Mississippi River Cruises – How Much and Where Do They Go?
When Louisiana travelers think of "cruise vessels" chances are they are thinking of these huge ocean-going ships that are ten, eleven, or twelve stories tall. Those vessels are floating resorts and not only can they bring you to some exotic ports of call but you get to ride in style the whole way there and the whole way back.
But recently there has been a trend in cruise travel as ships are getting bigger and crowds are getting larger many travelers are looking for options that offer more of "less" if you know what I mean.
One option to consider is a river cruise. Cruising on America's waterways such as the Mississippi River and the Ohio River was commonplace 100 or so years ago. But as the need to "there faster" took over the nation's mindset the river cruise industry fell out of favor when compared to the ocean cruises.
But now river cruises are once again capturing the attention of the traveling public. They are quite popular in Europe. You can even take a river cruise down Egypt's Nile River, and in Southeast Asia, several companies offer cruises on the Mekong River through Cambodia and Laos.
Meanwhile, much closer to home here in Louisiana you can catch a Mississippi River Cruise in New Orleans and set your itinerary from there. The bulk of the cruises that begin in New Orleans travel upriver to Memphis Tennessee or as far as St Louis Missouri. That doesn't mean you can't go further but the more popular cruises are to those destinations.
What Are Some of the Ports of Call of a Mississippi River Cruise?
As you might imagine a river cruise beginning in New Orleans would carry you through some of Louisiana's finest plantations. Many cruise lines stop at places like Oak Alley, Houmas House, and St Francisville. Of course, there is a stop in Baton Rouge too.
Your upriver adventure might also include a stop in historic Natchez Mississippi, Vicksburg, Greenville, and Tunica. The stops in Vicksburg and Greenville lean a little more on the historical side, the stop in Tunica just might put you out pretty close to a casino or two.
Further north there are stops in Memphis, New Madrid Missouri, Paducah Kentucky, and then finally on to St. Louis Missouri, and Alton Illinois.
How Long Are Mississippi River Cruises?
There are several different travel options available for cruisers interested in sites along the Mississippi River. There are options that are for five days and four nights, eight days and seven nights, and eleven days and ten nights. The five-day cruise goes from New Orleans to Baton Rouge. The eight-day plan goes from New Orleans to Memphis. The eleven-day cruise goes from New Orleans to St Louis.
About How Much is a Mississippi River Cruise?
As in all things travel the time of year you want to go plays a large part in how much your trip will cost. Here are some basic numbers of what you might expect to spend. Just know that some cruise lines, such as Viking, are more expensive than others. But the Viking ships offer amenities that other cruise lines don't. If you like great beverage packages and over-the-top service, go with Viking.
If you like to just chill and go along for a good time, you might choose another cruise line. Don't get me wrong they all offer great service, Viking is just better in the guest relations realm.
If you were to travel in November of this year American Cruise Lines has a Historic Mississippi River cruise starting at $3.310. Whereas a similar trip on the Viking line might cost $4,299. American Queen Voyages, the third company that handles the most cruise traffic on the Mighty Mississippi has a wide range of itineraries as well and you'll find their pricing to be competitive with the other two companies.
River Cruising Has Its Own Unique Benefits.
From a riverboat, you can see so much more of the countryside. Much like a train passenger gets to see a side of America most people don't a riverboat passenger sees our world with a whole new perspective. You'll float through major industrial areas only to find yourself floating by a sea of cotton or soybeans a few minutes later. The ports are smaller, the people are more "small town" and more friendly, and you don't need an international calling plan on your cellphone either.
You'd also probably never stop at a place like Paducah, Greenville, Tunica, or even Natchez if you were taking the Interstate or on a different travel plan and those communities each have something interesting to offer. And it's all something you'll really want to see.
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