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Music on the Mississippi: Memphis to New Orleans

Program Number: 20263RJ
Start and End Dates:
12/10/2012 - 12/18/2012;
Duration: 8 nights
Location: Tennessee
Price starting at: $3,999.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: Adventure Afloat Study Cruise; Small Ship Cruising
Meals: 23; 8 Breakfasts, 7 Lunches, 8 Dinners    
Meal Options: Kosher; Low Fat; Low Salt; Vegetarian    

Delve into America’s indigenous music — the blues, jazz, gospel, Cajun, zydeco, rock ’n’ roll and beyond — as experts reveal the musical expressions of life connected to the mighty Mississippi. From an old-fashioned jug band to country singer-songwriters to New Orleans’s premier classic jazz orchestra, professional musicians enliven your journey with performances and fascinating stories behind the music. If you’re musically inclined, join fellow participants to rehearse and perform in a grand finale, or just sing along!




Activity Particulars

Walking up to one mile per day.



Itinerary At-a-Glance

Aboard Grande Mariner, 7 nights; New Oelans, La., 1 night.



Days 1-2:
Arrival Memphis, Tenn. / embark Grand Mariner:

Be welcomed aboard by the Memphis blues of the Bluff City Jug Band and commentary from David Evans, a local professor, blues expert and author. Experience Graceland, Elvis Presley’s mansion, and the Memphis Rock ‘n’ Soul Museum.



Day 3:
On River:

Enjoy a concert and presentation by Tricia Walker, a songwriter for country stars like Faith Hill and Patty Loveless.



Day 4:
Natchez, Miss.:

Explore colonial mansions decorated for the holidays, hear the organ play in nearly-200-year-old Trinity Episcopal Church and enjoy a concert by the Holy Family Catholic Church Gospel Choir.



Day 5:
Vicksburg:

Discover Vicksburg National Military Park, commemorating the siege and defense that ultimately gave control of the Mississippi River to the Union. Listen to the stories and songs of the mid-19th century.



Day 6:
Baton Rouge, La.:

Go ashore in the capital to learn the story of Huey Long and explore the historic waterfront. Experience the sounds of Cajun and zydeco in an interactive musical presentation.



Days 7-9:
New Orleans / disembark / departure:

Days 7-9: New Orleans / disembark / departure: Celebrate your arrival in New Orleans with a live jazz concert onboard the ship. An expert-led walk through the famed French Quarter concludes with cafe au lait and beignets at Cafe du Monde. Back onboard, enjoy an evening with Don Vappie & the Creole Jazz Serenaders.



Grande Mariner

This three-deck American ship was designed to fit in smaller areas that large cruise ships cannot navigate. At 183 feet long by 40 feet wide, it can carry up to 86 passengers on an exclusive sailing for Road Scholar. Public areas linked by stairs.


Meals and Lodgings
   Grande Mariner
  Memphis
Mississippi River
New Orleans, LA
8 nights
 Grande Mariner
Type: Cruise Ship
  Description: Bow ramp for landing on beaches. Shallow draft and collapsible pilothouse ensure that passengers survey the scenery close up. Dress code is casual throughout day and evening. BYOB rule with complimentary mixers, soda, glass, ice.
  Ship Information: Length: 184' Beam: 40' Draft: 6'6" Passenger Capacity: 86 Passenger Cabins: 48 Commissioned: 1997 Refurbished: 2009 Flag: United States Built By: Blount Boats, Warren, RI
  Contact info: Blount Boats
Warren, RI 02885 USA
phone: 401-245-8300
web: www.blountsmallshipadventures.com
  Room amenities: Daily maid service; daily fresh towels. Bed linens are changed twice during the trip. Sufficient stowage under the bed and in compartments. Mirrors, hanging space. Most cabins are too small to have a chair. Most cabins have a window or a port hole.
  Facility amenities: Each cabin ranges in size from 77 square feet to 120 square feet with private small bathroom. Built-in stowage is adequate. Twin beds or queen bed. Some twins convert to queen. Most but not all cabins have a window or port-hole.They are on three decks, with most accommodations on mid and upper decks. A large comfortable lounge, which also serves as a lecture hall, is forward on the higher of the two upper accommodations decks. The dining room, one deck below, doubles as a card room and reading area. The American food is fresh, well prepared, and served family-style at one open sitting. Menus are posted in advance. The sundeck extends nearly the full length of the ship and has a viewing area covered by an awning. Considered Spartan in its simplicity, the Grande Mariner is nevertheless popular with many returning passengers.
  Smoking allowed: No
  Bathroom: Some cabins have very small single unit bathrooms with compartmented shower and separate toilet/lavatory.
  Additional nights prior: $250 To reserve a hotel room in Memphis, Tenn., for night of Dec. 9, 2012, before the program begins, or to reserve a hotel room in New Orleans, La., for night of Dec. 18, 2012, after the program ends, call program provider at 601-446-1208. Deadline to reserve a room is Nov. 1. A check for $170 per room per night for Memphis hotel or $120 per room per night for New Orleans hotel should be sent to Educational Travel Associates, Inc., PO Box 1307, Natchez, MS 39121. Put on the check what it is for.
  Check in time: 1:00 PM
  Additional nights after: $250 To reserve a hotel room in Memphis, Tenn., for night of Dec. 9, 2012, before the program begins, or to reserve a hotel room in New Orleans, La., for night of Dec. 18, 2012, after the program ends, call program provider at 601-446-1208. Deadline to reserve a room is Nov. 1. A check for $170 per room per night for Memphis hotel or $120 per room per night for New Orleans hotel should be sent to Educational Travel Associates, Inc., PO Box 1307, Natchez, MS 39121. Put on the check what it is for.
  Check out time: 9:00 AM


Travel Details
  Start of Program:
Grande Mariner docked at Memphis landing on South Riverside Drive at Beale Street with check-in between 12 PM and 3PM. You will be staying at Grande Mariner that night.
  End of Program:
Program ends at 8:30 a.m. bus to go to Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport for flights or car rentals You will be staying at Grande Mariner the night before.
  Required documents:
The Road Scholar Health & Safety Form is required. Picture ID
  Parking availability:
Blues garage at Hampton Inn and Suites, 175 Peabody Place, Memphis, Tenn., at $20 per day.
Transportation
To Start of Program
  Location:  Memphis
  Nearest highway: Interstates 40 and 55
  Nearest airport:  Memphis International Airport
  From End of Program
  Location:  New Orleans, LA
  Nearest highway: Interstate 10
  Nearest airport:  New Orleans International Airport.
Travel Details
 

Louis Armstrong New Orleans International

 

 
 

Service:

 

 

Per Person/One Way:

 

complimentary bus at the end of program
Prices are subject to change.

   

8:30 a.m. bus to Louis Armstrong New Orleans International

 

Memphis, TN

 

From Airport

 
 

Service:

 

Taxi

 

Per Person/One Way:

 

$25
Prices are subject to change.

 

Travel Time:

 

one-half hour 

 

Distance:

 

15 miles

   

Taxi rate is slightly more for two people

 

Memphis, TN

 

From Train Station

 
 

Service:

 

Taxi

 

Per Person/One Way:

 

$5
Prices are subject to change.

 

Travel Time:

 

one-tenth of an hour 

 

Distance:

 

one mile

 
Driving Directions
  From East or Nashville, Tennessee Take I-40 West to Memphis. Exit at US 51 South/Danny Thomas Blvd. (exit 1C.) Turn right onto Gayoso Avenue. Turn left onto South 4th Street. Turn right onto Peabody Place where there are several hotels and parking garages. From there take a taxi to 45 Riverside Drive, where the Grande Mariner will be docked.
  From Memphis International Airport (airport code MEM) Exit parking lot toward Winchester Road. Turn left onto Airport Exit. Turn slight left to take ramp toward I-240. Merge onto Plough Blvd. Merge onto I-240 West toward Little Rock/downtown. Merge on I-240 North. Take the Union Avenue exit (number 30) and the Union Avenue West ramp. Take a slight right onto Union Avenue/US Highway 70/Tennessee Highway 3. Follow Union Avenue/Tennessee Highway 3. Turn left onto South 4th Street. Turn right onto Peabody Place where there are several hotels and parking garages. From there take a taxi to 45 Riverside Drive, where the Grande Mariner will be docked.
  From North or Saint Louis, Missouri Take I-55 South to Memphis, then I-40 East toward Memphis/Nashville. Take the Riverside Drive/Front Street exit (exit number 1) and the Riverside Drive ramp. Continue south on Riverside Drive North. Turn left on Union Avenue. Turn right onto South 4th Street. Turn right onto Peabody Place where there are several hotels and parking garages. From there take a taxi to 45 Riverside Drive, where the Grande Mariner will be docked.
  From South: Jackson, Mississippi or New Orleans, Louisiana Take I-55 toward Grenada/Memphis. At Memphis merge onto I-240 North. Take the Union Avenue exit (exit number 30) and the Union Avenue West ramp. Take a slight right onto Union Avenue/US Highway 70/Tennessee Highway 3. Follow Union Avenue/Tennessee Highway 3. Turn left onto South 4th Street. Turn right onto Peabody Place where there are several hotels and parking garages. From there take a taxi to 45 Riverside Drive, where the Grande Mariner be docked.
  From West: Little Rock, Arkansas or Oklahoma City, Oklahoma Take I-40 East. At Memphis take Riverside Drive/Front Street exit (exit number 1) and the Riverside Drive ramp. Continue south on Riverside Drive North. Turn left on Union Avenue. Turn right onto South 4th Street. Turn right onto Peabody Place where there are several hotels and parking garages. From there take a taxi to 45 Riverside Drive, where the Grande Mariner will be docked.
Elevation Note: 200 feet is the highest elevation participants will experience.

The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.


Daily Schedule

Day 1: After lunch in town, board the Grande Mariner anytime after 12 noon. Opening session at 5 p.m. onboard the ship. Welcome party at 6 p.m. After dinner, "Memphis Blues," a concert by the Bluff City Jug Band of Memphis
(Monday, December 10)
   
 Arrive To: After lunch in town, boarding and registration from 12 PM and thereafter
 Afternoon: Optional: Explore Beale Street's music venues on your own during the afternoon. Explore the public areas of the Grande Mariner and get settled in your cabin. Opening session at 5 p.m. onboard the ship with complimentary welcome party in the lounge at 6 p.m. Meet fellow travelers, some of whom boarded the ship in Nashville and have traveled from there to Memphis.
 Dinner: Informal, family style dinner served in the dining room onboard the ship
 Evening: "Memphis Blues," a concert with commentary on the history of blues music by the Bluff City Jug Band of Memphis by Dr. David Evans of University of Memphis, author of Big Road Blues: Tradition and Creativity in the Folk Blues. The band plays unusual and regular instruments, includihng jug, washboard, harmonica, guitar.
   
Accommodations: Grande Mariner
Meals Included: Dinner

Day 2: Get acquainted and safety session; tips for a day in Memphis. Field trips to Graceland and Rock 'n' Soul Museum. Lecture on music of the Miss. River Valley. Blues and Boogie Woogie show; depart Memphis at midnight
(Tuesday, December 11)
   
 Breakfast: Family style breakfast in dining room.
 Morning: Getting Acquainted, safety orientation, and tips for a day in Memphis. Field trip to Elvis Presley's Graceland
 Lunch: Informal family style lunch in the dining room.
 Afternoon: Field trip to Rock 'n' Soul Museum, with film and interactive exhibits. Lecture on music of the Miss. River Valley by Dr. Richard Raichelson, author of "Beale Street Talks."
 Dinner: Supper, the ship dining room
 Evening: "Blues and Boogie Woogie<' a rock'n' roll show with favorites of the 50s and 60s by the Kattawar Brothers of Memphis. Get ready to sing along and DANCE! Depart Memphis at midnight
   
Accommodations: Grande Mariner
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 3: Cruising the river. Lecture by Sarah Vahlkamp about John James Audubon's life and work in Miss. and La. Program by Dr. Charles Vahlkamp about the South's various identities. Screening of Blues film. Arrive Greenville, Miss. Two live music concerts.
(Wednesday, December 12)

Note: walking onboard the ship



   
 Breakfast: Informal, family style breakfast in the ship dining room
 Morning: Mandatory safety session. Program by Sarah Vahlkamp on John James Audubon's life and work in Miss. and La. Program by Dr. Charles Vahlkamp, "All Shook Up: The Deep South's Various Identities." Cruising from Memphis to Greenville, Miss.
 Lunch: Lunch in ship dining room
 Afternoon: Screening of blues documentary. Session to get ready for Vicksburg, Miss. Organizational meeting of "Sound's Great," a volunteer group of Road Scholars who will later perform. Arrive Greenville, Miss.Blues performance by Miss. Delta blues musician.
 Dinner: Dinner in ship dining room
 Evening: "Southern Songs and Stories on the Big Muddy," a program with live music by Tricia Walker, director, Delta Music Institute, Delta State University, Cleveland, Miss. Depart Greenville, Miss.
   
Accommodations: Grande Mariner
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4: Arrive Vicksburg, Miss. Film about Vicksburg and the Civil War and the National Military Park. Field trip to the park. Programs about the Miss. River and humor in the South. Country music show by Nashville star.
(Thursday, December 13)

Note: walking through Vicksburg National Military Park



   
 Breakfast: Breakfast in ship dining room
 Morning: Arrive Vicksburg. Screening of "Struggle for Vicksburg," a National Park Service film about Vicksburg and the Civil War. Field trip to the National Military Park.
 Lunch: Lunch onboard the ship
 Afternoon: Program by Dr. Charles Vahlkamp, "The Mighty Mississippi." Humorous program by Sarah Vahlkamp, "What Is It about the South?" Session to get ready for Natchez visit.
 Dinner: Dinner in the ship dining room
 Evening: "Country Music in Song and Story" by Billy Ray Reynolds, recording star, singer/songwriter of Nashville, Tenn., and Mississippi
   
Accommodations: Grande Mariner
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5: Arrive Natchez, docking across the river at Vidalia, La. Program about Natchez history. Tour of the mansions Longwood, Rosalie, and Stanton Hall. Tour of historic photograph exhibit. Classical music at Trinity Church. Gospel concert.
(Friday, December 14)

Note: walking



   
 Breakfast: Breakfast in the ship dining room
 Morning: Arrive Natchez, docking across the river at Vidali,a La. Program bout Natchez history by historian/scholar Marion Smith of Natchez. Visit to the mansions Longwood and Rosalie, lavishly decorated for Christmas. Classical concert at noon at Trinity Episcopal Church (1822).
 Lunch: Lunch at Trinity Church's parish house
 Afternoon: Field trip to Stanton Hall, a National Historic Landmark. Visit to Natchez in Historic Photographs, a gallery. Happy hour.
 Dinner: Dinner in ship dining room
 Evening: Gospel music concert
   
Accommodations: Grande Mariner
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6: Arrive Baton Rouge, La. Lecture on La. history, including Huey Long. Excursions to La. State Captiol Museum, USS Kidd, and Maritime Museum. Cajun music concert with commentary. Cajun and SW La. dance program. Screening of film about La. music.
(Saturday, December 15)

Note: walking and dancing



   
 Breakfast: Breakfast in the ship dining room
 Morning: Lecture by Dr. Charles Vahlkamp on Louisiana and Huey Long. Shore excursions to Old Louisiana State Capitol Museum, USS Kidd, and Maritime Museum. Rehearsal of musical volunteers who will perform later.
 Lunch: Lunch in ship dining room
 Afternoon: Screening of "Louisiana: Where Music Is King," a PBS film. "Five Centuries of Cajun Music, " a musical history program by David Greely and Friends, descendants of Cajun settlers.
 Dinner: Dinner in ship dining room with toasts to birthdays and anniversaries
 Evening: "Music and Dancing, Cajun and Southwest Louisiana Style," by Shirley and Ronald Doucet of Louisiana State University, with audience participation. Depart Baton Rouge. Screening of film about La. music.
   
Accommodations: Grande Mariner
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 7: Cruising the river. Presentation of "Rollin' on the River," a musical program by Road Scholars. Arrive New Orleans. Visits to the French Quarter. Live jazz after dinner onboard with dancing.
(Sunday, December 16)

Note: dancing and walking



   
 Breakfast: Breakfast in ship dining room
 Morning: Mandatory disembarkation meeting. Session to get ready for New Orleans. Presentation of "Rollin' on the River" musicale, a show by talented Road Scholars
 Lunch: Barbecue lunch on Sundeck, weather permitting, or in ship dining room
 Afternoon: Docking in New Orleans mid-afternoon (tentative). Independent visits to downtown and the French Quarter, accompanied by Road Scholar staff.
 Dinner: Dinner in ship dining room or opt to indulge in one of New Orleans' celebrated restaurants for a taste of the city on your own.
 Evening: "Ethnic Diversity and New Orleans Jazz," a musical program by Dr. Bruce Boyd Raeburn, jazz archivist, Tulane University
   
Accommodations: Grande Mariner
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 8: Walking tour of the French Quarter. Exploration of Mardi Gras Museum and St. Louis Cathedral. Cafe au lait and beignets at Cafe du Monde. "The Best of New Orleans Jazz" by Don Vappie Creole Jazz Serenaders
(Monday, December 17)

Note: walking



   
 Breakfast: Breakfast in ship dining room
 Morning: Guided walking tour of the French Quarter, with tour of Mardi Gras Museum at the Cabildo and St. Louis Cathedral at Jackson Square; cafe au lait and beignets at Cafe du Monde
 Lunch: Lunch in ship dining room; optional Dutch-treat lunch at one of New Orleans famed restaurants
 Afternoon: Free Time
 Dinner: Dinner in ship dining room; optional Dutch-treat dinner at one of New Orleans famed restaurants
 Evening: Concert, "The Best of New Orleans Jazz," by world-renowned Don Vappie's Creole Jazz Serenaders of New Orleans
   
Accommodations: Grande Mariner
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 9: Board vehicle to go to Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport for flights or car rentals.
(Tuesday, December 18)

Note: walking



   
 Breakfast: Breakfast onboard the ship
 Morning: At 8:30 a.m. board vehicle to go to Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport for flight or car rentals. Flight should depart no earlier than 11 a.m. Car rentals should be arranged in advance.
   
Meals Included: Breakfast
Important information about your itinerary: Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the information featured on this website. Itineraries are based on our best information at this time. Circumstances beyond our control may require us to adjust itineraries or other details. We regret any inconvenience this may cause and appreciate your understanding. Information will be sent to you from your Program Provider approximately three weeks prior to the program start date. The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Suggested Reading List


New Orleans: Compass American Guides.


Author: Bethany Ewald Bultman


Description: This is the best guide book available about New Orleans, filled with history, comments about the culture, and suggestions of what to do by a New Orleans resident with old-family connections.



City Smart Guidebook Memphis.


Author: Romine, Linda.


Description: This book is very helpful with background information about Memphis and its attractions. It is written in an easy-to-read style.



Natchez: An Illustrated History.


Author: David G. Sansing, Sim C. Callon, and Carolyn Vance Smith


Description: TITLE: This is the only complete history of Natchez, a perfect way to get ready for Natchez.



The South: The Guide for All Budgets, Where to Stay, Eat, and Explore On and Off the Beaten Path, 27th edition


Author: Karen Cure, editorial director


Description: This is the best general guidebook available. It contains much information about and numerous maps of the four cities featured in the program.





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