23087
Louisiana/Mississippi/Tennessee

Southern Grandeur: A Private Voyage on the Mississippi

Come aboard a luxurious paddlewheeler for a classic voyage along the Mississippi, sailing to small river towns, Civil War battlefields and cultural hubs from New Orleans to Memphis.
Rating (4.75)
Program No. 23087RJ
Length
11 days
Starts at
5,499
Special Offer
Click on Dates & Prices below to see special offer details.
Flights start at
FREE
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11 days
10 nights
26 meals
10 B 8 L 8 D
DAY
1
Check-in, Registration, Orientation, Welcome Dinner
New Orleans, Louisiana
D
Hotel Monteleone

Activity note: Hotel check-in from 4:00 p.m.

Afternoon: Program Registration & Orientation: 4:30 p.m. After you have your room assignment, check the message board for the location to register with the Road Scholar program staff, which is also where the Orientation session will take place. You will receive a welcome packet containing your name-tag, up-to-date schedule that reflects any last-minute changes, and other important information. If you arrive late, please ask for your packet when you check in. The Group Leader will greet everyone 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 questions. Ground travel and transfers will be via private motorcoach unless noted otherwise. In addition to Road Scholar exclusive lectures and field trips, you are welcome to enjoy activities and events separate from the Road Scholar program during free time aboard the American Duchess. The vessel’s daily program will be delivered to cabins each evening with a schedule of the next day’s activities. Breakfast, lunch and dinner aboard the boat in the Grand Dining Room feature cuisine that blends local flavors and fine culinary traditions. There is a more casual atmosphere in The River Club & Terrace for breakfast and lunch. Dinners aboard include complimentary house wines, house-select beers, coffees, teas, soft drinks. Periods in the daily schedule designated as “Free time” and “At leisure” offer opportunities to do what you like and make your experience even more meaningful and memorable according to your personal preferences. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions. As a special bonus, you will have vouchers to use at a popular jazz club and the Louisiana State Museum.

Dinner: At the hotel, we’ll have a lovely plated and served dinner with coffee, tea, water included; other beverages available for purchase. During dinner, we will have for a private performance of Dixieland jazz just for our Road Scholar group.

Evening: Continue getting to know your fellow Road Scholars, settle in, and get a good night’s rest for the day ahead.

DAY
2
City Highlights Field Trip, Garden District
New Orleans, Louisiana
B,L
Hotel Monteleone

Activity note: Getting on/off a motorcoach; driving about 26 miles, approximately 4 hours total. Walking approximately 8 blocks and standing during field trip; city street and uneven sidewalks.

Breakfast: At the hotel, choose what you like from the extensive breakfast buffet.

Morning: We’ll take a field trip via motorcoach with expert on-board commentary for an overview of the city. We’ll make stops at highlights such as Lake Pontchartrain, Bayou St. John, City Park with its magnificent oak trees and Sculpture Garden, and one of the famed and mysterious above-ground cemeteries where the departed — from pirates to voodoo queens — are interred.

Lunch: At a local restaurant, we will order from a select menu with beverage choices of coffee, tea, water; other beverages available for purchase.

Afternoon: We’ll continue our field trip with our local expert and ride down famous St. Charles Avenue, under beautiful old oak trees. We’ll then go on a walking field trip in the aptly named Garden District, one of the loveliest neighborhoods in the country. It was laid out in 1832 for incoming, well-to-do Americans who were not interested in mingling with native New Orleanians. The feeling was mutual! Grand houses were built on large lots.

Dinner: At a local restaurant, we will order from a select menu with beverage choices of coffee, tea, water; other beverages available for purchase

Evening: At leisure. If you haven’t done so already, use your voucher for Fritzel’s, or take a walk through the Quarter and watch the people parade, where tourists can be more exotic than natives.

DAY
3
WW2 Museum
New Orleans, Louisiana
B,L
Hotel Monteleone

Activity note: Getting on/off a motorcoach. Walking and standing at WW2 Museum; walking according to personal preference during free time.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: We’ll ride to the National World War II Museum. Formerly known as the D-Day Museum, the National World War II Museum was founded by eminent historian Dr. Stephen Ambrose, author “Band of Brothers” and other best-sellers. A self-directed exploration will take us through three buildings that house exhibits highlighting the role of participants from world leaders to the everyday men and women whose contributions helped to win the war, as well as those who made the ultimate sacrifice. Many items in the vast collection — such as uniforms, weaponry, vehicles, medals, diaries, letters, artwork, photographs, and other mementos — are on display while thousands of records and archives are available to scholars for ongoing research. We’ll also see the film “Beyond All Boundaries” narrated by Tom Hanks. Through first person accounts and amazing special effects, we’ll take a self-directed journey through the war that changed the world.

Lunch: At a local restaurant.

Afternoon: Free Time. Take this opportunity for personal independent exploration to see and do what interests you most. Please refer to the list of Free Time Opportunities. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions. You can use vouchers we’ve provided to explore the Cabildo and Presbytère — key components of the Louisiana State Museum — flanking St. Louis Cathedral in Jackson Square. All were constructed during the Spanish period (1795-1799). The Cabildo displays artifacts of American history as well as rarities such as Napoleon’s death mask. The Presbytère’s interactive exhibit on Mardi Gras traces our annual celebration from its origins to the present day with an exquisite collection of artifacts and memorabilia. Another exhibit expresses Louisiana’s saga of resilience in the face of disasters. You might also like to stroll along Royal Street with its antique shops, visit the Audubon Aquarium of the Americas, sit back and have café au lait and beignets at the 24-hour Café du Monde, or any of the many other opportunities to experience our people, cultures, and celebrations.

Dinner: This meal has been excluded from the program cost and is on your own to enjoy what you like. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions. From fresh seafood to Po’ Boys, our city is justly famous for its eats.

Evening: At leisure. Returning to the hotel, prepare for check-out and transfer tomorrow. Have luggage ready for pick-up and transport to the American Duchess in the morning.

DAY
4
Music Performance and Mardi Gras World
New Orleans, Louisiana
B,D
American Steamboat Company's American Duchess

Activity note: Walking approximately 1.5 blocks to motorcoach. Standing in Mardi Gras World Getting on/off motorcoach, on/off riverboat.

Breakfast: Leave any large luggage inside your room for pickup by hotel staff this morning. It will be transferred directly to the boat and placed in your cabin. One of New Orleans' top musicians and experts on original New Orleans jazz will give us a presentation and, along with his famous band, demonstrate as he speaks — leaving us snapping our fingers and tapping our toes. We will walk to the motor-coach with our carry-on luggage and head out on a field trip with expert on-board commentary.

Morning: We will have luggage ready for pick-up and transport to the American Duchess before The class

Afternoon: We will get our carry-on luggage, check out and walk 1 block to the motorcoach and ride to the Mardi Gras World, beginning with a film that documents the making of floats. A local expert will introduce some of the amazing floats that have appeared in Mardi Gras parades and some the artists are working on for the next year. We’ll also time to explore independently and take photographs. We will depart Mardi Gras world, ride to the Port of New Orleans, and board the American Duchess. After completing boarding procedures and getting your cabin, take some time to freshen up and relax. We will participate in the mandatory safety briefing with everyone on board when announced.

Dinner: Our first dinner aboard the American Duchess will be in the Grand Dining Room. Meals aboard ship feature cuisine that blends local flavors and fine culinary traditions. Shipboard dinners include complimentary house wines, house-select beers, coffees, teas, and soft drinks.

Evening: The American Duchess offers nightly entertainment with live performers in the majestic Show Lounge-Auditorium.

DAY
5
Lecture, Nottoway Plantation,
White Castle, LA
B,L,D
American Steamboat Company's American Duchess

Activity note: Golf carts available from boat across levee; walking to plantation through gardens and standing during field trip; 3-story house with elevator.

Breakfast: Aboard the American Duchess. Your choice of a traditional plated and served breakfast in the Grand Dining Room or a buffet in the River Club & Terrace.

Morning: We’ll gather for a Road Scholar exclusive lecture. The remainder of the morning is free to enjoy the boat

Lunch: Aboard the American Duchess. Your choice of a traditional plated and served luncheon in the Grand Dining Room or a buffet in the River Club & Terrace.

Afternoon: We will have an expert led exploration of Nottoway — a literal “white castle” — with opportunities for taking pictures. Completed in 1859, it is the largest surviving antebellum mansion in the South and one of the most elegant. Its 64 rooms cover 53,000 square feet. Sugar planter John Hampden Randolph intended his home to be the finest anywhere and no expense was spared. Randolph filled Nottoway with extravagant features including running water, modern bathrooms, and gas lighting. The mansion sits about 200 feet from the Mississippi River levee surrounded by oaks, magnolias, and pecan trees. At a time when Greek Revival was considered the ultimate architectural style, Nottoway is distinguished by Italianate features, with square columns that reach all three levels yet look delicate from a distance. The east front of the house with its grand balconies faces the river, while the adjacent north front with its semi-circular portico overlooks gardens. The ballroom, accented by Corinthian columns and marble mantels, is all white including the floor.

Dinner: Aboard the American Duchess in the Grand Dining Room

Evening: Enjoy great performances every evening.

DAY
6
Rosedown Plantation,
St. Francisville
B,L,D
American Steamboat Company's American Duchess

Activity note: Getting on/off a motorcoach. Golf carts available from the ship to the motorcoach up on the levee if needed. Rosedown plantation house is a 2-story building; climbing interior stairs. Grounds with gravel pathways and grass. Golf carts are available at the plantation. The plantation does not have an elevator. You will have to be able to walk up 5 steps to the plantation entrance.

Breakfast: Aboard the American Duchess.

Morning: Our local expert will show us the quaint town of St. Francisville, Louisiana, located on the bluffs of the Mississippi River. It is a window to the past with more than 140 buildings on the National Register of Historic Places, beautiful plantation homes nestled in the rolling countryside, and bustling Main Street shops. We'll visit Rosedown Plantation, built in 1835 by Daniel and Martha Turnbull, for an expert-led exploration. This was one of the richest cotton plantations in the country, comprising nearly 3,500 acres at its height. Its wealth resulted from the labor of as many as 450 slaves. Mrs. Turnbull patterned the formal gardens on those she saw during their honeymoon in Europe. Rosedown remained in the Turnbull family until the 1950s, when it was purchased by Catherine Underwood, an enthusiastic amateur horticulturist who began an historic restoration of the house and gardens. Now a National Historic Landmark, preserved by the state of Louisiana to illustrate plantation life in the 1800s, Rosedown has 13 historic buildings and gardens on its remaining 371 acres.

Lunch: Aboard the American Duchess.

Afternoon: Our Road Scholar exclusive lecture this afternoon will focus on the city of Natchez. Then take advantage of the on-board amenities, spend time with fellow Road Scholars, or simply relax and observe the passing scene.

Dinner: Aboard the American Duchess

Evening: Nightly Entertainment

DAY
7
Longwood, Stanton Hall, Battle of Vicksburg Lecture
Natchez, Mississippi
B,L,D
American Steamboat Company's American Duchess

Activity note: From the landing at Natchez-Under-the-Hill, there is a ramp up to the street; golf carts are available if needed. Short walks from motorcoach to mansions; standing inside, stairs and no elevators.

Breakfast: Aboard the American Duchess.

Morning: The numerous antebellum mansions of Natchez recall a bygone era. With a local expert, we'll take a field trip to Longwood and try to imagine the lifestyles of that earlier time. Longwood was an exotic departure from typical homes of the period, octagonal and in Oriental Revival style. Begun in 1860 but interrupted by the Civil War, only nine of its 32 rooms were finished. Those who wish to return to the ship after Longwood may do so. We'll then ride to Stanton Hall where docents will lead our exploration. Built in 1858 by Irish immigrant and cotton merchant Frederick Station, it is now a National Historic Landmark that provides a look into the domestic life of a wealthy Natchez family. The mansion, covering a city block, is the quintessence of elegant Greek Revival splendor with Carrera marble, mahogany doors, massive Corinthian columns, and delicate cast iron railings adorning the façade. The Pilgrimage Garden Club of Natchez purchased Stanton Hall in 1938, restoring it to its former antebellum splendor.

Lunch: Aboard the American Duchess.

Afternoon: We’ll have another Road Scholar exclusive lecture on the 1863 Battle of Vicksburg. As President Abraham Lincoln surmised, “Vicksburg is the key, the war can never be brought to a close until that key is in our pocket.” We’ll then ride to Antioch Missionary Baptist Church, where their gospel choir will perform just for our Road Scholar group. As they sing some of their favorite songs for us, get ready to join them in their love of music.

Dinner: Aboard the American Duchess.

Evening: Nightly entertainment.

DAY
8
Vicksburg-MS, Vicksburg Nat. Military Park, Civil War Causes
Vicksburg
B,L,D
American Steamboat Company's American Duchess

Activity note: Getting on/off a motorcoach at several stops.

Breakfast: Aboard the American Duchess.

Morning: We'll board the motorcoach and take a field trip to Vicksburg National Military Park. The Vicksburg campaign was waged from March 29 to July 4, 1863. The Union victory was one of the decisive moments in the Civil War. Congress commemorated the battlefield as a national military park in 1899. There are 1,325 historic monuments and markers, 20 miles of reconstructed trenches and earthworks, 144 emplaced cannons, the restored Union gunboat USS Cairo and its museum, and the Vicksburg National Cemetery. Led by a local expert, we'll make three stops: at the Visitor Center, where Park Rangers are ready to answer questions; one of the larger monuments; and the Cairo, sunk in 1862, raised from the depths of the Mississippi in 1964, and later reconstructed. Its museum displays artifacts including weapons, munitions, naval stores, and personal gear of the sailors who served on board.

Lunch: Aboard the American Duchess.

Afternoon: Our lecture this afternoon will be on causes of the Civil War. The remainder of the afternoon is free to engage in the activities of your choice.

Dinner: Aboard the American Duchess.

Evening: Nightly entertainment.

DAY
9
Cruising on the Duchess
Cruising on the Mississippi River
B,L,D
American Steamboat Company's American Duchess

Activity note: .Walking on the boat.

Breakfast: Aboard the American Duchess.

Morning: We’ll gather for a Road Scholar exclusive lecture this morning. Then engage in the activities of your choice or enjoy the river vistas.

Lunch: Aboard the American Duchess.

Afternoon: This afternoon we’ll gather for a Road Scholar exclusive lecture.

Dinner: Aboard the American Duchess.

Evening: Nightly entertainment.

DAY
10
Tunica MS
Tunica, MS
B,L,D
American Steamboat Company's American Duchess

Activity note: Getting on/off a motorcoach. Walking and standing according to personal preference.

Breakfast: Aboard the American Duchess

Morning: This morning’s Road Scholar exclusive lecture will provide details about the Assignation of Dr. King. This is the last lecture of our program on the mighty Mississippi as we head to Memphis.

Lunch: Aboard the American Duchess.

Afternoon: Board the AQ Hop on Hop off motorcoaches and begin your excursion in Tunica, MS. The trip starts with a stop at the Tunica Riverpark. It is located on the banks of the river and is a magnificent combination of modern architecture and nature’s splendor. The grounds are rich with native wildlife and flora. The 3.1mile EcoTrail consists of board walks and a wilderness trail. Experience the unspoiled timber, native creatures and Mississippi plant life, as you walk along the trail. Next you may want to visit the Tunica Museum and delve into America’s diverse history. The museum has authentic artifacts and exhibits where you can follow the trail ranging from Native American prehistory through European exploration, to military and commercial advancements from the 19th and 20th centuries and the Great Flood of 1927. Four fresh water aquariums allow you to see what is beneath the river’s surface.

Dinner: Aboard the American Duchess. Share favorite experiences with new Road Scholar friends during our farewell dinner.

Evening: One more evening of great entertainment. Then prepare for disembarkation after our arrival in Memphis, Tennessee, and final transfer in the morning.

DAY
11
Arrive Memphis-TN, Disembarkation, Program Concludes
Departure
B

Activity note: Check Out and disembarkation by 9:00 a.m., followed by motorcoach transfer to the Memphis Airport.

Breakfast: Aboard the American Duchess

Morning: After disembarking, we’ll board a motorcoach and transfer to Memphis International Airport with arrival expected by approximately 10:30 a.m. This concludes our program. If you are returning home, safe travels. If you are staying on independently, have a wonderful time. If you are transferring to another Road Scholar program, detailed instructions are included in your Information Packet for that program. We hope you enjoy Road Scholar learning adventures and look forward to having you on rewarding programs in the future. Don’t forget to join our Facebook page and follow us on Instagram. Best wishes for all your journeys!






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