Day 1: Hotel Stay - Memphis, TN
Enjoy your complimentary stay at the historic Peabody Hotel in downtown Memphis. The evening is yours to get self-acquainted with this city's famed eateries, unique shops and lively entertainment.
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 Memphis.
Day 2: Memphis, TN
Departure 5:00 PM
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 Memphis 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.
Day 3: 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.
INCLUDED SHORE EXCURSIONS
The Helena Museum has its earliest beginnings in 1874 as part of a volunteer fire company. This company, named the Hook and Ladder, began lending books and newspapers to the public. After several incarnations, the library, the original component of the museum, began acquiring donations of historic artifacts, and in 1929 a new museum wing was completed to showcase the collection. The Helena Museum has the distinction of being the oldest purpose-built museum in the state of Arkansas, and features an impressive collection of Thomas Edison memorabilia, works by Mark Twain, Civil War artifacts, and Native American collections.
St. Mary’s Catholic Church
Built in 1934 and designed by architect Charles Eames, St. Mary’s Catholic Church has the distinction of being Eames first large commission. Charles Eames is widely known for his modern furniture designs and his work on St. Mary’s Catholic Church reflected a departure from traditional architectural design employed in church building. During the early 20th century, people were accustomed to Renaissance-style churches. This church however is a modern interpretation of medieval-esque design. The church is designed to resemble the world-half in light and half in dark. Admire the qualities about this church that make it stand out from the rest of its time. Notice features such as the large wall space contrasted with very little window space, dark ceilings showcasing the exposed beams, painted brick walls, and unique light fixtures that all contribute to a genuine medieval atmosphere.
This beautiful park, the location of a Civil War camp of “contraband” (former slaves), encourages contemplation. Five interpretive stations explore the experiences of these Freedom Seekers who followed the Union Army into Helena in 1862. The many interpretive panels discuss the courage and hardships encountered by African Americans as they moved from fugitive slave, to freedom, and for some, enlistment in the Union Army. This park is the first site in Arkansas to be designated as a “Network to Freedom” site through the National Park Service Underground Railroad Program.
The original Fort Curtis was built soon after Union forces occupied Helena in 1862 and served in the Union defense during the Battle of Helena in July, 1863. This replica, named after the Union General in command - Samuel R. Curtis, allows visitors to experience an earthen fort, including the massive 24-pounder guns. Exhibit panels and costumed interpreters portray the story of the original fort, its unique construction, and role the fort played in Civil War era Helena.
Built in 1896 by Jerome B. Pillow, the historic Pillow- Thompson House has been beautifully restored to offer visitors a look at one of the finest examples of Queen Anne Architecture in the South. The home features many original furnishings and showcases the quality and high degree of Victorian embellishments that were utilized in the construction of many finer homes in Helena during the Gilded Age.
Delta Cultural Center
Experience the history of Helena through two interactive museums the Visitor’s Center and the Depot. The Visitor’s Center, located just one block north of the Depot, features “Delta Sounds” music exhibit, a live radio studio, and the Museum Store. The Depot features the exhibit “A Heritage of Determination” which depicts the history of the Delta from its earliest inhabitants through settlement and subsequent Mississippi River Floods. Upstairs there is an exhibit called “Civil War in the Delta” which explains the Battle of Helena.
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 incredible church spans over 125 feet long, 52 feet wide, and reaches 61 feet high to the apex of the roof. The church was constructed in Romanesque Revival 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 26. They were given as memorials and six of them were created by Tiffany Studios in New York under the supervision of Louis Comfort Tiffany.
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
Now a National Historic Landmark, construction for this colossal courthouse began in 1858 and was completed in just two years in 1860 for $100,000. It survived Union shelling, a direct hit from a tornado in 1953, and is now home to the largest collection of Vicksburg’s history. The museum 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 many more!
Yesterday’s Children Antique Doll & Toy Museum
Yesterday’s Children was featured in Southern Living, Delta Magazine, and Dolls Magazine. Enjoy a self-guided tour featuring over 1,000 dolls and toys dating back to 1843.
Biedenharn Coca-Cola® Museum
At the Biedenharn Coca-Cola Museum, enjoy the wide variety of Coca-Cola memorabilia in an authentic candy store and soda fountain setting. This building is where Coca-Cola was bottled for the first time anywhere in the world in 1894.
Lower Mississippi River Museum
This museum’s mission is to show the federal government’s role in the Mississippi’s past as well as future efforts 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!
Old Depot Museum
This museum has a 250-sq ft diorama of the Vicksburg Battlefield. It also houses 250 ship models, model railroads with railroading artifacts, 150 model cars cover the development of the automobile, an architectural display with models depicting the different styles of architecture in Vicksburg, and more than 40 original paintings of war on the river and Civil War artifacts.
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
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.
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.
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.
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. Spanish moss trees grow throughout the town, which creates a beautiful southern comfort to the atmosphere.
INCLUDED SHORE EXCURSIONS
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!
Old Market Hall
The structure was built in 1819 and has a beautiful open layout. Now, the building is used as a market center for the towns’ local artisans and craftsmen to showcase their products and 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
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.
Day 8: Nottoway Plantation, 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 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.