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Memphis - New Orleans Rail - River Journey


Discover the charm of the South on an 11-day rail river-cruise adventure.

You are viewing the 2022 itinerary. Select your departure year
11 days Not yet on sale
Travel on your own following a well-planned itinerary

2022 Tour code: GC-MNOS-22

About the tour

This journey takes you from the Windy City of Chicago to historic Memphis by train, and from Memphis to the Crescent City, New Orleans, by steamboat. As you travel along the Lower Mississippi, enjoy the relaxing scenery and notable ports of call including Vicksburg, Mississippi, and Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

Midwest travelers may omit the Chicago City Stay and sightseeing. Speak with a rail specialist for details.

American Queen Steamboat Company requires a COVID-19 vaccination for all guests and crew for all sailings beginning July 1, 2021


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What’s included


Day 1 - Arrive in Chicago

Arrive in Chicago, check into your hotel, and enjoy a day at leisure to explore this cosmopolitan metropolis. Overnight Chicago.

Day 2 - Chicago Sightseeing

Using your Hop On/Hop Off Pass, explore the city's most impressive sights and landmarks including Millennium Park, the Art Institute, Navy Pier, and the John Hancock Observatory. Take time to shop along the Magnificent Mile and grab a slice of Chicago's famous deep dish pizza. Early this evening, make your way to historic Union Station, where you'll board the City of New Orleans for your 8:05 pm departure south to Memphis. Overnight train.

Day 3 - Memphis

The City of New Orleans is scheduled to arrive in Memphis at 6:27 am. Disembark the train and transfer on your own to your centrally-located downtown hotel. The day is yours to explore Memphis. You may wish to visit Graceland and tour Elvis's home. Or, uncover the city's musical heritage with a visit to Sun Studios or the Rock n' Soul Museum. This evening, enjoy some good BBQ or experience the beats of Beale Street. Overnight Memphis.

Day 4 - Memphis at Leisure / Steamboat American Queen

The day is yours to enjoy the sights and sounds of Memphis. This afternoon, board the American Queen, settle into your onboard accommodations, and prepare for your evening departure. Overnight vessel. 

  • Dinner
Day 5 - River Cruising

There is always plenty to do between dawn and dusk on the river and today is the perfect day to enjoy the many public spaces and activities that are available to you onboard. Consider booking an indulgent, stress-relieving massage in the American Queen's spa. Browse The Emporium gift shop for that perfect keepsake, or take the time to mingle with fellow guests.

  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 6 - Vicksburg

Board a Hop-On Hop-Off motorcoach to see Vicksburg's prominent sights including the city's shopping district; the Church of Holy Trinity, a place of spiritual refreshment to Vicksburg for over 125 years; Anchuca Mansion, an impressive Greek Revival antebellum home; the Old Court House Museum, which showcases thousands of artifacts from pre-Columbian times to Civil War implements; Washington Street for some more shopping as well as an included admission to the Biedenharn Coca-Cola Museum; the Lower Mississippi River Museum, where we can find out how different communities, farming families, and the US Army Corps of Engineers have all utilized the river; and, the Old Depot Museum, a preservation museum run by the Vicksburg Battlefield Museum and highlights the Siege of Vicksburg.

  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 7 - Natchez

Visit the Natchez Visitors Center for their gift shop, bookstore and exhibits including a film about this historic port. A narrated tour of the city includes admission to the antebellum mansions: Magnolia Hall, Stanton Hall, Rosalie Mansion and the William Johnson House. We make a stop at King's Tavern and Charboneau Distillery where we take an an exclusive tour of the distillery, followed by a guided tour of the bar, located just next door, with a complimentary custom drink. Admission to the Natchez Museum of African-American History and Culture is also included. Don't miss this illuminating look into the hard lives of the people that built the opulent mansions of Natchez. Overnight vessel. 

  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 8 - Baton Rouge

In Louisiana's capital city, we'll see something unique at every turn! Our day will begin with a stop for the military enthusiast at the USS Kidd, a WWII Fletcher-class destroyer, and the adjoining Veterans Memorial Museum followed by a visit to the Old Governor's Mansion. Next, stroll through the intricate Capitol gardens and tour the Capitol Park Museum, a Louisiana State Museum. Here we can step onto a simulated Mardi Gras float, discover the difference between Cajun and Creole and lose ourselves in multimedia presentations. Our next stop is the LSU Museum of Art, located inside the Shaw Center for the Arts and featuring a diverse art collection. Hop off at Louisiana's Old State Capitol, A Gothic architectural monument located on the bluffs overlooking the Mighty Mississippi. Our last stop is at the Louisiana Art and Science Museum. 

  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 9 - St. Francisville

Hop on our deluxe motorcoach, and begin your tour at Royal Street where you can choose to enjoy the park or stroll into Grandmother's Buttons, a unique southern boutique. Next, we can visit the Old Market Hall and explore the art, jewelry, handmade items and music of the region. Finally, we will visit the West Feliciana Historical Society Museum on Ferdinand Street and the Grace Episcopal Church.

  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 10 - Nottoway

Nottoway is the South's largest, most grand remaining Antebellum mansion with a rich history dating back to 1859. In a fabulous location along the great River Road overlooking the grand Mississippi River, this "White Castle" of the South transports visitors back to an era of glory and grandeur. Set amongst a natural backdrop of vibrant gardens and two hundred-year-old oak trees, Nottoway Plantation captivates all with a brilliant blend of genuine Southern hospitality, history, and mystery.

  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 11 - New Orleans

The American Queen is scheduled to arrive in New Orleans at 8:00 am and will tie up near historic Jackson Square. Disembark the Steamboat and conclude your rail and river cruise journey in this vibrant city. Ask a rail specialist about extending your stay in New Orleans, or transfer on your own to the rail station or airport for your return trip home.

Additional information

Hotel Accommodations

Hotels include Palmer House Chicago. Deluxe accommodations are provided in Memphis. 

Pricing Plans

Amtrak accommodations are available in Roomettes and Bedrooms.

Roomette accommodations include a private cabin featuring two comfortable seats beside a picture window during the day, converting to an upper and lower berth at night.

Bedroom accommodations feature a sofa and chair by day, and upper and lower berth by night. Bedroom accommodations also include a sink and self-enclosed toilet and shower. All travelers have access to the Sightseer Lounge.

Roomette and Bedroom accommodations include all meals aboard the train. 

Accommodations onboard the American Queen range from Inside Cabins featuring single beds and bathroom with shower and Outside Staterooms with bay window or veranda from which to admire the passing scenery to suites with veranda. 

Please note

Port taxes are not included. 

Vacations By Rail can supply connecting rail from your closest Amtrak Station. Travelers from the Midwest may exclude the Chicago stay and sightseeing at the beginning of this vacation. Ask a Vacations By Rail travel specialist for details.

Departure times

Departure times vary based on selected rail vacation. This information will be provided in your final documents. For more information please speak with your rail specialist.

Mobility information

Due to the nature of our tours they are generally unsuitable for those with restricted mobility. If you’d like to discuss any particular vacation with us in this respect, then please don’t hesitate to call us.


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