20994
Mississippi River
The Best of the Mississippi River: Voyage Into Southern Heritage
Explore the Mississippi River aboard a steam-powered paddlewheel riverboat, attending jazz performances, learning about Civil War history and enjoying three nights in New Orleans!
Rating (4.94)
Program No. 20994RJ
Length
12 days
Starts at
4,495
Special Offer
Flights start at
FREE
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12 days
11 nights
30 meals
10 B 10 L 10 D
Getting There
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DAY
1
Sheraton Memphis Hotel, register at American Queen desk
Memphis, Tenn
D
Sheraton Memphis Downtown Hotel

Activity note: Road Scholar orientation will take place at 4:45 p.m. Dinner will follow.

Afternoon: Program Registration and Orientation: 4:45 p.m. After you have your room assignment, come to our Road Scholar meeting room (location will be posted) to register with the program staff and get your welcome packet containing your name-tag, up-to-date schedule that reflects any last-minute changes, and other important information. If your arrival is delayed, please ask for your packet when you check in. The Group Leader will greet everyone with a warm welcome and lead introductions. We will review the up-to-date program schedule and any changes, discuss roles and responsibilities, logistics, safety guidelines, emergency procedures, and answer any questions you may have. We will have a Road Scholar exclusive lecturer with us on the American Queen throughout the voyage

Dinner: A wonderful welcome dinner will follow Orientation at the hotel.

Evening: Relax at the hotel and get ready for a wonderful time on your American Queen Adventure

DAY
2
Civil Rights Museum and Rock and Soul Museum
Memphis, Tenn
B,L,D
American Queen

Activity note: Visit to the Civil Rights Museum and the Rock and Soul Museum with some standing in both Museums. This experience begins at the Pre-Cruise Hotel and ends at dock of the American Queen where guests will begin their voyage!

Breakfast: Full Buffet Breakfast at the hotel

Morning: After Breakfast we will board our motor coach and travel through the streets of Memphis, the epicenter of a cultural phenomenon that forever altered America’s music and legacy. The hopes and dreams that built America’s most iconic musical genres were hard fought on these grounds. At the heart of the Civil Rights Movement, a modest motel sits seemingly untouched by time as a solemn reminder and inspirational symbol of a movement that changed America. The Lorraine Motel, the site of the tragic assassination of Martin Luther King in 1968, is the cornerstone of the National Civil Rights Museum. After a multi-million dollar renovation, the previous hotel has evolved into one of the most inspiring and interactive museums of today. History unfolds as each exhibit highlights the historic milestones that forever changed race in America.

Lunch: Lunch at a local restaurant

Afternoon: The Smithsonian Institute and The National Museum of American History worked together to create the Memphis Rock 'n' Soul Museum. The Memphis Rock 'n' Soul Museum's exhibition about the birth of rock and soul music, created by the Smithsonian Institution, tells the story of musical pioneers who, for the love of music, overcame racial and socio-economic barriers to create the music that shook the entire world. Even its location on the legendary Highway 61 and Beale sets this museum apart. The Memphis Rock 'n' Soul Museum offers a comprehensive Memphis music experience from the rural field hollers and sharecroppers of the 1930s, through the explosion of Sun Studio, Stax and Hi Records and Memphis' musical heyday in the 70s, to its global musical influence. Stroll at your own pace through the seven galleries featuring 3 audio visual programs, more than 30 instruments, 40 costumes and other musical treasures

Dinner: Dinner onboard the American Queen at early seating, 5:15pm. Special tables reserved for Road Scholars so that you may mingle with your fellow travelers each evening.

Evening: Every evening includes a special performance in the Grand Saloon after dinner, along with piano music in various locations on boat.

DAY
3
Greenville MS
Greenville MS
B,L,D
American Queen

Activity note: You will be riding on the AQ motor coaches and we will visit the town of Greenville, MS. It was founded in 1824, named after Nathanael Greene. The town was destroyed during the Civil War.

Breakfast: Breakfast onboard the American Queen.

Morning: You may want to ride a motor coach through the town of Greenville MS and visit the Greenville History Museum, Hebrew Union Congregation Temple and Museum, built in 1906 and has all original stained glass windows and organ. Or the Flood of 1927 Museum: Learn the history of one of the most impacting floods of Washington County.

Lunch: Lunch onboard the American Queen

Afternoon: A Class that will prepare you for the next day.

Dinner: Dinner on board the American Queen

Evening: Entertainment nightly.

DAY
4
Vicksburg Battlefield, Downtown Vicksburg
Vicksburg
B,L,D
American Queen

Activity note: There are golf carts that can take you up the levee to the bus. Some walking and standing We will drive to the park and make 3 stops during our drive with instructor in the park. Very little walking. Short stroll in Vicksburg if you wish.

Breakfast: Breakfast onbard the American Queen

Morning: Billed as the “Red Carpet City of the South,Southern hospitality is alive and well and awaiting your arrival. Discover a unique blend of old and new in Vicksburg, Mississippi. Lecture: "Flowing Unvexed to the Sea" Visit downtown Vicksburg.

Lunch: Lunch onboard the American Queen

Afternoon: Discover a unique blend of old and new in Vicksburg, Mississippi.Visit the Vicksburg National Military Park and Battlefield. We will make 3 stops, the visitors center, one of the larger monuments and the U.S.S. Cairo ironclad gunboat and museum.

Dinner: Dinner on board the American Queen

Evening: As always, more entertainment

DAY
5
Natchez MS Tour city, visit plantations, gospel choir
Cruising on American Queen
B,L,D
American Queen

Activity note: There are golf carts to take you to the bus if needed. We have a native from Natchez as our instructor. Longwood and Stanton Hall plantations are short walks from the bus. There is standing in the plantations. We are dropped off right in front of the church and listen to the choir in the afternoon.

Breakfast: Breakfast onboard American Queen

Morning: Class: Southern Sociology and Plantation Architecture. The American Queen Hop On Hop Off Bus will give you an opportunity to visit museums in Natchez, like Rosalie Mansion, 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. William Johnson House, Natchez Visitor Center, Stanton Hall plus many more, are in this little town for you to visit.

Lunch: Lunch onboard the American Queen.

Afternoon: A local guide will take us on a brief city tour with a visit to Longwood Plantation. Step into the plantation lifestyle of the antebellum south in Natchez, site of numerous restored mansions. Longwood Plantation began construction in 1860 and is very unique looking. Octagonal, multistory, Oriental Revival style.As the house was near completion, the Civil War broke out and construction was halted. The house has 32 rooms and only 9 were finished. Stanton Hall, 1858, located on an entire city block. Carrera Marble, mahogany doors 2 1/2 inches thick, huge Corinthian columns, and granite steps adorn the facade. We will drive to a small church in Natchez and listen to a local choir sing some of their favorite songs for us. Get ready to join them in their love of music.

Dinner: Dinner onboard the American Queen

Evening: Evening show and music each night in the lounge.

DAY
6
St Francisville LA Visit Rosedown Plantation.
St. Francisville, La.
B,L,D
American Queen

Activity note: There are golf carts to take you to the bus up on the levee if needed. Rosedown Plantation is a 2 story building without an elevator. They also provides golf carts. The grounds have grass and paths where you are allowed to explore after your experience in the house, before we return to the boat. Also, you will have time to explore the quaint little town of St. Francisville if you care to.

Breakfast: Breakfast onboard the American Queen.

Morning: Lecture:"Four 20th Century Views of Slavery" This quaint town of St. Francilville located on the bluffs of the Mississippi River is your window to the past. With over 140 buildings on the National Register, beautiful plantation homes nestled in the rolling countryside, and bustling Main Street shops, you'll find plenty to keep you on the go in St. Francisville.

Lunch: Lunch onbard the American Queen

Afternoon: Visit Rosedown Plantation and Gardens built in 1835. This was a cotton plantation and consisted of 3,500 acres and at its height, 450 slaves worked at this and three other plantations.

Dinner: Dinner onboard the American Queen.

Evening: Entertainment in Grand Saloon

DAY
7
White Castle, Nottoway Plantation
Nottoway, White Castle, LA
B,L,D
American Queen

Activity note: We will be docked at the Plantation which is on the other side of the levee, there are golf carts to bring anyone who needs help across. There is some walking to the plantation through the gardens. This evening we will be going across the levee to view the Christmas Lights and have dinner at the plantation.

Breakfast: Breakfast onboard the AQ.

Morning: Lecture: “Huey Long -Messiah to the Red Necks”

Lunch: Lunch onboard American Queen

Afternoon: Christmas is in the air at Nottoway Plantation as the melodies of Christmas echo through the halls of the great mansion. Your evening at Nottoway Plantation is full of enchanted holiday traditions. Enter the white walls of the great plantation for an elegant celebration with live music, carolers, festive dancing and a holiday feast complete with libations and yule tide merriment. A pianist will serenade you as you enjoy a private dinner and dine on traditional southern cuisine such as crawfish and crabcake appetizers, crab and brie bisque and a fabulous combination entrée.This romantic evening is capped off with the lighting of traditional bonfires along the levees.

Dinner: Dinner at Nottoway Plantation

Evening: Entertainment tonight

DAY
8
White Castle, LA
Cruising on American Queen
B,L,D
American Queen

Activity note: We will be docked overnight at the Plantation. Anyone who needs help to walk across the levee, golf carts are provided. There is some walking to the plantation through the gardens and standing during the tour. This is a 3 story plantation without an elevator.

Breakfast: Breakfast onboard AQ

Morning: The Nottoway Plantation House, one of the largest antebellum plantation houses in the south, is composed of 64 rooms, 7 staircases, and 5 galleries. This 53,000-square foot plantation home, constructed by John Hampden Randolph in 1858, is a fine example of an antebellum home. Nottoway sits about 200 feet behind the Mississippi River Levee surrounded by oaks, magnolias, pecan trees, and sweet olives. Nottoway House is distinctive for being an essentially Italianate Style plantation house built in an era dominated by Greek Revival architecture. Nottoway contains an elegant, half-round portico as the side gallery follows the curve of the large ballroom bay window. Nottoway's thin Italianate pillars stretch vertically to touch all of its three levels, extending from the house's one-story brick base to the paramount height of the third-story made of wooden frame. From the front gallery the Mississippi River is in view. The interior of Nottoway is white in color, including Corinthian columns, lace curtains, carved marble mantels and even the floor, creating an elegant environment. 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.

Lunch: Lunch on board the American Queen

Afternoon: Lecture:"Carnival in New Orleans" Hear the other side of the story. Learn the history of this centuries-old celebration. Mardi Gras is French for Fat Tuesday.

Dinner: Dinner onbard the American Queen

Evening: Entertainment tonight in the Grand Saloon and Captain's Farewell Reception

DAY
9
St. Charles Avenue and a Garden District Walk
New Orleans, Louisiana
B,L,D
Holiday Inn New Orleans Downtown Superdome

Activity note: We will have an overview of New Orleans including the 9th ward (Katrina Devastation) City Park and Lake Pontchartrain on the bus. Ride down the famous St. Charles Avenue and walk in the Garden District . The walk will be approximately 8 blocks in the garden district (walking and standing) You may stay on the bus if you don't want to walk in the Garden District

Breakfast: Breakfast on the American Queen

Morning: Depart boat at 9 am. Overview of City with instructor. We will see the French Quarter, Jackson Square, the 9th Ward, above ground cemetery, beautiful City Park and Lake Pontchartrain and the 17th street Canal breach.

Lunch: Lunch at a local restaurant

Afternoon: Ride down the famous St. Charles Ave. under the magnificent old oak trees along the street car line. We will walk about 8 blocks in the Garden District to get the feel of what this neighborhood is like. Check into the hotel

Dinner: Dinner at the hotel

Evening: New Orleans Jazz played just for you at hotel with local musicians.

DAY
10
New Orleans Museum of Art and Sculpture Gardens, and the World War II Museum
New Orleans, Louisiana
B,L
Holiday Inn New Orleans Downtown Superdome

Activity note: Walking in the gardens and standing in the Musuem. Standing in the World War II Musuem

Breakfast: Lovely breakfast buffet at the hotel.

Morning: The Sydney and Walda Besthoff Sculpture Garden at the New Orleans Museum of Art is a 5 acre garden opened in 2003 with over 60 works of art by modern and contemporary artists, including Henry Moore and George Segal. Adjacent to the gardens is the New Orleans Museum of Art that was founded in 1910 with a gift from Isaac Delgado. It is noted for its extraordinary strengths in French and American art, photography, glass and African and Japanese works.

Lunch: Lunch at a local restaurant.

Afternoon: Visit the National WWII Museum in New Orleans which opened on June 6, 2000, as The National D-Day Museum. Founded by historian and author, Stephen Ambrose, the Museum tells the story of the American Experience in the war that changed the world — why it was fought, how it was won, and what it means today — so that all generations will understand the price of freedom and be inspired by what they learn. In 2003, Congress officially designated it as America’s Nation.

Dinner: Dinner on your own.

Evening: After dinner, enjoy free time to experience more night life, music and New Orleans culture. You can use your voucher anytime at the renowned Café du Monde for café au lait and beignets. Take time to use your Music Vouchers for Fritzel's or Maison Bourbon tonight.

DAY
11
Mardi Gras World and New Orleans School of Cooking
New Orleans, Louisiana
B,L,D
Holiday Inn New Orleans Downtown Superdome

Activity note: Walking in the standing in the den where all of the carnival floats are made. Free time this afternoon Cooking class.

Breakfast: Buffet at the Holiday Inn

Morning: We will visit the Mardi Gras World where you will see the floats being made for the next celebration.

Lunch: Jazz Brunch at famous Court of Two Sisters in historic French Quarter. enjoy a wonderful buffet with everything from turtle soup to Bananas Foster and everything in between. While you relax and visit with your fellow participants, listen to the jazz that will be playing while we eat.

Afternoon: Free time Enjoy Cafe au Lait and Beignets during this afternoon. Use your vouchers to visit the Louisiana State Museum of your choice in the heart of the French Quarter in Jackson Square. You can listen to the music there or enjoy some of our local art

Dinner: At the world-famous New Orleans School of Cooking, learn how to cook Creole and Cajun as a local chef demonstrates a traditional dish and dine on the creation. For dessert, sample the best pralines in town.

Evening: Packing tonight

DAY
12
Program Concludes
Departure