Discover the history and charm of the Lower Mississippi on this special voyage. Stroll to the beat of Christmas jazz, savor Cajun cuisine and shop for festive treasures in New Orleans; marvel at Christmas light displays and decorated historic homes in Baton Rouge and Natchez; and discover Memphis, complete with exclusive Privileged Access to Graceland, decorated for Christmas. Onboard festivities include special celebratory regional dining, seasonal treats and more to celebrate the holidays.
Day 1 - New Orleans
Arrive in New Orleans and embark your ship.* After check-in, the afternoon is yours to independently explore the city, where its French, African and other influences flavor not only its vibrant culture, but also its tantalizing Creole cuisine. The beloved birthplace of American jazz, historic New Orleans famously exudes a festive atmosphere along the balcony-lined Bourbon Street. Here, in the heart of the famed French Quarter, soulful rhythms lift the spirit, particularly during the city’s world-renowned Mardi Gras. To see how its floats are made and learn the history of this famous yearly celebration, perhaps visit Mardi Gras World, just a short walk from your ship. On board, enjoy an informative lecture on the history and development of New Orleans while you take in a lively musical performance. (Dinner)
*Ground transfers are included with Viking Air purchase.
Day 2 - Baton Rouge
Arrive in Baton Rouge, set on the eastern bank of the Mississippi River, and take a panoramic city tour of the area. Hear tales of the hardworking, fun-loving Cajun people and their contributions to Louisiana’s history and culture. Your Viking Guest Services staff can help you plan the rest of your day with several optional excursions: a Cajun heritage tour; an exploration of the Atchafalaya Basin by boat or canoe; or a visit to the USS Kidd, the most historically accurate restoration of a World War II vessel in the United States. Tonight, enjoy music in the Explorers’ Lounge. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Day 3 - Natchez
Natchez is the perfect location in which to enjoy small-town America. The town is distinguished by more than 500 historic buildings, including over 200 perfectly preserved homes that still grace its broad avenues. Throughout the day, you can explore shops in the historic district and other sites at your leisure, marveling in the festive holiday lights and displays. You may choose to visit one of many pre–Civil War mansions here, some of the most beautifully preserved in this area of the South. The city itself is home to more than 1,000 structures that are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. After dinner, learn about the life of local artisans and enjoy classical music. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Day 4 - Vicksburg
Arriving in Vicksburg, you immediately feel the Southern tradition that flows through the city’s veins. It is rich in history—especially Civil War history. During the Civil War, Abraham Lincoln called it “the key to the South.” And it indeed proved to be the site of the conflict’s most pivotal battle, the Battle of Vicksburg, after which the Confederates surrendered to Ulysses S. Grant. Visit Vicksburg National Military Park, which preserves the battlefield and commemorates the greater Vicksburg Campaign that preceded the battle. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Day 5 - Scenic Sailing: Lower Mississippi
Cruising the serpentine route of the Lower Mississippi, you will witness an astonishing array of picturesque landscapes. Sail past forests and farmlands—all hugging the shores and hosting a huge variety of birdlife perched in riverside trees. The Lower Mississippi is where many species of US birds spend their winter. Sandbars and low islands guide the waters as they have for millennia. Passing numerous tributaries and meandering channels, you may appreciate this massive waterway as an epic river system rather than as a singular river. Immerse yourself in the region’s history and culture by reading a book from The Library—or soak up the holiday spirit by participating in a cooking demonstration and enjoying the festive decorations on board your ship. After a festive dinner, enjoy live music in the Explorers’ Lounge and mingle with fellow guests over a Christmas nightcap. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Day 6 - Memphis
Today, take an included tour that showcases the city’s holiday decorations as well as culturally significant sites including the Memphis Pyramid, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and Sun Studio—considered the birthplace of rock ’n’ roll. You will also visit the Memphis Rock ’n’ Soul Museum; the historic Peabody hotel with its famous duck march; and the I Am a Man Plaza, where black sanitation workers took to the streets in 1968. On an optional tour to the National Civil Rights Museum, learn about civil rights history and see the Lorraine Motel, site of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s assassination. Our overnight in Memphis will also allow you exclusive after-hours Privileged Access to Elvis Presley’s Graceland. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Day 7 - Memphis
Country and city musical traditions blended here in Memphis to create fascinating new sounds and styles, and the city still attracts famous (and yet-to-be-famous) talent. Immerse yourself in this rich music heritage with an optional excursion exploring Delta blues history. Venture to Clarksdale, Mississippi, to visit the Delta Blues Museum and Ground Zero Blues Club, co-owned by actor Morgan Freeman. Or, you learn more about the professional sports culture in Memphis—going behind the scenes at the impressive FedExForum, home to the NBA’s Memphis Grizzlies and the University of Memphis Tigers men’s basketball team, and AutoZone Park, home to the Memphis Redbirds and the Memphis 901 FC. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Day 8 - Memphis
After breakfast, disembark and proceed to the airport for your return flight home. (Breakfast)
* Ground transfers are included with Viking Air purchase.