be certain to stop in at the Laura Plantation gift shop to pick out the perfect souvenir of this exclusive trip!

To conclude this intimate day of exploration, we make back along the levee, arriving at the prestigious Oak Alley Plantation. This beautiful piece of architecture and history is an opulent white, surrounded by the healthy and welcoming green glow of 300-year-old oak trees which line the property. On our guided tour through the sugar plantation, begin to realize the differences between the architecture, atmosphere, history, and style of this mansion compared to that of Laura Plantation. As our guided tour comes to an end, take advantage of free time to explore the grounds and gift shop at your leisure.

Transportation
Included
Price
Call for pricing
Duration
4.5 hours
Tour Capacity
50 guests

Day 4: 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, which creates a beautiful southern comfort to the atmosphere.

Featured Onboard Presentation:
Tim Hobbs - Katrina

Royal Street
Guests can hop off here and walk over to The Republic of West Florida Historical Site. Or choose to stroll into Grandmother’s Buttons, a very unique southern boutique. Take a stroll down Royal Street at any of the shops or just to admire the beautiful trees and houses. Or stop into Grandmother’s Buttons – a unique boutique that offers jewelry made out 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
Become steeped in southern charm and local artistry. Stop at Harrington Gallery to experience one-of-a-kind paintings and beautiful pieces by local artists. Visit the Shanty Too, a quaint boutique featuring artisan jewelry and gifts. The structure was built in 1819 and has a beautiful open layout. Now, the building is used as a market center for the town to 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
Learn about St. Francisville and Louisiana’s history and culture. Also, feel free to stop at the West Feliciana Parish Library and relax with a good book or newspaper. This museum is dedicated to the history, people, and architectures of West Feliciana Parish. Built 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 any of the fine boutiques and shops!

Grace Episcopal Church
Originally built in 1827, this restored Gothic structure is one of the oldest Protestant churches in Louisiana. Learn about its significance during the Civil War and its’ historical Civil War cemetery. 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! This 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
Included
Price
Call for pricing
Duration
4 hours
Tour Capacity
100 guests

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 enjoy the unique shops, restaurants, museums, and historical homes located in Natchez, all of which contribute to Hugh Bayless’ book, “The 100 Best Towns in America.”
 

Featured Onboard Entertainment:
Chris Gill & The Soul Shakers - Guitarist, singer, and songwriter Chris Gill has been lighting up stages in the mid-South for over twenty years.  Armed with sweet guitar rhythms, a soulful voice and a clever, unique songwriters perspective, Chris is well-known as one of Jackson, Mississippi's most entertaining performers.  His songs incorporate elements of blues, rock, reggae, folk and dance music.


Rosalie Mansion
Built in 1823, this was a Union headquarters for Natchez during the Civil War built in 1823. This 1716 mansion was built by the French as a fort on the bluffs of Natchez. 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 guided tour, hear the history of the house and the artifacts from an expert tour guide dressed in period clothing. Guests can explore the extensive gardens, gift shop, library, or carriage house before they leave

Natchez Visitor’s Center
Learn about the river in this beautiful southern town, visit exhibits, or shop at the gift shop! Enjoy a short, 20-minute video in the Visitor’s Center Theater and hear about the history of Natchez upon arrival. 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
An incredible, historic 3-story brick house constructed after the 1840 Natchez tornado. 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 more than 16 years. His 3-story brick home was built in 1840 and showcases many

Magnolia Hall
This fully restored mansion was owned by a wealthy cotton broker and merchant and was built in 1858. 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 actually 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
A magnificent, Antebellum Greek Revival Mansion built on an entire city block of Natchez. 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.

Natchez Association for the Preservation of Afro-American Culture Museum
View photographs and artifacts or hear the history of African-American heritage in Natchez and Adams County. Here, learn the history and culture of the African Americans in Natchez over time. Guests can hear the stories or explore the many exhibits that portray the hardships that African Americans suffered and those that prevailed in a time period which allowed for minimal success to the entire race. Add another dimension of Natchez history by stopping at this museum.

Entertaining in Southern Style with Ginger Hyland

The thought of true southern hospitality brings images of ornate mansions flanked by arched porches with charming ladies offering warm, welcoming smiles and stories of southern grandeur. Expect nothing less on this American Queen Steamboat Company exclusive excursion at “The Towers,” one of Mississippi’s grandest and most elegant antebellum homes.

Enter the lavish parlors of “The Towers” as owner Ginger Hyland offers her warm southern welcome and shares stories of their star-studded past. Hyland, the daughter of radar pioneer and president of Hughes Aircraft Co, Lawrence A Hyland, shares tales of her early years in California with Howard Hughes, Walter Matthau and Jack Lemmon as she discloses her encounters while accompanying her parents to Hollywood parties. As an adult, Ginger became a legend in her own right as the first woman president of the American Quarter Horse Association, her connection with Bob Baffert, trainer of the “American Pharoah,” winner of the 2015 triple crown as well as her years adding colorful commentary with “Winners Communication” on ESPN. Ginger shares her vibrant history as guest’s relax on the back porch, soaking in the beauty of the perfectly maintained gardens, adorned with 24 bronze, life-size wildlife sculptures and sip on refreshing mint-infused champagne.

Just as impressive as her owner, the Fleming Family who lived at “The Towers” during the Civil War, stated that General Grant once visited The Towers and is adorned with extravagant antique furniture, sophisticated draperies and fabric wall coverings, striking vintage window laces, and extraordinary Victorian-era collections. Guided by the charismatic Ginger, offers rare and stunning glimpses of her trinkets and treasures hidden throughout the mansion, while conveying their rich history – Each piece’s story 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 placemats they rest upon were hand-crafted for Princess Grace. The intricate original Carrickmacross lace wedding veil, elegantly draped on display, is an antique version of what Kate Middleton wore in her extravagant wedding.

To understand the art of entertaining with truly “Southern” flare, one must indulge in scrumptious hors d’oeuvres prepared by one of the finest local chefs. Delightful snacks are served up with southern elegance as the chef offers pairing recommendations, entertainment tips, chef secrets and original recipes.

The perfectly “Southern” way to spend an afternoon in Natchez, Mississippi!

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

Transportation
Included
Price
Call for pricing
Duration
2.5 hours
Tour Capacity
36 guests
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
Included
Price
Call for pricing
Duration
4 hours
Tour Capacity
100 guests

Day 6: 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. 

Featured Onboard Presentation:
Barbara Sims - An educational and entertaining lecture about the history and music of the legendary Sun Recording Studio in Memphis, Tennessee.

Church of the Holy Trinity
This Episcopal Church is more than 125 years old and houses six Tiffany stained-glass windows. This incredible church spans over 125 feet long, is 52 feet wide, and reaches 61 feet high to the apex of the roof. The church was constructed in Norman 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 34. 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
Anchuca, meaning “happy home” is one of the most significant antebellum homes in Vicksburg and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It was built in 1830 and provided shelter for those suffering during the War. 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
Built in 1858, this building stands as the most historic structure in Vicksburg, hosting speakers and guests like Jefferson Davis, Ulysses S. Grant, Teddy Roosevelt, and others! Construction for this colossal courthouse began in 1858 and was completed miraculously just two years later in 1860 for $100,000. It was restored by Eva Whitaker Davis after the tornado of 1953 swept through Mississippi. Now, the courthouse 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 much more!

Yesterday’s Child & Doll Museum & Biendemham Coca-Cola Museum
Take a self-guided tour as you enjoy and remember life through a child’s eyes. Learn the history of an America’s beloved soda in this 1890’s-furnished museum. Located directly across the street from one another, these two Vicksburg gems are close to the hearts of many residents. Yesterday’s Doll Museum was featured in Delta Magazine and Dolls Magazine. Enjoy a self-guided tour featuring over 1,000 dolls and toys dating back to 1843. At Biedenhard Coca-Cola Museum enjoy the wide variety of Coca-Cola memorabilia in an authentic candy store and soda fountain setting.

Lower Mississippi River Museum
Listen to the risks and benefits of life surrounding the Mississippi River and learn the Federal Government’s role the Mississippi River’s past and present. This museum’s mission is to show the role of the government in Mississippi’s past and future, 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! (Closed on Mondays and Tuesdays)

Old Depot Museum
Featuring the world’s largest collection of ship models and a collection of riverboat models and naval vessels with Mississippi names. Also, the museum offers the only diorama of the Siege of Vicksburg, shown in a birds-eye view of the battlefield with 2,300 miniature soldiers. Formerly a depot for the Grand Trunk & Western Railroad, this museum has more than 150,000 historical and genealogical items in its collection. It features a scale-model village of the buildings important to the development of Vicksburg and the South Kalamazoo County Region and outback guests can check out the caboose! Before you leave, make sure to visit the gift shop!

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 holing 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
Included
Price
Call for pricing
Duration
4.5 hours
Tour Capacity
150 guests

Day 7: Leisurely River Cruising

Leisurely River Cruising

There is always plenty to do between dawn and dusk on the river and today is the perfect day to enjoy the many public spaces and activities that are available to you onboard. Consider booking an indulgent, stress-relieving massage in the American Queen's spa. Browse The Emporium gift shop for that perfect keepsake or take the time to mingle with fellow guests. 

Day 8: Helena, AR

Helena, AR

In the Valley of Crowley’s Ridge, sits the small town of Helena, Arkansas. Founded in 1833 as an industrious port city, Helena is now experiencing a rebirth with a blend of thriving entrepreneurship and Southern hospitality. Helena’s successful marriage of old world culture and urban revival can be attributed in part to the many young professionals that now call Helena home. In the 1940s and 1950s, blues music became extremely popular and Helena was the center of it all. King Biscuit Time is the longest running blues radio show in the entire country and it has served as an inspiration for many famous musicians. The show started in 1941 and was the only radio show in the entire country to feature African American musicians. The year it began, a group of African American blues musicians were given one hour on the radio on the condition that they sign a sponsor, which King Biscuit Flour agreed to do.

Featured Onboard Entertainment:
Joyce Cobb - Memphis’ legendary "Queen of Blues" will take you from the time of field calls to the new era of modern blues and R&B in her own soulful way.

Delta Cultural Center
Learn the history of the Delta and its Blues as you visit two tour locations: the Depot and the Visitors Center. Experience the history of Helena through two interactive museums – The Depot and the Visitor’s Center. The Depot features the exhibit “A Heritage of Determination” which depicts the history of the Delta from its earliest inhabitants through the settlement and Mississippi River Floods. Upstairs there is an exhibit called “Civil War in the Delta” which explains the Battle of Helena.

St. Mary’s Catholic Church
This church located in West Helena was designed by Charles Earnes and built in 1935. It features extravagant brick work, interior design, and a breathtaking steeple that stay true to Middle European traditions. Built in 1934 and designed by architect Charles Eames. This was his first large commission – Eames was better known instead for his modern furniture designs. In that time, people were used to Renaissance-style churches. This church is medieval-esque, designed to resemble the world—half in light and half in dark.

Freedom Park
This Park was designated as an important part of the National Park Service’s National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom. Here you can admire monuments of the African-American Experience in the Civil War era. This Civil War Interpretive site includes 5 major exhibits that explore the African American experience in Helena. The exhibits follow the journey of the African Americans from fugitive slave to freedom, and even enlistment in the Union Army for others. The park is the first site in Arkansas to be designated for inclusion on the National Park Service’s National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom Program.

Fort Curtis & Moore Hornor House
A replacement to the original Fort Curtis built in 1862, the New Fort Curtis gives visitors the chance to hear the history of the original and its reconstruction as they see an earthen fort firsthand. Then, visit the Moore-Hornor House to admire the architectural beauty built by Arthur Thompson in 1859. Fort Curtis’ reproduction of the Union’s Civil War Fort was named after the Union General in command – Samuel R. Curtis. The fort was one of 5 positions which allowed for Union soldiers to form a Confederate attack on July 4th, 1863 to recapture the city and relieve the siege at Vicksburg. Then, head over to the Moore Hornor House, which offers an impressive example of both Greek revival and Italianate architecture and is listed on the National Register of Historical Places.

Pillow-Thompson House
Jerome B. Pillow built this amazing house in 1896. Today it is fully restored back to its original beauty so that guests have the chance to visit a fine example of Queen Anne Architecture. Built in 1896 by Jerome B. Pillow and designed by architect George Barber. It is a prime example of Queen Anne architecture in the south and is the only home Victorian home in Arkansas with full-wood construction. Many of the original furnishings remain on display.

Helena Museum of Phillips County
Guests will be amazed to hear the history of Helena and its ancestors as they tour this museum. Explore artifacts of Native American Indians, the Civil War, Thomas Edison, and Mark Twain, among many more incredible pieces. This museum started out as the Hook and Ladder in 1874, which was a volunteer fire company that started lending out books and newspapers. The department slowly began acquiring donations of historic artifacts eventually leading to an expansion in the 1920’s to accommodate the new additions. These artifacts are now on display for visitors to view at their leisure.

Mississippi Delta Gospel and the Birthplace of the Blues

Experience the Blues, un-filtered and un-refined, as we set off on the Blues Trail to the place where it all began. This experience begins with a visit to the Greater First Baptist Church, where a rousing gospel choir performance is sure to inspire. As we funnel into the warm and cozy church and into the rustic, wooden pews, listen as Reverend Hughes welcomes us to the heart of the Delta, where gospel was born. Renditions of the “Battle Hymn of the Republic,” “Amazing Grace,” and “Swing Low Sweet Chariot” will have you swaying back and forth and clapping along before making our way to Clarksdale, Mississippi – known as the “Birthplace of the Blues!”

Soak in this quintessential southern town on a narrated tour – explore all of the highlights landing it on the Blues Trail. Clarksdale is so passionate about its Blues roots that the buildings and sidewalks ooze that gritty feeling evoked by the music of the region. From the weathered store fronts, guarded by well-used furniture and covered in faded paint—this town is proudly displaying its culture. Then, experience the blues in its’ pure and raw excellence at the Delta Blues Museum, where exhibits captivate the history and heritage of the Blues made by legends such as Sam Cooke, Muddy Waters, and Tennessee Williams.

Just a short walk across the street will bring us to Ground Zero Blues Club. This iconic juke joint, owned by Golden Globe winning actor Morgan Freeman, accurately showcases the nuances of the Blues. This dimly lit musical haven truly captures the authenticity in every inch of the building. From the mismatched furniture, to the artwork and artifacts adorning the already too cluttered walls lit only by strings of lights hung from the exposed beams—feel completely cultural immersed. See, hear, and taste the culture that is the Blues. Grab a chair and belly up to the table as a sampling of traditionally Southern snacks are offered for your enjoyment. While delving into fried green tomatoes, fried pickles, fried green beans, and sweet potato fries, enjoy an exclusive live musical performance by a local Blues legend offering a unique cultural experience to complete your cultural experience of the birthplace of the Blues.

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

Transportation
Included
Price
Call for pricing
Duration
4.75 hours
Tour Capacity
100 guests

Day 9: Memphis, TN

Arrival 8:00 AM
Memphis, TN

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 Memphis at your leisure or consider a Post-Cruise Premium Shore Excursion with airport transfer.

Post-Cruise: Memphis City Tour Including Graceland Mansion

Experience the town that “The King” called home on a guided journey through Memphis! Put on your blue suede shoes and board the American Queen Steamboat Company's motorcoach as it departs towards Memphis’ most iconic attraction, The Graceland Mansion.

Upon entering The Graceland Mansion, the presence of Elvis can still be felt within the walls as you walk through the very 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 Pressley.

At The Graceland Mansion discover distinctly “Elvis” rooms such as the famous “Jungle Room,” a 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 in addition to those awarded posthumously. Just outside the mansion, take 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.

Next on the Memphis experience, we will embark on a short, narrated driving tour of the "Music City" before concluding our journey through Memphis.

Note: This excursion begins at the vessel's dock and concludes at the official Post-Cruise Hotel or Memphis International Airport.

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

Transportation
Included
Price
Call for pricing
Duration
4.5 hours
Tour Capacity
150 guests
Post-Cruise: The Elvis Experience

Includes a Platinum Access Pass to Graceland, a Guided Excursion through Memphis and a Walk on Beale Street with Local Musical Icon

Continue your journey along the Mississippi River with a king’s treatment as we depart the vessel and weave our way through the streets of Memphis towards its’ heart and soul – Beale Street.

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, a charismatic and spirited local musician joins us and welcomes us to the city he calls home. As our personal and exclusive guide, his enthusiasm and love for this southern city becomes infectious 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.

The journey continues with Beale Street in our rearview and the home of The King himself ahead – 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,” a 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 in addition to those awarded posthumously. Just outside the mansion, take 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 platinum 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!

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
Included
Price
Call for pricing
Duration
4.75 hours
Tour Capacity
150 guests