Mississippi River Cruises – the real ‘Showboats’

These are the real ‘Showboats’, fancy paddle steamers that offer guests a chance to step back in time and relive a little of the bygone days of Mark Twain.  Today there are many boats that ply the river, many of them offering the chance of spending a day on this famous river, others offering a chance of an evening dinner cruise but there are also some of the old famous names that still offer visitors the opportunity to spend anything from two to five days aboard.

These magnificent Victorian paddle steamers offer a variety of opportunities to visit some of the south’s best ports of call including Little Rock, St Louis, Nashville, Chattanooga, Louisville and of course New Orleans, The Big Easy.  Stop and take in the sounds from country to Jazz, pass great monuments and historical buildings.   Some of the boats overnight in port where guests are accommodated in hotels on shore, others offer the opportunity to stay aboard with all cabins having a view.

Paddle Steamers – Originals and Replicas

Some of the famous names can be traced as far back as 1890.  New members of the ‘fleet’ recently built to replicate the originals and some of the originals dating back to 1927 are still in use today.  The boats typically take around 180 passengers and with a two to one passenger ratio it means that the service, as you would expect from an all American crew, will be exemplary.  Inside expect hardwood panelling, grand staircases and chandeliers, your stateroom will also feature period furniture, patchwork quilts and wooden shuttered windows.  When you’re not out exploring the ports spend some time on deck relaxing in one of the comfortable rocking chairs and watch the scenery go by, or for those guests who like to know how things work take a look at the engine room in a special viewing area; proof that these boats are powered solely by their 21 foot diameter paddle wheel and not motors.  In the evening spend time in a choice of comfortable lounges and bars before the captain’s dinner, a formal affair but without the need for a tuxedo or cocktail dress.

Enjoy a Longer Cruise

Visitors who choose one of the longer trips such along the Illinois River valley from Peoria and Saint Louis will experience travelling through four locks and dams a great experience for those who have never seen it before, but whichever itinerary you choose it’s all included.  All meals, drinks and accommodation; either on board or in hotels, as well as professional story tellers, tours of each port and historical information.  One of the highlights of these paddle steamer cruises is the traditional entertainment expect anything from banjo to piano and jazz music to Country and tasty of course tasty Cajun food to match.

A cruise on the great Mississippi River is something a little different and a great way to experience some great historical ports of call and feel like you’re in a movie.

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