Day 1: Hotel Stay - New Orleans, LA
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.
Day 2: New Orleans, LA
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.
Departure 5:00 PM
Today is the big day! Spend your last day here in the city of New Orleans before embarking on the luxurious American Queen to begin an unforgettable journey!
The official American Queen 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 American Queen Dock at 3:30 PM. Reservations are required, so stop in at the Hospitality Desk for more information.
After you are comfortably aboard the American Queen, wave “Au Revoir” to New Orleans as we set off on an incredible adventure up the Mighty Mississippi!
Day 3: 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.
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.
Day 4: 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.
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.
Day 5: 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.”
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
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.
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.
King’s Tavern and Charboneau Distillery
Step off the American Queen Motorcoach and step through the front gate leading to the second floor porch of this 1769 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 nationally recognized chef, Regina Charboneau, and her husband, Doug. Here you will begin a guided tour of the bar with a custom drink on the house, followed by an exclusive tour of the distillery located just next-door. Don’t miss out!
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.
Day 6: 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 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, 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!
Day 7: Scenic River Cruising
While cruising aboard the American Queen, don’t forget to set aside some time for a little pampering. Experience Pevonia spa treatments for optimum de-aging and unparalleled rejuvenation. Pevonia green skincare products and in-spa treatments unite the finest natural botanical and marine ingredients with advanced technology and delivery systems to ensure the products reach the deepest layers of the skin for maximum absorbency and truly phenomenal results.The American Queen Spa by Pevonia will have you feeling like royalty! From body wraps and deep-tissue massages to spa-quality skincare, you will feel totally revitalized from head to toe.
Day 8: Helena, AR
In the Valley of Crowley’s Ridge, sits the small town of Helena, Arkansas. Helena dates back to 1833, and was once a bustling, thriving southern city. Today, Helena would seem to some as a town that time forgot. While the rest of the country was building shopping centers and interstate systems, Helena struggled to stay afloat amidst all of the progress. Big changes drew small businesses away from Main Street U.S.A. and into strip malls. Convenience took over, where simplicity once stood. Today, Helena is in the throes of a revival. With quirky boutiques, unique stores and a historic musical past, Helena remains proud of the life they continue to successfully sprout from the ruins of the past. For in through the dust and rubble, new life for this determined Southern town is emerging. Helena welcomes American Queen guests to play a large part in their re-birth.
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.
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.
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.
Day 9: Memphis, TN
Arrival 8:00 AM
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.