Southern Sampler (New Orleans Roundtrip, American Countess)
8 days with American Queen Steamboat Rating: Deluxe
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Save $600 per couple off this cruise. Enjoy additional savings in select higher cabin categories. Click here for eligible departures.
Enjoy free shore excursions on every sailing. Click here for eligible departures.
Offers subject to change or withdrawal, availability
is limited. Some discounts are not combinable.
River Cruise Itinerary
Day 1: New Orleans, LA
Enjoy New Orleans at your leisure or consider a pre-cruise Premium Shore Excursion with afternoon transfer to the American Countess.
Day 2: 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 Library adorned with 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, Card Room 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 3: 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 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.
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 4: 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:
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 5: 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 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!
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 6: Baton Rouge, LA
Named by French explorer, Sieur D’Iberville after a reddish pole marking two separate tribal hunting grounds, Baton Rouge, the Capital of Louisiana has rich cultural history. The city is home to Louisiana’s capitol building which is the tallest in the United States. 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!
USS Kidd DD-661
Just a short walk from the 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 eight battle stars for WWII service and four 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
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: “Experiencing Louisiana: Discovering the Soul of America,” and “Grounds for Greatness: Louisiana”. Rotating exhibits change frequently and can cover a range of different historical events.
Louisiana’s State Capitol
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
Immerse yourself in the history of Louisiana and its culture through art at the LSU Museum of Art. Located on the fifth floor of the Shaw Center for the Arts, the museum hosts a variety of historic and contemporary art exhibits as well as a vast permanent collection spanning the 1700s to present day with over 6,500 artworks on display year round. Paired with a variety of programming and an education space for families to explore, a visit to LSU MOA is perfect for all ages and interests.
LSU Rural Life Museum
Dedicated to the preservation and exhibition of materials from the cultures of 18th and 19th century rural Louisianans the LSU Rural Life Museum sends guests back in time to experience the lifestyles and life-ways of these remarkable people. Explore the largest collection of artifacts and architecture from the period, all in a safe, outdoor rural landscape.
Day 7: Nottoway Plantation, LA
EXCLUSIVE PORT: 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.
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
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.
All This Included
Explore the land of bawdy blues and Southern belles. This journey showcases the diversity and drama of the Lower Mississippi River. The river rolls slowly and expansively, smooth as a southern drawl. The bayous and woodlands along the shore create dramatic landscapes that are virtually unchanged since the days of the French fur traders. Gracious towns with palatial mansions and tree-lined streets abound. History is everywhere - in silent Civil War cemeteries and virtually everywhere you turn in river towns along the way.
Complimentary Hop-On Hop-Off shore excursions in each port of call
All onboard meals, including both fine dining and casual cuisine
24-Hour Room Service
Gracious service from a friendly, all-American staff
Acclaimed entertainment worthy of Broadway
Our own dedicated fleet of deluxe motorcoaches
Accommodations on this Tour
Cruising: cabin onboard the American Countess
Cabin upgrades are available.
Single occupancy cabins are available.
Port taxes of $199 per person are additional and not included in the prices shown above.
Please ask your Vacations To Go travel counselor for more information.
Terms and Conditions
The prices shown are U.S. dollars per person, based on double occupancy, and subject to availability. Prices quoted for land/cruise arrangements are subject to increase without notice. Once we have received your deposit, land/cruise prices are guaranteed. Air prices quoted via phone or email are subject to increase and are guaranteed only from the time that full payment is received. Also, air prices or air promotions mentioned on this site or on the phone do not include baggage fees imposed by airlines. Sorry, we are unable to offer air from countries other than the U.S. However, for those international customers who are able to arrange their own transportation to the trip origination city, we are able to offer the land/cruise portion of the package at the price quoted.
Open Mon-Fri 7am to 10pm, Sat 8am-8pm, Sun 9am to 8pm, CST