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United States

Music & the Mississippi: A River Voyage on the American Countess

Program No. 24544RJ
Explore the Mississippi River’s musical heritage and history as you join us for our Floating Campus onboard the American Countess!

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DATES & PRICES

Ship Inside Ship Out Ship Balc
Sep 20 - Oct 1, 2024
Ship Inside 5,999
Ship Outside 6,999
Ship Balcony 7,999
Special Offer

Enroll by Dec. 31, 2023 and receive free round-trip airfare from many cities!

DATES & PRICES

Ship Inside Ship Out Ship Balc
Filling Fast!
Sep 20 - Oct 1, 2024
Ship Inside 9,499
Ship Outside 10,999
Ship Balcony 12,499
Special Offer

Enroll by Dec. 31, 2023 and receive free round-trip airfare from many cities!

At a Glance

The Mississippi River crosses many states and flows through centuries of history — embark on Road Scholar’s latest Floating Campus adventure to experience it firsthand! This incredible voyage will take you through the musical heritage of the lower Mississippi River, including jazz, blues and rock 'n' roll. With stops in music capitals like Memphis, you’ll gain insight into the history of these genres and enjoy modern performances. Your onboard instructors will continue your educational experience as you sail along the iconic Mississippi, offering their expertise through lectures, Q&A sessions and casual discussions. In true campus style, you’ll also have opportunities to participate in onboard activities, live performances and getting to know other Road Scholars who love learning — and voyages — as much as you do.
Activity Level
On Your Feet
Embarking and disembarking from the boat up and down steep gangways. Going up and down the stairs of motor coaches and Hop-on/ Hop-off buses, strolling through cities and museums, and being able to stand up to 3 hours at a time on field trips.

Best of all, you’ll…

  • Spend two nights in Memphis, Tennessee, home to iconic music sites including Beale Street Historic District and the Blues Music Hall of Fame.
  • Visit the Memphis Rock ‘n’ Soul Museum, created by the Smithsonian Institution, to learn about music legends.
  • Experience local music and history in the smaller cities that line the shores of the Mississippi River, such as Paducah, Kentucky and Cape Girardeau, Missouri.
  • Spend two nights in St. Louis, and explore a city known for its architectural marvel, the Gateway Arch.
  • Enjoy the camaraderie of other Road Scholars as you take in private lectures, unique field trips and take part in educational onboard activities on this exclusive Floating Campus voyage.

General Notes

General Note: This learning adventure is part of Road Scholar’s Floating Campus. You’ll enjoy a true campus feel as we have the entire ship to ourselves and welcome a maximum of 200 Road Scholars, and enjoy field trips onshore in smaller groups of 35. Onboard experts will be on hand throughout the voyage and will offer instruction during exclusive lectures, Q&A sessions and discussions. Enjoy onboard activities, live performances and the camaraderie that can only be found with an entire ship full of fellow Road Scholars! Please note that we need a minimum number of participants to enroll in this program to have exclusive use of the ship. In the unlikely event we do not meet the minimum number, then the cruise line may have its own passengers on the ship, though they will not be part of any Road Scholar activities.
Featured Expert
All Experts
Profile Image
Tammy Kernodle
Tammy L. Kernodle is an internationally recognized musician and scholar who teaches and researches in the areas of African American music (concert and popular music) and gender studies in music. Her scholarship has appeared in numerous peer-reviewed journals and anthologies. Kernodle is the author of "Soul on Soul: The Life and Music of Mary Lou Williams," and served as associate editor of the three-volume Encyclopedia of African American Music. She is currently the University Distinguished Professor of Music at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio.

Please note: This expert may not be available for every date of this program.

Profile Image of Cary Ginell
Cary Ginell View biography
Cary Ginell is an award-winning author and music historian who has published nine books on American music. A thirty-year career in radio prepared him for his “second life” as a highly respected public speaker and teacher. Cary presents “edutaining” talks on music history in an engaging and enthusiastic manner. He has given talks for companies including American Cruise Lines, Celebrity, and the Delta Queen Steamboat Company. Cary is a past Grammy nominee and winner of the ASCAP Deems Taylor Award for music journalism.
Profile Image of Anne Peery
Anne Peery View biography
Anne Peery is a Mississippi native and Tallahassee resident with experience in the Florida executive branch and cabinet staff positions; executive leadership of a statewide historic preservation non-profit; conservation real estate project management with a national non-profit organization; private sector real estate brokerage and land use consulting; and numerous state and community service activities. She was the first executive director of the Florida Communities Trust and director of the Florida Trust for Historic Preservation, responsible for producing major educational conferences across Florida.
Profile Image of Nolan Hines
Nolan Hines View biography
Nolan Hines is a native Ohioan, born on a farm just south of Columbus. He attended Ohio State University intending to become a veterinarian, the became involved in singing and theatre activities. He spent eight years on the ships of Holland America Line as an entertainer, excursion assistant, and cruise director, then four years aboard The American Queen steamboat. Nolan now lives in Florida and since 2017 has enjoyed discovering the treasures of new places and helping participants to enjoy cultural highlights with Road programs.
Profile Image of Lyndel Brauninger
Lyndel Brauninger View biography
Lyndel Brauninger, a native New Orleanian, is a retired educator who taught in the metropolitan New Orleans area for more than 30 years. Besides leading Road Scholar groups, she leads walking “foodie” groups in the French Quarter, where she has been a licensed exploration leader since 1996. Lyndel enjoys experiencing and learning everything the Crescent City has to offer, particularly the architecture, history, music, food, and amazing theater. She is thrilled to share her passion for New Orleans with people from all over the world.
Profile Image of Robin Rocque
Robin Rocque View biography
Robin Rocque's favorite city to share with guests is her hometown of New Orleans. Its diversely unique culture and musical background provides a lovely backdrop during its introduction. Robin has happily led groups in many cities and several countries. Robin has been a licensed New Orleans tour guide since 2004, and a certified international tour manager since 2011. She is an alumna of Vassar College, and recently served as a board member of a nonprofit organization that provides community support in and around New Orleans.
Profile Image of Tammy Kernodle
Tammy Kernodle View biography
Tammy L. Kernodle is an internationally recognized musician and scholar who teaches and researches in the areas of African American music (concert and popular music) and gender studies in music. Her scholarship has appeared in numerous peer-reviewed journals and anthologies. Kernodle is the author of "Soul on Soul: The Life and Music of Mary Lou Williams," and served as associate editor of the three-volume Encyclopedia of African American Music. She is currently the University Distinguished Professor of Music at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio.
Profile Image of Bettina Morrish
Bettina Morrish View biography
Bettina Morrish has called many places home. Born in California and educated on the East Coast and Germany, she has lived in Lexington, Kentucky for over 30 years. She has degrees in history and German literature from Connecticut College and a master's in history from Princeton University. A high school teacher for 26 years, Bettina now leads students in Washington, DC and serves as a shore excursion manager for American Queen Voyages and a bourbon distillery guide when she is not traveling with Road Scholars.
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12 days
11 nights
30 meals
11 B 10 L 9 D
DAY
1
Check-in, Registration, Orientation, Welcome Dinner
Memphis, TN
D
Doubletree Downtown Memphis

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

Afternoon: After you pick up your keys from the front desk, come over to the Road Scholar table in the lobby to register for your program. Orientation: 5:00 p.m. in a hotel meeting room. The Group Leader will greet everyone and lead introductions. We will review the up-to-date program schedule, discuss roles and responsibilities, logistics, safety guidelines, emergency procedures, and answer questions. We will have our own dedicated instructors for the program. 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 Countess. The vessel’s daily program will be delivered to cabins each evening with a schedule of the next day’s activities. Meals in the Grand Dining Room will feature cuisine that blends local flavors and fine culinary traditions. There is a more casual atmosphere in the River Grill. Dinners aboard will include complimentary house wines, house-select beers, coffees, teas, soft drinks. Ground travel and transfers will be via private motorcoach unless noted otherwise. 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.

Dinner: In a private meeting room at the hotel, we will have plated dinner with coffee, tea, water; other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: At leisure. We’ll continue getting to know each other, settle in, and get a good night’s rest for the day ahead.

DAY
2
Explore Memphis
Memphis, TN
B,L
Doubletree Downtown Memphis

Activity note: Getting on/off motorcoach. Walking and standing for periods of time at museums.

Breakfast: At the hotel, we will enjoy a breakfast buffet plus coffee, tea, juice, water; other non-alcoholic beverages available for purchase.

Morning: This morning, we will start our day with a field trip to the Memphis Rock ‘n’ Soul Museum, the first museum ever jointly developed by the Smithsonian Institution and the National Museum of American History. Opened in August 2004, it came out of a traveling exhibition on the roots of uniquely American music in the South, from “field hollers” to work songs, blues, country, and gospel. These more countrified forms gradually met and mingled with their urban cousins: blues, jazz, and what became rock ‘n’ roll, rockabilly, rhythm and blues, and soul music. It charts the story of a field of music that has had a tremendous impact on popular culture and lifestyles from the mid-20th Century through today. It also documents the story of musical pioneers who overcame racial and socio-economic barriers to create music that changed our world. The museum’s digital audio guide lets us move at our own pace on a self-directed visit through seven galleries of audio-visual programs, instruments, costumes, other musical treasures, and more than 300 minutes of information including more than 100 songs.

Lunch: At a local restaurant.

Afternoon: We will continue our exploration with a field trip to Sun Studio, an iconic recording studio where some of the most famous artists recorded in the 1950s. Whether rock-and-roll or country, and genres in between, the likes of Johnny Cash, Elvis Presley, Carl Perkins, Roy Orbison, Charlie Feathers, Ray Harris, Warren Smith, Charlie Rich, and Jerry Lee Lewis could be found there at one point or another. Led by a Sun Studio expert, we’ll see where they made musical history.

Dinner: On your own to have what you like. There are many restaurants in the vicinity.

Evening: At leisure. See more of Memphis on your own, spend time with newfound Road Scholar friends, or just relax.

DAY
3
Sites in Memphis followed by embarkation
Memphis, TN
B,L,D
American Queen Voyages' American Countess

Activity note: Getting on/off motorcoach. Embarkation.

Breakfast: Buffet breakfast at the hotel.

Morning: Explore historic Beale Street in downtown Memphis with a local expert. Follow in the footsteps of musical legends Louis Armstrong, Muddy Waters, and B.B. King and learn about why Beale Street is the "Home of the Blues".

Lunch: At a local restaurant.

Afternoon: After we finish exploring, we will transfer by motorcoach to embark the boat. In the Dining Room onboard the boat, Road Scholar has reserved tables for our group. Our dinners will have a starter, choice of soup or salad, entrée, & dessert with choices for each course; beer, wine, soft drinks, coffee, tea, water included. Periods in the daily schedule designated as “Free time” and “At leisure” offer opportunities to do what you like & make your experience even more meaningful & memorable according to your personal preferences. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions. All routes, field trips, and excursions are subject to change as weather and river conditions may affect the itinerary. River conditions could affect the progress of the boat, making it run late and sometimes miss ports because it is not safe to dock. Because of this, the cruise itinerary should always be regarded as provisional. The operators reserve the right to change the content of field trips and excursions without prior notice.

Dinner: Plated dinner aboard the American Queen

Evening: At leisure. One of the highlights of the shipboard experience is the opportunity to enjoy entertainment in the boat's Theater as performers put on a Broadway-style performance each evening. Alternatively, take time to relax or socialize with fellow Road Scholars

DAY
4
Day Aboard the Countess
River Cruising
B,L,D
American Queen Voyages' American Countess

Breakfast: Aboard the boat, we will enjoy the choice of a buffet or menu meal option, plus coffee, tea, water; other beverages available for purchase.

Morning: This morning we will gather onboard the boat to hear a lecture from our expert lecturer about the history of blues, soul and rock and roll. Lecture topics will be added at a later time.

Lunch: Aboard the boat, we will enjoy the choice of a buffet or menu meal option, plus coffee, tea, water; other beverages available for purchase.

Afternoon: Enjoy the activities of your choice aboard ship, including a lecture on topics relevant to our program.

Dinner: Plated dinner in the boat's dining room.

Evening: At leisure. Enjoy activities aboard ship, spend time with fellow Road Scholars.

DAY
5
New Madrid, MO
New Madrid, MO
B,L,D
American Queen Voyages' American Countess

Activity note: Getting on/off motorcoaches. Limited walking and standing.

Breakfast: Aboard the boat.

Morning: This morning we stop at New Madrid, MO. New Madrid is one of the town's that makes up the Missouri Bootheel and is famous for being the site of a series of more than 1,000 earthquakes in 1811 and 1812, caused by the New Madrid Seismic Zone. We will be exploring at our own pace on Hop-on Hop-off buses. Visit the New Madrid Historical Museum.

Lunch: Aboard the boat.

Afternoon: Enjoy the activities of your choice aboard ship, including a lecture on topics relevant to our program.

Dinner: Aboard the boat.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
6
Paducah, KY
Paducah, KY
B,L,D
American Queen Voyages' American Countess

Activity note: Getting on/off motorcoaches. Limited standing and walking.

Breakfast: Aboard the boat.

Morning: Afternoon Enjoy the activities of your choice aboard ship, including a lecture on topics relevant to our program.

Lunch: Aboard the boat.

Afternoon: The boat docks in Paducah, Kentucky this afternoon. We will be exploring at our own pace on Hop-on Hop-off buses. Paducah is strategically located at the confluence of the Ohio and Tennessee rivers. We'll explore a site along Chitlin' Trail known as underground performance venues that showcased commercial and cultural acceptance for African American musicians between the 1930s to 1950s.We'll visit the “Hotel Metropolitan,” and learn about some of its famous past boarders, including B.B. King, Billie Holiday, and Ike and Tina Turner, just to name a few in the hotel’s famous visitors.

Dinner: Aboard the boat.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
7
Cape Girardeau, MO
Cape Girardeau, MO
B,L,D
American Queen Voyages' American Countess

Activity note: Getting on/off motorcoaches. Limited standing and walking.

Breakfast: Aboard the boat.

Morning: This morning we will gather onboard the boat to hear a lecture from our expert lecturer about the history of blues, soul and rock and roll. Lecture topics will be added at a later time.

Lunch: Aboard the boat.

Afternoon: This afternoon, we will docks in Cape Giradeau. Cape Girardeau is a small city in Missouri situated along the western bank of the Mississippi River. It has over 250 years of history. We will be exploring at our own pace on Hop-on Hop-off buses. Explore the Mississippi River Tales Murals featuring murals of Lewis and Clark, Mark Twain and Ulysses S. Grant. Other sites include Red House Interpretive Center and the Cape River Heritage Museum.

Dinner: Aboard the boat.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
8
Chester, IL
Chester. IL
B,L,D
American Queen Voyages' American Countess

Activity note: Getting on/off motorcoach. Limited standing and walking.

Breakfast: Aboard the boat.

Morning: This morning we will be docked in Chester, Illinois, a mill town that once made thousands of Children's shoes. Chester is the native home of Elzie C. Segar, the creator of Popeye the Sailor Man, and a giant statue of Popeye stands in Segar's park. We will explore several local sites.

Lunch: Aboard the boat.

Afternoon: This afternoon we will stop at Chester, IL, city located on the bluffs of the Mississippi River Valley. We will be exploring at our own pace on Hop-on Hop-off buses.

Dinner: Aboard the boat.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
9
Kimmswick, MO
Kimmswick, MO
B,L,D
American Queen Voyages' American Countess

Activity note: Getting on/off motorcoaches. Limited walking.

Breakfast: Aboard the boat.

Morning: This morning we'll stop in a tiny river town of Kimmswick – founded in 1859 by German immigrants featuring historic structures and simple charms. Enjoy visiting two historic homes and enjoy the views of the river, where bald eagles can often be spotted soaring above. We will then return to the boat for lunch.

Lunch: Aboard the boat.

Afternoon: This afternoon, we will gather onboard the boat to hear a lecture from our expert lecturer about the history of blues, soul and rock and roll. Lecture topics will be added at a later time.

Dinner: Aboard the boat.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
10
St. Louis, MO
St. Louis, MO
B,L
Drury Plaza Hotel St. Louis at the Arch

Activity note: Getting on/off motorcoaches. Limited walking.

Breakfast: Aboard the boat.

Morning: After completing disembarkation procedures, we will say goodbye to the American Countess and board a motorcoach for a city field trip with a local expert. We will explore St. Louis, a city at the confluence of the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers where it was the center of Mississippi Native American Culture. Settled by French fur traders, it is where Lewis and Clark began their westward expansion. The Arch built in 1960 remains a symbol of the gateway to the west, and of the city itself.

Lunch: Enjoy lunch at a local restaurant.

Afternoon: Following lunch, we will continue exploring St. Louis. We will then transfer to our hotel for check-in.

Dinner: On your own to have what you like. There are many restaurants in the vicinity.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
11
St. Louis, MO
St. Louis, MO
B,L,D
Drury Plaza Hotel St. Louis at the Arch

Activity note: Getting on/off motorcoaches. Limited walking.

Breakfast: At the hotel, we will enjoy a breakfast buffet, plus coffee, tea, water.

Morning: This morning we will visit the National Blues Museum. The Museum explores and preserves the historic significance of the Blues as the foundation of modern American Music.

Lunch: At a local restaurant.

Afternoon: Enjoy free time to continue exploring St. Louis on your own.

Dinner: At a local restaurant with live music, enjoy a farewell meal with your fellow Road Scholars.

Evening: At leisure. Please prepare for departure in the morning.

DAY
12
Program Concludes
B

Activity note: Hotel check-out by 11:00 a.m.. Please refer to the "Getting There" section of the program information for departure details.

Breakfast: Buffet at the hotel. This concludes our program.

Morning: 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!






Important registration tip:
If you want to attend the live lecture, please do not wait until the last minute to enroll.
If you enroll after a lecture is complete, we’ll send you a recording of the event.