Join us for a deep dive into U.S. history and culture aboard the 185-berth American Splendor, a riverboat built in 2016 in the classic paddle-wheeler style, on a voyage up the Mississippi River from New Orleans to Memphis. What makes this Mississippi River experience stand apart is the incredibly rich educational program, beginning with a keynote address in New Orleans by presidential historian and Pulitzer Prize-winning author, Doris Kearns Goodwin.
- Pricing from
- Trip Type
- Closer to Home, Individual Travel Tour
- Departure Dates
Mar 5, 2024 - Mar 13, 2024
American Splendor allows guests to experience the nostalgia of classic paddlewheeler travel while enjoying modern comfort and amenities. Recently renovated, American Splendor features serene color palettes, luxurious textiles and linens, new furniture and carpets, and updated artwork and ﬂourishes. From the staterooms and suites to the lounges and dining rooms, the new décor pays homage to the legendary Mississippi River. On board, guests can relax in a casual ambiance while admiring panoramic views of the passing scenery. Each spacious stateroom is outward-facing, allowing commanding views of the riverside landscape, and includes all of the amenities you expect from a ﬁne hotel. These staterooms also offer a sitting area, desk, and full-size bathrooms, and most feature ﬂoor-to-ceiling sliding glass doors with a private balcony. With only 180 guests, fellow travelers will quickly become new friends.
John Meffert, consultant on Heritage Conservation Services, has a long tradition with the National Trust. He has served as the Director for our Southern Office and was the director of the Preservation Society of Charleston, the oldest nonprofit organization in the United States, responsible for preserving the historic resources of Charleston, S.C. John has delighted many study tour groups with his lectures and insights on preservation, and receives rave reviews as study leader.
CANCELLATIONS & REFUNDS Upon payment of the $1,000 per person deposit, all reservations are subject to the cancellation provisions set forth below and by which the passenger agrees to be bound. Cancellations shall not be in effect until they are received in writing and conﬁrmed by the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Deposits are refundable (less a $250 per person administration fee) if written notice of cancellation is received within 30 days of reservation; after that, deposits are 100% nonrefundable. After ﬁnal payment deadline on November 6, 2023, all payments are 100% nonrefundable, regardless of booking date. Trip cancellation insurance is strongly recommended. NOTE: Neither the National Trust for Historic Preservation nor Criterion Travel, the tour operator, accepts liability for any airline cancellation penalties incurred with the purchase of non-refundable tickets.
New Orleans, Louisiana - Hotel Stay
Arrive in New Orleans and check into the historic Hotel Monteleone. The 1886 property is a member of the National Trust Historic Hotels of America and is also designated a Literary Landmark by the Friends of Libraries USA for its appearance as a setting in American ﬁction as well as being the haunt of real-life authors William Faulkner, Eudora Welty, and Truman Capote. This evening, meet fellow travelers at a festive welcome reception and dinner featuring a keynote address by Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Doris Kearns Goodwin.
New Orleans, Louisiana - Embark
After a morning lecture, spend the day exploring New Orleans, including the distinctive architecture of the famous French Quarter and the extravagantly styled and landscaped homes of the Garden District, plus the highly acclaimed National World War II Museum. Board the American Splendor in the afternoon to begin the journey up the mighty Mississippi River.
Oak Alley & Laura Plantations
Explore historic Oak Alley, a grand Greek Revival plantation home famous for its namesake double row of 18th-century canopy oak trees lining the approaching path. Nearby Laura Plantation, a restored Creole plantation, is a fascinating contrast to Oak Alley, offering further insight into the stories and culture of this area’s inhabitants and boasting 12 buildings on the National Historic Register, including slave quarters.
Arrive at Baton Rouge, a busy port town and Louisiana’s state capital. Take walking tours of the character-ﬁlled neighborhoods near the city center, marveling at the rich art and architecture along the route, including the Old State Capital and its unexpected stained glass. For those that feel adventurous, board a small boat for a guided tour through the ecologically rich Louisiana bayou for a chance to glimpse the local waterfowl and other Bayou creatures.
Spend the day in the once-thriving cotton port of St. Francisville to learn about the town’s rich legacy. Explore the magniﬁcent mansions and plantation homes of the Historic District, including the Rosedown Estate and Garden, one of the few privately maintained formal gardens of the 19th century; Myrtles Plantation, reputed to be one of the most haunted homes in America; and the Oakley Plantation, the home of John James Audubon.
Natchez suffered little destruction during the Civil War, and as a result is home to one of the largest concentrations of restored pre-Civil War properties in the United States. Visit three of these historic homes: Longwood, with a unique octagonal design; Rosalie, which served as Union headquarters during the Civil War; and Stanton Hall, constructed in 1851 and regarded as one of the most opulent mansions of its day. Also enjoy free time to explore central Natchez, including the option to have lunch ashore.
Vicksburg was one of the keys to victory in the Civil War. General Grant’s successful 47-day siege in the summer of 1863 brought control of the Mississippi River into Union hands. Visit the National Military Park, considered the best-preserved battleﬁeld in the United States; the ironclad gunboat Cairo; and the Lower Mississippi River Museum, with exhibits on ancient Vicksburg and an aquarium featuring local ﬁsh species. There will also be time to explore historic downtown Vicksburg independently.
Cruising the Mississippi
During a full day of cruising, relax on deck and enjoy the passing scenery and the varied river trafﬁc along with the continued lecture program.
Memphis, Tennessee - Disembark
Upon arrival in Memphis, disembark for a tour touching on the city’s diverse heritage including indigenous groups, cotton tycoons and enslaved people, Civil Rights icons, and musicians vital to the growth of the Blues and Rock ‘n’ Roll. After lunch on iconic Beale Street, transfer to the airport for afternoon ﬂights home.
Everything you need to know about the tour
Save this information for later by downloading the full tour brochure.
Be prepared with the National Trust Travel Plan
Since 1973, USI Affinity Travel Insurance Services has served travelers just like you, to help protect their travel plans