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Grand Heartland Cruise

Minnesota - Louisiana - Example 16 Day Cruise aboard American Serenade
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Embark on a 16-day cruise aboard American Serenade and begin by exploring St. Paul's art galleries and historic Summit Avenue. In La Crosse, enjoy Riverside Park and panoramic views from Grand Dad’s Bluff. Discover Dubuque, with its Victorian mansions and the Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium. Visit Davenport, home to the John Deere Pavilion and the German American Heritage Center. In Hannibal, relive Mark Twain’s stories, and in St. Louis, see the iconic Gateway Arch. Experience the rich musical heritage of Memphis,  stroll the historic streets of Tunica, and reflect on Civil War history in Vicksburg. Admire antebellum homes in Natchez,  and delve into Louisiana's history in Baton Rouge. Conclude your adventure in the vibrant city of New Orleans, with its unique blend of culture, cuisine, and music. Each destination offers a unique glimpse into the history and charm of the American South.
Visit Louisiana's capital city of Baton RougeThe upper Mississippi regionSt. Louis, Missouri skyline and the famous Gateway ArchBeale Street is on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places,View monuments from the Civil War in MississippiVisit historic Memphis, Tennessee
Highlights
  • Discover St. Paul’s historic Summit Avenue mansions and art galleries
  • See the iconic Gateway Arch and explore cultural attractions in St. Louis
  • Admire Natchez’s antebellum homes and charming downtown
  • Experience Memphis’ rich musical legacy on legendary Beale Street
Activities
Places Visited
Activity Level: Variable
Activity options vary depending on destination and operator. Activity level is determined by the range and intensity of activities you choose to participate in. Discuss with your Trip Planner which options are best for you.
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Full Itinerary

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Day 1: St. Paul, MN

Explore the Twin Cities' premier art galleries, museums, and live performances. Wander along Summit Avenue in St. Paul to admire historic mansions from the late 19th century. Discover the expansive Mall of America, featuring over 500 shops and an indoor waterpark and theme park. Enjoy breathtaking cityscapes from Mounds Park and marvel at the 53-foot cascade of Minnehaha Falls. Settle into your hotel and experience the city at your own pace.

Day 2: Cruising the Mississippi River | Embark

Step aboard your ship and enjoy a Welcome Reception. Meet fellow travelers and appreciate the scenery as you begin your journey along Mark Twain’s river. Take in the stunning landscapes that have influenced some of the nation's most renowned writers, artists, and musicians.

Day 3: La Crosse, WI

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’ll discover beautiful gardens, an outdoor performance center, and inspiring sculptures. Enjoy breathtaking, panoramic views from Grand Dad’s Bluff, a 600-ft high bluff that overlooks the entire city. Led by a local expert, gain insight into the city’s development from the boomtown riverboat days through the roaring ‘20s to the challenges and opportunities of the 21st century.

Day 4: Day 4 - Dubuque, IA

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.

National Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium - Complimentary Excursion
Take an entertaining and informative journey along the mighty Mississippi at the National Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium. The museum’s interactive exhibits will give you an inside look at the Mississippi River's past, present, and future. On this guided exploration, 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.

Activity Level: Medium | ADA ACCESSIBLE: Yes

Dubuque Local Loop - Complimentary Excursion
This convenient shuttle will transport you from the ship to the center of town and back. At your leisure, explore the many districts of downtown Dubuque, including Cable Car Square, the Historic Millwork District, and Historic Old Main District, once a hideaway for notorious gangster Al Capone. Visit the Summer Farmers Market which has been located in the Upper Main district since 1845. Running daily on a continuous loop.

Activity Level: Low | ADA ACCESSIBLE: Yes

Day 5: Davenport, IA

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.

Hauberg Estate & Botanical Gardens -Complimentary Excursion
Located along the banks of the Mississippi River, Davenport has been declared "The Most Livable Small City in America.” Led by your guide, explore Hauberg Estate and admire the impressive architecture and property. Next, visit The Quad City Botanical Center, featuring an indoor tropical garden with a waterfall, outdoor pond, pocket gardens, train garden (train schedule varies), greenhouse, and Children’s Garden featuring a Mississippi River water feature exhibit. Admire blooms of many shapes, sizes, and colors in our perennial and wildflower prairie gardens, as well as fruit bearing plants in the tropical sun.

Activity Level: Moderate/ ADA Accessible: Partial

Davenport Local Loop - Complimentary Excursion
This convenient shuttle will transport you from the ship to:
• Isabel Bloom Studio & Showroom - During your visit learn how Isabel Bloom, who studied under Grant Wood, began designing and producing sculptures more than 60 years ago. Enjoy behind-the-scenes access to every step in the making of iconic Isabel Bloom sculptures. Discover why so many people have made Isabel Bloom their gift of choice for every occasion.
• German American Heritage Center & Museum - A cultural center and museum listed on the National Register of Historic Places with fun and educational exhibits that preserve the heritage of German-Americans in the Midwest.
• The Putnam Museum - With a focus on history and natural sciences, this museum was founded in 1867 and is one of the first museums west of the Mississippi River. Have fun learning something new while exploring their many exhibits.

John Deere Exploration - Complimentary Excursion
Discover the inventions that changed American farming at the John Deere Pavilion. Explore new and vintage equipment that you can touch, feel, and sit in. Through interactive and immersive exhibits, learn the John Deere story, including its customers, employees, and John Deere fans, as well as how the company’s machinery was used to build and grow our country.

Activity Level: Low | ADA ACCESSIBLE: Yes

 

Day 6: Day of Cruising

Admire the beautiful countryside adorned with rolling hills and steep bluffs. Along the way, we will traverse several locks and dams, a magnificent feat of human engineering. Enjoy watching the river commerce, including towboats and moving commodities including grains, petroleum products, and coal.

Day 7: Hannibal, MO

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.

Hannibal Local Loop - Complimentary Excursion
Explore downtown Hannibal on your own. Take time for shopping and strolling through town. Our convenient shuttle will also take you to the following:
Hannibal History Museum - Through interactive exhibits, artifacts, and historic photos, learn the story of Hannibal's remarkable past.
Mark Twain Boyhood Home &Museum - Enjoy a guided exploration of the Mark Twain Boyhood Home and Museum. This is truly a piece of Americana.

Activity Level: Low | ADA Accessibility: Yes

Mark Twain Boyhood Home & Museum - Complimentary Excursion
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. Visit the Becky Thatcher House, the Huck Finn Home, and the Tom and Huck Statue at the foot of Cardiff Hill. Stop at the Interpretive Center, home to 15 original Normal Rockwell paintings.

Activity Level: Low | ADA Accessibility: Yes

Day 8: Day of River Cruising

As you make your way from Hannibal to St. Louis, reflect upon the rich history of the Mississippi River and the variety of music born upon its shores. Listen to the talented performers in one of our lounges or share the afternoon with fellow travelers.

Day 9: St. Louis, MO

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.

Discover St. Louis - Complimentary Excursion
This narrated exploration provides you with a wonderful overview of the city, including downtown St. Louis and the riverfront, Citygarden Sculpture Park, the historic neighborhoods of Soulard and Lafayette Square, Forest Park, and The Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis, a stunning church which rivals the cathedrals in Rome, Italy.
Note: Only available on cruises ending in St. Louis/Alton, as well as on the Complete Mississippi River and Grand Heartland itineraries.
 
Activity Level: Low | ADA ACCESSIBLE: Yes

Missouri History Museum - Complimentary Excursion
Explore the most popular exhibits at the Missouri History Museum including “The 1904 World’s Fair: Looking Back at Looking Forward” and “Many Memories: 100 Years on the Stage.” Time will also be allowed for the Seeking St. Louis galleries on display. Self-guided exploration will allow you to view the exhibits at your leisure and give you time to shop.
Note: This excursion is only available on cruises ending in St. Louis/Alton as well as the Complete Mississippi and Grand Heartland.

Activity Level: Low | ADA ACCESSIBLE: Yes

Day 10: Memphis, TN

Welcome to Memphis, a historic city that rises picturesquely up the hillside from the river, adorned with grand oak trees, lush parks, and historic sites that commemorate everything from the Civil War to the Civil Rights Movement. Immerse yourself in its rich musical legacy as you stroll along legendary Beale Street, where music flows from every doorway, and savor the rich flavors and aromas of the city’s famous BBQ.

Choose from an array of customized excursions. Perhaps take a narrated motorcoach excursion to get an overview of this dramatic city. Or indulge in the glamour of the Peabody Hotel. Explore the home, life, and career of Elvis Presley or make your pilgrimage to Sun Studio, where he recorded his earliest smash-hits.

The comfort of your ship awaits at the nearby Beale Street Landing, docked along an impressive, recently renovated city park. Be entertained on board by local musicians as you savor a nightcap.

Memphis City Exploration - Complimentary Excursion
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, the 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.  

Day 11: Tunica, MS

Times have changed, but not in Downtown Tunica, with Main Street buildings just as they were at the turn of the century. Explore unique boutiques, antique shops, a fully restored courthouse, and Tunica Veterans Memorial at Rivergate Park. Here, you can enjoy the kind of southern hospitality you thought only existed in storybooks.

Day 12: Day of Cruising

As you cruise toward the historic city of Vicksburg, enjoy the beauty of the heart and soul of the Mississippi Delta. Mingle with guests in one of our comfortable, read a good book on your private balcony, or take part in one of our many onboard activities.

Day 13: Vicksburg, MS

Vicksburg is a place of drama. During the Civil War, the struggle to control Vicksburg proved to be a major turning point. The well-fortified connection between river and rail transportation was known as “The Gibraltar of the West.” A narrated exploration of the well-preserved National Military Park battlefield enlivens this powerful story and highlights its significance.

President Abraham Lincoln summarized Vicksburg’s importance clearly when he said, “Vicksburg is the key. The war can never be brought to a close until that key is in our pocket… They can defy us from Vicksburg… As valuable as New Orleans will be to us, Vicksburg will be more so.”
Several other excursion options are available, including exploring museums and historic sites with local expert guides or on your own. Walk aboard an enormous Army Corps of Engineers towboat. Stroll along the charming series of murals painted along the adjacent floodwall and read panels detailing the Vicksburg stories they illustrate.

Vicksburg Local Loop - Complimentary Excursion
 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.  

Vicksburg National Military Park- Complimentary Excursion
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

Day 14: Natchez, MS

In Natchez, grand homes sparkle like jewels, adorning the bluffs that tower above the river. Since 1716, when the French first built a fort here among the Natchez Indians, the town has grown to boast elaborate mansions built by planters in the 1800s to flaunt their wealth.

With no Civil War fighting here, Natchez still features hundreds of antebellum homes and buildings. Each of these architectural treasures has its own story to tell, creating a charming downtown that embodies the essence of Southern charm and hospitality.

Explore on your own or enjoy an array of curated guided explorations. Tour the elaborate townhomes, visit a working cotton farm to learn about the crop’s importance in history and today, and discover the historic Under-The-Hill Saloon. Drift through quaint shops, nibble on local delights, and enjoy the expansive views of the majestic river valley from the bluff-top park.


Natchez Local Loop- Complimentary Excursion
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.
Natchez Landmark Exploration - Complimentary Excursion
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 places. Complete your experience with a complimentary guided exploration of Historic Rosalie Mansion, so exquisite, that she’s known as "Our Lady on The Bluff."

Activity Level: Low | ADA Accessibility: No

Day 15: Baton Rouge, LA

Meaning “red stick,” Baton Rouge’s 1699 French name references an ancient geographical marker and reflects the city’s long history. As Louisiana’s state capital, the city still echoes with tales of the characters who lived here, most notably Governor and Senator Huey P. Long. Learn about his dramatic career at the magnificent 1852 Old State Capitol Museum and visit Long’s 1932 State Capitol building, an architectural marvel of granite and marble.
Explore many of the well-known downtown neighborhoods, while embracing the rich art, architecture, and nature along the route. If you feel adventurous, take a narrated boat ride through a Louisiana swamp.

Louisiana Art & Science Museum - Complimentary Excursion
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.

Activity Level: Low | ADA ACCESSIBLE: Yes

Baton Rouge City Experience with Rural Life Museum - Complimentary Excursion
Be 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 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. 

Activity Level: Moderate | ADA ACCESSIBLE: Partial

Day 16: New Orleans, LA | Disembark

  • 1 Breakfast
New Orleans is worth some extra time. Enjoy a feast for your senses if you linger in 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. If departing the ship in New Orleans, enjoy available city excursions and motorcoach transfers to the airport. Or extend your stay to further explore the delights of the Big Easy.

Ship/Hotel

American Serenade

American Serenade Ellipse Cafe
American Serenade Restaurant
American Serenade River Lounge

Dates & Prices

My Preferred Start Date

Deals

Special Offers 23942
Promotional rates are available on select departures for a limited time. These offers cannot be combined with other discounts and are only valid on new bookings.  Please discuss with your trip planner about applicable dates and cabin types.
Applies to select departures

Per person starting at
$11,755 2-3 travelers
American Serenade Single Private Balcony
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Single Private Balcony
At 250 sq. ft., these well-appointed staterooms have spacious bathrooms complete with all the essentials: a hairdryer, premium face and body products replenished throughout your cruise, and more.
American Serenade AAR Private Balcony
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AAR Private Balcony
At approximately 275 sq. ft. of living space. Enjoy a full-size bathroom complete with all the essentials: a hairdryer, an array of toiletries replenished throughout your stay, and more.
American Serenade AAC Private Balcony
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AAC Private Balcony
At 316 sq. ft., these staterooms offer a sitting area, desk, and full-size bathrooms. All staterooms include individual climate control systems, in-room Keurig coffee brewers, ample storage, an array of toiletries, complimentary WiFi, and Satellite TV.
American Serenade AAM Private Balcony
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AAM Private Balcony
At 350 sq. ft., there is plenty of room to enjoy the tasteful comfort of your surroundings. These staterooms have all the comforts of a fine hotel and feature floor-to-ceiling sliding glass doors with a private balcony where you can sit back, relax, and watch the rolling river views.
American Serenade Veranda Suite Private Balcony
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Veranda Suite Private Balcony
With a generous 405 sq. ft. of relaxing space, each Veranda suite provides the perfect balance of comfort and luxury. Be treated to a fruit and cheese plate when you arrive and cheers with a complimentary bottle of premium champagne as you begin your adventure.
American Serenade Grand Suite Private Balcony
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Grand Suite Private Balcony
The luxurious Grand Suite measures 650 sq. ft. and offers panoramic views with floor-to-ceiling glass windows. Be treated to a fruit and cheese plate when you arrive and cheers with a complimentary bottle of premium champagne as you begin your adventure.
Included
  • 14 Breakfasts, 12 Lunches, 13 Dinners
  • 15 Nights Accommodations
  • Accommodations as listed
  • Ground transportation as listed
  • Activities as listed
  • Meals as listed
  • Access to a 24-7 Emergency line while traveling
  • Snacks
  • Onboard Entertainment 
  • Onboard gratuities
  • Port charges and fees
  • Complimentary cocktail parties
  • Dining service
Excluded
  • Travel Insurance
  • Personal Expenses
  • Flight costs (please request a quote)
  • Additional excursions during free time
  • Fuel and transportation surcharges (when applicable)
  • Signature shore excursion - Should be reserved in advance due to limited availability.

Map

When to Go

Jan
Feb
Mar
Apr
May
Jun
Jul
Aug
Sep
Oct
Nov
Dec
Good to ideal period to travel, and many people choose to visit at this time.

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Our guide and driver were very good with their knowledge and were very helpful with our questions. It was a very pleasant visit that would have been impossible to do on our own. Hotels and restaurants were fantastic. The special places we got to go to, like the kitchens, were great. Enjoyed the entire trip!
Meyer Smolen
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