On our Lower Mississippi River cruise itineraries, we offer a variety of convenient Pre-Cruise options, providing you will a seamless way to board the ship and explore the local area. Choose from our 2-Night Graceland Pre-Cruise Package or our Complimentary 1-Night Pre-Cruise Hotel Stay.
Welcome to Memphis, a historic city which rises picturesquely up the hillside from the river, adorned with grand oak trees, lush parks, and historic sites that commemorate everything from the Civil War to the Civil Rights Movement. Immerse yourself in its rich musical legacy as you stroll along legendary Beale Street, where music flows from every doorway, and savor the rich flavors and aromas of the city’s famous BBQ. Choose from an array of customized excursions. Perhaps take a narrated motorcoach excursion to get an overview of this dramatic city. Or indulge in the glamour of the Peabody Hotel. Explore the home, life, and career of Elvis Presley or make your pilgrimage to Sun Studio, where he recorded his earliest smash-hits.The comfort of your ship awaits at the nearby Beale Street Landing, docked along an impressive, recently renovated city park. Be entertained on board by local musicians as you savor a nightcap.
3Day of River Cruising
Today is a day to truly relax without a care in the world. Revel in the bliss of floating along the current of the mighty Mississippi River, framed by a forest of cottonwood trees dotted with majestic blue herons. Enjoy fascinating enrichment presentations and festive onboard activities. Savor fine meals and cocktails. Relax in one of the many spacious lounges or enjoy a gentle breeze on the sun deck as you read a book or chat with new friends. Mark Twain described the experience as having “nothing to hang a worry or a fret upon.”
Vicksburg is a place of drama. During the Civil War, the struggle to control Vicksburg proved to be a major turning point. The well-fortified connection between river and rail transportation was known as “The Gibraltar of the West.” A narrated exploration of the well-preserved National Military Park battlefield enlivens this powerful story and highlights its significance.
President Abraham Lincoln summarized Vicksburg’s importance clearly when he said, “Vicksburg is the key. The war can never be brought to a close until that key is in our pocket… They can defy us from Vicksburg… As valuable as New Orleans will be to us, Vicksburg will be more so.” Several other excursion options are available, including exploring museums and historic sites with local expert guides or on your own. Walk aboard an enormous Army Corps of Engineers towboat. Stroll along the charming series of murals painted along the adjacent floodwall and read panels detailing the Vicksburg stories they illustrate.
Day 4 - Natchez, MS
In Natchez, grand homes sparkle like jewels, adorning the bluffs that tower above the river. Since 1716, when the French first built a fort here among the Natchez Indians, the town has grown to boast elaborate mansions built by planters in the 1800s to flaunt their wealth.
With no Civil War fighting here, Natchez still features hundreds of antebellum homes and buildings. Each of these architectural treasures has its own story to tell, creating a charming downtown that embodies the essence of southern charm and hospitality. Explore on your own or enjoy an array of curated, guided explorations. Tour the elaborate townhomes, visit a working cotton farm to learn about the crop’s importance in history and today, and discover the historic Under-The-Hill Saloon. Drift through quaint shops, nibble on local delights, and enjoy the expansive views of the majestic river valley from the bluff-top park.
6St. Francisville, LA
As the bow-ramp from the ship opens and stretches to the shore, you will be welcomed into the historic cotton port of St. Francisville. Overlooking the river from atop a high, St. Francisville began as a part of Spanish West Florida in the early 1800s until American settlers overthrew the Spanish governing forces, and the region later became part of the United States. Experience this town’s rich history on your own or with a variety of guided excursions. As you explore, discover the Historic District which boasts magnificent mansions and unique boutique shops and admire cottonwood trees which transition to stately oaks adorned with Spanish moss.
7Baton Rouge, LA
Meaning “red stick,” Baton Rouge’s 1699 French name references an ancient geographical marker and reflects the city’s long history. As Louisiana’s state capital, the city still echoes with tales of the characters who lived here, most notably Governor and Senator Huey P. Long. Learn about his dramatic career at the magnificent 1852 Old State Capitol Museum and visit Long’s 1932 State Capitol building, an architectural marvel of granite and marble. Explore many of the well-known downtown neighborhoods, while embracing the rich art, architecture, and nature along the route. If you feel adventurous, take a narrated boat ride through a Louisiana swamp.
8Houmas House, LA
Step off your ship docked right at Houmas House and explore one of the most elaborately renovated of the grand homes along the river, once a private home and a thriving historical agricultural enterprise. Entertaining and knowledgeable guides will escort you through the magnificently restored home’s unmatched collection of stunning period furnishings and artwork. The ornately landscaped grounds include 38 acres of gardens, fountains, and majestic live oak trees. Later, experience the opulence and natural wonder of the Oak Alley estate with its breathtaking parallel row of 28 ancient and massive live oak trees. Here, you can savor a complimentary taste of one of the best mint juleps in the South.
9New Orleans, LA
New Orleans is worth some extra time. Enjoy a feast for your senses if you linger in this magical city, renowned for its delicious cuisine, vibrant music scene, and rich culture with an international flair. Stroll the tree-lined avenues, take a carriage ride through the French Quarter, hop aboard a streetcar to the gorgeous Garden District, or visit the renowned National World War II Museum. If departing the ship in New Orleans, enjoy available city excursions and motorcoach transfers to the airport. Or extend your stay to further explore the delights of the Big Easy.