23087
Louisiana/Mississippi/Tennessee/Arkansas

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 (4.73)
Program No. 23087RJ
Length
10 days
Starts at
4,999
Special Offer
Click on Dates & Prices below to see special offer details.
Flights start at
FREE
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10 days
9 nights
25 meals
9 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: 4:30 p.m. After you have your room assignment, check the message board for the location to register with the Road Scholar staff. You will receive a welcome packet containing your name-tag and up-to-date schedule. If you arrive late, please ask for your packet when you check in. Orientation: 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, field trips, and activities, you are invited to take advantage of activities & events offered by the cruise line. The vessel's daily program will be delivered to cabins each evening with a schedule of the next day's activities. Meals 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. 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 a voucher to use at a popular jazz club and the Louisiana State Museum. Please note that routes, field trips, and excursions are subject to change as weather & river conditions could require altering the itinerary, making it run late and possibly miss ports. The operators reserve the right to change the itinerary and the content of field trips and excursions if/as needed due to local circumstances. The time available in each port is set by the cruise line in conjunction with the local maritime authorities.

Dinner: At the hotel, we'll have a lovely plated and served dinner with coffee, tea, water included; other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: We’ll gather at the hotel for a private performance of Dixieland jazz just for our Road Scholar group.

DAY
2
Jazz Performance, Free Time
New Orleans, Louisiana
B,L
Hotel Monteleone

Activity note: Walking up to 5-1/2 blocks to the restaurant for lunch.

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

Morning: 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.

Lunch: At a local restaurant, we'll order from a select menu with coffee, tea, water; other beverages available for purchase.

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 might like to sit back and have café au lait and beignets at the Café du Monde. You can also 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 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 or visit the Audubon Aquarium of the Americas. There are so many 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. Take a walk in the Quarter, use your voucher at Fritzel's European Jazz Pub, or just listen to the musicians playing on the street corners. Watch the people parade, where tourists can be more exotic than natives. Back at the hotel, prepare for check-out in the morning and have luggage ready for transfer.

DAY
3
New Orleans Overview, Garden District Walk
New Orleans, Louisiana
B,L,D
American Queen Steamboat Company's American Duchess

Activity note: Getting on/off a motorcoach several times throughout the day. Walking 8 blocks in Garden District; those who wish may stay on the motorcoach. Standing and walking on uneven sidewalks.

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

Morning: Before departing, leave any large luggage inside your room for pickup by hotel staff. It will be transferred directly to the boat and placed in your cabin. We will walk to the motorcoach with our carry-ons and head out on a field trip with expert onboard 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'll order from a select menu with coffee, tea, water; other beverages available for purchase.

Afternoon: We'll reboard the motorcoach with our local expert and ride down famous St. Charles Avenue, under beautiful old oak trees. We'll then set out 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. After our field trip, we will board the American Duchess and start our adventure on the Mississippi River.

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: Each evening, the American Duchess presents top professional entertainment in the Show Lounge/Auditorium.

DAY
4
Nottoway Plantation, St. Francisville Lecture
White Castle, LA
B,L,D
American Queen Steamboat Company's American Duchess

Activity note: Golf carts available from ship across levee. Walking to plantation through the gardens and standing during field trip. Three-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: Nottoway — a literal "white castle" — is the largest surviving antebellum mansion in the South and one of the most elegant. Its 64 rooms cover 53,000 square feet. It was intended by its builder, sugar planter John Hampden Randolph, to be the finest home anywhere. No expense was spared. Randolph filled his home, completed in 1859, 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 its 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. We will have an expert-led exploration with opportunities for taking pictures.

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’ll gather for a lecture on lovely, historic St. Francisville. The remainder of the afternoon is free to enjoy the relaxing beauty of the River as we roll along.

Dinner: Aboard the American Duchess in the Grand Dining Room.

Evening: Nightly entertainment.

DAY
5
Rosedown Plantation, St. Francisville, Natchez Lecture
St. Francisville
B,L,D
American Queen 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. Walking in St. Francisville according to personal preference.

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 lecture this afternoon will focus on the city of Natchez and plantation architecture. Then take advantage of the onboard amenities, spend time with fellow Road Scholars, or simply relax and observe the passing scene.

Dinner: Aboard the American Duchess.

Evening: Nightly entertainment.

DAY
6
Natchez, Battle of Vicksburg Lecture
Natchez, Mississippi
B,L,D
American Queen 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.

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."

Dinner: Aboard the American Duchess.

Evening: Nightly entertainment.

DAY
7
Vicksburg National Military Park, Civil War Lecture
Vicksburg
B,L,D
American Queen 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 the 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
8
River Cruising Day
Cruising on the Mississippi River
B,L,D
American Queen Steamboat Company's American Duchess

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
9
Tunica
Tunica, MS
B,L,D
American Queen 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 Flood of 1927. This is the last lecture of our program on the mighty Mississippi as we head to Memphis.

Lunch: Aboard the American Duchess.

Afternoon: We'll use the hop-on/hop-off motorcoaches and begin our exploration of Tunica, Mississippi. The field 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 3.1-mile 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 some of your favorite experiences from the program 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
10
Arrive Memphis, Disembarkation, Program Concludes
Departure
B

Activity note: Check-out and disembarkation 9:00 a.m., followed by motorcoach transfer to 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 in our unique city. 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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