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Cruising the Mighty Mississippi: A Foodie's Dream from Memphis to New Orleans on the American Symphony with American Cruise Lines

The river cruise ship American Symphony  docked on the side of the mississippi river.  The bow is flipped up and the guests are walking on the gangway
Embarking on American Cruise Lines American Symphony in Memphis

This spring my husband and I got to experience the beautiful American Symphony with American Cruise Lines. As a travel agent, I've most of my experience has been on large ship Ocean cruises in the Caribbean, so I was really looking forward to see how different small ship river cruising would be. We were really impressed with how relaxing and personalized our experience was.

Setting Sail from Memphis: Our adventure begins in Memphis, where we soak up the sounds of blues and the aroma of barbecue before boarding our riverboat. The American Cruise Line arranged our hotel stay at The Guest House at Graceland, and the hotel had a shuttle bus pick us up from the airport. The hotel was very comfortable and the Elvis themed Peanut Butter and Banana Coffee milkshake I tried was so good.

We arrived a few days early so we could visit Beale Street (BB King's restaurant was terrific!) and catch some live music. It's really worth it to get to experience some amazing blues and rock and roll, with many of the musicians telling stories about the music during their performances.

Check out was simple and we were picked up at the hotel by one of the American Cruise Line's own shuttle

. We drove down to where the ship was docked on the banks of the river, handed over our luggage to be delivered to our room. Shortly after we set sail, leaving the hustle and bustle behind, trading it for the serene beauty of the Mississippi.

Cruising the Mississippi: With just 120 fellow travelers on board, it felt like we'd stumbled upon a hidden gem. There was plenty of room on the top deck patio, and we often felt like we had the ship to ourselves. As we cruised along, we were treated to stunning vistas and the occasional glimpse of wildlife. But let's talk about the real highlight—the food! From Southern classics to gourmet delights, every meal was a culinary masterpiece. There was a whole team dedicated to the kitchen, including a very talented Chef. They were great at handling my food allergies, and there was always some great options for me. I always got a basked of toasted gluten free bread with my meals, which was a nice touch. The servers were all wonderful, but our favourite was Persephone. She was so fun and efficient! We also took advantage of the 24-hour snack bar stocked with Miss Vickies Chips, Nature Valley Bars and Chocolate Covered Almonds. There was also a self serve espresso machine and a fridge with plenty of pop and juice.

Exploring Riverfront Towns: In between feasts, we disembarked to explore charming towns like Vicksburg and Natchez. We took full advantage of the free excursions, where we dive deep into the history and culture of the region. The hop on hop off bus was a favourite so we could get some background of the area and then explore ourselves. We visited coffee shops, book stores, historic homes, art galleries, beautiful parks and tasty restaurants. It was such a relaxing trip and we really enjoyed the laid back pace. We did a couple of paid excursions that were really worth the extra cost, including a demonstration on how to make a pretty charcuterie display and a fun, hands on class on making jambalaya. It was really tasty!

Tasty treats in New Orleans : We finished up the cruise in New Orleans, where I tracked down some amazing Gluten-Free Chicken and Waffles as well as my absolute favourite, charbroiled oysters! I love wandering through the French Quarter and we had a chance to see some live Jazz and to do a little shopping at the Market.

A river cruise from Memphis to New Orleans is a foodie's dream come true. With fantastic food, amazing music, and unforgettable experiences waiting around every bend, it's the ultimate escape for those who love to eat, drink, and explore. Ready to embark on your own delicious river cruise adventure? Contact Niagara Travel Agent today to start planning your dream trip!

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