Enjoy an epic 15-day journey on our Grand Heartland Cruise. This cruise on the Mississippi River travels from the northern reaches of St. Paul, MN all the way down to the basin in New Orleans. View the dramatic landscapes of the Upper Mississippi River which have long inspired artists, writers, and steamboat passengers. Visit Hannibal, the hometown of Mark Twain where the characters in his most popular works come to life. Immerse yourself in the culture of Memphis, the mid-South’s most vibrant city, famous for Blues and BBQ. As you journey down the river, hear stories about southern life on the plantation and tour historic Civil War sites led by our local area experts. On your final stop, New Orleans, enjoy privileged access to its vibrant music scene and the best in Cajun and Creole cuisine.
Flights are available on request, please call for details
Each Mississippi itinerary comes complete with a Complimentary Pre-Cruise Package, providing you with a seamless way to board the ship and explore the local area. Arrive the day before your scheduled cruise date and American Cruise Lines will handle the rest. The package includes a premium hotel stay, where you can enjoy the city at your leisure. On the morning of the cruise, meet in the hotel lobby after breakfast 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 - St Paul , Minnesota
St. Paul is a thrilling place to begin your adventure on the Mississippi River. History buffs will enjoy a walking tour of Summit Avenue, which showcases gorgeous historic mansions built in the late 1800’s. St. Paul’s enchanting art galleries, world class museums, and entertaining stage performances will capture your imagination.
Day 3 - Red Wing, Minnesota
Nestled among the scenic bluffs of the upper Mississippi River, Red Wing’s beauty has inspired artisans and craftspeople for over 150 years. Red Wing delivers a diverse blend of arts, entertainment, and activities for your pleasure. Enjoy a show at the historic Sheldon Performing Arts Theatre or observe the beauty of nature at one of Red Wing’s 38 parks.
Witness bald and golden eagles like never before, face-to-face! The National Eagle Center offers a unique viewing opportunity that brings visitors within a few feet of these majestic creatures with no barrier in between. This is an experience like no other and one you will never forget.
Travel back in time, as you tour the beautiful city of Red Wing. Led by our local expert guide, view some of the most impressive Victorian homes of the period, as well as the historic St. James Hotel. Visit the Pottery Museum of Red Wing and admire the numerous vintage pieces of artisan-crafted stoneware, art pottery, dinnerware, and folk art.
Day 4 - Natchez, Mississippi
Step into 19th-century America in La Crosse, located on the banks of three captivating rivers. La Crosse is home to Riverside Park, where you can enjoy beautiful gardens, an outdoor performance center, and inspiring sculptures.
Premium – Hixon House & La Crosse City Tour Take a narrated tour of this wonderful city. Discover the historic downtown with its late 19th and early 20th-century buildings, as well as the well-preserved residential neighborhoods. Gain insight into LaCrosse’s development, from the boomtown riverboat days and roaring ‘20s to the challenges and opportunities of the 21st century. Visit the Hixon House, an authentic Victorian home and designated Historic Landmark, which has retained 90% of its original furnishings.
Cruise along the scenic Mississippi River on a classic , as your tour highlights current and historical facts about the area and tests your knowledge with trivia along the way. Witness some of the most beautiful views in the Midwest, including native wildlife and steep bluffs on the river. Learn about the locking process while cruising past the Lock & Dam No. 7 in Dresbach, MN.
Day 5 - Dubuque, Iowa
A “Masterpiece on the Mississippi,” Dubuque is among the oldest settlements west of the river. Take a ride on the Fenelon Place Elevator, the world’s shortest and steepest scenic railway, or try your luck in one of Dubuque’s state-of-the-art casinos. View colorful Victorian mansions, stroll through the bustling downtown area, or visit the national Mississippi River Museum and Aquarium.
Take an entertaining and informative journey along the mighty Mississippi at the National Mississippi River Museum and Aquarium. On this guided tour, learn about the lives of the pioneers, explorers, and artists who once lived along the Mississippi River. Get close to nature, as you make your way through six large aquariums. The museum’s interactive exhibit will give you an inside look at the Mississippi River’s past, present, and future.
Step back in time and experience the elegance of Victorian-era Dubuque during a tour through the town’s many historic attractions. Learn about the architecture, families, and events that made 19th-century Dubuque such a unique treasure. Your guide will lead you through Dubuque’s beautiful historic sites, including the Mathias Ham House and The Old Jail Museum.
Day 6 - Davenport, Iowa
Voted one of the Most Livable Small Cities in America, Davenport is often described as a lively, active city with a hometown feel. The Legacy of John Deere, the largest agricultural exhibit in the world, resides here. Music enthusiasts will enjoy Davenport’s many festivals, including the Mississippi Valley Blues Festival, The Mississippi Valley Fair, and the Bix Beiderbecke Memorial Jazz Festival.
Enjoy a stop at the John Deere Pavilion and Store. The company’s rich heritage is chronicled in exhibits, interactive touch screen displays, and equipment dating back nearly 175 years, including antique tractors, and giant modern combines. Continue on a narrated city tour of Davenport and learn about the Rock Island Arsenal, Davenport native Bix contribution to Jazz, Rock Island’s 1920’s “Crime Lord” John Looney, the area’s beautiful college campuses, and the city’s Native American history.
Enjoy a guided tour of the Hauberg Indian Museum. Located in the Black Hawk State Historic Site, this museum interprets the story of the Sauk and Meskwaki Indians who once called it home. During the tour, view full-size replicas of Sauk winter and summer homes, dioramas with life-size figures of the Sauk and Meskwaki Indians, and traditional artifacts, including authentic trade goods and jewelry.
Day 7 - Day of River Cruising
As we cruise from Davenport to Hannibal, enjoy the day relaxing on the upper deck or admiring the breathtaking view from your private balcony.
Day 8 - Hannibal, Minnesota
Hannibal, “America’s Hometown,” is a place where you can rediscover adventures from Mark Twain’s era. Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn come to life in this charming Missouri town, where you can run your hand along Aunt Polly’s fence, explore Injun Joe’s Cave, and get reacquainted with one of the world’s most beloved authors. The downtown area is a thriving haven for artisans, filled with specialty shops unique to Hannibal.
As you arrive in Hannibal, the boyhood home of famous author Mark Twain, relive the author’s experiences that heavily influenced his writings. Visit the actual home that Mark Twain grew up in, which is surrounded by the legendary whitewashed fence of Tom Sawyer. The vivid stories told by Mark Twain come to life at this interactive museum as you explore the homes and grounds of Becky Thatcher and Huck Finn. Stop at the Interpretive Center, home to 15 original Normal Rockwell paintings; the Becky Thatcher House, the Huck Finn Home, and the Tom and Huck Statue at the foot of Cardiff Hill.
Relive the adventures of Mark Twain’s time in Hannibal during this historical trolley tour. Your experienced guide will share the history of Hannibal and take you to places of significance, including the Rockcliffe Mansion, an amazing 13,500 square foot American castle built to overlook the mighty Mississippi River. This tour will also highlight many of the exciting places which inspired Mark Twain’s famous tales.
Join your local guide strolling through the streets of Hannibal, the hometown that inspired Mark Twain’s famous literary novels. Learn about its history through the author’s own words and observations.
Day 9 - St. Louis, Minnesota
St. Louis is often referred to as the “Gateway to the West.” Take in the Gateway Arch Riverfront, highlighted by the Gateway Arch, the largest man-made monument in the U.S. Enjoy St. Louis’ many world-class attractions, including the Art Museum, Science Center, Anheuser-Busch Brewery, and the Missouri History Museum. End your day by relaxing at the Missouri Botanical Garden, one of the world’s most popular public gardens.
Enjoy a narrated tour of downtown St. Louis, the riverfront, Citygarden, and the historic neighborhoods of Soulard and Lafayette Square. Delight in a visit to St. Louis’ 1,371 acre Forest Park, known as a natural oasis in an urban environment.
Enjoy a guided tour through two of the museum’s most popular exhibits,The 1904 World’s Fair, looking Back at Looking Forward, an event that attracted over 200,000 visitors to the opening day and Route 66: Main Street through St. Louis, a roadway which played an important role in American History, not only in fact but in myth. Learn about the companies and tourist traps that travelers had to pass through.
Day 10 - Day of River Cruising
Curl up with a good book in one of our spacious lounges, or grab a pair of binoculars and enjoy the fall foliage as we make our way down the Mississippi River.
Day 11 - Vicksburg, Mississippi
U.S. history is alive in Vicksburg. This “Queen City of the Bluff” offers plenty of opportunities to take a step back in time. Civil War battlefields, century old churches, cotton fields, and restored train depots are just a few of the many intriguing landmarks that await your visit. Marvel in the beautiful antebellum-style homes and learn about Vicksburg’s rich history as displayed on the riverfront murals.
Vicksburg National Military Park – Complimentary Excursion The night before our visit, our onboard Civil War historian gives a captivating lecture detailing all you are about to witness at Vicksburg National Military Park. After a hearty southern-inspired breakfast, you will be greeted by our private tour guide who will stay with you throughout the day to answer questions and provide additional information. Upon arrival at the park, rangers who are well-versed in Civil War history guide you on a customized tour that’s specific to the interests of the group. Your guides will take you through the restored ironclad gunboat, U.S.S Cairo, the battlefield where the Siege of Vicksburg took place, and the over 1,300 monuments dedicated to the brave souls who lost their lives.
Day 12 - Natchez, Mississippi
Settled in 1716, Natchez is rich in history and southern hospitality. Enjoy a guided exploration of this fascinating city which has retained its antebellum charm since its surrender during the Civil War. Visit Frogmore, a historic cotton plantation still in use today, or attend a special piano concert in the J. N. Stone antebellum music room.
Longwood is just one of the elegant historic houses that graces the historic district of Natchez. This octagonal house 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 first floor with original family furnishings and the upper five stories that are still a work in progress.
Take a complimentary shuttle into the charming city of Natchez, MS. Explore this beautiful city’s shopping, museums, and other offerings at your own leisure before departing this popular destination.
Upon arrival, you will be greeted by the fourth-generation owner, Joseph Stone, whose family has owned the home for over 135 years. Mr. Stone will guide you on a personal tour of his unique antebellum-style home and explain the many different purposes it has served over the years. Here, you can explore his eclectic collection of period-specific artwork and one-of-a-kind antiques. The afternoon concludes in the music hall with refreshments, as Mr. Stone performs an exclusive classical piano concert.
Our onboard experts tell many stories about southern life on a plantation; today you will learn what life was really like. Our insightful local guide will accompany you from the ship to the cotton and will be your escort as you explore the 1,800-acre cotton plantation. In intimate groups, the plantation owners Lynette and Buddy Tanner will delve into plantation life, including the housing, music, and relationships between the owners and workers. You will have the opportunity to pick cotton directly from the field, participate in a live gospel performance, and witness the progress in cotton technology from Eli Whitney’s original gin to their modern 900 bales-per-day computerized .
Day 15 - Baton rouge, Louisiana
Experience the wonder of Baton Rouge, Louisiana’s capital and one of the most historic and unforgettable cities in the South. Known as the Red Stick, Baton Rouge has everything you would expect to find in a state capital, but with a down-home flavor that is part of its charm.
The vibrant history of Louisiana is evident throughout the state’s capital. After breakfast, you will be greeted at the ship by Philippa Blair and her visitor center representatives as they welcome you to Baton Rouge with vibrant Mardi Gras beads. Your first stop is the Louisiana Old State Capitol where you will experience a one-of-a-kind interactive film, made with the help of Disney, bringing you face-to-face with the ghost of the castle, Sarah Morgan. Afterward, Baton Rouge native, Ira Bobin, will serve as our tour guide and will bring you to the Louisiana State Museum, a completely interactive museum with three floors of displays detailing each region of Louisiana.
Day 16 - New Orleans, Louisiana
Welcome back to New Orleans, the birthplace of Jazz. Culture and art abound around every corner of this unique city. The open-air artist colony proudly displays local works on the iron fence in Jackson Square, while the city’s 45 museums carefully preserve its rich history. Stay an extra day or more to enjoy the famed French Quarter.
New Orleans is a city full of history, intrigue, and colorful characters. After a Cajun-inspired breakfast, begin your journey through the “Big Easy” with a private tour guide, who will give you a local’s look at the area’s most famous attractions. Explore the most popular areas including the French Quarter, the colorful garden district, and the famous stately mansions which still remain in period form. There will be plenty of time for you to enjoy the local flavors, like chicory coffee, sweet beignets, and famous New Orleans Jazz music.
Launched in 2016, America is one of the finest Mississippi ever built, introducing features never before seen on the Mississippi. America embodies a casual ambiance and relaxed atmosphere while providing panoramic views of the passing scenery. With only 185 guests, fellow guests will quickly become new friends.
Our staterooms are the most spacious in the small ship cruising industry. All range between 200 and 450 square feet in size, and feature full-size bathrooms and modern amenities. After an invigorating day, your spacious stateroom is a comfortable haven and the perfect place to relax and unwind. Enjoy the ever-changing scenery from your large opening picture window or from your private balcony.
The American River Cruise revolution continues with American Harmony, the newest ship in American Cruise Lines’ highly anticipated series of contemporary riverboats. These, the first modern riverboats ever in the U.S., have introduced many pioneering innovations to America’s waters. American Harmony will feature lounges soaring 40 feet above the water with triple the glass of other riverboats for astounding views. The new riverboat will also feature the Atrium, a four-story glass-enclosed area with a large domed skylight, which will serve as the central gathering point for the entire ship. Our new suite design will allow for unprecedented comfort while traveling, beginning with the new Grand Suites featuring 900 square feet of private space. These spacious suites include two glass walls and a wraparound private balcony. Complimentary room service during select mealtimes is available for every stateroom, but the Grand Suites offer ample space to host small cocktail parties or private dinner events. American Harmony will continue American Cruise Lines’ decade’s long tradition for innovation in river cruising. With a capacity of just 187 guests, this new ship has the modern design features and contemporary styling that today’s traveler has come to expect. Experience the American Harmony for yourself on the Mississippi River.
The staterooms in our newest riverboats are the most spacious and modern in U.S. small ship cruising – each with the finest appointments, modern décor a private bathroom. Your stateroom is a comfortable haven and the perfect place to relax and enjoy the ever-changing scenery from your large private balcony.
Excursions falls into one of three categories: 1) COMPLIMENTARY shore tours are included free. 2) PREMIUM shore tours typically cost between $20 and $70 and may be purchased onboard with your Hotel Manager. 3) SIGNATURE shore tours are particularly unique tours with limited-availability and which often cost more than $70. We recommend that you reserve these tours in advance with your Cruise Specialist. For more information on shore tours, please speak with your Cruise Specialist.