Evoke all the grandeur of yesteryear with a trip down the Mississippi aboard a luxurious paddlewheeler, all Victorian antiques and wrought iron. Onboard, you’ll enjoy full-board dining, expert lectures and Broadway-worthy shows as you stop off at the river’s historic towns. At each, you’ll enjoy a full spread of included excursions, with expert guides bringing you between grand mansions, Civil War sites and state capitol grandeur. Either side, you'll have the chance to complement luxury stays in Memphis and New Orleans with a full range of optional extras – there's everything from city tours and VIP attraction passes to showpiece dinners.
Days 1-2: UK/Memphis
Begin in style with complimentary airport lounge access before your day flight to Memphis where you’ll make your way to your central accommodation. To help you explore, perhaps pre-book a three-day trolley and attraction pass, so you can knit together the Smithsonian’s Rock ‘n’ soul Museum, National Civil Rights Museum and birthplace of rock – Sun Studio – with the city’s historic tram network. Other options include an authentic Memphis barbecue dinner and a walking tour of Beale Street’s blues bars to the Peabody Hotel’s famous duck parade and an iPad-led tour of Elvis’s Graceland. Speak to our specialists to tailor-make your stay in this vibrant, musical city.
Stay: The Sheraton Memphis (Deluxe)
Day 3: Memphis/Mississippi River
Today, an included transfer will bring you to the American Queen – a luxurious river ship from which you'll take in the ever-changing landscapes, grand antebellum mansions and unique culinary flavours of the southern Mississippi River. Check into your opulent suite before enjoying your first taste of the ship's renowned on-board entertainment and superb full-board dining as you set sail towards Greenville.
Day 4: Greenville
Your first stop is the aptly named Greenville, a picturesque town in the heart of the Mississippi Delta that’s famed for its verdant garden walks. Your included shore excursions will also bring you between its 200-year-old heritage with museum visits, turn-of-the-century courthouses and stained-glass synagogues.
Day 5: Vicksburg
Then, it’s on to Vicksburg, a river port described by Lincoln as ‘The Key to the South’. And, you can trace its crucial Civil War past in battlefields, tours of its grand antebellum mansions and a string of superb museums, all part of your included shore excursions.
Day 6: Natchez
Natchez, the oldest city on the Mississippi, shares its heritage between the Natchez Indians and French explorers. It’s a unique blend, showcased in a series of excellent exhibitions and remembered by a string of grand mansions. Nearly 700 antebellum mansions line its leafy boulevards, with everything from Greek revival flourishes to stunning gardens on display. Your guided tour will bring their highlights to life.
Day 7: St. Francisville
From the oldest settlement on the Mississippi to the oldest town of the Florida Parishes, St. Francisville enjoys a similarly diverse past. The opulent homes of its plantation millionaires are paired with a certain bohemian charm. It’s perhaps best surmised by Grandmother’s Buttons, a fin-de-siècle bank that today sells jewellery made from antique buttons. And, between 200-year-old market halls, Gothic churches and manicured parks, it’s not difficult to fall in love with this Southern belle.
Day 8: Baton Rouge
Arriving into Lousiana’s capital, your included tours will bring you between Baton Rouge’s premier highlights. There’s a WWII-era battleship converted into a museum, the excellent LSU Museum of Art and the Louisiana State Capitol – the tallest of its kind and an Art Deco masterpiece. However, it’s perhaps its elder brother that’s most impressive; the Old State Capitol is a great Gothic monument that boasts bluff-top views of the Mississippi River.
Day 9: Nottoway
As the South’s largest – and most glorious – antebellum mansion, Nottoway is the perfect introduction to plantation life. Its three-storey rotunda and oak-draped lawns have been lovingly restored to their former glory, offering a peek into this grand era. The numbers are impressive, too, with 64 bedrooms, 53,000 square feet of living space and 22 columns that have given Nottoway its nickname – ‘The White Castle’. You’ll take it all in on an expert-led guided tour.
Days 10-11: New Orleans
You'll leave the ship this morning, making your own way to the contemporary luxury of your central hotel. It’s the perfect launchpad for a full spread of optional excursions, from driving tours of New Orleans’ diverse delights, to guided trips through the French Quarter’s fading European beauty, Bourbon Street’s famed bars, the ornate tombs of St. Louis Cemetery and Jackson Square’s turreted cathedral. There's also the chance to stop for that New Orleans favourite – coffee and beignet pastry. It's also well worth booking a streetcar and attraction pass, giving you the flexibility to explore. There’s Mardi Gras World and the WWII Museum to Audubon Zoo and the Old US Mint. Lastly, why not indulge with a traditional N’Orleans dinner, packed full of creole flavour?
Stay: Intercontinental New Orleans (Deluxe)
Days 12-13: Depart for UK
Make your way to the airport for your overnight flight back to the UK.
This trip has no fixed departures but restrictions may apply - check operator website
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