21 Night Cruise sailing from New Orleans to Red Wing aboard American Duchess. 1 night hotel stay pre-cruise in New Orleans.
AUTHENTIC AMERICA ON THE MIGHTY MISSISSIPPI- Have you ever wondered what this country looked like to its early explorers and pioneers? Traveling on the Mississippi and its tributaries, you will be transported back in time to an era of leisurely and romantic travel. Storybook American towns and vibrant, bustling cities combine with the sweeping panoramas that inspired the works of Mark Twain. Authentic America is out there just waiting to be explored, and after three fabulous weeks of historic discovery, you will forever be changed. This voyage is packed with special events, such as blues by Memphis legend Joyce Cobb and her band, a solo cabaret by Glenn Springs, and a homespun show by Dave Para and Cathy Barton featuring a variety of stringed instruments. Two beloved historic figures come to life through expert tribute artists Lewis Hankins, as Mark Twain, and George Buss, as President Abraham Lincoln. Guest favorite Michaelyn Oby puts her own spin on songs by Nina Simone, Sarah Vaughn, and others, while even more blues will come from Big A and the All-Stars featuring Anthony Sherrod. If you love classic pop, be sure to catch Phil Westbrook’s musical tribute to Frank Sinatra, “Come Fly With Me.” That’s just a sampling of the many gems to be enjoyed on this amazing journey, where the past meets the present and the river provides the perfect backdrop for friends old and new to celebrate this beautiful land.
Day By Day Itinerary:
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.
Day 2: New Orleans, LA
Departure 5:00 PM
Today is the big day! Spend your last day here in the city of New Orleans before embarking on an unforgettable journey!
Day 3: Nottoway Plantation
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.
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.
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.”
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.
Day 7: Leisurely River Cruising
As history plays such a large part of your river cruise experience, spend some time with our onboard Riverlorian to gain insight into our nation's history and heritage. Relive a tale from Mark Twain or simply enjoy the fascinating stories, facts and fables of the very stretch of river on which you are cruising.
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.
Day 9: Memphis, TN
Enjoy a complimentary city tour of Memphis, Tennessee. During this exclusive narrated driving tour of Memphis, you will see such landmarks like Sun Studio, The Peabody Hotel, National Civil Rights Museum and a cruise past Beale Street. Included is a Graceland Platinum ticket! After a guided tour of the Graceland Mansion, enjoy self-guided tours of the rest of the outlying museums.
Day 10: Leisurely River Cruising
For a remarkable one-of-a-kind experience, take a guided tour of the American Queen's Engine Room to explore the inner workings of our classic, steam-powered vessel or take in a guided tour of the Pilot House where you can witness the latest high-tech electronics that help us navigate our innovative paddlewheeler up the changing currents of Old Man River in modern-day America.
Day 11: New Madrid, MO
New Madrid was founded in 1776 by Spanish Governor Esteban Rodríguez Miró who welcomed Anglo-Saxon settlers but required them to become citizens of Spain and live under the guidance of his appointed impresario, Revolutionary War veteran, Colonel William Morgan of New Jersey. Some 2,000 settled in the region. In 1800, Spain traded the territory to France in the Third Treaty of San Ildefonso, who promptly sold it to the United States in the Louisiana Purchase. The city is remembered as being the nearby location for the Mississippi River military engagement, the Battle of Island Number Ten, during the Civil War. The city is famous for being the site of a series of over 1,000 earthquakes in 1811 and 1812, caused by what is called the New Madrid Seismic Zone. Today, explore this quaint river town that will surely steal the hearts of all guests.
Day 12: Paducah, KY
Paducah embraces their harmonious history between the European settlers and the Padoucca Indians native to the area. The city is located at the confluence of the Ohio and the Tennessee Rivers and because of this, it is often called the Four-Rivers Area due to the proximity of the Ohio, Cumberland, Tennessee, and Mississippi Rivers. This prime location has played a major role in Paducah’s history, as transportation was easily accessible – the economy was strong and travelers were frequent!
Day 13: Cape Girardeau, MO
Nestled along the western banks of the mighty Mississippi River lays the city of Cape Girardeau, Missouri. It’s a community rich in history and heritage. For more than 250 years, people have been drawn to Cape Girardeau and the river on which it lies. Stroll along the riverfront, where the passion that led Mark Twain to write so eloquently about Cape Girardeau in Life on the Mississippi, the inspiration that Gen. Ulysses S. Grant used to lead with firm conviction as he took command of the Union Army in the historic downtown, and the warmth and hospitality that community founder Louis Lorimier extended to Lewis and Clark while on the journey of a lifetime as they set forth on their Corps of Discovery to explore the Louisiana Purchase will be prominent.
Day 14: Chester, IL
Known as the “Home of Popeye”, Chester, Illinois is a city rich in history and pop culture. Because creator and writer of Popeye, Elzie Crisler Segar, was born here, the famous characters starred in the show will be seen showcased frequently throughout the town. Stop at the Popeye Character Trail to view granite statues of the characters overlooking the Mississippi or check out America’s only Popeye museum and gift shop to take home a souvenir to remind you of your visit to Chester! Spend the day exploring the unique history as you walk through luxurious homes, historical buildings, and museums!
Day 15: St. Louis, MO
St. Louis, Missouri, famously referred to as the “Gateway City,” is known for its diverse neighborhoods and the different cultures and traditions each one brings forth. The iconic city was founded in 1764 by French explorers who settled on the east side of the Mississippi, claiming the land as their fur trading post. In 1803, the city’s name began to spread as the beginning point for the famous Louis and Clark Expedition. The city is typically associated with its 630-foot stainless steel monument, the Gateway Arch, which stands proud on the banks of the Mississippi River to symbolize the westward expansion of the United States.
Day 16: Alton
Enjoy a complimentary city tour of nearby St. Louis, Missouri. Famously referred to as the “Gateway City,” St. Louis is known for its diverse neighborhoods and the different cultures and traditions each one brings forth. The iconic city was founded in 1764 by French explorers who settled on the east side of the Mississippi, claiming the land as their fur trading post. In 1803, the city’s name began to spread as the beginning point for the famous Louis and Clark Expedition. The city is typically associated with its 630-foot stainless steel monument, The Gateway Arch, which stands proud on the banks of the Mississippi River to symbolize the westward expansion of the United States.
Day 17: Hannibal, MO
Hannibal, Missouri, has a rich history, diverse industrial economy and truly remarkable arts. The city was founded in 1819 by Moses D. Bates and became a popular stop along the river for many steamboats traveling up the Mississippi River. Hannibal offers more parks per citizens than most towns in the Midwest and was included in the famous “50 Miles of Art.” Today, the most popular draw of this quirky town is Hannibal’s very own Samuel Langhorne Clemens, recognized world-wide as Mark Twain. Many of the popular characters featured in Twain’s novels were based on people Clemens had known while growing up in Hannibal. Many of the characters and influences of this American icon are weaved into the streets, shops, restaurants, and museums of Hannibal waiting to be uncovered.
Day 18: Leisurely River Cruising
Relax on deck with a copy of Huckleberry Finn or another imaginative selection borrowed from our revered Mark Twain Gallery, enjoy some quiet time in the Ladies' Tea Parlor, or recruit your fellow guests for an exciting board game in our Gentelmen's Card Room.
Day 19: Bettendorf, IA
Discover one of the marvels on the Mississippi River! The Quad Cities combines the cultures of Rock Island, Moline/East Moline in Illinois and Davenport, Bettendorf in Iowa. This fun and friendly area is home to hundreds of music, food, and art festivals. Blues, jazz, rock, and many other music stylings can be found not only at the festivals, but also at music venues in the downtown areas. Museums that tell the history of the area and feature international and national traveling exhibits will also keep you busy, as over 20 museums are scattered throughout the Quad Cities and feature everything from Buffalo Bill Cody and German immigration to fine art collections, and Native American Indian history. Come for a visit and experience Quad Cities on the mighty Mississippi River, their Midwestern hospitality will make you feel right at home!
Day 20: Dubuque, IA
One of the few large cities in Iowa with hills, Dubuque is an extremely popular tourist destination, featuring unique architecture and desirable river location. From the America’s River Project in the Port of Dubuque that transformed the riverfront, to the revitalization of the historic Main Street, the ongoing evolution of the Historic Millwork District downtown, and the impressive and expansive westward growth, Dubuque remains a remarkable city along the Mississippi. Intelligent Community Forum named Dubuque as one of just five U.S. cities as a “Smart21 Community” in 2015 and the National Civic League has named Dubuque as a top All-American City three times in just six years! Guests will surely enjoy exploring this beautiful and unique city as they uncover the history and advancements held within.
Day 21: La Crosse, WI
Named by explorer Zebulon Pike, who saw a group of people playing a game with sticks that looked like a cross, La Crosse is now a popular tourist stop. Filled with statues, architecture, and an exquisite view of the river, this river city is an artist’s dream. Like much of Wisconsin, La Crosse became heavily involved with the lumber industry in the mid-1800s until the decline of the forests throughout much of Wisconsin took its toll. But in the wake of the vanishing lumber era, La Crosse became a city renowned for its beer making, with around five breweries operating in La Crosse near the turn of the century. Today, make note of lingering pieces of history along the streets of the city, inside local breweries, and within the floorboards of historic homes and businesses.
Day 22: Red Wing, MN
Red Wing, Minnesota was included on National Geographic Traveler’s list of most historic places in the world. Discovered in the early 1850’s, the lands were used mostly for harvesting wheat that would be transported on the river. Later in Red Wing’s history the economy began to flourish with the pottery industry, which became a main source of income between 1877 and 1967. Today, the city offers endless opportunities to travel back in time and learn about settlers and travelers that occupied the land before today, or to admire the craftsmanship and creativity of local artisans of both the present and the past.
Day 23: Red Wing, MN (Minneapolis)
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 nearby Minneapolis at your leisure
Please note, while prices and inclusions are accurate at time of loading they are subject to change due to changes in cruise line policies and pricing and due to currency fluctuations. Currency surcharges may apply. Please check details of price and inclusions at time of booking.