The Lower Mississippi overflows with charm, history and hospitality. Explore historic estates, and visit notable Civil War sites. Sample the bustling French-flavored port cities of New Orleans and Baton Rouge. Sway to the tempos of Dixieland jazz, gospel and blues. Savor gourmet Cajun and Creole cuisine, as well as traditional Southern fare. Join us, and see why local Cajuns say, “Laissez les bons temps rouler” (Let the good times roll).
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 - New Orleans
“The Big Easy” is one of America’s most intriguing cities. A rich blend of Cajun, Creole and French cultures, New Orleans is home to fine cuisine, roaring jazz clubs, historic neighborhoods and the nonstop festive atmosphere of the legendary French Quarter. Disembark for a guided tour of New Orleans. From the Superdome and the French Quarter to the New Orleans Museum of Art and St. Charles Avenue, there is so much to experience. After lunch, you may choose to visit the world-class National WWII Museum; shop on Royal Street, home to art galleries and antique shops; or take a walking tour of the Garden District. Dinner is served on board, but you may experience a local restaurant or spend some time enjoying the music in the French Quarter. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Day 3 - Darrow
After breakfast, the day is yours to experience the Lower Mississippi—a region dotted with historic mansions, several of which are designated National Historic Landmarks for their architecture, their landscaping, and the contributions of the people who maintained the houses and the lands. Today, you may choose to explore one or several of the historic estates in the area. You may also journey to the famous Manchac Swamp, a wetlands area adorned with hundreds of acres of cypress trees and freshwater marshes. Complete your afternoon with a music presentation. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Day 4 - St. Francisville
We continue north on the Mississippi to St. Francisville. Boasting more than 140 buildings on the National Register of Historic Places, St. Francisville is set along one of the most historic bluffs of the Mississippi. The town is said to be “two miles long and two yards wide” because it was originally built on a narrow ridge overlooking the river. Founded in 1809 to serve the commercial and cultural needs of surrounding landowners, it is the oldest town in Louisiana’s Florida Parishes. Remarkably, many of St. Francisville’s structures are not its own. Rather, they were moved upriver from Bayou Sara in the 1920s after the small settlement was destroyed by years of flooding. Today, we explore this area and visit the historic Rosedown Plantation and ornamental gardens. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Day 5 - 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. 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 6 - 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 7 - 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 8 - New Orleans
After breakfast, disembark and proceed to the airport for your return flight, or extend your journey with additional nights in New Orleans.* (Breakfast)
* Ground transfers are included with Viking Air purchase.