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What Is The Best Mississippi River Cruise

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Concluding Thoughts On River Cruises

2020’s Best Travel Pick – Mississippi River Cruise on the Riverboat Twilight

Bottom Line:River cruising is a great option for culture-hungry travelers. Pay attention to the travel package details to get the best value for your money.

River cruise lines make researching their adventures fun, with video tours and details to suit the needs of many different types of travelers. Our three river cruise lines, for example, have well over 100 river ships between them and offer destinations around the globe. Consumers who dive into this research and understand the details of the packages they consider will get the most out of the experience. It also helps to get input from friends, family and acquaintances who have taken part in a river cruise experience. Look for feedback on travel websites and customer review forums. Finally, working with a travel agent can help you understand your options, and get you started on the voyage thats right for you.

Best Time To Take A Usa River Cruise

Yes, the Mississippi River is prone to seasonal floods, too. Those beautiful, four-story wedding cake paddle wheelers just cant fit under the bridges. Bring on the motor coach tours, just like in Europe.; The best time of year to plan a river cruise on the Mississippi seems to be not too much different than in Europe.

Due to icing conditions, upper Mississippi River cruises end in November or December. Holiday cruises on the lower Mississippi River tend to be round-trip from New Orleans and not upstream to Memphis and beyond. Summers on the Mississippi are hot, humid and did I mention hot?

New Orleans Kayak Tours

Want a more intimate excursion on the water? Try kayaking!

Explore the swamps of New Orleans, or paddle down Bayou St. John neighborhood inside the city with the safety of a guide at a beginner level pace.

Ratings for this kayak tour company are very impressive. New Orleans Kayak Swamp Tours has received an overall score of 5 out of 5 stars on TripAdvisor.

Only a half dozen customers have seen fit to give them a negative review, and their comments dont represent the typical experience with this service.

An overwhelming majority of reviews for this service are incredibly positive, recommending this trip to anyone who wants to stay active while discovering the swamps of Louisiana. Although couples are the most likely audience to leave great reviews, guests who bring their friends along for the journey also enjoy these tours.

Tours Offered

This tour is popular for its serene setting and Instagram-worthy photo opportunities. Youll weave through cypress trees and experience wildlife on this wetlands kayaking trip.

Never Kayaked?

No problem! The extent of physical skill needed is the ability to paddle, and a lesson is provided at the beginning of the tour.

The company provides all of the necessary equipment for your trip, but since you will be on the water for 2 to 2 ½ hours, you will want to be sure to bring sunscreen, sunglasses, and maybe even a hat for shade on the water.



Tours last 2 to 2 ½ hours


Tours Offered

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Viking River Cruises Review

Great Destinations and Itineraries |

Getting its start in 1997, Viking River Cruises was among the first lines to set the standard for river cruising. The company has since built a strong reputation along with a large fleet of river-sailing longships, serving plenty of dates and destinations along the rivers of Europe, Russia, China, Egypt and Southeast Asia. The longships are made to be space-efficient and modern in design, accommodating 190 guests without feeling cramped.

Viking Longboat

Viking River Cruises start off at around $1,800 for 2019 and serve so many destinations throughout the year that new river cruise customers favor this company. If you are looking for an excursion with cultural and historical experiences, Viking has a proprietary Culture Curriculum featuring showcases for musicians and dancers, lectures and intellectual talks, or cooking lessons in the cuisine of the region, and other added onboard enrichment sessions. Onshore walking tours, lectures and experiences are also offered, although may come with an additional fee.

Viking River Cruises rate a 4.8 on a five-star scale. We found some complaints about spotty Wi-Fi access, small rooms and the crew being very busy. However, the overall opinion is that Viking offers quality excursions and the staff is very accommodating.

Lower Middle & Upper Mississippi River Cruises

Top 10 River Cruise Destinations

One of the most popular rivers to cruise in the United States is the Mississippi River. Lower, middle, and upper Mississippi River cruises are a great option for first-time cruisers as well as regular cruisers. The culture of the ports along the banks of the Mississippi is as diverse as the scenery. For travelers who are looking for a luxury river cruise experience without the time or investment in a transcontinental flight, a sail down the Mississippi River may be a great option.

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More Fun Along The Mississippi River

After getting an appreciation from the water aboard your Mississippi River Cruise, take the adventure to land and enjoy some time at Mississippi Palisades State Park, where youll enjoy different views of the river. Mississippi Palisades State Park is located at the confluence of the Apple and Mississippi Rivers and is a well-preserved section of the Mississippi Palisades. These towering bluffs offer plentiful hiking opportunities and many scenic vistas over this historic river.

Mississippi Palisades State Park is a wonderful place to explore throughout the summer, but the views get even more exceptional in the fall, as the foliage turns from green to the vibrant hues of fall. In addition to just beautiful scenery, Mississippi Palisades State Park is a wonderful place to enjoy a bit of birdwatching and wildlife viewing.; The park is home to a variety of waterfowl and shorebirds, especially during peak migration season in the spring and fall, as well as white-tailed deer, mink, gray and red fox, woodchuck, and, occasionally, badgers. The park doesnt disappoint in the winter, either, as eagles flock to these towering cliffs in January and February to hunt their prey.

All of this, and so much more, is waiting for you at our #1-rated Galena Bed and Breakfast. Are you ready for your adventure? Book your room at our Galena Bed and Breakfast today!

Frequently Asked Questions About River Cruises

What is river cruising?

Its a form of leisure boat travel along inland waterways most popularly along the worlds major rivers, including the Mississippi, Danube, Rhine, Volga and Yangtze. River cruise boats are smaller than ocean liners to maneuver smaller waterways and can carry up to 250 guests. This reduced capacity makes the whole experience of river cruising more intimate than typical ocean cruising.

Are river ships different from other cruise ships?

River ships are much smaller in size compared to giant ocean liners, so they cater to fewer guests. It is easier to get to know some of the other travelers on a river ship. Also, because rivers are shallow, river cruises tend to be smoother sailing than ocean liners.

How long does a typical river cruise last?

River cruises are typically just over a week in length and include several port stops during each passage. Instead of spending many days at sea, you will spend less time sailing on a river cruise and can expect to awaken each day in a new port.

What are some amenities found on river cruises?

Ocean liners often sail with amenities such as pools, fitness centers, casinos, entertainment venues and so on. River ships tend to have fewer onboard amenities and instead offer educational, cultural or culinary experiences to keep things lively on board.

What can I expect a river cruise to include?

Whats the best season for a river cruise?

What should I pack for a river cruise?

What type of person enjoys a river cruise?

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Best Mississippi River Cruises

Stretching out along more than 2,300 miles in length from Lake Itasca in Minnesota all the way down to its delta in the Gulf of Mexico, the Mississippi River is the longest river in the United States and one of the best-known and most iconic rivers in the world. It almost splits the entire United States in two, being a natural boundary and border for many states, regions, and cities, and passes through all sorts of stunning landscapes along the way. CDC information for travelers. Hours/availability may have changed.

The Best Mississippi River Cruises 2018

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February 28, 2018 By Ralph Grizzle

Looking for the best Mississippi River Cruises 2018? You wont need to narrow the contenders too much. Only two companies operate on the Mississippi. Pictured here, the venerable American Queen. Photo courtesy of the American Queen Steamboat Company

Where can you find the best Mississippi River Cruises;2018? Well, you wont need to whittle down the contenders too much. Thats because only two river cruise companies operate on the Mississippi River, American Cruise Lines and American Queen Steamboat Company.Which company offers the best Mississippi River Cruises 2018? The answer depends on whats important to you. If youre only concern is price, then American Queen Steamboat Company will win with its lead-in rates as low as $1,999 per person. If spacious staterooms are your thing, then youll be hard-pressed to choose between American Queen and American Cruise Lines. Dont know about either company? Heres help.

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Highlights Of The Mississippi River

New Orleans, LA to New Orleans, LA

  • Pre-CruisePackage and Complimentary Hotel Stay
  • Day 1New Orleans, LA
  • Day 2Houmas House, LA
  • Day 3Baton Rouge, LA
  • Day 4Oak Alley, LA
  • Day 5New Orleans, LA

Pittsburgh, PA to St. Louis, MO

  • Pre-CruisePackages and Complimentary Hotel Stays
  • Day 1Pittsburgh, PA
  • Day 9Cape Girardeau, MO
  • Day 10St. Louis, MO
  • Day 11St. Louis, MO

St. Paul, MN to New Orleans, LA

  • Pre-CruisePre-Cruise Hotel Stay
  • Day 1St. Paul, MN
  • Day 2Red Wing, MN
  • Day 3Winona, MN
  • Day 6Fort Madison, IA
  • Day 7Hannibal, MO
  • Day 8St. Louis, MO
  • Day 9Day of River Cruising
  • Day 10Memphis, TN
  • Day 11Day of River Cruising
  • Day 12Vicksburg, MS
  • Day 14Baton Rouge, LA
  • Day 15New Orleans, LA

Memphis, TN to Nashville, TN

  • Pre-CruisePackages and Complimentary Hotel Stays
  • Day 1Memphis, TN
  • Day 2Cruising the Mississippi and Ohio River
  • Day 3Paducah, KY
  • Day 4Cruising Lake Barkley and the Cumberland River
  • Day 5Dover, TN

New Orleans, LA to St. Louis, MO

  • Pre-CruisePre-Cruise Hotel Stay
  • Day 1New Orleans, LA
  • Day 2Baton Rouge, LA
  • Day 3Natchez, MS
  • Day 5Day of River Cruising
  • Day 6Memphis, TN
  • Day 7New Madrid, MO
  • Day 8Paducah, KY
  • Day 9Day of River Cruising
  • Day 10St. Louis, MO
  • Day 11St. Louis, MO

Shipboard Shows Dining Excursions: What To Expect

To ensure social distancing, the open seating for dinner was scrapped.;Instead, there were two seatings so there was plenty of space between guests.;We were assigned to the same table each night better for contact tracing.

There also were;two shows in the evenings to keep the size of the crowds down.;At the end of each performance in the show lounge, we were asked to quickly depart so that the theater could be fogged with an antiviral mist before the next performance.

There was no self-service, whether it be at breakfast or lunch buffets or the Duchess popular Perks;room, where there is coffee, juice, ice cream, popcorn and fresh-baked cookies.;There were plenty of ways to indulge ones sweet tooth you just had to wait for someone to serve you.

As far as shore excursions, American Queen Steamboat Company has temporarily halted its hop-on, hop-off buses that allowed;passengers to explore port towns on their own.;As a replacement, we were taken on more conventional bus tours with a guide so that our groups could be more insulated.

Bierdz said;COVID-19 protocols are constantly changing on the companys boats, so its best to check with the cruise line before departure to see what rules are currently in place when you sail.

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Cruises On The Mississippi River

Mississippi River cruise itineraries are usually separated into the Upper and Lower part of the river. The Upper Mississippi is generally considered to be between St. Louis, Missouri;and St. Paul, Minnesota; and the Lower Mississippi is between Memphis, Tennessee;and New Orleans, Louisiana. Cruises are sometimes combined with other waterways, such as the Ohio River and the Tennessee River.

Since the weather tends to be warmer in the southeastern United States, travel on the Lower Mississippi is available during most of the year; while cruises on the Upper Mississippi are more seasonal and usually only available between June and October.

American Queen Steamboat Company is offering some quick, easy voyages from New Orleans aboard American Duchess to ring in this year and next. Photo courtesy of American Queen Steamboat Company

Mississippi River Cruising Perfected

New Mississippi River cruises on tap for fall

Cruise the legendary Mississippi River aboard the newest riverboats in the region and enjoy perfect comfort and modern amenities as you travel to each historical destination. The fabric of the region is brought to life through our delicious regional cuisine, live onboard music, and customized excursions. Choose from nine amazing Mississippi River itineraries including the Lower Mississippi River Cruise traveling from festive New Orleans to soulful Memphis, the Upper Mississippi River Cruise which explores from fascinating St. Louis to welcoming St. Paul, MN, or the Complete Mississippi River Cruise which traverses the entire length of this amazing and historic river.

New Orleans, LA to New Orleans, LA

  • Pre-CruisePackage and Complimentary Hotel Stay
  • Day 1New Orleans, LA
  • Day 2Oak Alley, LA
  • Day 3Natchez, MS
  • Day 5St. Francisville, LA
  • Day 6Baton Rouge, LA
  • Day 7Houmas House, LA
  • Day 8New Orleans, LA

Memphis, TN to New Orleans, LA

  • Pre-CruisePackages and Complimentary Hotel Stays
  • Day 1Memphis, TN
  • Day 2Day of River Cruising
  • Day 3Vicksburg, MS
  • Day 5St. Francisville, LA
  • Day 6Baton Rouge, LA
  • Day 7Oak Alley, LA
  • Day 8New Orleans, LA

St. Louis, MO to St. Paul, MN

  • Pre-CruisePackages and Complimentary Hotel Stays
  • Day 1St. Louis, MO
  • Day 2Hannibal, MO
  • Day 3Fort Madison, IA
  • Day 4Davenport, IA
  • Day 7Red Wing, MN
  • Day 8St. Paul, MN

New Orleans, LA to St. Paul, MN

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Your Lower Mississippi Itinerary

Youll enjoy between six and 22 days of fabulous food, music, camaraderie, and relaxation. Sit on the deck of one of our gorgeous paddle wheelers. This fantastic mode of travel slows life down and allows you to soak up every ounce of beauty along this iconic body of water.

Consider just one of our fabulous Mississippi cruises: the New Orleans to Memphis, 8-day voyage.

If you arrive in New Orleans a few days before the cruise launches, you have the opportunity to fully explore and experience the wealth of cultural amenities that abound in the Big Easy, including:

THE GARDEN DISTRICT: A fabulous and historic neighborhood, filled with oak-lined boulevards, grand mansions, and, of course, lush gardens. Its also the location of the famed Lafayette Cemetery, which is the final resting place of several historical figures, including John Howard Ferguson, who was the defendant in the Supreme Courts Plessy v. Ferguson decision that established the separate but equal doctrine that was later overturned in the 1950s.

THRE FRENCH QUARTER: No trip to New Orleans is complete without at least a walk-through of the famous district. Here youll find Bourbon Street the beating heart of Mardis Gras and Jackson Square, where ceremonies marking the transfer of the Louisiana Purchase territory from France to the United States took place in 1803.

Authentic American Riverboat Cruises On The Mississippi River

Take a Paddlewheeler a few miles up and down the greatest river in the U.S.A., The Mighty Mississippi. This is a great way to see and learn a bit of Mississippi River history while visiting Memphis, Tennessee. The most popular cruise is the 90-minute sightseeing cruise, which takes visitors a step back into Tennessee history. Historical commentary gives a comprehensive and interesting narrative of past and presents Mississippi River life. Snacks and drinks are available onboard, as well are restrooms.

We also offer seasonal Dinner & Music Cruises. Included is the most excellent house band playing a little of everything from R&B to Jazz, and of course the Blues. Special cruises are also offered such as a romantic Valentines Day cruise, a beautiful sunset cruise on the Saturday before Memorial Day, an exciting fireworks cruise on the 4th of July and more. Rates for our special Memphis cruises vary by event. All events are listed under the All Cruises tab.

Find more things to do and see in KAYAK Memphis Travel Guide

Memphis Riverboats

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Evening Jazz Cruises With Optional Dinner

Below is a brief comparison of the two paddlewheel boats that cruise the Mississippi River every evening.;

For a more in-depth look, including whats on the menu, read our post on NOLA dinner cruises.;

Steamboat Natchez Mississippi River Jazz Cruise

Unlike their harbor cruise, this boat trip will take you down the Mississippi River.

;Ratings for this excursion are similarly excellent, but its worth noting that not everyone was thrilled with the food selection .;

What Youll Experience

Cancel up to 24 hours in advance for a full refund.

American Queen Steamboat Company

Mississippi River Boat Cruise 2017

For a highly unique experience along the Mississippi River, try the ‘5 Night New Years Celebration’ cruise from American Queen Steamboat Company. As the name of this cruise indicates, you’ll be on board the cruise ship as the New Year celebrations kick off, so you’ll be able to say you got to welcome in the brand new year in a truly special way. This is a wonderful occasion to share with your friends or a special someone in your life, and prices start as low as $1,500 for a simple interior room.

For this cruise, as with many other cruises along the Mississippi River, you’ll be sailing on the American Queen. The biggest river steamboat ever constructed, the American Queen was created back in 1995 and has a traditional style, harkening back to the days of the Mississippi riverboats. The ship features its own fitness center, spa, Grand Saloon, Main Deck Lounge entertainment area, Mark Twain Gallery library, and so much more. It’s been described as one of the best cruise vessels ever crafted and is the only way to experience an authentic Mississippi River cruise. #

This cruise sets off from New Orleans and actually never leaves the state of Louisiana, cruising along the Mississippi in the days leading up to New Year’s Day and stopping off at Nottoway and Baton Rouge over the course of its 5-day journey, giving you some awesome opportunities to celebrate the New Year in style.

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