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American Queen - Mississippi River Cruise 2017

16 Days From £3799*
Departing March-November 2017
* Price shown: 24 Nov 2017 from London Heathrow - LHR
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Discover Memphis, New Orleans and Nashville on a river cruise and tour holiday in America.

What could evoke the spirit and nostalgia of America's Deep South more than a bright white paddle steamer cruising gently down Old Man River, the mighty Mississippi?

That's the experience you'll enjoy aboard American Queen, a vessel that combines a traditional paddlewheeler's charm and luxurious heritage with modern comforts and convenience.

Cruise up the lazy river from New Orleans to Memphis on a steamboat that offers luxurious state rooms and suites, two excellent restaurants, bars and lounges and even a cinema, theatre and pool.

And when you're not off exploring places you've always wanted to visit, you can sit back in a lounger, swing or rocking chair (how appropriate) and simply take in the views as you cruise through the heartland of America.

The American Queen - New Orleans, Memphis and Nashville Tour Highlights

What you can look forward to

  • A night in Montgomery, resting place of Hank Williams
  • Two nights in New Orleans, the 'Big Easy'
  • A guided tour of the city that includes the famous French Quarter
  • A seven-night Mississippi cruise aboard American Queen, the world's largest paddle steamer
  • Calls in Oak Alley, historic Natchez, Vicksburg and pretty Delta music centre, Helena
  • Included guided excursions at each port of call
  • Elvis Presley's Memphis
  • A stop in Tupelo and a chance to take a tour of the 'shotgun shack' where Elvis was born
  • Visits to the legendary Sun Studio and world-famous Graceland
  • Discovering the Country Music Hall of Fame and Studio B in Nashville

It's all included in the price

  • Seven nights' room-only accommodation at hotels in Montgomery (one night), New Orleans, Memphis and Nashville (two nights each)
  • Seven nights' full-board cruise aboard the American Queen
  • Beer and wine at dinner included (based on the shared occupancy of an inside cabin)
  • Ice cream, speciality coffee, popcorn all included
  • Free, unlimited Wi-Fi
  • Guided excursions at each port of call
  • Return scheduled flights to Atlanta
  • Coach travel and transfers throughout
  • Fully escorted by a friendly, experienced Tour Manager on the 'non-cruise' parts of this tour
  • Care from the ship's friendly and attentive staff

Single rooms are available for a supplement

Must see: Sunset from a rocking chair on the American Queen, sipping a mint julep, of course.
Fascinating fact: American Queen is the largest steamboat ever built.

You say: "A true collection of southern memorabilia - a Mississippi paddle wheeler cruise combined with New Orleans' French Quarter and Elvis' famous mansion, Graceland."

The American Queen Tour Itinerary

Every day a new experience

Day One: Arrive in Montgomery, Alabama's capital

Fly to Atlanta to meet your expert Tour Manager, then transfer by coach to your hotel in the Alabama state capital of Montgomery. Rest and relax, and enjoy your first taste of Southern hospitality this evening.

Day Two: Head in to Louisiana and New Orleans

Today you'll cross the countryside of Harper Lee's Alabama into Louisiana, and head along the Gulf Coast to New Orleans. Check in to your second hotel then make the most of your second evening in America's Deep South.

Day Three: Visit New Orleans' French Quarter

This morning's included guided tour is the perfect introduction to New Orleans: the 'Big Easy'. You've no doubt seen the iron balconies and covered sidewalks of the French Quarter in movies and brochures, but today you'll be there to see them in person. Plus, you'll pass Treme's colourful clapboard houses.

Later, join our optional Louisiana swampland excursion for a glimpse of the city's surrounding countryside and wildlife, looking out for alligators along the way. Get a taste of the area's unique Creole life too, then head back to the 'Quarter' to immerse yourself in the atmosphere of the place.

Day Four: Welcome on board the American Queen steamboat

Head to the quayside, this afternoon, where you'll board the majestic American Queen. Settle in to your cabin then enjoy your first evening as the stern-mounted paddlewheel makes its first turns through the waters of the mighty Mississippi.

Day Five: Stop off at Oak Alley plantation mansion

American Queen's first stop is one of the finest examples of antebellum (pre-American Civil War) plantation mansions in the USA. Oak Alley is named for the striking, 800-foot avenue of southern live oak that runs from the river to the main house.

Step back on board after your visit, and enjoy a leisurely lunch followed by all the time you want to relax and enjoy your luxurious surroundings.

Day Six: Visit St. Francisville in the the Florida Parishes

Today, American Queen calls at St. Francisville, the oldest town in the Florida Parishes. You can explore the town (which incorporates no less than 140 notable historic buildings) at your own pace. And for a more left field, but equally fascinating, experience you can head to the Louisiana State Penitentiary (Angola Prison). This award-winning, premium optional excursion offers a remarkable encounter with tales of redemption and rehabilitation. People tell us it's a great place to visit, but they wouldn't want to stay!

Day Seven: Discover the town of Natchez and Natchez-Under-the-Hill

You'll stop off at Natchez, the Mississippi's oldest permanent settlement. Feel free to explore 'the prettiest town in the south', and take a little break at one of the riverside cafes and restaurants in notorious Natchez-Under-the-Hill, once a haunt of highwaymen and river pirates.

Day Eight: Visit Vicksburg, the Civil War battlefield and National Cemetery

Abraham Lincoln described Vicksburg as "the key to the South" and it proved to be the site of a significant turning point in the American Civil War. Learn about the siege and the subsequent Confederate surrender, then explore the historic port. If you'd like to find out more, join an premium optional excursion for an unforgettable tour of the battlefield and National Cemetery.

Day Nine: Spend a relaxing day on-board

Make the most of American Queen's gym or spa, take in a fascinating talk or simply relax with a good book in a comfortable lounge or on-deck rocking chair. As you'll spend today simply cruising, don't miss the chance to visit the Captain's Pilot House. From the Engine Room Viewing Area, which is next to the giant paddlewheel, you can also see how this extraordinary ship operates.

Day 10: Stop off at Helena on the Mississippi Delta

American Queen's last call is pretty Helena on the Mississippi Delta. If you know your music, you'll recognise this as home of the King Biscuit Time KFFA daily radio show. The show first broadcast Delta Blues to the world in 1941, and is still running strong over 60 years later. Step ashore and listen to the lunchtime show in the place that inspired the music, then wander the streets in one of Mark Twain's favourite spots.

Day 11: Arrive in Memphis, Tennessee

Bid farewell to your floating palace as you disembark in Memphis early this morning. The King's hometown boasts an unrivalled musical heritage, and you'll have the chance to explore it, visiting Sun Studio (where rock 'n' roll was born) and the preserved majesty of Elvis Presley's Graceland. We hear that "Long-distance information?" is an inevitable earworm during your visit.

Later, you can head to Beale Street for an evening of barbecue, blues, and rock 'n' roll.

Day 12: The Civil Rights Museum and Rock 'n' Soul Museum

Today's optional full-day tour includes visits to the Stax Museum of American Soul Music, the Memphis Rock 'n' Soul Museum and the thought-provoking National Civil Rights Museum, which stands on the site where Martin Luther King was assassinated on 4th April 1968.

Day 13: Visit Elvis's birthplace in Tupelo

You'll head east today, stopping in Tupelo (on the way to Nashville) for the chance to take a tour of the 'shotgun shack' where Elvis was born.

Day 14: Nashville: Studio B and Country Music Hall of Fame

Nashville's reputation and place in country music history is renowned. And on today's pilgrimage, you'll have the chance to visit the legendary Studio B and the Country Music Hall of Fame, one of the world's largest music museums and research centres.

Later, make the most of your final evening with a visit to one of the city's 150-plus live music venues.

Day 15: Drive through Tennessee

Enjoy a scenic drive through the wooded hills of Tennessee, calling at Chattanooga (of "Choo Choo" fame), on your way to Atlanta airport where you'll board your overnight flight home.

Day 16: Arrive back in the UK

You'll land back home in the UK, after a once-in-a-lifetime cruise in the US. And if you love rock 'n' roll, country music and Elvis, you'll no doubt be playing your favourite songs and remembering your holiday for a long time to come.

Prices

 Departure AirportDatePrice From
Aberdeen12 May 2017 £5724.00
Aberdeen24 Nov 2017 £3999.00
Belfast City12 May 2017 £5724.00
Belfast City24 Nov 2017 £3999.00
Edinburgh12 May 2017 £5724.00
Edinburgh24 Nov 2017 £3999.00
Glasgow12 May 2017 £5724.00
Glasgow24 Nov 2017 £3999.00
London Heathrow12 May 2017 £5524.00
London Heathrow24 Nov 2017 £3799.00
Manchester12 May 2017 £5724.00
Manchester24 Nov 2017 £3999.00
Newcastle12 May 2017 £5724.00
Newcastle24 Nov 2017 £3999.00

Mississippi Touring Hotels and Cruise Vessel

The hotels used on our tours will meet the standard of a good, three-star European hotel. You will also enjoy seven nights on board the American Queen paddle steamer.

Find out more

Further Information

Hotel transfer times

The transfer time from the airport to your hotel is approximately three hours.

Passports and visas

When travelling to the USA, British citizens require passports with an integrated chip (shown on the front by a small rectangular symbol beneath the word PASSPORT), valid beyond the return date from the USA. Visas are not normally required for entry, but visitors must apply for an ESTA online with US Immigration at least 72 hours before departure at www.cbp.gov/esta . The current charge is $14 for British Citizens. British subjects and anyone who has a criminal record or has ever been arrested should consult the US Embassy as a visa may be required. Note too that if you have visited Iran, Iraq, Sudan, Syria, Libya, Somalia or Yemen since March 2011, or have dual nationality with any of these countries, you do require a US visa and cannot travel on the Visa Waiver Program.

On your flight

All outbound flights depart and arrive on the same day. All return flights leave in the evening and land in the UK the next day. On-board meals will usually include lunch and a snack on outward flights, and dinner and breakfast on flight home. Soft drinks are complimentary, but some airlines will charge for alcoholic drinks.

Luggage allowance

You are permitted to take one suitcase per person on the aircraft, which should not exceed 23kg.

Special requirements

If you have notified us of any special requirements, please check that they have been noted and acknowledged. This is especially important with any dietary needs you may have.

Tipping

Gratuities are a way of life in North America, and it is generally accepted that they form part of a person's earnings. The customary gratuity for a coach driver or Tour Manager is about $5 per person per day. It is normal to tip 15-20 per cent of the bill for a taxi or in a restaurant, and to leave a dollar or so per drink in a bar. When on board your cruise, tips are included in the tour price.

Disabled access

The majority of our tours involve a certain amount of walking, including a short walk from the coach stop to the town, attraction or venue you're visiting. If you are bringing a wheelchair, please let us know at the time of booking so that appropriate arrangements can be made.

Tipping

Gratuities are a way of life in North America, and it is generally accepted that they form part of a person's earnings. Customary gratuity to a coach driver or tour manager is about $5 per person per day; in a taxi or a restaurant leave 12-15 per cent of the bill and, in the bar, leave a dollar or so per drink. When on board your cruise, tips are included in the tour price.

Itinerary changes

Occasionally, for operational reasons, we may have to change the order of the excursions on your holiday. The final day-by-day itinerary will be confirmed on your Final Travel Documents, which you will receive approximately three weeks prior to your departure.

Changes to your hotels

Should circumstances require, we reserve the right to accommodate you in alternative hotels, of a similar standard, nearby. Full details of your hotels will be sent with your Final Travel Documents.

Hotel rooms

Standard hotel rooms in North America will contain one or two double- or queen-sized beds, and it is not possible to add extra beds to the room. Parties consisting of more than two travellers, but who have only booked one room, will be expected to make use of the two beds provided. If this is a concern, you may wish to consider booking more than one room for your group.

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