Day 1: Hotel Stay - Memphis, TN
Welcome to the Home of the Blues, the Birthplace of Rock ‘n’ Roll, and exactly the place you want to be! Venture out into the streets of Memphis at your leisure to enjoy the city’s scrumptious eateries, unique boutiques and shops, and the lively entertainment scene. The day is in your own hands, while you are here, don’t forget to experience some of the city’s most historic attractions including Beale Street, Graceland, and Sun Studio!
Day 2: Memphis, TN
And if you don’t know where to start – a quick stop to the Hospitality Desk can help! The desk will be located in the official Pre-Cruise Hotel and open for your convenience between 1:00 PM and 8:00 PM. Here, an AQSC representative, with the help of a local Memphis representative, will happily provide you with dining, entertainment, and sight-seeing suggestions to help you make the best of your time in Memphis. While here, discover everything you need to know about your upcoming voyage. Our friendly staff can assist with everything from general questions to reserving shore excursions.
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.
If you haven’t gotten your full dose of Memphis yet, visit the AQSC Hospitality Desk (Open at 8:30 AM!) for ideas about how to spend your day. The official Voyage Check-In will be open from 9:00 AM to 12:00 PM. During this fast and easy procedure, our representatives will arrange your transfer to the vessel and answer any questions you might have. The process is simple and will have you back to exploring in no time, and, if you think of any more questions, the Hospitality Desk will be at your service until 3:00 PM, when the complimentary boat transfers will begin!
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 Memphis’ highlights before continuing to the vessel Dock at 3:30 PM. Reservations are required, so stop in at the Hospitality Desk for more information.
It’s time to start your voyage and begin a luxurious voyage down the Mississippi River, where memories will be made that will last a lifetime!
Day 3: 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.
Included Shore Excursions:
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 4: 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 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.”
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 6: 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!
Included Shore Excursions:
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: 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.
Included Shore Excursions:
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 8: 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 9: 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.