Join Tours of Distinction on a historical cruise along America’s most romanticized river, the Mississippi. Pass the time languorously sipping sweet tea while savoring authentic Southern cuisine, hospitality and the beautiful landscape and culture of the Deep South cruising down the mighty Mississippi River.
Day 1 - Arrive New Orleans, LA
Transfer to the airport for your flight to New Orleans. Upon arrival, we will be met by our mini-coach and transfer to our hotel. Once checked-in, we get together for a panorama tour of New Orleans. The ‘Big Easy’ is where art, culture and history all intersect. Journey through the French Quarter with its colorful buildings and cast-iron balconies, explore the open-air artist colony in Jackson Square, and be inspired by the soaring St. Louis Cathedral.
After, the remainder of the day is at leisure. Your Cruise Concierge can recommend some great spots for dinner.
Day 2 - New Orleans - Mississippi River
After breakfast, there is some free time to explore New Orleans before we transfer to and embark on the Queen of the Mississippi.
Day 3 - Oak Alley
The day begins with our included shore excursions to the Houmas House and Oak Alley Plantation. The stately grandeur of Houmas House is complemented by the flair of our guide, Ms. Judy Davis, who has a personality as magnificent as the mansion itself. As we arrive, we will be greeted on the riverbank to begin our private exploration through the gardens to the 16-room plantation home. Once inside, the velvet ropes are removed and permission is granted to use the home’s furniture for a truly authentic experience. During the excursion, she brings stories of the home’s many inhabitants to life through the unique collection of Louisiana art. After, you will have time to explore the gardens on your own.
Our excursion continues to Oak Alley Plantation. The famous ancient oaks bordering your path to the mansion are your first sight upon stepping ashore. The perfectly aligned 300-year-old trees form a canopy which creates a particularly grand entrance for our arrival. Southern belles, enjoying the shade of the leafy canopy, greet us upon arrival and are our guides for the day. In small groups, explore the antebellum plantation’s many stately rooms and discover why it has earned the name “Grande Dame of the Great River Road.” After, enjoy a special gathering with mint juleps on the west lawn, before visiting their popular gift shop, known for their world famous pralines.
We then return onboard the Queen of the Mississippi.
Day 4 - Baton Rouge
Baton Rouge features all the history and wonder you would expect in a state capital, but with an added down-home flavor that makes it truly unique. Here, our local guide takes us through the cities’ most famous attractions including the Old and New State Capitols and the interactive Louisiana State Museum. Admire iconic and historic landmarks, while exploring many of the well-known downtown neighborhoods on foot. Enjoy fascinating stories of the area’s culture, politics, history and legends, while embracing the rich art, architecture, and nature on the route.
We then pay a visit to the Louisiana Art & Science Museum. Housed in a historic railroad depot on the banks of the Mississippi River, the Louisiana Art & Science Museum (LASM) features exhibitions of internationally renowned fine artists, a state-of-the-art planetarium, and an Ancient Egypt gallery. Explore the various galleries that showcase changing fine art exhibitions as well as a permanent collection. In the Ancient Egypt gallery you will find ancient artifacts and a Ptolemaic-era mummy that rests in a re-created rock-cut tomb. The Irene W. Pennington Planetarium features sky shows, large-format films, visual music shows, and galleries devoted to space science.
Later, continue to locations that were critical to Battle of Baton Rouge, a ground and naval battle in the American Civil War. Our local historian tells of how the Union victory of this battle halted Confederate attempts to recapture the capital city of Louisiana. Visit the historic Magnolia Cemetery and stand upon the very ground where the most intense fighting took place. Explore the Port Hudson State Historic Site, a Louisiana State Park that preserves and interprets a portion of the Port Hudson battlefield where the longest military siege in U.S. History took place. View a film about the battle and siege, admire original Civil War artifacts, and witness a live firing of an original Civil War cannon used at Port Hudson.
Day 5 - St. Francisville
Located on the bluffs of the Mississippi River, St. Francisville has been called, “One of the 200 most beautiful small towns in America.” This southern town, charms with simple pleasures and unique treasures. Take a stroll through its historic center where two centuries of architecture and lifestyle are on display, after our excursion to a restored antebellum mansion.
The affluent ambiance of the Rosedown Plantation is evident the minute you step on the property. As you walk down the flowered path lined with towering oaks towards the Main House, you will be greeted by our lively resident expert, Tamie Miller. Throughout the tour, Tamie delves deep into the family history of Daniel and Martha Turnbull, sharing how their experiences helped shape the Main House into a home. At the conclusion of your tour, take time to peruse the grounds on your own or relax in a rocking chair on the front porch.
Day 6 - Natchez, MS
Settled in 1716, Natchez is rich in history and southern hospitality. This fascinating city has retained its antebellum charm since its surrender during the Civil War. Your time onshore in Natchez includes a visit to historic Longwood; one of the elegant houses that graces the historic district of Natchez. This octagonal house epitomizes the rise and fall of the South. As the Civil War began, the workmen stopped construction and the house was never completed. View the finished first floor with original family furnishings and the upper five stories that are still a work in progress.
The remainder of the day is to explore Natchez on your own, or through other available shore excursions (not included). A complimentary shuttle is available between the Queen of the Mississippi and downtown Natchez.
Day 7 - Vicksburg
The city of Vicksburg served as a pivotal turning point during the American Civil War. A park ranger will guide you through the National Military Park which commemorates the campaign, siege and defense of Vicksburg in 1863. Discover the restored ironclad gunboat, U.S.S. Cairo, the battlefield where the Siege of Vicksburg took place, and the over 1,300 monuments dedicated to the brave souls who lost their lives. Explore the Visitors Center where life-sized exhibits and artifacts from the Siege of Vicksburg are on display. The excursion concludes with a brief tour of downtown Vicksburg and the riverfront murals.
Day 8 - Mississippi River - Memphis, TN
Sit back and relax today and admire the Southern landscape as you cruise the Mississippi River to Memphis, TN. Memphis is located on the Mississippi River at the northern end of the Mississippi Delta, and where the Blues were born. Its history is linked to cotton and music. On our shore excursion, relax and let your guide show you the highlights of this fascinating City on the Bluff. Along your exploration, stop at the Lorraine Motel, the location where Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated, and visit The Peabody Memphis hotel, world-famous for its five resident ducks, who march through the lobby daily.
Day 9 - Depart Memphis
Our time on the Mississippi River comes to an end this morning as we disembark the Queen of the Mississippi. We transfer to the airport for our flight home filled with Mississippi memories we can share with friends and family.