Day 1: Hotel Stay - 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
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.
Day 3: 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, this White Castle of the South transports visitors back to an era of glory and grandeur. Set among a natural backdrop of vibrant gardens and 200-year-old oak trees, the mansion boasts three floors and 64 bedrooms, and flaunts an incredible 22 white square columns. The most popular room among guests is the White Ballroom, which is painted entirely in white with 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. 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. 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 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! With over 140 buildings on the National Register, beautiful plantation homes nestled in the rolling countryside and bustling Main Street shops, this quaint town situated on the bluffs of the Mississippi River has a style all its own.
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 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 5: Natchez, MS
This charming river town 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. Enjoy the unique shops, restaurants, museums and historical homes, 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 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 Charbonneau 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 American Queen exclusive tour of King's Tavern - a newly opened restaurant and bar, owned by Regina Charbonneau, a nationally renowned chef, and her husband Doug. Enjoy an exclusive tour of the distillery followed by a guided tour of the bar, located just next door.
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 attractions. Described as the key to the South by President 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!
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)
Yesterday's Children Antique Doll & Toy Museum
This museum 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. At the Biedenharn Coca-ColaTMMuseum, enjoy the wide variety of Coca-ColaTMmemorabilia in an authentic candy store and soda fountain setting. This building is where Coca-Cola was first bottled in 1894.
Day 7: 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 8: Port of the Mississippi Delta
The Mississippi Delta is more than a geographical region. It is a way of life - a true cultural experience based around agriculture, music and history. These small river towns have been the inspiration for authors, musicians and artists for centuries. Lower Mississippi River voyages include a unique glimpse into a Port of the Mississippi Delta.
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 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.