Roundtrip New Orleans

Fares from $2,699
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Cruise Summary

HOLIDAY MEMORIES TO LAST A LIFETIME - Amid the glittering elegance of an American Duchess holiday cruise is a seasonal spirit larger than life. Experience the best of the Antebellum South during a magical time of the year and delight in all of your favorite holiday treats while getting acquainted with the classic traditions of the Cajun and Creole cultures. 

Theme:
• Christmas Cruise*
 
Included Tours:
• See ports of call below for information on included tours.

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

Itinerary

Vessel: American Duchess™



Day 1: New Orleans, LA

New Orleans, LA

Enjoy your complimentary stay at the InterContinental New Orleans. The evening is yours to get self-acquainted with the many treasures of New Orleans. 

Our Hospitality Desk will be located in the hotel for your convenience between 3:00 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 New Orleans.

Day 2: New Orleans, LA

Departure 5:00 PM
New Orleans, LA

Today is the day you have been waiting for! Prepare to embark on an unforgettable journey through history.

If you haven’t gotten your full dose of New Orleans yet, visit the AQSC Hospitality Desk for ideas about how to spend your day. The official Voyage Check-In will be open from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. During this time, our representatives will arrange for 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. If you have any additional questions, the Hospitality Desk will be at your service until the complimentary vessel transfers begin at 3:00 p.m.

Pre-Cruise: Antebellum Plantation Lunch & Tour with Bayou Swamp Experience

On today’s full adventure, we begin at Houmas House also known as, “The Crown Jewel of Louisiana’s River Road.” This mansion reflects the best parts of each period in its rich history alongside the big bend in the Mississippi River. We will uncover the history of the land grant that was given to the indigenous Houmas Indians who were the first owners of this gorgeous plantation.

Marvel at the free-standing, three story helix staircase which follows the curvature of the adjacent wall as our personal guide escorts us through the mansion. We will see the home’s unique artwork, antique artifacts, and immaculate gardens and grounds before enjoying the culinary traditions of the region with a delicious southern lunch buffet. When your appetite has been satisfied, feel free to explore the home one last time at your leisure or visit the gift shop to pick up that perfect souvenir before we make our way to the 250-acre ecosphere known as the Manchac Swamp.

Upon arrival, prepare to spend the next hour and a half journeying into swamp, through whimsical moss draped cypress trees, as our knowledgeable captain shares information on the lush, exotic vegetation that cover the wetlands, and the creatures who call it home. Because our vessels are exclusive to this river, the swamp critters are accustomed to them, and will emerge at the beckon of the captain’s call! We will also have the chance to get up close and personal with a baby alligator as they come aboard the boat.

Note: 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 March.

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

Transportation
Provided
Duration
8 hours

Day 3: 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. Gaze at the beautiful landscapes and small river towns as you mingle with fellow guests and discuss the unique aspects of river life. If you fancy a moment for yourself, retreat to The Lincoln Library adorned with ornate bookcases stocked with an imaginative selection. Take hold of a literary classic, curl up on a plush chair in a cozy corner and relish every moment of  serenity. Our fitness facility, business center, movie theater and grand lobby offer a more stimulating day on the river for those who wish to indulge in more energy-infused activity. However you wish to spend your day, make it your own and revel in every moment.

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. Spanish moss trees grow throughout the town, which creates 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 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!

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 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.”

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 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 complimentary custom drink.

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.

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
A Jeweled Christmas in Natchez

Join us for a lavish Christmas experience in one of America’s most beautiful historic homes. This experience includes a tour of The Towers, a beautifully restored antebellum mansion in Natchez, Mississippi. Situated on almost five lush and manicured acres, this Italianate style home was built in 1858 and once served as the headquarters for the Union Army during the Civil War. This tour includes a complete tour of the home, festively decorated in a dazzling display of antique jewelry, exquisite garlands and 100 decorated Christmas Trees. Immerse yourself in a festive wonderland as you walk through the mansion and into the stately dining room where refreshments will be offered. Enjoy hors d’oeuvres and decadent desserts with a southern flair. To complete your Christmas experience, a local pianist will offer merry music for a jolly holiday sing-along.

Transportation
Provided
Duration
3 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: Baton Rouge, LA

Baton Rouge, LA

Baton Rouge, the Capital of Louisiana, has a deep culture and rich history. Named by French explorer, Sieur D’Iberville after a reddish pole marking two separate tribal hunting grounds, Baton Rouge has transformed into a rich cultural city. Locals speak a specific version of French in their everyday language. The city is home to Louisiana’s capitol building which is the largest in the United States, as well as the Old State Capitol – a Gothic architectural monument located on the bluffs overlooking the Mighty Mississippi. Spend the day exploring all that Baton Rouge has to offer, from the museums and the architecture, to the shops and the cuisine – everyone will enjoy an exciting, busy day!

USS Kidd DD-61
Known as the “Pirate of the Pacific,” she is the centerpiece of a memorial which serves to honor men and women of our American armed forces. Just a short walk from the American Queen’s dock, guests can explore a Fletcher-Class Destroyer that fought in many battles in U.S. history. Named after Admiral Isaac C. Kidd, who died on the bridge of his flagship during Pearl Harbor, the USS Kidd has received 8 battle stars for WWII service and 4 battle stars for Korean War service. This 2,050 ton, 376 foot-long vessel has since been converted into a museum, with exhibits of extensive collections of war artifacts, ship models, memorial hall, real fighter planes and bombers, and memorials.

Capitol Park Museum
Here you can step onto a simulated Mardi Gras float, discover the difference between Cajun and Creole, and experience multimedia presentations of Louisiana history, industry, and culture. This impressive museum showcases collections of visual arts, jazz, costumes, textiles, and artifacts from Louisiana history. It was founded in 1906 and holds over 450,000 artifacts and works of arts. Permanent exhibits include: “Living with Hurricanes: Katrina and Beyond,” “Experiencing Louisiana: Discovering the Soul of America,” and “Grounds for Greatness: Louisiana”.

Louisiana’s State Capitol
The tallest capitol building in the nation was constructed during the Depression. Get a birds-eye view of the city and mighty Mississippi River from the 27th floor observation deck. This prime example of Art Deco Architecture was extremely popular in the 1930’s and stands 450 feet tall. The building holds 34 floors making it the tallest state capital in the United States. Guests can admire the uniquely constructed rooms throughout the building or take a ride up to the 34th floor to the observation deck where an impressive panoramic view of the city can be found.

LSU Museum Of Art
Located inside the Shaw Center for the Arts, the LSU Museum of Art seeks to enrich and inspire through collections, exhibitions, conservation, and education. Founded in 1959, the Louisiana State University Museum of Art has been fully accredited by the AAM and offers over 14 impressive galleries. Admire showcases from American, European, British, Chinese, and African influences and over 5,000 art pieces. Learn about the history of art and the influences it has on modern art styles and explore the extensive collection of original paintings, sculptures, photography, and more!

Louisiana’s Old State Capitol
A Gothic architectural monument located on the bluffs overlooking the Mighty Mississippi. This incredible building has withstood war, fire, scandal, and abandonment. It is now referred to as the Museum of Political History and has received awards for the architecture, exhibits, and preservation. Learn the history of Louisiana’s capital city, art, culture, and politics while you explore the original artifacts and interactive exhibits!

Day 7: 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.

Day 8: 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