Cruising the Mighty Mississippi

If you enjoy river cruising and have experienced the great rivers of Europe and Asia, perhaps it is time to venture further and travel down one of the great rivers of America – the Mississippi.  This mighty river meanders for more than 2,350 miles from Lake Itasca, through New Orleans, Memphis and on to the Gulf of Mexico.

Two companies now offer an opportunity to explore the natural beauty, the history and culture of the great American continent; all you must decide is your preferred mode of transport - traditional or modern?

American cruise lines operates itineraries from 5 to 22 days, on the Lower and Upper Mississippi, while American Queen Steamboat Company operates four paddle wheelers on all of the Mississippi. In 2021,Viking River Cruises will launch their signature Longships and focus on education and enrichment voyages for their guests. They will offer 4 itineraries, running from 8 -15 days. New Orleans to Memphis; St Louis to St Paul; New Orleans round trip and St Paul to New Orleans.


What you can expect to see:-

Lower Mississippi (New Orleans to Memphis): A week long sailing in either direction, this stretch of the river can include stops such as Oak Alley and Nottoway plantations, Baton Rouge and St. Francisville in Louisiana; Natchez, Vicksburg and Greenville in Mississippi; and Helena, Arkansas. The occasional New Orleans (round trip) cruise, which can run from five to seven days, typically visits the same ports, minus Memphis.

Middle Mississippi (Memphis to St. Louis): Itineraries of 7nts which travel in either direction; port stops include New Madrid and Cape Girardeau, Missouri; Paducah, Kentucky; and Chester, Illinois. Memphis to St. Louis cruises feature more scenic sailing and fewer port stops than other Mississippi itineraries, and, as such, fewer of these itineraries are offered.

Upper Mississippi (St. Louis to St. Paul): This part of the Mississippi is considered the most scenic. these weeklong sailings stop at ports which include Hannibal, Missouri; Davenport, Clinton and Dubuque, Iowa; La Crosse, Wisconsin; and Red Wing, Minnesota. You might also find the occasional St. Louis round trip or St. Paul round trip sailing, each of which features an extra stop in either Illinois, Minnesota or Wisconsin.

Best Time to Cruise :

Sailings on the Lower Mississippi run from October to December and February to mid-June while the Upper Mississippi has a shorter season, typically starting in July and running until October. Spring and fall are normally mild temperatures and a good time to visit.

By Vicki Williamson

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