Meandering down North America’s mighty Mississippi River by steamboat is sure to ignite the senses. With its charming amalgam of history, culture and beauty, its call is hard to deny.
Glimmering its way through several states including Louisiana, Mississippi, Minnesota, Iowa, Illinois, Arkansas and Tennessee, the river reaches widths of more than a kilometre in parts, offering a truly impressive sight, and a little something for everyone.
It’s been magically immortalised by Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn and many a melody penned by Johnny Cash and Big Bill Broonzy. While these have painted a picture to stand the test of time, there is far more to the Mississippi and its surrounding regions than classic literature, movie or song will ever tell. It needs to be felt through the soul and seen the eyes.
The sounds of soulful music and the region’s rich history tug on a deep sense of nostalgia, while the colourful cities and life on its sprawling banks stir up even more. But it’s that evocative sound of paddle wheels – reminiscent of a simpler time - turning their way through the winding waters that completes the scene. A voyage on board a traditional steamboat is truly the only way to experience the Mississippi.
American Queen Steamboats
Navigate these momentous waters on board an American Queen Steamboat, the only authentic overnight paddle-wheel steamboat in the United States, and you’ll find yourself transported back to yesteryear. Guests will be taken back to a time when cruising was a romantic form of travel. This historic mode of transportation also maintains the warm and inviting ambiance of a delightful, antebellum boutique hotel. Choose from the largest steamboat ever built, the American Queen or the newly launched in 2017 first all-suite paddlesteamer, the American Duchess. Their sailings provide the perfect way to discover America’s vast heartland. Surrounded by elegance and old world charm, you’ll discover a side of North America that few ever see.
Victorian Charm meets Modern Cruise Comforts
Period antiques and chandeliers are perfectly placed throughout the ships, the six sweeping decks boast polished wood flooring, white, wooden rocking chairs sit on the ornamental front porch while the upholstery channels Victorian charm. There is also a gentlemen’s card room and a ladies’ parlour – complete with fainting couch.
The American Queen steamboats don’t compromise on the convenience of modern comforts though. Pristine, contemporary cabins feature hotel-style bathrooms and flat-screen TVs, and the spa services, WiFi and pool add a contemporary edge. It means that guests can experience an all-inclusive river cruise with an abundance of luxurious amenities, paired with remarkable Hop-On Hop-Off shore excursions, exceptional cuisine, nightly entertainment and dancing, with of course the warm hospitality of an all-American crew.
Experience America's heartland in luxury: Enjoy generous savings on North America Luxury
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The Grand Saloon theatre is where the real magic takes place, an absolute not-to-be-missed event. Each night, wonderful talent takes to the stage in the elegant, two-storey Grand Saloon wonderfully reminiscent of an intimate, 19th-century opera house.
By day, history steals the show. Daily lectures from a dedicated “Riverlorian” as well as a line-up of guest historians provide colourful and entertaining context to the history of the paddle-steamers, the legendary Mississippi and the passing landscapes and cities – as well as their connections to many famous American figures.
Ports to Visit
When the vintage steam engines fall silent, those paddles draw to a halt, and she pulls into port, guests enjoy the opportunity to step onto dry land for a cultural immersion of their own. So many notable port cities offer astounding insights on local culture and heritage. The most renowned of the Lower Mississippi are also beaming icons of the Deep South: the character-laden streets of jazzy New Orleans, and Memphis, the soulful and melodic stomping ground of Elvis. This Tennessee city is well-known for being the home of blues, soul and rock ‘n’ roll.
Visitors can walk down legendary Beale Street, lined with blues clubs and restaurants, head to the Rock ‘n’ Soul Museum, see the renowned Sun Studio, or make their way to Graceland, the residence of the late, great Elvis Presley. At Graceland, guests can view a collection of exhibits and museums dedicated to the King and his life, and take a journey through his mansion.
In cities like Vicksburg passengers can learn more about America’s Civil War in the city where a 47-day siege took place in 1863, or take delight in the city’s unique architectural heritage by visiting one of many historic homes and mansions open for public tours. In Louisiana’s charming capital of Baton Rouge, a range of museums galleries, theatres, bars, clubs, plantations, and even castle-like structures (the Old State Capitol and New State Capitol) will fill those long Southern days.
Snaking along further, passengers will pass through cotton fields and sugar cane plantations, past centuries-old towering oak trees, Civil War memorials and impeccably restored colonial mansions. Along the northern reaches of the Upper Mississippi, trailing through the nation’s Heartland, many all-American hidden gems and quintessential beauties await discovery, from the dynamic atmosphere of St Louis to the picturesque twin cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul.
Paddle up or down the Mississippi.
The unique experience of travelling the Mississippi by paddle steamer will offer an unparalleled fusion of Southern America’s beauty and history, both past and present, from the waters of one of its most celebrated rivers. Something few have experienced beyond the pages of a book, the composition of a painting or the romance of a sweet-sounding harmony. Experience a truly memorable journey through authentic America and enjoy a perfect getaway!
Limited availability now exists for 2018 sailings. Bookings for 2019 sailings are now open so contact your Travel Associates travel agent now and don’t miss out on this amazing experience!