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.
As you cruise up the lazy river from New Orleans to Memphis, you'll find 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.
Every day a new experience
The American Queen tour itinerary
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 one: arrive in Montgomery, Alabama's capital
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 two: head in to Louisiana and New Orleans
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.
Day three: visit New Orleans' French Quarter
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 sheer atmosphere of the place.
Head to the quayside this afternoon and you'll board the majestic American Queen. Settle into your cabin then enjoy your first evening as the stern-mounted paddlewheel makes its first turns through the waters of the mighty Mississippi.
Day four: welcome on board the American Queen steamboat
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.
Day five: stop off at Oak Alley plantation mansion
Step back on board after your visit and you'll enjoy a leisurely lunch followed by all the time you want to relax and enjoy your luxurious surroundings.
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 leftfield, but equally fascinating experience, you can head to the Louisiana State Penitentiary (Angola Prison). On this award-winning, optional premium excursion you'll have an encounter that includes remarkable tales of redemption and rehabilitation. People tell us it's a great place to visit, but they wouldn't want to stay!
Day six: visit St. Francisville in the the Florida Parishes
You'll stop off at Natchez, 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 seven: discover the town of Natchez and Natchez-Under-the-Hill
Abraham Lincoln described Vicksburg as "the key to the South" and it proved 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. And if you'd like to find out more, join an optional premium excursion for an unforgettable tour of the battlefield and National Cemetery.
Day eight: visit Vicksburg, the Civil War battlefield and National Cemetery
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 nine: spend a relaxing day on-board
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. First broadcasting Delta Blues to the world, the show is still running strong over 60 years later. Step ashore and you can listen to the lunchtime show in the place that inspired the music, as well as wander the streets in one of Mark Twain's favourite spots.
Day 10: stop off at Helena on the Mississippi Delta
Bid farewell to your floating palace as you disembark in Memphis 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.
Day 11: arrive in Memphis, Tennessee
Later you can head to Beale Street for an evening of barbecue, blues, and rock 'n' roll.
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 April 4th. 1968.
Day 12: Civil Rights Museum and Rock 'n' Soul Museum
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 13: visit Elvis's birthplace in Tupelo
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 museums and research centres dedicated to the preservation and interpretation of American vernacular music.
Day 14: Nashville: Studio B and Country Music Hall of Fame
Later, you can make the most of your final evening with a visit to one of the city's 150-plus live music venues.
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 15: drive through Tennessee
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.
Day 16: arrive back in the UK