Good Times Travel
17132 Magnolia St., Fountain Valley, CA 92708
All-Inclusive Mississippi River Cruise Aboard American Queen Voyages' American Queen
Follow the currents of the Mississippi Delta that have inspired storytellers and creators for centuries, where strains of Memphis blues and New Orleans jazz fill the air and the flavors of Southern cooking comfort the soul. Visit the hallowed grounds of Civil War battlefields in Vicksburg and the South’s largest existing historic mansion during an exclusive call to Nottoway. A new chapter awaits as you cruise around each river bend on this 9 day, 8 port cruise that will introduce you to the American South and show you all the great sights and port cities as you cruise the legendary Mississippi River between New Orleans to Memphis.
Enjoy your complimentary stay at the pre-cruise hotel. The evening is yours to become acquainted with the city. For your convenience, the American Queen Voyages Hospitality Desk will be located in the hotel, and their friendly staff can assist with everything from general questions about your upcoming voyage to reserving premium experiences. Representatives from American Queen Voyages and a local port/city partner will be available to provide you with dining, entertainment and sightseeing options to maximize your time here.
Indigenous people inhabited the rich lands between the Mississippi and Lake Pontchartrain for the same reasons that would later attract Europeans: ecological resources and a network of navigable rivers, bayous, and bays. La Nouvelle-Orleans was founded by Jean Baptiste Le Moyne de Bienville in 1718 upon the slightly elevated banks of the Mississippi approximately 95 miles above its mouth. Engineers laid out a grid of streets with a Place d’Armes (Jackson Square) that would become known as the Vieux Carré (Old Square), or today’s French Quarter. New Orleans’s Creole, Cajun and other diverse residents blended to develop art, cuisine, music, and general culture unlike any other in the United States. Whether you have a few days here or just a few hours, uncover the treasures of the city as you explore the unique sites and attractions lining the historic streets as seen in the famous French Quarter or admire the architecture of the stunning Garden District.
American Queen Voyages features an exclusive port at Nottoway, located in White Castle, LA, on the south bank of the Mississippi River, part of the Baton Rouge metropolitan area. Here you can visit the estate of sugarcane magnate Randolph Nottoway – the largest standing pre-war mansion in the South (53,000 sq ft) – an intricate building with impressive detail. Original furnishings mingle with era-appropriate antiques to create an atmosphere that does justice to the home’s original ambiance. It is fascinating history and a luxurious aesthetic – an authentic Southern experience you will not want to pass up. The surrounding town of White Castle was established as a town in the 1880s with the influx of people and business brought by the logging industry in the cypress swamps of the area. When the cypress wood was depleted, the main economic activity reverted to the sugar cane industry which had been established in the latter part of the 18th century. Individual plantation sugar mills gave way to larger mills servicing many plantations. By 1970, White Castle had three major sugar mills, Cora Texas, Cedar Grove, and Catherine/Supples. Only one, Cora Texas, is still in operation. During the 1950s, the chemical industry entered the area, congregating around the Mississippi between Baton Rouge and New Orleans. This industry brought economic growth which took White Castle into the 1980s. Companies establishing chemical plants in the area near White Castle were Dow Chemical north of Plaquemine, Georgia-Gulf and Hercules north of White Castle, and Ciba-Geigy on the east bank of the Mississippi.
St. Francisville today is a testament to the lifestyle of a bygone era, with its cache of charming pre-war homes and striking architecture. With over 140 buildings on the National Register of Historic Places, sprawling estates nestled in the countryside and bustling Main Street shops, this quaint port situated on the Mississippi has a style all its own. This oldest town in the Florida Parishes, St. Francisville has been called the town two miles long and two yards wide; it lies on a loessal ridge created by the dust storms of the Glacier Period. Swept in from the western plains, this soil formed vertical cliffs sometimes 90-feet high which rested on the sand and clay bottom of an ancient sea. These formations occur only in a narrow strip of land extending from Baton Rouge into Tennessee; the ridges are the actual foothills of the Appalachians. This bluff attracted Spanish Capuchins in need of a highland burial ground. They received a land grant from their king and built a wooden monastery between 1773 and 1785. The settlement which straggled up around the cemetery and monastery took its name from the order’s gentle patron. By 1785 the number of land grants taken up by settlers prompted the Spanish leaders to create the district comprising the instep of the boot that is Louisiana today. St. Francisville has survived and reflects the growth and character of the surrounding countryside. A stroll through its historic center awakens a sense of place and an awareness of two centuries of architecture and lifestyles.
Natchez is known for its elegance, hospitality, and impressive preservation of historic homes – found on every street corner. It seems as if history fell asleep and awoke unscathed by the changing of times in this magical port. Natchez is home to over 1,000 buildings listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Most of the homes survived the American Civil War and their history flows in abundance along the Mississippi. Natchez has a long and fascinating history, dating back to 1716, making her the oldest continuous settlement on the Mississippi. Even before Natchez was settled by Europeans, the area was home to the Natchez Indians, noted for being the only Mississippian culture with complex chiefdom characteristics to have survived long into the period after the European colonization of America began. The Natchez District, along with the Sea Islands of South Carolina and Georgia, pioneered cotton agriculture in the United States. The city recovered from its post-war decline to become one of the state’s leading industrial centers. Today the production of wood pulp, lumber, petroleum, and natural gas form the basis of the economy; tourism – including casino gambling – and the manufacture of tires are also important. Shops and restaurants now occupy the site of Natchez Under-the-Hill, a 19th-century town of bordellos and taverns that was a haven for outlaws and boatmen. During your visit, explore the unique shops, restaurants, museums, and historic homes, all of which inspired Hugh Bayless to include Natchez in his book “The 100 Best Towns in America.”
Vicksburg perfectly blends Southern culture and heritage with exciting modern attractions. As a major battle site during the Civil War, this port carries a history unlike any other. Learn about the historic conflicts of the city, taste its cuisine, visit the many museums, and pick out the perfect souvenir. Vicksburg’s best-known contribution to history is probably the part she played in the American Civil War. It is the final resting place for 17,000 Union soldiers, 13,000 of whom are unknown. In 1899, the Vicksburg National Military Park was created to commemorate and preserve the infamous siege line and the historic heritage. Visitors can climb the 47 steps to the entrance of the marble Illinois Monument, featuring a domed roof, pillars, and sculpted bronze bald eagle. Also at the park is the USS Cairo Gunboat and Museum – a historic warship that was torpedoed and later raised after spending over 100 years at the bottom of the Yazoo River. Today, visitors can climb aboard to see some original weapons and gear used by the soldiers. Other attractions of note include the Lower Mississippi River Museum and Vicksburg Riverfront Murals. Painted on Mississippi River floodwalls, these impressive murals begun in 2002 capture the past, present, and future of Vicksburg and its defining roles in history, culture, and religion. Visit the Lower Mississippi River Museum to find out how Vicksburg ancestors lived along the river during the 19th and 20th centuries, including interactive exhibits. The museum also offers an aquarium featuring local fish species.
Greenville is a wellspring of music, literature, adventure, imagination, and history. Fertile alluvial soil, moderate annual climate, the blues, and some of the friendliest folk in the South are just some of the attributes of Greenville, Mississippi, the queen of the delta. This city has inspired greatness from Native Americans to cotton barons, Pulitzer-Prize winners, Civil Rights leaders, musicians, poets, and inventors. You can read more about the native authors and their history at the Greenville Writer’s Exhibit at the William Alexander Percy Library. Other attractions include the Winterville Mounds, Greenville History, Old Fire Department, Highway 61 Blues, Jim Henson-Kermit the Frog, Hebrew Union’s Century of History, Greenville Air Force Base, and Flood of 1927 museums – not to mention the country’s oldest fully restored and operational Armitage-Herschell Carousel housed in the E. E. Bass Cultural Center. If it is wildlife and outdoor recreation you are looking for, lakes abound throughout Washington County. On Lake Ferguson one can sail, swim, ski, or fish. The bass fishing here has been called the best in the country. Hodding Carter wrote in 1960, “The sense of obligation to community and fellow citizen was strong and deep when I first came to Greenville – and long before. It has not significantly lessened.” These words still characterize the present leadership, who is committed to do whatever is necessary to continue to make Greenville a progressive force of industry and commerce while at the same time, making sure the town is a wonderful place to live and thrive.
Watch small river towns and lush landscapes slowly become lost in the horizon as sunlight plays upon the deck. Take hold of a literary classic, curl up on a plush chair in a cozy corner and relish in the moment of tranquility. Experience the fulfillment that river cruising offers.
As your American Queen Voyages journey concludes, there are other opportunities for you to take in the town – whether it's an optional premier post-cruise experience or a quick transfer to the airport for your final trip home – the American Queen Voyages team can pre-arrange everything for you.
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