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Explore America’s Most Iconic Waterways With the 5 Best U.S. River Cruises

Discover natural and cultural treasures close to home.

3 day riverboat cruises

You don't need to fly to Europe for a river cruise, with new ships and routes creating even more options right here in the United States. Some of the most scenic itineraries traverse the Mississippi, Hudson, Columbia, and Snake rivers, showcasing natural, cultural, and historical attractions along the way. Passengers can visit wineries in Washington, taste Creole cuisine in New Orleans, or learn about the Siege of Vicksburg right where it happened.

On these voyages, you'll sail with anywhere from 100 to 400 other guests aboard either modern riverboats or classic paddle wheelers that hearken back to a different time. Like their European counterparts, river cruises in the U.S. typically package everything at a single price, including staterooms, meals, guest lectures and enrichment programs, entertainment, and most shore excursions. Some even include pre-cruise hotel stays.

Here are five river cruises that will show you the U.S. in a whole new light.

American Cruise Lines’ Music Cities Cruise from Memphis to Nashville

It's hard to choose from American Cruise Lines' 35 itineraries. For arts and culture lovers, the eight-day Music Cities Cruise along the Mississippi, Ohio, and Cumberland rivers presents an opportunity to visit several charming cities and towns in the South. The itinerary is offered on four different 180-passenger ships, including the American Serenade and the classic American Splendor paddle wheeler.

Taylor McIntyre/Travel + Leisure

The voyage begins in Memphis, where passengers can visit the Stax Museum of American Soul Music, take in a show at one of the nightclubs along legendary Beale Street, or tour Elvis Presley's mansion, Graceland. After a day of cruising, the ship stops at Paducah, Kentucky, where you can admire the more than 50 murals on the floodwall along Water Street before exploring the National Quilt Museum. The next day, the ship travels through the Barkley Lock and past the stunning coves and limestone bluffs of the Cumberland River's Lake Barkley– a view best enjoyed from the balcony of your stateroom. In Dover, Tennessee, guests visit historic Fort Donelson National Park and learn about the garrison's role during the Civil War. The next day, passengers can tour the Customs House Museum & Cultural Center and Fort Defiance in Clarksville, Tennessee, and cap off the experience with a whiskey tasting at Old Glory Distilling Co. The voyage ends in Nashville, where you can stroll along historic Lower Broadway, visit museums dedicated to Johnny Cash and Patsy Cline, and take in a Grand Ole Opry show. 

American Queen Voyages' Upper Mississippi Cruise from St. Louis to Minneapolis

History buffs will love this nine-day cruise along the Upper Mississippi and Illinois rivers aboard American Queen Voyages' 245-passenger American Countess paddle wheeler. The itinerary offers guests a chance to explore the idyllic river towns that inspired the Father of American Literature.

After departing St. Louis, the cruise arrives in Alton, Illinois, where guests can play golf on championship courses, explore the National Great Rivers Museum , or just stroll around the town's historic districts. Day three brings passengers further upriver to Mark Twain's hometown of Hannibal, Missouri, from which the author drew inspiration for several of his novels. On day four, the ship stops at Bettendorf, Iowa, for a hop-on hop-off tour of museums, artist studios, the German American Heritage Center , and the Quad City Botanical Center . In Dubuque, Iowa, guests can take a ride on the Fenelon Place Elevator, billed as "the world's steepest, shortest scenic railway". Day nine, finds the the ship at La Crosse, Wisconsin, famous for its rugged terrain and breathtaking vistas. The final port is Red Wing, Minnesota, home to beautifully preserved artisan workshops, factories, and pioneer-era architecture. After disembarking, passengers can explore nearby Minneapolis before going home.

American Cruise Lines’ Hudson River Fall Foliage Cruise

This eight-day fall foliage-themed cruise takes leaf peeping to a new level. The round-trip voyage out of New York City takes nature lovers through the heart of the Hudson Valley  –  swathed every fall in a blanket of bright orange, red, and yellow. Whether you sail on the classic 48-stateroom American Star or the 100-passenger American Eagle , you'll enjoy a stunning display of colors from the comfort of your balcony. On shore, you’ll have the opportunity to hike to the highest waterfall in the Empire State , walk across the longest pedestrian bridge in the world , and visit the homes of Franklin D. Roosevelt in Hyde Park and author Washington Irving in Sleepy Hollow.

Viking Cruises’ New Orleans & Southern Charms Lower Mississippi Cruise

This eight-day round-trip cruise takes in historic estates, military sites, and comunities bursting with Cajun and Creole culture. After departing New Orleans, the Viking Mississippi stops in the Louisiana towns of Darrow and St. Francisville, which boast Greek Revival mansions, Spanish moss-draped avenues, and even a haunted house . Day four brings travelers to the oldest city on the river, Natchez, Mississippi, home to a rich African American heritage . The next day, guests can learn about one of the most consequential battles of the Civil War at Vicksburg National Military Park before setting sail for the vibrant capital city of Baton Rouge, Louisiana. The ship then returns to New Orleans, where guests can stay longer or catch a flight home.

Courtesy of Viking

UnCruise Adventures’ Rivers of Adventure & Wine Columbia and Snake River Cruise

Spotting wildlife and sipping wine go hand-in-hand on this UnCruise Adventures expedition around the Pacific Northwest. The seven-night round-trip journey from Portland isn't your typical leisure cruise. Instead, passengers get to go on rainforest hikes, rafting adventures, winery visits, and scenic kayaking excursions through dramatic canyons.

After the champagne departure from Portland and a stop at Astoria, Oregon, the ship passes through the Columbia River Gorge. Passengers can disembark for a guided hike, then return for a wine tasting with the ship's sommelier. The gourmand adventures continue with an excursion to Walla Walla, Washington, which includes visits to olive oil makers, chocolatiers, and family-owned wine cellars. Day five begins at the mouth of the Palouse River, where guests can kayak or paddleboard. The next day, passengers can visit Columbia Hills State Park and Rowena Plateau on foot or by skiff boat while enjoying river dips, farm-to-fork delights, and a wine tour and tasting. Guests then disembark at The Dalles, Oregon, for whitewater rafting or a relaxing winery tour. The adventure ends with a farewell dinner back at Portland.

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The 7 best mississippi river cruises for 2024.

Explore the history, culture and cuisine of the U.S. while cruising along the Mighty Mississippi.

The Best Mississippi River Cruises

American Cruise Lines' Serenade ship in Chattanooga.

Courtesy of American Cruise Lines

The more than 2,300-mile Mississippi River invites travelers to discover its multifaceted heritage, with a vast range of deeply rooted culture, music and history. A cruise is a fantastic way to discover many of the riverfront cities on a single trip, from the comfort of your modern riverboat or traditional paddle-wheeler.

The following Mississippi River cruise itineraries can help you choose from cruises of various lengths and options for the Lower and Upper Mississippi. Note that all fares are listed as double occupancy (based on two people per cabin), and that they might not reflect taxes, port fees or gratuities. The itinerary availability listed is also subject to change.

American Cruise Lines

The River Lounge, including plush chairs, coffee tables and a piano in the back.

Courtesy of American Cruise Lines | www.AmericanCruiseLines.com

American Cruise Lines operates small ships accommodating between 90 and 180 passengers that are built, flagged and crewed in the U.S. – and it's the only company in the world operating a 100% U.S.-flagged fleet of riverboats and cruise ships. ACL's itineraries traverse waterways across 35 states, with 11 itineraries dedicated to the Mississippi River. Cruisers can choose to sail on modern riverboats with a sleek interior design or while away their time aboard classic paddle-wheelers reminiscent of days gone by.

ACL offers variety as well as versatility: This line boasts both the longest and shortest sailings on this list with cruises ranging from eight to 60 days in length, including The Great United States. This inaugural 60-day voyage spans four major rivers and 20 states, making it the longest U.S. river cruise in history.

Complimentary hotel and transportation packages are available from every departure city before your cruise. You can book certain premium packages for added perks, such as two nights spent next door to Graceland in Memphis – with VIP tickets and a city tour included in the price.

Music Cities Cruise

Length: Eight days Price: Starts at $3,610 per person

Spend a week getting lost in the sounds of the Memphis blues, rock 'n' roll and country music legends on the seven-night Music Cities Cruise. A hotel stay the night before your sailing is included, but embarking in Memphis means you also have the chance to splurge on a two-night pre-cruise package near Elvis' former home Graceland .

Ports of call include Paducah, Kentucky; Dover, Tennessee; and Clarksville, Tennessee, with an overnight in Nashville and an included excursion to a show at the Grand Ole Opry. Two scenic sailing days feature picturesque views of America's Heartland along the Mississippi, Ohio and Cumberland rivers as well as Lake Barkley.

2024 dates: In 2024, there are two available itineraries in September and November.

Grand Heartland Cruise: St. Paul to New Orleans

Length: 15 days Price: Starts at $9,455 per person

This 15-day voyage allows you to explore America's rich history in towns along the Upper and Lower Mississippi River. The immersive voyage covers six states and 12 cities including St. Paul, Minnesota ; Dubuque, Iowa; St. Louis, Missouri ; Memphis, Tennessee; Natchez, Mississippi; Baton Rouge, Louisiana ; and more.

Take a step back in time while visiting Mark Twain's boyhood home in Hannibal, exploring stately historic estates in Natchez and Civil War sites in Vicksburg. At the end of a busy day ashore, you'll have plenty to chat about with fellow passengers during the evening cocktail hour.

2024 dates: American Heritage – ACL's traditional paddle-wheeler – and three modern riverboats set off on this journey from August to October in 2024.

Complete Mississippi River Cruise: New Orleans to St. Paul

Length: 22 days Price: Starts at $14,935 per person

If you want to see the entire Mississippi in one shot, check out this multiweek sailing that begins in New Orleans and ends in St. Paul, Minnesota. Along the way, you'll sail 1,393 miles, visit 10 states and experience a staggering 20 ports of call as you tour Louisiana and then head northbound to Minnesota.

In the South, walk the battlefields of the Civil War and sample delicious Southern barbecue before listening to the rhythms of jazz, the blues and rock 'n' roll. Then, explore the small and larger cities along the upper parts of the river. Remember to take time to gaze out at the picturesque scenery and the rolling farmlands of America's Midwest before disembarking in St. Paul.

2024 dates: Three of ACL's modern riverboats sail this itinerary in May, June and August in 2024.

The Great United States

Length: 60 days Price: Starts at $51,000

This two-month long journey – the longest domestic itinerary ever created – will check all the boxes for U.S. history and Civil War buffs, music and nature lovers, culinary enthusiasts, and beer and distilled spirits aficionados alike as the ship traverses America's iconic waterways through 20 states and 50 ports of call.

This epic journey showcases the natural beauty and living history of the U.S. from sea to shining sea. The sailing embarks in Portland, Oregon , on the Pacific Coast before traveling east to the Atlantic shore along four major rivers that highlight some of the country's most stunning coastlines. Upon arrival in New York Harbor, guests will have an unforgettable view of one of the most iconic landmarks in the U.S.: the Statue of Liberty .

Passengers can follow in the footsteps of Lewis and Clark along the Snake and Columbia rivers; cruise along Ol' Man River in search of Mark Twain and Elvis; see the vibrant colors of fall during peak season on the Hudson River; and take in the coastal breezes (and fresh seafood) along New England's rocky coastline.

This curated adventure also includes two flights: Jackson, Wyoming , to New Orleans as well as St. Paul to Portland, Maine , plus a land package through Glacier , Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks. All-inclusive pricing covers the pre-cruise hotel stay, all flights and hotels between cruise segments, an ACL jacket and gear pack, daily excursions, all meals and beverages, gratuities and port charges, entertainment, and Wi-Fi.

2024 dates: The inaugural cruise sets sail on August 16, 2024.

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Viking River Cruises

Viking cruise ship under a bridge on the Mississippi River.

Courtesy of Viking

Viking is no stranger to sailing Europe's rivers; the brand is synonymous with river cruising worldwide aboard its dozens of ships. However, Viking River Cruises is a newcomer to U.S. rivers, with its purpose-built ship: the 386-passenger Viking Mississippi. Looking to carve out its own niche in the American river cruising category, Viking claims it has the region's "first truly modern cruise ship" with its distinct Scandinavian design and expansive top sun deck with an infinity plunge pool.

Viking's mostly all-inclusive fares include a complimentary excursion in each port, destination lectures and performances, beer and wine at meals, free Wi-Fi, specialty coffees and teas, and more. The line offers five itineraries ranging in length from eight to 22 days along the Mighty Mississippi. Pre- and post-cruise extensions can be added to all voyages for an additional expense.

New Orleans & Southern Charms: Round-trip from New Orleans

Length: Eight days Price: Starts at $3,999 per person

If you don't know which Viking Mississippi itinerary to choose, start here. A round-trip voyage from New Orleans is convenient for booking flights and offers an excellent opportunity to extend your stay in NOLA. Six guided tours are included across eight days, from the historic estates of Natchez to Vicksburg National Military Park. A stop in St. Francisville gives you the chance to marvel at some of the 140-plus buildings it has on the National Register of Historic Places.

If you extend your stay in New Orleans, plan to sample the local Creole cuisine and take in some of the city's nightly jazz entertainment. In the morning, grab a beignet and a steaming cup of chicory coffee au lait at the original Café du Monde in the French Market.

2024 dates: This itinerary is available on select dates in February, November and December.

Heart of the Delta: New Orleans to Memphis

Length: Nine days Price: Starts at $4,299 per person

Similar to its round-trip New Orleans Southern Charms itinerary, the Heart of the Delta cruise begins in New Orleans and calls on the same five ports, before sailing through the Lower Mississippi and disembarking in Memphis. Enjoy scenic views of the serpentine river route – perhaps with expert commentary or a local cooking demonstration – and then take time to explore the birthplace of the Memphis blues, which is also a center of civil rights history.

2024 dates: In 2024, this cruise is available in February, March, April, May, June and November.

America's Great River: St. Paul to New Orleans

Length: 15 days Price: Starts at $12,999 per person

This Viking voyage sails from St. Paul to New Orleans on a two-week trip that calls on 13 ports with one day of scenic sailing. This itinerary combines the best of Viking's other Mississippi sailings for an all-encompassing Midwestern and Southern experience with 12 guided tours.

Included in the fare is a tour of Graceland; a stroll through small-town Burlington, Iowa, to see Snake Alley, deemed the most crooked street in the world; and a visit to the National Eagle Center of Red Wing, among others. For an additional fee, hop on an airboat ride through the Atchafalaya Swamp in Baton Rouge or tour the Anheuser-Busch Brewery of St. Louis.

2024 dates: Viking has availability for this itinerary in July, September and October.

Want to cruise the Mississippi River? See the top cruises on GoToSea , a service of U.S. News.

You may have seen riverboat gambling ships or are at least familiar with riverboat gambling along U.S. waterways. However, while high rolling on the river sounds like an exciting way to spend a night (or two, or more) while on your riverboat cruise, you'll have to jump ship to play the slots, roll the dice, spin the wheel or play a hand of Texas Hold 'em. Gambling on cruise ships sailing on internal waters is prohibited by U.S. law.

Gambling on boats in the U.S. is a complicated matter. While you will find some ships sailing along American waterways that are only set up for gambling, they are not carrying passengers from port to port. Most vessels that feature riverboat gambling are now moored, offering sports betting, table games, entertainment, live music and dancing while tethered to shore.

Why Trust U.S. News Travel

Gwen Pratesi has been an avid cruiser since her early 20s. She has sailed on nearly every type of cruise ship built, including the newest megaships, paddle-wheelers on America's waterways, and an 18-stateroom river ship on the Mekong River in Vietnam and Cambodia. Most recently, she traveled on a small luxury expedition vessel in Antarctica and crossed the notorious Drake Passage twice. She covers the travel and culinary industries, specializing in cruises, for major publications including U.S. News & World Report.

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This Three-Day Mississippi River Cruise Adventure Starting In Wisconsin Is A Unique Family Getaway

Ready for an off-the-beaten-path adventure on the water?

Let’s steer away from the usual and hop aboard a riverboat journey that’s brimming with charm, history, and good old family fun.

It’s time to uncover a hidden gem of the Midwest—a three-day Mississippi River cruise that’s nothing short of a unique family getaway !

Embarking on this leisurely voyage, you’ll find yourself aboard the Celebration Belle, a vessel that’s a throwback to another era with its classic paddlewheel design, yet with the comfort of modern amenities.

celebration belle 1

Crafted in 1986, this riverboat was born from the skilled hands of Patti Shipbuilding in Pensacola, and it’s ready to transport you through time and water.

Departing from the historic river town of Dubuque, the Celebration Belle sets a course for Prairie du Chien, about 60 miles upriver.

With every meal included, you won’t have to fret about where to grab a bite—you can sit back, relax, and savor the flavors while the Mississippi’s landscapes unfurl around you.

celebration belle 2

As the Celebration Belle chugs along the mighty Mississippi, you’re in for more than just a scenic jaunt—you’re on a floating feast!

It’s like your favorite family dinner, only with ever-changing waterfront views.

No squabbles over who picks the restaurant—here, the only debate is window seat or aisle.

And trust me, with the sights you’ll see, you’ll want to snag that window seat faster than a seagull on a French fry.

It’s a relaxing, belly-filling journey that will have the whole family beaming brighter than a lighthouse on a dark night.

celebration belle 3

All aboard for good eats and grand times!

Entertainment on board?


From toe-tapping tunes to captivating storytelling, there’s something to keep everyone in high spirits as the paddlewheel churns through the mighty Mississippi.

celebration belle 4

And let’s not forget the magic of the mighty Mississippi itself.

It’s like a floating block party where the guest of honor is the river.

There’s a banjo plucker that could give any string a run for its money and stories so rich, you’d think Mark Twain himself was whispering in your ear.

Between the belly laughs and the soft sway of the boat, you’ll find yourself bonding with your family and making friends with folks you’ve just met.

It’s like summer camp for all ages, except the campfire is a grand old river, and the s’mores are, well, still s’mores because who can pass up on those?

celebration belle 5

Arriving in Prairie du Chien, there’s no need to stress about logistics.

The boat company has it all figured out—they’ll whisk you off to a cozy hotel with a shuttle arranged for your convenience.

Once you’re nestled in that hotel, you’re not just a guest—you’re family.

And in Prairie du Chien, the pillows are fluffier than a marshmallow convention.

There’s no fuss here—it’s all about kicking back, maybe with a local treat in hand.

Tomorrow’s adventures can wait.

Tonight, we feast on hospitality!

Related: Kid-Friendly Things to Do in Wisconsin

Related: Places to Visit in the Badger State

Related: Travel Guide for Wisconsin

Your second day is an immersion into Prairie du Chien’s rich tapestry of history.

The Fort Crawford Museum is a treasure trove, revealing tales of the fort that loyally stood watch over the city from 1816 to 1856.

As you wander through Fort Crawford Museum, you’ll feel like you’ve stepped into a time machine—minus the futuristic gadgets and the risk of altering history with an ill-timed sneeze.

celebration belle 6

Here, the past doesn’t just whisper—it tells stories louder than my Aunt Ida at a family reunion.

Each exhibit is like a chapter of a page-turner, except here, the characters are real, and the battles don’t need any CGI enhancements.

It’s a place where kids can play soldier without turning the living room into a no-go zone, and parents can marvel without spending a fortune.

celebration belle 7

Cruising back downriver is where the magic happens.

This eight-hour journey offers a tranquil escape through breathtaking stretches of river country.

It’s a chance to let time slow down and soak in the natural beauty that surrounds you.

As you meander back down the river, think of it as nature’s lazy river ride—without the plastic tubes and the splash fights, unless you’re into that, which, by the way, is totally fine!

This is the kind of place where eagles soar overhead like they’re part of a top-notch airshow, just for you, and the trees along the banks wave as if they’re old friends cheering you on in the slowest race ever.

celebration belle 8

And the best part?

There’s no Wi-Fi, which means you’ll actually have to talk to your family—and you’ll want to because this scenic route is the ultimate conversation starter.

Travelers come from near and far, some journeying over 1,000 miles for this experience.

The Celebration Belle’s reputation even caught the attention of Swedish royalty—yes, the king and queen themselves have graced its decks!

This Wisconsin excursion, along with other Mississippi River adventures offered by the Celebration Belle, is more than just a trip—it’s a lasting memory for the whole family.

celebration belle 9

Discover the wonders of Wisconsin and dive into the adventures that await along the mighty Mississippi with just a click on their website .

Curious about where the Celebration Belle is?

This handy map will show you the spot.

celebration belle 10 map

Where : 2501 River Dr, Moline, IL 61265

So, aren’t you curious to see what all the fuss is about?

Why not join a tradition that’s been charming travelers for years?

What’s holding you back from setting sail on your next great family story?

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2024 Cruise Schedule

The riverboat twilight.

Since 1985, the Riverboat Twilight has delivered one of the most exceptional cruise experiences in the Midwest. And it’s not just a cruise; it’s a conduit to reconnection, relaxation, and renewal.

Marvel at the majestic Mississippi river while relaxing in style aboard a stunningly replicated Victorian Riverboat. Allow yourself to be pampered by the Twilight’s attentive, informative, and welcoming crew. Delicious meals are prepared on board in the lower galley, while a full bar complete with top shelf liquors provides custom drinks to enhance your experience.

The Riverboat Twilight is family-owned and operated business, with a focus providing entertaining and quality cruises. The 140-passenger vessel has ample indoor, and outdoor seating on all three decks, and wrap-around windows give way to amazing views.

Our 2024 season offers 1-day, 2-day, and sightseeing cruises departing from LeClaire & Dubuque, Iowa.

Where the river runs deep, so do the discoveries.

3 day riverboat cruises

Absolutely perfect in all ways!

My Friend and I went on the Riverboat Twilight and it was the most perfect/awesome adventure! From reserving our trip to our final walk to our car after the two day cruise, all was perfect! Staff are amazing, from the Captain to the servers, to the musical entertainers. The food is suburb and generous! Everything is very well organized, from our luggage/hotel in Dubuque/seating for meals, free shuttles in Dubuque, etc! The scenery and info along the way from the captain was wonderful! This was an absolutely perfect two day cruise, and we are going again in Mid October as we loved it so much!!.

The service by all involved was first class all the way!

We were very impressed by the personal service we received by the staff and everyone involved. The trip was very nice from a sightseeing perspective, interesting from a historical perspective and very relaxing overall. Plus the food was plentiful and excellent. We highly recommend this cruise to everyone!

Wonderful relaxing two days....

Extremely enjoyable trip. The cruise itself was delightful as you slowly moved up and down the river enjoying the wildlife and listening to the Captain explain the view and history. Unless you are a very big eater you have to be selective as they feed you FIVE times a day. Not only is the food plentiful but it is also very good. The Grand Resort in Dubuque was a nice stay as we had a view of the river. There was adequate time to explore some of the sights In Dubuque. I think we will do this trip again in the future…….

3 F's; Food, Food, and Fun

Excellent team from the captain to the crew provide a relaxing time..The chefs do an excellent job and there is more great food than you can imagine. This is the most organized and professional staff that we have ever experienced. No detail is overlooked.

3 day riverboat cruises

Riverboat Twilight 360° Tours

Pilot house.

Deck 3 Stern

Downtown LeClaire Near Dock

3 day riverboat cruises

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If you are not vaccinated, we strongly encourage you to do so, however, at this time the Riverboat Twilight does not ask for proof of vaccination. Mask wearing is the choice of the individual. The Twilight offers ample indoor and outdoor seating on all three decks and plenty of fresh air.

We will continue to maintain our increased sanitization efforts of the TWILIGHT and our boarding facilities, and we continue to provide hand sanitizer aboard the boat and employ a strong air purifier that uses UVC lighting that has been proven to destroy viruses and other bacteria.

For the safety of our passengers and crew and to maintain proper cleanliness, we have implemented the following guidelines for parents of children under the age of 14. While onboard the vessel and when making use of our food and beverages services, children must be accompanied by an adult at all times. With your cooperation and understanding, we will be able to continue to offer a safe and enjoyable experience for everyone.

As an owner, of the Holiday Inn Express & Suites Le Claire, IA and the President of Great Lakes Management Group which manages the hotel’s day to day operations, I wanted to say thank you. The business relationship with the Riverboat Twilight and her passengers is valued and much appreciated. We all know businesses from every industry has been operating in a different environment the last 8 weeks and will encounter new changes in the future.

We continue to monitor the franchise, local, state and federal safety guidelines to insure our guest and staff safety. For example, we anticipate a few changes in the near future which will include the following: a plastic shield / barrier at the front desk check,  revised breakfast offerings without a buffet setting, hand sanitizer located in the lobby and all floors at the elevator landings, continued use of hospital grade products to clean and sanitize the guest rooms, individual sanitizer wipes as an in-room amenity, removal of all products in the rooms that are reusable for example, pens, pads, laundry bags, and throw pillows, these items will be available upon request. We hope to see you soon. Stay safe and healthy!

  Respectfully, Neil Densmore | President glmg | hotels

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The Best Mississippi River Cruises to Discover America's Heartland

By Jackie Sheckler Finch

Image may contain Boat Transportation Vehicle Land Nature Outdoors Plant Vegetation Tree Woodland and Water

The luxury ships and historic tours are nice, yes. But the real star of Mississippi River cruises has always been the river. There’s nothing quite so Americana as getting to know the many personalities of this 2,350-mile stretch, flowing from northern Minnesota’s Lake Itasca through 10 states until it reaches Louisiana , where the Mississippi River Delta gives way to the Gulf of Mexico.

The slow, meandering journeys of Mississippi River cruises have long proven an ideal way to discover the distinct stories of America’s heartland. In the words of Mark Twain (which no Mississippi River story would be complete without), the towns and cities located on the mighty river's shores are “cheering to the spirit” and “reposeful as a dreamland,” with “nothing to hang a fret or a worry upon.”

The challenge modern travelers now face is when, where, and how to go about this iconic American voyage . Below, see our answers to these frequently asked questions, plus our favorite Mississippi River cruises to book in 2024.

Which cruise lines do Mississippi River cruises?

After American Queen Voyages shut down in February, only two Mississippi River cruise lines currently remain in operation.

Celebrating its 50th anniversary, American Cruise Lines (ACL) has a fleet of more than 20 American-built ships sailing across the country and remains family-owned and American-crewed. ACL offers a Mississippi River fleet of three luxurious 180-passenger modern riverboats– American Melody , American Symphony , and American Serenade —plus two classic paddlewheel ships, the 180-passenger American Splendor and the 150-passenger American Heritage.

The new kid on the Mississippi is the Viking Mississippi, a 386-passenger, five-deck vessel that first set sail in September 2022. The cutting-edge cruise is Viking’s first foray in the US, adding to their fleet of more than 90 ocean, river, and expedition vessels navigating the world’s seven continents.

What is the average cost of a Mississippi River cruise?

For an 8- or 9-day cruise, the average cost of a Mississippi River cruise is around $4,000 per person in a stateroom. Although prices might seem high initially, many of these cruises include extras that aren’t always complimentary on ocean cruises such as free WiFi, at least one free shore excursion in every port, paid port taxes and fees, and a pre-cruise hotel stay. Viking offers complimentary beer, wine, and soft drinks with onboard lunch and dinner. Meanwhile, American Cruise Lines offers complimentary beer, wine, cocktails, and soft drinks. Gratuities are also included in American Cruise Lines fares.

What is the best time of year to go on a river cruise?

Spring (late March through mid-June) and autumn (September through November) are the best times of year to go on a river cruise in the US. Spring blossoms add a colorful touch to the shoreline, and you can never go wrong with autumn foliage. The temperatures are mild, if not pleasantly cool, and passengers are eager to welcome a new spring travel season—or to enjoy one last autumn river adventure before winter arrives.

What month is best for a Mississippi River cruise?

If we had to pick just one, September is the best month for a Mississippi River cruise. The weather is usually mild with less likelihood of rain, and autumn colors are beginning to paint the shoreline. Keep in mind, however, that the Mississippi is the fourth largest river in the world—so temperatures any time of year are not going to be the same in warmer Louisiana as they are in cooler Minnesota.

Below, see our favorite Mississippi River cruises to book in 2024, featuring stops in iconic American cities like Nashville , Memphis , and New Orleans .

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22-day Mississippi River Odyssey: New Orleans to Red Wing, Minnesota

Enjoy the charms of America’s great river on a journey aboard the Viking Mississippi from New Orleans to Red Wing, departing September 20. Custom built to sail American waters, the vessel features river-facing staterooms with either French or step-out balconies.

Stops include Baton Rouge and St. Francisville in Louisiana; Natchez, Vicksburg, Greenville, and Rosedale in Mississippi; Memphis in Tennessee; Paducah in Kentucky; Cape Girardeau, St. Louis, and Hannibal in Missouri; Burlington, Quad Cities, and Dubuque in Iowa; La Crosse in Wisconsin; and ending in Red Wing, Minnesota.

With so many fascinating shore excursions to choose from, it’s well worth taking time to tour the St. Louis Arch . Opened in 1965, the monument to America’s westward expansion is far more than just a stunning photo by the riverside. Venture underground between the arch legs for a museum. Climb aboard a tram to be transported 630 feet up to the top of America’s tallest monument for some stunning views.

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12-day Heart of the Delta: Memphis to New Orleans

The 386-guest Viking Mississippi spans five decks, making it one of the largest passenger vessels on the Mississippi. Inaugurated in 2022, the ship features a modern Scandinavian design with an infinity pool and a two-story Explorers’ Lounge observation area similar to its ocean ships. Directly in front of the Explorer’s Lounge is an expanded outdoor seating area known as The Bow. Three restaurants serve both Southern regional cuisine and international favorites.

The cruise starts in Memphis on November 14 and includes stops in Rosedale, Greenville, Vicksburg, and Natchez in Mississippi as well as St. Francisville, Baton Rouge, and Darrow in Louisiana, ending in New Orleans. The “Mississippi Sings the Blues” shore excursion visits iconic sites along the Mississippi Blues Trail such as historic Dockery Farms, considered the “birthplace of the blues.”

The tour stops in Clarksdale, the fabled “Crossroads” where legend says blues great Robert Johnson reputedly sold his soul to the devil in exchange for his guitar prowess. Stops at the GRAMMY Museum Mississippi and the Delta Blues Museum completes this perfect trip for music lovers.

Nashville TN

9-day Music Cities Cruise: Nashville to Memphis

Music is the main focus of this cruise offered by American Cruise Lines, which begins in Nashville on July 9 with an unforgettable visit to the legendary Grand Ole Opry and ends in Memphis, where passengers will enjoy live music on Beale Street and a tour of Elvis Presley’s Graceland . On board the American Splendor, passengers will enjoy spacious cabins and popular rocking chairs. First inaugurated in 2016 and fully redecorated in 2022, this ship offers the nostalgia of a classic paddlewheeler along with the comfort of modern amenities.

While in Nashville, explore the Johnny Cash Museum, then walk upstairs to The Patsy Cline Museum. Nightly entertainment spotlights the musical heritage of this region as the world’s newest paddlewheeler journeys along the river. The itinerary also includes Clarksville and Dover in Tennessee plus Paducah in Kentucky. In Paducah, stroll along the riverfront with more than 50 life-sized panoramic murals depicting Paducah’s past. Stop by Paducah’s National Quilt Museum, the world’s largest museum devoted to quilt and fiber art.

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23-day Complete Mississippi River Cruise: New Orleans to St. Paul

Sail 1,393 miles through 10 states on a comprehensive exploration of the mighty Mississippi on the new American Serenade . Inaugurated in 2023, the 91-cabin American Serenade won Best New River Cruise Ship of the Year 2023 by Cruise Critic , the first time an American ship has received this prestigious award.

“With extra-large all-balcony staterooms and suites, trendy interior décor, an innovative hydraulic bow and retractable ramp, and one of the most gorgeous sun decks we’ve seen on a river-going ship, American Serenade sets the bar for domestic US river cruising high,” the award notes.

The epic itinerary beginning July 18, 2024 includes 22 ports of call including Oak Alley, Houmas House, Baton Rouge, and St. Francisville in Louisiana; Natchez, Vicksburg, Greenville, and Tunica in Mississippi; Memphis in Tennessee; Cape Girardeau, St. Louis, and Hannibal in Missouri; Muscatine and Dubuque in Iowa; and Winona, Red Wing, and Saint Paul in Minnesota.

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12-day Mississippi River Gateway Cruise: New Orleans to St. Louis

From the French Quarter in New Orleans to the towering Gateway Arch in St. Louis , this American Heritage cruise lives up to its name. Inaugurated in 2015 and totally redecorated in 2022, the 84-cabin American Heritage is the perfect vessel for this interesting itinerary, its design reminiscent of the days when steamboat paddlewheelers plied the Mississippi in the 1800s.

The 12-day voyage departs from New Orleans on July 2. Ports of call along the way include Baton Rouge in Louisiana; Natchez and Vicksburg in Mississippi; Memphis in Tennessee; and Paducah in Kentucky . An onboard expert shares tales of the importance of steam-driven paddlewheels in establishing riverfront communities along the great Mississippi River.

Step ashore in Natchez and enjoy a cold drink at the Under-the-Hill-Saloon, once one of the rowdiest establishments on the Mississippi River in the 1800s. Legend says that Mark Twain stopped here when he was just another riverman named Samuel Clemens.

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9-day Lower Mississippi River Cruise: Memphis to New Orleans

This nine-day American Melody cruise departs Memphis on September 8 and features eight ports of call including Vicksburg and Natchez in Mississippi, and St. Francisville, Baton Rouge, and Houmas House in Louisiana. At Vicksburg Military Park, learn how the 101st Airborne Division got its “Screaming Eagles” nickname, plus the tale of its famous soldier, a young guitar player named Jimi Hendrix. At Houmas House, see the bedroom where Bette Davis stayed to film the 1964 movie Hush, Hush, Sweet Charlotte . Joan Crawford was the intended co-star but Bette and Joan feuded so Joan quit and Olivia de Havilland replaced her.

Launched in 2021, the five-deck American Melody has 91 staterooms, all with private balconies and full-length sliding glass doors. The ship has several spacious lounges, a fitness center, large dining room, café for casual dining, sun deck, library, and an impressive four-story glass atrium in the center of the ship. The ship’s unusual bow opens and lowers a platform for passengers to easily walk ashore.

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9-day Upper Mississippi River Cruise: St. Louis to St. Paul

Board the American Symphony cruise ship to visit Mark Twain’s hometown and experience the real-life inspiration behind Life on the Mississippi, the classic memoir chronicling the author's days on the river as a steamboat pilot.

The 91-cabin American Symphony, recently inaugurated in 2022, has 100% private balcony accommodations and a unique bow that opens with a retractable gangway that can be extended for landings virtually anywhere. The ship also features lounges soaring 40 feet above the water with triple the glass of other riverboats for spectacular views. Comfy deck chairs welcome passengers to enjoy the undeveloped countryside, picturesque islands, and fascinating dams and navigation locks.

Departing September 27, this itinerary features seven ports of call including Muscatine and Dubuque in Iowa, and Winona and Red Wing in Minnesota. In Hannibal, visit the actual home—with a whitewashed Tom Sawyer fence—where Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain) grew up. In Dubuque, see the 1989 “Field of Dreams” movie site known for the famous quote, “If you build it, they will come.”

The Alluvian

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3 day riverboat cruises

Advanced public reservations are taken online. Bookings open four weeks in advance of cruise date.

La Crosse Queen Cruises

La Crosse Queen Cruises

Paddlewheel cruises on the mississippi river.

Now taking reservations for private charters or groups of 30 or more on any public cruise for our 2024 season! Please call for more information. All other public cruise reservations open for booking four weeks prior to each cruise date. New to 2024 season: Captain’s Sunday Brunch Cruise departing at 10:30 a.m. and lasting until 1:00 p.m. Two-and-a-half hours will allow us to “lock thru” Lock & Dam No. 7, conditions permitting!

Individual public reservations will become available in Spring of 2021—Group reservations are now available for 2021.

  • Most Popular

Saturday Dinner Cruise

Feast on a delicious chicken and prime rib dinner while relaxing on this Mississippi River tour!

  • Clock 6:00 p.m.
  • Users All ages
  • Hour Glass 2.5 hours

Cruise on the Mighty Mississippi!

  • Clock Wednesday's and Friday's at 5:30 p.m. & Saturday's and Sunday's at 3:30 p.m.
  • Hour Glass 1.5 hours

Pizza Cruise

Enjoy an afternoon on the Mighty Mississippi River while eating free pizza on this fun boat tour!

  • Clock 10:30 a.m.

Captain’s Sunday Brunch

Enjoy a delicious brunch while learning about the Mississippi River on this narrated river tour!

  • Clock 11:00 a.m. & 1:30 p.m.

Sightseeing Cruise

Learn all about the historical and present day Mississippi River on this sightseeing cruise!

See the historical sites and local wildlife of the beautiful Upper Mississippi River!

Step back in time when you come aboard our replica paddlewheel river boat!

Choose from our tasty brunch, lunch, pizza, and dinner buffet-style cruises!

Beer, wine, and liquor offered on every cruise.

About La Crosse Queen Cruises

Cruise back in time and explore the Upper Mississippi with us! The La Crosse Queen is a modern-day replica of the grand river boats that plied the Mississippi River in the early 1900s. Cruising out of La Crosse, Wisconsin, she is one of the few authentic Mississippi River paddlewheel river boats still in operation in the United States today. In keeping with early traditions, she was built with sternwheels that are her only means of propulsion. 

The La Crosse Queen has a split sternwheel, and each half is run by a twin diesel engine that powers hydraulic motors, which turn the paddles. The split paddlewheel gives the Queen greater maneuverability and dependability. This is in contrast to most Mississippi River paddlewheelers in operation today that have a “free wheeling” paddlewheel at the stern of the boat for visual effect, but have traditional screw-type engines hidden for their real means of propulsion. 

The La Crosse Queen is U.S. Coast Guard inspected for safety and is licensed to carry up to 149 passengers.

The #1 Outdoor Activity in La Crosse on TripAdvisor

mississippi river cruises

We took this boat cruise on a beautiful Saturday afternoon. The boat was full, but there was plenty of room. Drinks are very reasonable and the staff was knowledgeable and friendly. One big plus was the bathrooms were clean and spacious, something I didn't think I would find on a paddle boat! I would recommend the La Crosse Queen.

la crosse queen cruises

We took this cruise with a group and it was a lot of fun! We saw eagles, blue herons, foxes, osprey, along the banks of the Mississippi. We were able to go through the locks, which was lucky since if there is a barge in the area they do not allow this. We are talking about going again in the fall when the leaves are changing and birds are migrating.

mississippi queen boat

We took the Friday night Pizza cruise and enjoyed fantastic views of the Mississippi River. Several people from our group had never been on a river cruise and were amazed. Free Pizza and beer along with cruise for $18.95 is hard to beat! Some questioned the cheap price, but soon found out it was good.

mississippi river boat cruise

This was an excellent tour. The guide who did the narrative was friendly, fun and knowledgeable about the town and river. We saw bald eagles, a swing bridge, fancy homes, etc. We sat on the top deck which is covered and has open air sides so you get out of the sun and a nice breeze.

mississippi river cruises

Always wanted to take a cruise on the Mississippi and we booked the early afternoon cruise on a weekday. Boarding went smoothly - they take your picture for sale later as a souvenir. Boat was clean and comfy and captain and staff friendly, helpful and knowledgeable. They do have a snack bar and bathrooms on board. Relaxing and enjoyable!

la crosse queen cruises

We went on the La Crosse Queen on a beautiful day. Cruising on the river was so cool. The breeze, scenery was awesome. Best place to view everything is on the top deck. The crew were so polite and fun to talk with. If you have questions they answered them. Hats off to the La Crosse Queen.

mississippi queen boat

Wonderful time on a 2-hour Sunday Brunch cruise. The buffet was small but the price was still good. Met wonderful folks inside and outside during the trip. Got to go through a Lock and Dam. The wait staff were very accommodating. Definitely worth every penny for this adventure.

mississippi river boat cruise

We celebrated our 23rd wedding anniversary on the La Crosse Queen. The dinner exceeded our expectations. The turkey and roast beef were both tender and moist. For being a buffet the food was delicious. The staff was attentive and live music was a surprise. We were fortunate to have wonderful weather and really enjoyed ourselves!

Deals of the Week   Vibrant North Africa   Up to 50% OFF

3 Day River Cruise Tours & Trips

3 day river cruise tours with 15 reviews.

From Aswan 3 Days 2 Nights Nile Cruise Tour

River Cruise Temples Sightseeing Historical +2

From Aswan 3 Days 2 Nights Nile Cruise

"It's one of the best lite and cheap Nile cruises in Egypt. The boat was great, and the cabin is so clean and large." Solly, traveled in September 2019
  • 10% deposit on some dates

From Luxor 3 Days 2 Nights Nile Cruise Tour

From Luxor 3 Days 2 Nights Nile Cruise

"The experience of sailling through the Nile with some stops for visiting temples was just amazing." IWONA, traveled in January 2024

3-Day Upstream Mekong River Cruise Tours from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap by Mekong Dawn Tour

River Cruise Family Sightseeing Historical Christmas & New Year +3

3-Day Upstream Mekong River Cruise Tours from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap by Mekong Dawn



Dinner Cruise on the Nile River with Entertainment Tour

Dinner Cruise on the Nile River with Entertainment

Amazing 2 Nights Cruise From Aswan to Luxor including Tours and Hot Air Balloon Tour

River Cruise Family Temples Christmas & New Year +1

Amazing 2 Nights Cruise From Aswan to Luxor including Tours and Hot Air Balloon

Amazing 2 Nights Nile Cruise From Aswan To Luxor including Tours and Abu Simbel Tour

Amazing 2 Nights Nile Cruise From Aswan To Luxor including Tours and Abu Simbel

Cambodia Upstream Cruise from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap by Mekong Dawn Tour

River Cruise Family Temples Historical Christmas & New Year +2

Cambodia Upstream Cruise from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap by Mekong Dawn

Saigon to Can Tho or Cai Be Cruising Tour on Mekong River Delta - 3 Days Tour

River Cruise Family Christmas & New Year +1

Saigon to Can Tho or Cai Be Cruising Tour on Mekong River Delta - 3 Days

Nile Pharaoh Dinner Cruise Cairo Tour

Nile Pharaoh Dinner Cruise Cairo

Reviews of 3 day river cruise tours.

One of The Best Memories in my whole life is doing this nile river cruise from aswan to luxor , according to it's price it's very cheap with wonderful visit of edfu and kom ombo temples, thank you Andy thank you Egyptology Travel than you ramsy our perfect guide ever, it was such a wonderful experience. best experience eve
We joined the cruise for 2 nights from Luxor to Aswan. The experience of sailling through the Nile with some stops for visiting temples was just amazing. The food was very tasty and the staff was very helpful and supportive. The only issue was the ship condition as the boat wasn't 5* but maximum 3*. It just need some refurbishing especially the carpets in cabins and corridors was not clean and need to be properly fixed to the floor. All walls and doors looks very old only the reception area and sun deck looks as renovated.

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7 best US river cruises

Donna Heiderstadt

Whether you're fascinated by American history, culture and cuisine, or you've enjoyed river cruising in Europe but are now looking to explore closer to home, U.S. river cruises are an easy and enjoyable vacation option.

Choose from two main waterways for your U.S. river cruise: the Mississippi River — which flows through nine states from St. Paul, Minnesota, to New Orleans — or the Columbia and Snake rivers in Oregon and Washington. Some cruise lines also venture onto three smaller, lesser-known rivers: the Ohio, the Cumberland and the Tennessee. You can also explore New York's Hudson River on a fall foliage cruise.

For cruise news, reviews and tips, sign up for TPG's cruise newsletter .

Your choice of cruise line is equally limited. Just two companies offer multiple itineraries on U.S. rivers. American Cruise Line sails all the waterways mentioned above, while Viking offers itineraries solely on the Mississippi. Additionally, Lindblad Expeditions has introduced a food-and-wine-centric river cruise on the Columbia and Snake rivers.

Read on for our picks of the seven best U.S. river cruises. They range from seven to 15 nights and visit destinations in 16 states; itineraries take you through the colonial-heritage-rich Northeast, America's agricultural heartland and the pioneer routes of the Pacific Northwest.

American Cruise Lines' 8-night Music Cities Cruise

3 day riverboat cruises

From Memphis blues and Elvis Presley's "Blue Suede Shoes" to Kentucky bluegrass and New Orleans jazz, American Cruise Lines' eight-night Music Cities Cruise sails you through a chronology of the U.S. music scene. You'll traverse three rivers (the Mississippi, Ohio and Cumberland) en route from Memphis to Nashville, or vice versa.

In Tennessee's two famous music cities, you'll have a chance to visit Elvis Presley's Graceland, stroll blues club-lined Beale Street and check out the Grand Ole Opry. You'll also visit Paducah, Kentucky, and Dover and Clarksville in Tennessee, where experiences include whiskey and bourbon tasting, tours of landmark art murals and, of course, Civil War history.

While cruising, you'll enjoy nightly entertainment that celebrates the region's musical heritage. American Cruise Lines offers this itinerary on four ships from April to October 2024, 2025 and 2026. Three of the ships — American Melody, American Symphony and American Serenade — are 180-passenger modern river ships launched in 2021, 2022 and 2023, respectively. The fourth, American Splendor, is a 180-passenger paddlewheeler that debuted in 2016.

Related: Booking your first river cruise? Here's what you need to know

Viking's 14-night America's Great River Cruise

3 day riverboat cruises

Want the total Mississippi experience? You can cruise the entire length of this mighty river as you visit 14 cities in seven U.S. states on Viking's two-week sailing.

Available three times a year (in July, September and October), the America's Great River cruise begins in Minnesota (either St. Paul or Red Wing) and concludes in New Orleans, allowing you to experience an intricate tapestry of American history and culture.

There's eagle spotting in Red Wing and agricultural innovation in Quad Cities, Iowa. You'll enjoy Mark Twain lore in Hannibal, Missouri, and architectural landmarks, such as the soaring Gateway Arch, in St. Louis. As you cruise the lower Mississippi, you'll delve into civil rights history in Memphis; Civil War battles and historic architecture in Mississippi's Vicksburg and Natchez; Cajun and Creole music in Baton Rouge; and the legendary culinary treats and jazz of New Orleans.

All sailings are aboard the 386-passenger Viking Mississippi. Launched in 2022, it's currently the largest river ship in the U.S. and features three restaurants and an aft infinity pool.

American Cruise Lines' 8-Night Columbia & Snake River Cruise

3 day riverboat cruises

If your vacation preferences favor mountain landscapes, wine tasting and pioneer lore, consider American Cruise Lines' eight-night Columbia & Snake River Cruise . You'll explore the Pacific Northwest from Portland, Oregon, to Clarkstown, Washington (or vice versa).

On the Pacific end of your voyage, you'll visit Astoria, Oregon — the oldest American settlement west of the Rocky Mountains. This coastal city at the mouth of the Columbia River is known for its Victorian homes, wineries, brew pubs, and Lewis and Clark heritage. Next, from Kalama, Washington, you can join an excursion to visit the remnants of the area around Mount St. Helens, which suffered a devastating eruption in 1980.

In The Dalles, you can enjoy a sommelier-led tasting of Columbia Valley wines, visit Multnomah Falls or get adventurous on a river kayak tour. During a call on Richland, Washington, you can admire the scenic beauty around the confluence of the Columbia and Snake rivers at Sacajawea State Park. More wine tasting or outdoor adventure awaits on the way to Clarkstown.

American Cruise Line offers this itinerary on five ships from April to October 2024, 2025 and 2026. Three of the ships (American Song, American Jazz and American Harmony) are 180-passenger modern river ships launched from 2018 to 2020. American Pride is a 150-passenger paddlewheeler launched in 2012, and American West is a 110-passenger veteran paddlewheeler launched in 1995.

Related: Best river cruise lines around the world

Viking's 7-night New Orleans & Southern Charms

3 day riverboat cruises

If you've never visited New Orleans, or it's been a while, take a Mississippi River cruise that sails round-trip from the Big Easy. They offer time before or after the cruise to enjoy the city's food, music and iconic architecture — plus the ease of a round-trip flight booking. Viking's seven-night New Orleans & Southern Charms itinerary focuses solely on ports in Louisiana and Mississippi, with an emphasis on historic architecture, Cajun culture and Civil War landmarks.

From Darrow, Louisiana, you'll stroll beneath canopies of towering live oak trees to visit historic mansions or glide through the bayou. More historic architecture, along with bird-watching, awaits in St. Francisville, Louisiana, and Natchez, Mississippi. Vicksburg, Mississippi, is home to one of the Civil War's most famous battlefields. Baton Rouge, Louisiana's capital, has something to satisfy every interest, from Cajun cuisine to tours of the restored World War II-era USS Kidd.

The cruise, which is available in November and December 2024 and January, November and December 2025, ends with a full day of exploration back in New Orleans before one last night aboard the 386-passenger Viking Mississippi.

American Cruise Lines' 7-night Hudson River Fall Foliage Cruise

3 day riverboat cruises

Not only is the autumnal landscape in New York's Hudson Valley visually captivating, but the small cities and towns that line the river's shores are filled with fascinating early American history dating back more than 400 years.

Cruise the Hudson round-trip from New York City on American Cruise Lines' seven-night Hudson River Fall Foliage Cruise . You'll visit Catskill, home to the Hudson River School Art Trail and the Olana Historic Site, or explore more actively at the Hudson River Skywalk and Kaaterskill Falls. In Albany, founded in 1609, you can tour the newly renovated New York State Capitol building, built in the late 1800s; you can also visit the New York State Museum, which dates to 1836. Feel like apple-picking? That's an option here, too.

Next, during a call at Kingston/Hyde Park, you can tour the Franklin D. Roosevelt National Historic Site, home to the 32nd U.S. president's library and museum. You can also head to the Vanderbilt Mansion National Historic Site, featuring an American Beaux-Arts mansion completed in 1899. The United States Military Academy at West Point, founded in 1802, is also on the itinerary, as is Sleepy Hollow. The Sleepy Hollow legend comes to life during a tour of the local cemetery where author Washington Irving is buried. Back in the Big Apple on day seven, you'll have time to explore before saying farewell to your ship.

Sailings are available from late September to early November 2024, 2025 and 2026. Sailings are onboard either the 100-passenger American Eagle, American Liberty, American Glory or American Legend (all built in 2023 or 2024), or the older 90-passenger American Star and American Independence, launched in 2007 and 2010, respectively.

Related: River cruise packing list: What to pack when traveling by riverboat

Lindblad Expeditions' 7-night Columbia & Snake Rivers: Food, Wine and History Cruise

3 day riverboat cruises

Nature-focused cruise line Lindblad Expeditions has partnered with Food & Wine magazine to offer a new seven-night Columbia & Snake Rivers: Food, Wine and History cruise on multiple dates in April, September and October 2024; there are also sailings in March, April, September and October 2025. The voyages will sail between Portland, Oregon, and Clarkston, Washington.

Complementing the itinerary will be gourmet Pacific Northwest cuisine and more than 40 regional wines curated by an onboard culinary team. All ingredients will be sourced from within 250 miles of the ship's route. A naturalist, historian and geologist will be on hand to guide you on excursions by foot, kayak, Zodiac and jet boat.

Off-ship experiences include sampling local beer and oysters in Astoria, Oregon; visiting Multnomah Falls or hiking Beacon Rock; and having a private vineyard visit and downtown wine walk in Walla Walla, Washington.

These sailings occur on two identical Lindblad ships: the 62-passenger National Geographic Sea Lion and National Geographic Sea Bird.

American Cruise Line's 15-night Grand Ohio River Cruise

3 day riverboat cruises

Did you know that you can cruise from Pittsburgh to St. Louis? If exploring the central U.S. — Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia, Kentucky, Indiana, Illinois and Missouri — without driving is appealing, consider the 15-night Grand Ohio River Cruise offered by American Cruise Lines. You'll enjoy regionally inspired dining and eclectic landmarks along the Ohio and Mississippi rivers as you sail.

Over two weeks, you'll visit Native American burial grounds and archeological sites in West Virginia and learn about the underground railroad in Ohio. You can taste bourbon and explore the Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory or the Kentucky Derby Museum & Horse Park in Louisville. Take time to appreciate American artistry at the National Quilt Museum in Paducah, Kentucky. Rest up from your portside adventures during five days of scenic river cruising.

This itinerary is available from June to August 2024, 2025 and 2026 on the 180-passenger modern river ship American Melody and the 150-passenger paddlewheeler American Heritage.

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River Cruise Destinations

Journey into the heart of Europe, Asia, Egypt, the Upper and Lower Mississippi, and beyond on a culturally immersive scenic cruise. Whether you yearn to see the castle-lined Rhine, romantic Danube, historic Seine or vineyard-laced Douro, your river cruise with Viking begins here.

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River + Ocean Combination

Highlights of a viking river cruise.

Traveling by river, beyond the reach of roadways, you will discover the true nature of fascinating lands and the people who call them home.You will travel with ease, unpacking just once and enjoying the ever-changing scenery along the banks as you are gently carried on board an elegant, intimate ship to your next destination.Here is just a small sample of where a Viking river cruise will take you:

  • Vienna’s elegant boulevards and Hapsburg treasures
  • Budapest’s historic Castle District
  • The lush vineyards of France
  • Storybook villages and hilltop castles of Germany
  • The charming windmills of The Netherlands
  • Germany’s spectacular Saxon Switzerland region
  • Portugal’s rolling vineyards of the Douro Valley
  • Ancient temples along Egypt’s timeless Nile River
  • Cambodia’s sprawling Angkor Wat complex
  • Vietnam’s lush and fertile Mekong Delta
  • The American South’s historic cities—from New Orleans to Memphis
  • America’s heartland—from bustling St. Louis to distinctive St. Paul

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3 Night Bahamas & Perfect Day Cruise

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Day 1: fort lauderdale, florida.

Waterway in Fort Lauderdale, Florida


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Day 2: Perfect Day at CocoCay, Bahamas

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Lower Mississippi River Cruise

Memphis, tn to new orleans, la, new orleans, la to memphis, tn.

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Embark on a voyage along the Lower Mississippi River, one brimming with excitement and discovery, stretching from the vibrant streets of New Orleans, Louisiana, to the soulful rhythms of Memphis, Tennessee. Our intimate Modern Riverboats accommodate no more than 180 guests, ensuring an immersive and personalized experience like no other. 

Feel the spirit of the region come alive through the passion and energy of our all-American crew, who eagerly await to guide you through nine days packed with unforgettable moments. An onboard historian will share the many stories of Southern culture and history, while local guides will unveil hidden gems during shore excursions.

Experience the heart of Civil War history at Vicksburg, then marvel at the opulence of grand estates like Houmas House and Rosedown Plantation. Indulge in the timeless elegance of Oak Alley, where 300-year-old trees whisper tales of centuries past, or explore the quaint charm of St. Francisville and Natchez, each with their own unique stories to tell. 

As the sun sets on another day of exploration, unwind aboard with daily cocktail hours, gourmet cuisine, and captivating evening shows that showcase the region's cultural vibrancy. Get ready for a journey unlike any other, where every bend in the river reveals something new.

Ask about our Current Savings and our Pre-Cruise Packages which include a premium hotel stay and transportation to the ship.

Lower Mississippi River Cruise Itinerary


Day By Day Itinerary

See reverse itinerary.

  • Pre-Cruise Graceland Pre-Cruise Package
  • Day 1 Memphis, TN
  • Day 2 Cruising the Lower Mississippi River
  • Day 3 Vicksburg, MS
  • Day 4 Day of River Cruising
  • Day 5 Natchez, MS
  • Day 6 St. Francisville, LA
  • Day 7 Baton Rouge, LA
  • Day 8 Oak Alley, LA / Houmas House, LA
  • Day 9 New Orleans, LA

Experience the most immersive Elvis experience at The Guest House at Graceland. This package includes 2 nights at the hotel, breakfast each morning, and a tour of the iconic mansion and grounds. Upon arrival, enjoy a VIP Welcome Reception featuring cocktails and hors d'oeuvres. The Graceland Archives Department presents rare Elvis items exclusively for you, revealing a side of the King not often seen by the public. This isn't your ordinary tour – it's a journey into the heart and soul of rock 'n' roll royalty, where every moment is infused with the electrifying energy of Elvis himself. 

Please call (800) 460-4518 for pricing and availability. Pre-Cruise Packages must be reserved at least 30 days before your cruise date. 

Excursions & Entertainment

The complete Elvis experience is yours with a 2-night stay at The Guest House at Graceland, breakfast each morning, and an exploration of Elvis' mansion and grounds. Upon arrival, be treated to an exclusive Welcome Reception with cocktails and hors d'oeuvres, featuring a presentation by the Graceland Archives Department, who you will show you items belonging to Elvis, not regularly shown to the general public. The following day, enjoy a Memphis City Exploration which concludes at the ship the morning of your cruise.

Pre-Cruise Packages must be reserved at least 30 days before your cruise date. Call 800-460-4518 to for pricing and availability.


Day 1 - Memphis, TN

Get ready to feel the vibrant soul of Memphis. This historic gem boasts a skyline that dances along the river, lined by swaying oak trees and historic landmarks. Feel the rhythm of the city through legendary Beale Street, alive with the sounds of blues and jazz. Indulge in mouthwatering BBQ, then unwind at The Guest House, your haven in this dynamic city.

Each Mississippi itinerary comes complete with a Hotel Stay where you can enjoy the city at your leisure, before beginning your cruise.

On the morning of the cruise, meet in the hotel lobby and we will transport you to the ship to begin your cruise. All luggage will be brought directly from the hotel and placed in your stateroom aboard the ship.

Day 2 - Cruising the Lower Mississippi River

Step aboard your ship and set sail into a captivating experience. Begin with a warm welcome at the reception, an ideal place to connect with fellow travelers. As the ship elegantly cruises along the river, engage in the dynamic array of onboard entertainment. Each moment is designed to enhance your experience, promising a journey filled with delightful encounters and memorable entertainment.

As you embark upon your journey, enjoy a Welcome Aboard Reception with cocktails, hors d’oeuvres and entertainment. Meet the crew, your onboard experts, and fellow guests. Learn more about the wonderful adventure ahead of you.

Day 3 - Vicksburg, MS

Vicksburg resonates with historical significance, particularly during the Civil War, where its control marked a pivotal moment. Dubbed "The Gibraltar of the West," its fortified link between river and rail was crucial. Explore the National Military Park battlefield with a narrated tour, bringing its significance to life.

President Abraham Lincoln emphasized Vicksburg's importance, declaring it the key to closing the war. This port offers excursions abound, from museum visits guided by experts to solo explorations. Step onto an immense Army Corps of Engineers towboat or amble along the floodwall adorned with captivating murals, each panel narrating Vicksburg's tales with fervor. Engage with the energy of this historic gem, where every corner brims with stories waiting to be uncovered.

Bringing to life the history of this river city from before 1820 to present day, you will explore early Vicksburg in one of the most historical areas of our city. As you leisurely walk the brick streets your guide will draw your attention to antebellum homes with varying architecture, museums with rich history, native flora, and history of past citizens. You will make a stop to enjoy a tasty root beer float at the Biedenharn Coca-Cola Museum, where Coca-Cola was first bottled and spend a little time in the Old Cout House Museum. The exploration wouldn't be complete without a final stop at Anchuca, an incredible 1830's antebellum mansion turned bread and breakfast. This is a great opportunity to take in some fresh air and exercise as well. 

Activity Level: High | ADA ACCESSIBLE: No

 Board this convenient shuttle making stops at:

  • Jackson Street Gallery - Turn ordinary into extraordinary! Visit Jackson Street Gallery at Mulberry in the newly renovated and restored Mulberry Hotel and Loft Apartments. Over 200 original paintings by Mississippi artists await you in a splendid setting with on-site bar.   
  • Local Shops – Stroll through downtown Vicksburg and browse a few local shops.  
  • Old Courthouse Museum – Built in 1858, this museum is a national historic landmark showcasing Vicksburg’s cultural heritage over the past 71 years. The museum’s collection includes the original Teddy Bear given to a local child by Theodore Roosevelt, a sash worn by both George Washington and Jefferson Davis during their presidential inaugurations, a vast collection of Civil War artifacts, Native American and pioneer implements, and much more.    
  • Biedenharn Coca–Cola Museu m – This unique museum celebrates the history of one of the nation's most beloved beverages. Built in 1890, the building is the location where Coca-Cola was bottled for the first time in 1894 and features the type of equipment that Joseph Biedenharn used at the time. View Coca-Cola memorabilia, peruse the gift shop, and treat yourself to an ice-cold Coke float.    
  • Vicksburg Civil War Museum – Visit the Vicksburg Civil Museum and see an impressive collection of weapons, ammunition, uniforms, and other Civil War materials.   
  • Lower Mississippi River Museum – Experience life on the Mississippi River. Through both interactive and static displays, discover how different communities, farming families, and the US Army Corps of Engineers have all utilized the river in the past and learn about the future for the Mississippi River Valley. Examine the science behind water movement and view some of the river's fish up close in the museum’s 1,515-gallon aquarium.  
  • Catfish Row Museum – Learn diverse aspects about Vicksburg – from its music, history, and storytelling to its vibrant food heritage.  
  • Old Depot Museum – The museum exhibits examine earlier modes of transportation, the Siege of Vicksburg, and many other elements of the city’s history. Inside the museum, you will find railroad memorabilia, a collection of model Civil War gunboats, original war-themed paintings by Herb Mott, a detailed diorama of the Siege of Vicksburg, and models of architecture styles employed throughout Vicksburg’s past.  

Activity Level: Low | ADA Accessibility: Yes

Led by a guide, visit Oak Hall, a gorgeous 1910 Mission Revival style mansion that boasts 32 Louis Millet stained glass windows. Gather around the table to learn how to build an aesthetically pleasing presentation of a selection of a variety of Mississippi made or harvested meats, cheeses, spreads, seasonal fruits, nuts, and other accompaniments. Taste seasonal, local products and experience hospitality at its finest. Wow your guests at your next gathering by learning some advanced charcuterie techniques. Top off your experience with cocktails and mocktails made with local products and receive recipes and a souvenir mini board to take home.   Activity Level: Low / ADA Accessible: No

A knowledgeable guide will lead you through the National Military Park which commemorates the campaign, siege, and defense of Vicksburg in 1863. Stop at the impressive Illinois Monument, modeled after the Roman Pantheon. The exploration concludes at the Visitors Center where life-sized exhibits and artifacts from the Siege of Vicksburg are on display.

Activity Level: Low | ADA ACCESSIBLE: Partial

Come along and feel what life was like in the 19th century on this excursion into Vicksburg’s oldest historic neighborhood. Visit Christ Episcopal Church (circa 1839) and view its beautiful Tiffany windows amidst its Gothic revival architecture. The Rector will recreate the stories and history of this church including how the surrounding cannonball fire rang out all around during the siege of Vicksburg.

The second stop is a short walk alongside the neighborhood’s brick streets to Duff Green Mansion (circa 1856). The owner, Harley Caldwell, invites you into her home as a guest of honor. Imagine that you are part of a dinner party hosted by Duff Green and his wife, Mary, back in the 1800’s as you listen to Harley discuss the history of the house and what was happening in Vicksburg at that time. This is the one mansion where the ropes are gone, and you can sit on the furniture and make yourself at home.  Experience Vicksburg’s good old fashioned Southern hospitality out of Harley’s silver punchbowl. A short motor coach ride will take you to the last stop of this excursion, Tully’s Cave. The residents of Vicksburg moved into caves for 47 days as the city was bombarded with cannonball fire throughout all hours of the day. Walk through a cave and learn why most of the residents survived the attack.

Activity Level: Moderate | ADA ACCESSIBLE: Partial

Day 4 - Day of River Cruising

Today is your day to unwind and take it all in. Glide effortlessly along the Mighty Mississippi, surrounded by breathtaking panoramas of cottonwood trees and graceful blue herons.

Engage in captivating enrichment sessions and lively onboard events. Delight in gourmet cuisine and refreshing cocktails. Whether you're lounging in our spacious lounges or basking in the sun on the deck, there's endless fun to be had. As Mark Twain famously said, it's a day with "nothing to hang a worry or a fret upon" – so let go and embrace the adventure!

There are a variety of activities scheduled on board when the ship is underway, which vary depending on the itinerary and scheduled date. Enjoy destination-focused enrichment programs with special guest speakers who present topics related to the region and ports of call, including Art Classes, App-titude Classes (Tech Made Easy), Cooking Demonstrations, Mixology (practice of making great cocktails,) Trivia, Game Shows, and more.

Day 5 - Natchez, MS

Natchez, nestled along the Lower Mississippi River, is a treasure trove of history and architectural wonders. Founded in 1716, it bears the imprint of its French origins, evident in landmarks like Fort Rosalie, a testament to its colonial past. The town flourished during the antebellum era, with affluent planters erecting grand mansions such as Stanton Hall and Longwood, showcasing their wealth and influence.

Natchez preserves its heritage with hundreds of well-preserved enchanting homes, each telling a unique story. Take a stroll down historic Main Street, lined with charming shops and restaurants housed in restored buildings.

Explore the iconic Natchez Trace Parkway, tracing the footsteps of Native Americans and early settlers. Delve into the rich cultural heritage at the Natchez Museum of African American History and Culture, and the Historic Jefferson College. Natchez invites you to step back in time and immerse yourself in its fascinating history and Southern charm.

Explore the Historic Natchez Cemetery. Established in 1822, the occupants of this important cemetery tell tales of the history, grandeur, mystery, and tragedy of Natchez. Surrounded by majestic live oaks and set on the bluffs high above the Mississippi River, the beautiful grounds offer stunning panoramic views. Enjoy a guided walking excursion through the oldest section of the cemetery and hear fascinating stories about the residents buried there.

On your way to Ellicott Hill, view Fort Rosalie, the site of the Natchez Indian Battle. Our local historian/scholar will paint an intriguing picture of the first French settlers arriving in Natchez in 1716, meeting with the indigenous Natchez tribe, forging a friendship soon to be lost, resulting in war and retaliation. Upon arrival at Ellicott Hill, visit the site of where the first American flag was raised over this vast new American territory with a spectacular view of the Mississippi River. Learn about the colonization of Natchez, its history and culture, as well as the history of tamales. The Natchez indigenous tribes are said to have taught the enslaved Africans how to make tamales, and from there the rest is culinary history. Enjoy two Mississippi Hot Tamales, regional beer or lemonade, and explore this historic building which dates back over three centuries. A Major Andrew Ellicott impersonator will bring this experience to life.

Activity Level: Moderate | ADA ACCESSIBLE: No

Longwood, the only octagonal mansion in the region, epitomizes the rise and fall of the South. As the Civil War began, the workmen stopped construction and the house was never completed. View the finished lower level still adorned with original family furnishing and the upper stories and rotunda that are still a work in progress. This truly is a place where time has stood still, preserved for all to experience.

Activity Level: Moderate | ADA Accessibility: Partial

Experience a once-in-a-lifetime outdoor adventure at the Double C Ranch, perfect for nature-lovers and wildlife-enthusiasts. Aboard your private sport utility vehicle, guided by a local professional, enjoy breathtaking views as you travel through scenic hardwood forest, cattle fields, farmlands, and pine plantations. Back at the ranch, watch in awe during live tomahawk throwing, bullwhip popping, archery, and lasso throwing demonstrations. After, get some pointers on form and technique and prepare to shine and surprise yourself as you give it a try! Take home a survivor certificate and photos to share.

Activity Level: Moderate | ADA Accessibility: No

This is a Signature shore excursion and should be reserved in advance. Please call (800) 894-8570 for information.

Board this convenient shuttle, making stops at:

  • Fort Rosalie & Trading Post - Fort Rosalie was built by the French in 1716 within the territory of the Natchez Native Indians and it was part of the French colonial empire, becoming the first settlement in present day Natchez, Mississippi. Walk the hallowed grounds of the long-gone fort and enjoy perusing the gift items of the modern trading post.   
  • Historic Natchez in Photos - Visit the Stratton Chapel Gallery in down¬town Natchez behind First Presbyterian Church. View an outstanding collection of photographs taken from as early as 1860, including family portraits, steamboats, and street scenes.  
  • Main Street & Franklin Street - Explore the few one-of-a-kind antique shops or just walk among the many beautifully restored historic buildings of this lovely town.  
  • Historic Natchez Bluffs & Gazebo - Sitting 200 feet above the banks of the Mississippi River, the Gazebo offers the best vantage point from which to take in the river’s natural splendor.  
  • Rosalie House - Visit Rosalie, an antebellum mansion in downtown Natchez. Excursions begin at the top of every hour. Make sure to wear your lanyard for complimentary entry.

Activity Level: Low | ADA ACCESSIBLE: Yes

Nineteen historical buildings, dating from 1790’s to 1900, are a restored tribute to Frogmore Cotton Plantation & Gins, a modern 1,800-acre working cotton estate with a computerized farm and gin. Before beginning your exploration, meet the owner who will explain the farming and ginning operations. Participate in picking cotton and removing the seeds and tour a rare, steam engine gin listed on the National Register of Historic Properties.

Be seated in the hand-hewn log cabin and listen to narration and the vocalist’s songs highlighting the history of southern plantations, including the Constitution, Emancipation Proclamation, and accurate statistics of the enslaved and planter families. After an enlightening overview of the historical Frogmore owners, explore the cotton fields and authentic cabins to learn the origin of southern cuisine, the day-to-day operations and how their labor force evolved into sharecropping, a way of life for 100 years. Enjoy a complimentary beverage as you browse an original plantation store.

Take a cultural, moving journey through the history of Natchez that goes beyond grand estates and mansions and tells the stories of African Americans, from slavery and the Civil Rights Movement to the present day.

Along this Historic Path to Freedom, you will visit Dunleith Mansion to learn about John Roy Lynch, a child servant who became the first African American to become a member of the U.S. House of Representatives. Your exploration will continue through Natchez, where you will see and learn about places such as "Forks in the Road" and the Rhythm Nightclub Fire site.

Travel to the Zion Station Chapel African Methodist Episcopal Church for a brief introduction by the Pastor and a spiritual musical experience by Natchez noted gospel performers. Learn about The Parchman Ordeal and how it forged the way for economic progress for the African American citizens of Natchez. This well-told, enlightening experience will conclude with a visit to the Natchez Museum of African American Culture, where the exhibits will underscore the importance of the stops made along this exclusive American Cruise Lines experience.

Activity Level: Low | ADA Accessibility: Yes

Join a local guide for a unique and unforgettable experience, combining the history and culture of Natchez, with the opportunity to taste some of the most iconic cocktails of the region.  On a guided exploration, admire the architecture and design of two historic mansions.  Make a stop at Historic Dunleith, where you will be welcomed with the refreshing taste of hibiscus mimosas, a classic cocktail made with freshly squeezed orange juice, champagne, and a house-made hibiscus syrup. While sipping, learn about Natchez history and admire the beauty of this mansion built in 1856, as well as the stunning grounds.   Continue on to Historic Linden, an early suburban villa, where you will have the chance to try a classic southern cocktail, milk punch. Dating back to the 18th century, this libation is made with brandy, milk, sugar, and nutmeg. Delight in the rich and smooth taste, while learning about the legends of Linden, built in 1790.   Activity Level: Low | ADA: Partial

Experience a multitude of National treasures, historic sites, and local points of interest from the comfort of your motorcoach. Natchez boasts more National Landmarks than any other town in Mississippi. Begin your exploration at the mighty Natchez Bluffs overlooking the Mississippi River. Your local guide will entertain you with local lore and legends, in addition to historical facts. View historic architectural gems, African American sites, local favorites, and a few quirky place. Complete your experience with a complimentary guided exploration of Historic Rosalie Mansion, so exquisite, she’s known as "Our Lady on The Bluff." Activity Level: Low | ADA Accessibility: No

Day 6 - St. Francisville, LA

St. Francisville, Louisiana, invites you on a journey through time, blending history with mystery and culinary delights. Led by an expert historian, embark on a once-in-a-lifetime exploration of pivotal Battle of Baton Rouge locations and the significance of Vicksburg in the Civil War. Visit Fort Desperate, witness interpretive demonstrations, and hold artifacts from the battles.

Step into the haunting beauty of the Myrtles estate, built in 1796, renowned as one of America's most haunted homes. Marvel at its architectural splendor, adorned with exquisite details and surrounded by ancient live oak trees. 

Experience the art of Cochon de Lait cooking, a cherished Louisiana tradition, while learning about its cultural significance. Indulge in a sumptuous spread of pork, Louisiana boudin, and traditional sides, accompanied by captivating stories of Louisiana's rich culinary heritage.

Led by an expert historian in a once in a lifetime opportunity, explore locations that were critical to the Battle of Baton Rouge and hear about the history surrounding Vicksburg in the Civil War. You will learn about the culminating battle and Campaign to open the Mississippi River. Visit Fort Desperate, the only location on the battlefield assaulted twice, see an interpretive demonstration, have the opportunity to hold bullets and artillery shells fired during the battles, and have a private guided exploration of the museum

Activity Level: Moderate | ADA ACCESSIBLE: Yes

Explore and learn about the legacy and lineage of the Turnbull family at Rosedown and Catalpa. On the National Listing of Historic Landmarks, Rosedown is located in one of the most historic corridors of South Louisiana. The presence of the Mississippi River along its shores created rich soil overtime which proved extremely valuable during the cotton boom. As you stroll through this grand estate, local guides will regale you with stories of the families who lived there and plantation life in the 1800s. Enjoy exploring one of the few and largest privately maintained formal gardens of the 19th century.  

Visit Catalpa and hear from Mary, a descendant of the original owners. She will host you in her gracious home filled with the treasures of five generations and recount stories of the family and growing up in this beautiful place. Fine portraits, exceptional antiques and beautiful old china, porcelain and silver are original to either Catalpa or Rosedown, home of the owner's grandmother. Conclude your exploration with a special beverage that has been served for years at Catalpa. 

At first glimpse Myrtles, built in 1796, envelopes one with a complete sense of peace and tranquility. However, it is reputed to be one of the most haunted homes in America. Surrounded by centuries-old live oak trees, the mansion features a 125-foot verandah, exquisite ornamental ironwork, hand-painted stained glass, open-pierced frieze work crown molding, Aubusson tapestry, Baccarat crystal chandelier, Carrara marble mantels, gold-leafed French furnishings and ghosts.

Activity Level: Moderate | ADA Accessibility: Yes

Enjoy a hands-on experience in the gallery and at several outbuildings, including a home exploration, a cooking demonstration with samples, a blacksmith demonstration, a short exploration of the grounds, and a museum visit. 

Explore the unique home where Audubon resided. Audubon Historic Site is located on Oakley Plantation where John James Audubon lived and worked 1821, completing or beginning 32 of his bird paintings while in residence. During this time, he was commissioned to teach illustration to the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. James Pirrie, owners of Oakley. Although his engagement was brief and there is no record of his success in teaching Miss Pirrie, Audubon worked on several of his paintings while in the lush, natural, and peaceful setting of Oakley, filling his sketch pad with notes and drawings for his famous series of bird illustrations.

Enjoy a traditional Louisiana Cochon De Lait with local musicians and Bayou Sara setting the atmosphere. Cochon de lait is the art of cooking a pig before an open hardwood fire, a custom which began at least a century ago and has since been popular throughout Cajun country. Be treated to a presentation of the hog along with a verbal history lesson of its significant importance in traditional Louisiana culture. Delight in the flavors of pork, Louisiana boudin, traditional potato salads, seasonal vegetables, as well as bread, crackers, and sauces to accompany dishes.

Activity Level: Low | ADA Accessability: Yes    

Day 7 - Baton Rouge, LA

Known for Cajun and Creole cuisine, this jazzy city is a melting pot of culture. Founded in 1699 by French explorers, its rich past is evident in its diverse architecture, from historic homes to modern skyscrapers.

The Louisiana State Capitol stands as an architectural marvel, boasting the title of the tallest capitol building in the United States. Its distinctive Art Deco style and towering presence make it an iconic landmark of Louisiana's political and historical significance. 

Listen to the influence of all the people that make this city the landmark it is today. From soulful tunes to foot-tapping beats, the city's diverse musical heritage ensures an unforgettable experience for music enthusiasts.

Experience the sights, sounds, and wonders of Baton Rouge, the Capital City of Louisiana. Led by a local expert guide, admire iconic and historical landmarks while exploring many of the well-known downtown neighborhoods on foot. Enjoy fascinating stories of the area’s culture, politics, history, and legends while embracing the rich art, architecture, and nature on the route. Walk past the levee, USS KIDD , Louisiana Art and Science Museum, the Capitol Building, and through Spanish Town.

Housed in a historic railroad depot on the banks of the Mississippi River, the Louisiana Art & Science Museum (LASM) offers educational entertainment for visitors of all ages. The art galleries showcase changing fine art exhibitions and selections from a permanent collection. The Ancient Egypt Gallery houses ancient artifacts and a Ptolemaic-era mummy that rests in a re-created rock-cut tomb. The Irene W. Pennington Planetarium features sky shows, large-format films, visual music shows, and galleries devoted to space science.

Experience the mighty Mississippi River from the unique perspective of your personal boat captain who has spent a lifetime on the river – a modern-day Mark Twain! Witness the bustling activity around Baton Rouge and hear countless stories and amazing facts about the Mississippi River’s round-the-clock towing industry. Marvel at the sheer size of the panamax vessels operating in this part of the river and pass the nearby the Exxon facility where you are likely to see the ships loading petroleum for shipment overseas. Learn how the river barges are lashed together with ratchet straps and thick cables and how the experienced river tug captains safely navigate the river with numerous barges in tow. See the Dreyfuss grain elevators working in tandem with the barges being loaded and unloaded, fueling the country’s Midwest commerce. Pause underneath the towering I 10 Bridge en route to Mulatto Bend and hear how the original community was washed away by the river, where the renowned Southern University now stands.

Activity Level: Moderate / ADA Accessible: Partial

Led by an expert historian, explore locations that were critical to the Battle of Baton Rouge and hear about the history surrounding Vicksburg in the Civil War. Visit the historic Magnolia Cemetery and stand upon the very ground where the most intense fighting of the battle took place. Baton Rouge was the most fought over land in Louisiana’s history and this experience will cover not only the Civil War, but the American Revolution and the Florida Rebellion. Although the landscape of Baton Rouge isn’t the same as it was in the 1780s or 1810s, its history will be brought to life by your guide. Visit the Magnolia Mound Plantation, a Baton Rouge city park. Magnolia Mound, unlike other antebellum house museums along the Lower Mississippi, is not your grand mansion. Rather, it’s a simple structure built during Louisiana’s colonial history, and around the time of its Statehood into the Union.  Activity Level: Moderate / ADA Accessible: Yes

Day 8 - Oak Alley, LA / Houmas House, LA

This iconic Southern estate is renowned for its oak-lined avenue, stretching majestically towards the Mississippi River. Built in the early 19th century, this Greek Revival mansion exudes charm with its grand architecture and lush gardens. Visitors are transported back in time as they explore the meticulously preserved interiors and learn about the land’s history, including its role in the sugar industry.

Houmas House and Gardens offers a glimpse into the opulent lifestyle of Louisiana's plantation owners. Known as the "Crown Jewel of Louisiana's River Road," this magnificent estate features stunning architecture, lush gardens, and luxurious interiors. Visitors can tour the lavishly decorated rooms, stroll through the expansive grounds, and enjoy fine dining at the onsite restaurant. Houmas House invites guests to step into a world of Southern splendor and hospitality.

Enjoy a narrated boat ride in the Manchac Swamp, a privately owned wildlife refuge. Relax in a comfortable, covered boat, with walking room and open viewing from any seat. Swamp creatures are unafraid and responsive to our captain’s voice. In the safety and comfort of the boat, you will be able to get within a few feet of our “jumping gators.” Other animals to be on the lookout for include nutria, ibis, turtles, herons, raccoons, egrets, and more.

From its canopy of 300-year-old oaks to its vast open spaces, Oak Alley's landscape tells the story of a southern plantation over time. Over 200 years ago, Oak Alley was just a land claim on a map and has since served many purposes, including as a sugar plantation, a rice farm, a chicken farm, a cattle ranch, and a country home. Agricultural tycoons, sugar planters, slaves, immigrant laborers, and real estate speculators have traversed its grounds over time.

Today, Oak Alley is a National Historic Landmark dedicated to preserving and interpreting the history of its inhabitants. With an emphasis on its time as a sugar plantation, visitors are invited to walk under its iconic alley, explore the exhibits, interact with staff, and leave with a richer, more powerful understanding of this plantation's complex history. For the full southern experience, don't forget to take time for a complimentary mint julep. 

Activity Level: High | ADA Accessibility: Partial

Admire the southern splendor of “The Sugar Palace,” as you step into 16 rooms filled with rare period antiques and Louisiana artwork. Explore the mansion, which has been restored to the antebellum era, reflecting the opulence and wealth that this sugarcane farm boasted during the 1800s. Learn about plantation life and the 250-year history of the manor, including its architectural evolution to becoming a grand estate. 

Activity Level: Moderate | ADA ACCESSIBLE: No

Come “veiller” (shoot the breeze) with Boudreaux and Thibodeaux as you stir up your very own “ti” (junior) pot of jambalaya in the old Robert Barn by the Cajun Cottages.  Be entertained with Cajun folktales while getting step-by-step coaching from a local Cajun jambalaya cook. After dining, enjoy shopping in the Cajun Village, a unique location with specialty crafts and Louisiana items. In case you have the “envie” (craving) for a cup of café au lait and beignets, you can swing by the Coffee House for complimentary beignets.   Activity Level: Moderate / ADA Accessible: Partial  

Step beyond the myths of the American South to experience true-life, first-hand compelling accounts of four generations of Créole women, children, and slaves. Experienced guides transport you into the complex, vanishing world of Créole Louisiana at Laura Plantation, a 200+ year-old sugar habitation. A new, permanent exhibit honors the men, women, and children who were enslaved here, including detailed biographies of former slaves who fought for the freedom in the Union Army during the Civil War. Activity Level: Moderate / ADA Accessible: No

Day 9 - New Orleans, LA

Established in 1718, this jazz-centric city features notable locations such as the French Quarter, with its ornate architecture, and Bourbon Street, famous for its bustling nightlife. Explore the historic St. Louis Cathedral, built in 1794, and Jackson Square, a hub of artistic and cultural activity.

Uncover the city's past at the National WWII Museum, honoring American soldiers' sacrifices during World War II. Wander through the Garden District, known for its elegant mansions and lush gardens.

Indulge in the city's culinary delights, including gumbo, po'boys, and beignets. Enjoy live music at venues like Preservation Hall and Tipitina's, or any sidewalk where jazz, blues, and funk fill the air. 

Why not stay an extra night or two to immerse yourself in the spirit of this vibrant city? Ask your onboard Hotel Manager for recommendations on area hotels, attractions, and more.

During this post-cruise city exploration, you will see many of New Orleans’ major sights and attractions including:

  • The famous French Quarter
  • Homes of former Kings and Queens of Mardi Gras
  • Stately mansions
  • The exclusive Garden District, and more.

At the conclusion of the excursion, your motorcoach will take you to the Louis-Armstrong New Orleans International Airport (MSY).

Excursion Image

  • Day 1 New Orleans, LA
  • Day 3 Oak Alley, LA / Houmas House, LA
  • Day 4 Baton Rouge, LA
  • Day 6 Vicksburg, MS
  • Day 7 Day of Cruising
  • Day 8 Memphis, TN
  • Day 9 Memphis, TN

Day 1 - New Orleans, LA

Settle into your hotel and enjoy a feast for your senses as you explore 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. 

Day 3 - Oak Alley, LA / Houmas House, LA

Day 4 - Baton Rouge, LA

Being your excursion with a narrated city exploration with views of the impressive Governor's Hall and the New State Capitol. Admire the Old Louisiana State Capitol also known as the State House. Enjoy views of Magnolia Mound, a French Creole plantation house built in 1791 and a rare example of the architecture influenced by early settlers from France and the West Indies.

Next you will be driven to the LSU Rural Life Museum; a museum dedicated to the preservation and exhibition of materials from the cultures of 18th and 19th-century rural Louisianans. The museum highlights how the rest of the south lived in comparison to the mansions and plantations visited throughout this itinerary. Experience life in a rural setting in the early lives of Louisiana during the 18th and 19th centuries. You will leave the facility with a better understanding of the differences in the material, social, and economic cultures during this time period, and of today's lifestyles. 

Day 6 - Vicksburg, MS

Day 7 - Day of Cruising

Day 8 - Memphis, TN

Explore Sun Studio, well-known in the music industry as the birthplace of rock ‘n’ roll and the most famous recording studio in the world. Founded by rock pioneer Sam Phillips in 1950, this National Historic Landmark is where superstar musicians like Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, B.B. King, Johnny Cash, Roy Orbison and countless others started their recording careers.

Activity Level: Low | ADA ACCESSIBLE: No

For any fan of Elvis, this is the ultimate way to experience Graceland and to learn about his life and musical career. Visit Graceland Mansion and four new exhibits on the property, including the Elvis Presley Car Museum. Climb aboard one of his custom airplanes, remodeled to suit his lifestyle. Enjoy authentic Memphis cuisine at one of the themed restaurants on the property. Following Graceland, enjoy a brief city motorcoach exploration of Memphis. This excursion is perfect for any rock ‘n’ roll music lover. 

Activity Level: High | ADA Accessible: Partial 

Established in 1991, the National Civil Rights Museum is located at the former Lorraine Motel, where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated in 1968. The museum’s mission is to share the history of the American Civil Rights Movement, a tumultuous and inspiring period of change. Explore interactive exhibits and historic collections to learn how this significant era continues to shape equality and freedom today.

Explore the captivating city of Memphis at your leisure with our convenient shuttle, making stops at:

  • Beale Street – One of the most iconic streets in America, Beale Street is three blocks of nightclubs, restaurants, and shops in the heart of downtown Memphis.  
  • Peabody Hotel - This Memphis icon, opened in 1869, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is world-famous for its five resident ducks, who march daily through the lobby.  
  • Edge Motor - Discover the stories behind some of the world’s most iconic cars, including how these cars reflect the eras in which they were designed, built, sold, and driven.   
  • Memphis Pyramid - Much more than just a retail space, this 535,000-sq. ft. pyramid offers many unique experiences, including the world’s tallest freestanding elevator, an underwater-themed bowling alley, an aquarium, and a variety of one-of-a kind dining destinations.

The Memphis Rock ‘n’ Soul Museum was the first exhibition ever to have been developed by the Smithsonian Institution with another museum. The exhibition tells the story of musical pioneers who overcame racial and socio-economic barriers to create music that would influence American culture and the world. Visit the Memphis Music Hall of Fame. Explore the museum and exhibition which introduces guests to some of the greatest musicians of all time, each who contributed the city’s musical legacy. Enjoy never-before-seen memorabilia, rare video performances and interviews, interactive exhibits, and more.

Relax and let your motorcoach guide show you the highlights of this fascinating city on the bluff. Memphis is located on the Mississippi River at the northern end of the Mississippi Delta where the Blues were born. Its history is linked to cotton and music. Along your exploration, stop at the Lorraine Motel, the location where Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated.

The next photo opportunity will be at the famous Sun Studio, the birthplace of rock ‘n’ roll. You will also have the option to walk through the Peabody Hotel and see the famous ducks in the fountain. Enjoy some time at the Memphis Pyramid, housing an impressive Bass Pro Shop, a Lodge, Restaurants and more. During the excursion, you will be driven through the streets of downtown Memphis. You will see Victorian Village, Orpheum Theater, Rock N Soul Museum, St. Jude's Children's Hospital, Cotton Row, Beale Street, Lauderdale Courts, early home of Elvis Presley, Sun Studio, and the Auto Zone Park. Travel by the National Civil Rights Museum and stop to see The Lorraine Motel.  

Activity Level: Moderate  | ADA ACCESSIBLE: Yes

Day 9 - Memphis, TN

Enjoy breakfast onboard the ship as you prepare for your journey home. Reflect upon the memorable experiences and the new friendships forged during your time with us.

Thank you for cruising with us. We hope your voyage was filled with delightful moments that you carry with you. Safe travels home, and we look forward to welcoming you aboard again soon.  

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Sports Olympics

Dozens of boats cruise the seine river in a rehearsal for the paris olympics’ opening ceremony.

Barges cruise on the Seine river during a rehearsal for...

Barges cruise on the Seine river during a rehearsal for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games opening ceremony, Monday, June. 17, 2024 in Paris. The river will host the Paris 2024 Olympic Games opening ceremony on July 26 with boats for each national delegation. (AP Photo/Thomas Padilla)

Barges cruise on the Seine river during a rehearsal for...

A rescue boat cruises on the Seine river near the Eiffel Tower during a rehearsal for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games opening ceremony, Monday, June. 17, 2024 in Paris. The river will host the Paris 2024 Olympic Games opening ceremony on July 26 with boats for each national delegation. (AP Photo/Thomas Padilla)

A police boat cruises on the Seine river during a...

A police boat cruises on the Seine river during a rehearsal for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games opening ceremony, Monday, June. 17, 2024 in Paris. The river will host the Paris 2024 Olympic Games opening ceremony on July 26 with boats for each national delegation. (AP Photo/Thomas Padilla)

Police officers stand on the banks on the Seine river...

Police officers stand on the banks on the Seine river as a rescue boat and a barge cruise near the Eiffel Tower during a rehearsal for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games opening ceremony, Monday, June. 17, 2024 in Paris. The river will host the Paris 2024 Olympic Games opening ceremony on July 26 with boats for each national delegation. (AP Photo/Thomas Padilla)

Police officers stand on a bridge as barges cruise on...

Police officers stand on a bridge as barges cruise on the Seine river during a rehearsal for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games opening ceremony, Monday, June. 17, 2024 in Paris.The river will host the Paris 2024 Olympic Games opening ceremony on July 26 with boats for each national delegation. (AP Photo/Thomas Padilla)

PARIS (AP) — Curious onlookers gathered on bridges as dozens of boats snaked along the Seine river on Monday in a rehearsal for the Paris Olympics’ unique opening ceremony next month.

A total of 55 boats made the journey from Pont d’Austerlitz, named after a French military victory in 1805, to Pont d’Iéna, a stone’s throw from the Eiffel Tower, the nation’s most striking and best known landmark.

Officials are confident that the near four-hour ceremony will run like clockwork on July 26.

“Six months ago we had like 10 minutes delay on the timing and today we are very close, almost to the second to our targets,” Thierry Reboul, the executive director for ceremonies said. “So it is very satisfying. We’ve respected an extremely precise level of timing.”

On the day of the eagerly-awaited event, around 200 Olympic delegations will join the parade on more than 80 boats. They will make the journey from east to west, along a six-kilometer (3.7-mile) route which has become a major talking point — for its audacity as a unique open-air event and for its exposure to potential danger.

Security concerns led French President Emmanuel Macron to say in mid-April that the ceremony could shift to Stade de France if the threat level was too high. But Reboul said Monday that authorities are preparing for the big day as originally planned, with no alternatives being prepared at this stage.

There will be a final rehearsal, involving the full armada of boats, before the opening ceremony — one which is expected to bring 100 world leaders to the city’s embankments, where more than 300,000 people will watch.

“We will give our heart and souls to make it a great success for the French people,” France’s Sports Minister Amélie Oudéa-Castéra said Monday. “They deserve it.”

The rehearsal saw 10 police speedboats shadowing the convoy, as well as speedboats equipped with television cameras. There were armed police officers stationed at various points along the way. The boats crossed 16 bridges, passing by iconic landmarks such as the green-tinged Grand Palais — where fencing and Taekwondo events will be held.

On each bridge, a few dozen people watched attentively.

“Fifty-five? That’s a lot of boats,” said 49-year-old Rosa Gabriel. Taking a break between walking from the Louvre and Notre Dame Cathedral, she watched it from the Pont des Arts bridge — fondly known as Love Lock Bridge, with its thousands of personalized locks attached to the railings.

One tourist even mistook the scene for something else.

“Maybe they are making a movie,” said Driss El Kaoutari, a 42-year-old from Morocco who was on vacation in Paris with his daughter.

What people actually saw were empty vessels bobbing slowly by. But they will be full of life, color, sound and movement next month.

“You will have many delegation members on the boats with their uniforms and their flags,” Reboul said. “Around them there will be many other things, as you can imagine.”

The water itself has become a sensitive and thorny topic for the organizers and politicians heading into the July 26-Aug. 11 Paris Games . A whopping $1.5 billion investment has already been made to improve the Seine’s water quality, with Macron and Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo both promising to take a dip .

This time, it was Oudéa-Castéra’s turn to give assurances about the river — where marathon swimmers and triathletes are set to compete during the Olympics.

She bristled a little when answering.

“Regarding the quality of the Seine’s water, we are confident. You shouldn’t ask us to be ready ahead of time,” Oudéa-Castéra said, adding that a new center for collecting waste will be opened next week.

AP Summer Olympics: https://apnews.com/hub/summer-olympics

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NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg says a record more than 20 NATO member nations are hitting the Western military alliance’s defense spending target this year as Russia’s war in Ukraine has raised the threat of expanding conflict in Europe. Stoltenberg made the announcement Monday during a talk at the Wilson Center in Washington before meeting with President Joe Biden later at the White House. The estimated figure is a nearly fourfold increase from 2021 in the number of the 32 NATO members meeting the alliance’s defense spending guideline. NATO allies agreed last year to spend at least 2% of their gross domestic product on defense. Stoltenberg’s visit comes ahead of a NATO leaders summit in Washington next month.

A record number of NATO allies are hitting their defense spending target during war in Ukraine

Israeli airstrikes are eradicating entire Palestinian families in Gaza, sometimes generations at a time, to a degree never seen before in previous conflicts there.

World News | The war in Gaza has wiped out entire Palestinian families. AP documents 60 who lost dozens or more

North Korean state media says Russian President Vladimir Putin will arrive in the country on Tuesday for a two-day visit. Putin's first trip to the country in 24 years comes amid international concerns about the two countries' expanding military cooperation. Putin is expected to meet the North Korean leader Kim Jong Un for talks as they deepen their alignment in the face of separate, intensifying confrontations with Washington. North Korea’s official Korean Central News Agency said Putin will visit the North on Tuesday and Wednesday at the invitation of Kim. North Korean state media didn’t immediately provide more details. Russia confirmed the visit in a simultaneous announcement. Putin also will visit Vietnam.

Russia’s Putin to visit North Korea amid international concerns over their military cooperation

Both President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump express baseline support for Israel, but they diverge significantly on a two-state solution, settlements and other key questions.

National Politics | Biden vs. Trump: Where they stand on Israel, Palestinians, Middle East


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    Art MuseumsHistory Museums. Write a review. Full view. All photos (22) Suggest edits to improve what we show. Improve this listing. The area. Nikolaeva ul., d. 30A, Elektrostal 144003 Russia. Reach out directly.

  26. Dozens of boats cruise the Seine river in a rehearsal for the Paris

    On the day itself around 200 Olympic delegations will join the parade on more than 80 boats along the ceremony's six-kilometer (3.7-mile) route. ... A rescue boat cruises on the Seine river near ...

  27. THE 10 BEST Things to Do in Elektrostal (Updated 2024)

    THE 10 BEST Things to Do in Elektrostal. 1. Electrostal History and Art Museum. 2. Statue of Lenin. 3. Park of Culture and Leisure. 4. Museum and Exhibition Center.

  28. Russian ships arrive in Cuba as Cold War allies strengthen their ties

    The vessels will carry out a five-day official visit to the Caribbean island - a show of Russian force just 90 miles from Florida as tensions rise between the US and Russia over the war in Ukraine.

  29. The 10 Best Things to Do in Elektrostal

    1. Bars & Clubs. 11. Papa Lounge Bar. Bars & Clubs. 12. Karaoke Bar. Karaoke Bars. Things to Do in Elektrostal, Russia: See Tripadvisor's 801 traveller reviews and photos of Elektrostal tourist attractions.