Day 1: Memphis, TN
Departure 5:00 PM
Today is the day you have been waiting for! Prepare to embark on an unforgettable journey down America’s largest and most historical river.
Day 2: 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.
Day 3: 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.
Included Shore Excursions:
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 4: 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.”
Included Shore Excursions:
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 the1840 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.
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 5: 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!
Day 6: 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.
Day 7: 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.
Included Shore Excursions:
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
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.