The United States of America’s fabled ‘Mighty Mississippi’ river, which intersects 10 states from the Gulf of Mexico to northern Minnesota and has provided the setting of two of the 19th century’s most iconic novels in Huckleberry Finn and The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, has become somewhat of a hotbed in recent years with travellers eager to cruise parts of it.
Demand to do so has steadily built in recent years with a number of veteran operators finding new levels of competition launching onto the river. Another new player, known as French America Line, is set to debut in August 2016 with a range of itineraries on the lower reaches of the Mississippi. Australian guests interested in booking can do so through Cruiseco, which has been appointed as the line’s exclusive sales agent in Australia.
Paddlewheelers are often the vessel of choice for cruise operators on the Mississippi as they allow passengers to be transported back in time to really immerse themselves in the old American Midwest, when similar vessels provided a vital lifeline to riverside townships. French America Line will operate 24 itineraries between August and December 2016 (before the freezing US winter sets in), sailing on the Mississippi, Ohio, Tennessee, Cumberland and Red Rivers, colloquially known as America’s Heartland.
Itineraries will include a six-night voyage on the Classic Ohio River between Louisville in Kentucky to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, visiting Cincinnati and Madison, Indiana and others. Six and eight-night journeys on the lower Mississippi from either Louisville, St Paul or Memphis to St Louis are also available, along with Nashville to Memphis. These journeys allow guests to visit the Missouri town of Hannibal, the hometown of the aforementioned Mark Twain. Memphis to New Orleans is also a possibility, while the ship will also at times head as far south as Pensacola, in far south-western Florida.
The Louisiane riverboat offers 75 staterooms and capacity for up to 150 passengers, evoking ‘New France’ charm and characters as it explores the Mississippi. The vessel is currently undergoing a full refurbishment and once operating, will feature Parisian trained chef and restaurateur Regina Charboneau overseeing onboard food and beverage. Voyages include all shore touring, staff gratuities and all meals and beverages ranging from tea, coffee and soft drink up to house spirits and French wines.
Fares start from $5,751pp twin share and are now on sale.