Mississippi River Paddle Boat

New Orleans to Memphis With Branson
2 Spots

Mississippi River Paddle Boat

New Orleans to Memphis With Branson American Queen Paddle Wheel Steamboat 15 day cruise/tour - November 27, 2021

We love sailing right after Thanksgiving, from New Orleans to Memphis. Many of our stops have opened their Christmas Markets and put up Christmas lights, BUT WHAT MAKES 2021 SPECIAL, WE WERE ABLE TO ADD CHRISTMAS IN BRANSON!!! It is a 5-hour drive from Memphis to some of the BEST Christmas Shows in the world. Next year’s cruise will not only have all that is wonderful on the Mississippi, the added Branson experience will include many Christmas Shows PLUS the 6 million Christmas lights of Silver Dollar City. All together we will be seeing 9 fantastic Christmas Shows during our stay in Branson.

American Queen
American Queen – Largest paddleboat steamship on the Mississippi

River Cruise Description

The excitement, fun, and relaxation of a Mississippi paddleboat cruise combined with the study of American History with Michael Wilcox and the Civil War with Jeff Lawson. This fantastic paddleboat cruise starts in New Orleans and travels the Mississippi to Memphis. We have combined the American Queen Paddle Steamboat package with 1 additional night in New Orleans before the cruise and 1 night in Memphis along with 4 nights in Branson after the cruise. Our tour in New Orleans will include the World War II Museum, the Mardi Gras World (where they are in the middle of building next year’s floats), and Bourbon Street. Our tour in Memphis will include the Civil Rights Museum and the home of Elvis Presley’s Graceland. Our tour in Branson will include 9 wonderful Christmas Shows in Branson along with a visit to Silver Dollar City with its staggering 6 million lights on display.

You do not want to be touring or sailing the Mississippi in the heat of 90 plus degrees and 90 to 100% humidity. We have picked the perfect time of year, the end of November in the South has the best temperatures. The average temperature at the time of our sailing is 70 degrees in New Orleans and the vast majority of our stops the average high-temperature range between 60 to 70. There are fewer crowds along with perfect touring and walking temperatures. In Branson, the temperature this time of year is usually mid 50’s with most of your time spent indoors.

Another reason this is the perfect time of year is that New Orleans lights up for Christmas on Thanksgiving weekend. We will see the pageantry and beauty of Christmas in New Orleans and other cities as we travel the Mississippi without the cold temperatures of Christmas.


Package Price Includes:

American Queen Package Price Includes

  • 8 days 7 nights sailing on the American Queen Steamboat.
  • Category E inside stateroom.
  • 2-nights deluxe hotel in New Orleans before the cruise.
  • 1-night deluxe hotel in Memphis after the cruise.
  • Touring in New Orleans.
  • Touring in Memphis.
  • 4 nights Deluxe Hotel Branson.
  • 9 Christmas Shows in Branson.
  • Silver Dollar City Christmas lights with two Broadway Quality Shows.
  • A visit to Elvis Presley’s Graceland.
  • A visit to the Mardi Gras World Studio.
  • All transfers, if you booked our group airfare or your flight arrives on or before our Fun For Less group flights.
  • 3 meals a day on the ship.
  • Music and evening shows on the ship.
  • $199 in ship taxes and fees.
  • Shore Excursions: They have Hop on Hop off buses at their ports of call. They are free and are included. They work perfectly for most ports of call. THE EXCEPTIONS: The free buses do not do the Civil War site of Vicksburg, and the ship does not include any touring in Memphis or New Orleans. We have added to our package, the Civil War site of Vicksburg, Memphis & New Orleans.
  • Guest Educator: Dr. Michael Wilcox & Jeff Lawson.
  • Fun For Less Tours Staff throughout the tour and cruise.
  • Use of our “Whisper Perfect Headset receivers.”

Package Price: 4,295

Package Price: $4,295 - This price is for a category E inside cabin.*

*Per person cash discount price, based on double occupancy.
Does not include airfare, tips or optional extension package.
Airfare Prices will be announced soon.

Day 1: November 27: New Orleans
We depart our home and travel to New Orleans. Upon arrival, we will transfer to the hotel where we will overnight.  The transfer is included if you have arranged your flight around the group transfer.
Day 2: November 28: New Orleans
Today we will make a stop at the #1 tourist attraction now in New Orleans- the fabulous World War II Museum. We will spend several hours here. Then on to the Mardi Gras World to visit the Warehouse where the famous Mardi Gras floats are assembled. We will then transfer to another hotel where we overnight.
Day 3: November 29: New Orleans
Today we finish any missed touring and we will then transfer to the American Queen, where we will be staying the next 7 nights.
Day 4: November 30: Nottoway Plantation, LA
Located in the Saint James Parish, Oak Alley is a much-photographed plantation that combines architectural splendor and the natural wonder of its 300-year-old oak trees. Spend time strolling beneath the canopy of these trees, and learn about the rich history and culture of this southern estate. Enjoy your included “Hop On-Hop Off” Tour.
Day 5: December 1: St Francisville, LA
Established in 1809, St. Francisville is the oldest town in the Florida Parishes. Below where St. Francisville is located currently, was a settlement called Bayou Sara in the 1790s. When this settlement was destroyed by flooding and fires, many of the structures and artifacts were hauled up the bluff into St. Francisville, where they are still standing. The town is referred to as “two miles long and two yards wide,” but that definitely doesn’t mean they have nothing to offer! Stop in at one of the unique shops, historical homes, beautiful churches, or breathtaking parks and you will agree with that! Spanish moss trees grow throughout the town, which creates a beautiful southern comfort to the atmosphere. Enjoy your included “Hop on-Hop off” Tour.
Day 6: December 2: Natchez, MS
This charming river town was first inhabited by Natchez Indians and French explorers who shared the land. It was founded in 1716, making it the oldest city on the Mississippi. The city is known for its elegance, hospitality, and impressive preservation of history – found on every street corner throughout Natchez. Guests enjoy the unique shops, restaurants, museums, and historical homes located in Natchez, all of which contribute to Hugh Bayless’ book, “The 100 Best Towns in America.” Enjoy your included “Hop On-Hop Off” Tour.
Day 7: December 3: Vicksburg, MS
Today we will enjoy our included premium tour to Vicksburg National Military Battle Field. Vicksburg was the key to controlling the Mississippi River for the Northern army in the Civil War. By defeating the Confederates protecting Vicksburg the Northern Army now controlled trade and movement up and down the Mississippi.
Day 8: December 4: Greenville, MS
Greenville is at the very heart and soul of the Mississippi Delta. Located on the banks of Lake Ferguson, Greenville is a short drive to Indianola, the birthplace of B.B. King, and many other blues singers, so naturally, Greenville has its fair share of Blues integrated into its culture. Many authors and writers were born or reside in the small town of Greenville; local legend says that the Greenville water grows writers. The author of the Muppets actually got started here along with a long list of other impressive, renowned writers! The town is also known for its gardening, which they were recognized for growing the largest carpet plant in the nation; and museums of which the town has one for practically everything! This beautiful town is sure to win your heart with its southern charm and soul! Enjoy your included “Hop On-Hop Off” Tour.
Day 9: December 5: Scenic River Cruising 
Enjoy a relaxing day cruising the Mississippi River. We will also hold a get-together and hear from Michael Wilcox.
Day 10: December 6: Memphis
This morning we will disembark in Memphis. We will be doing a city tour of Memphis,  St. Judes Hospital, and the famous Peabody Ducks. We also plan to visit the #1 visited tourist attraction in Memphis the Civil Rights Museum, built around the Lorraine Motel where the assassination of Martin Luther King took place. We will visit Elvis Presley’s Graceland. We will have a chance to see his famous house and all the exhibits associated with his costumes cars and entertainment career!  We then transfer to our hotel where we overnight.
Day 11, 12, 13, & 14: December 7, 8, 9, & 10: Branson
On December 7 we will drive around 5 hours to Branson, Missouri. Over the next four days, we will be seeing 9 fantastic Christmas Shows during our time in Branson. We will also visit Silver Dollar City which is known for having 6 million Christmas lights. We plan to see the Andy Williams Christmas Show, Dutton Family Christmas Show, George Dyer Christmas Show, Six Christmas Show, Sights and Sounds Christmas Show, Haygoods Christmas Show, Clay Cooper Christmas Show, Hughes Brothers Christmas Show, and a show at Silver Dollar City. Schedules are not open for December of 2021 yet.
Day 15: December 11: Fly Home
This morning we transfer back to the Springfield airport for our flight home.  (Transfers are included if you are flying with the group or are able to go to the airport at the time we take the group.  Otherwise, transfers are on your own.) 

Cabin Categories

Category E

Inside Staterooms (E)

Surrounded by wonderful period details and with every modern convenience, you will find your cares disappear within moments upon entering these cozy havens. Ample shelving and storage spaces keep your necessities out of the way but easily accessible.


  • 132-140 sq. ft.
  • Queen Bed or Two Single Beds
  • Shower or X-Large Shower
  • Flat-screen TV
  • Observation and Texas Decks

Category D

Deluxe Outside Staterooms with Bay Window (D) 

An expansive bay window overlooking the ever-changing scenery of America’s Heartland is the main draw of this spacious category. Curl up in front of the window with a new novel and savor a moment that belongs to only you.


  • 190 sq. ft.
  • Queen Bed or Two Single Beds
  • Tub/Shower Combination
  • Flat-screen TV
  • Bay Window
  • Cabin Deck
  • Interior Access

Category C

Outside Staterooms with Open Veranda (C) 

Relax in your sitting area, open the French doors to the deck, and greet the day as the banks of the river slip majestically by. Sit on the deck outside your stateroom and take in the expansive views or enjoy a leisurely morning in bed with room service.


  • 140-160 sq. ft.
  • Queen Bed or Two Single Beds
  • Shower or Tub/Shower Combination
  • Flat-screen TV
  • French Doors Open onto Deck
  • Observation, Cabin, and Texas Decks
  • Exterior Access

Category B

Outside Staterooms with Open Veranda (B) 

Can you imagine opening French doors to a sweeping river vista and the sweet scent of magnolia trees? There’s no need to dream any longer in these staterooms. Sit on the deck outside your stateroom and greet early morning strollers, relax in bed with your favorite book, or soak in a hot bath.


  • 190-205 sq. ft.
  • Queen Bed or Two Single Beds
  • Tub/Shower Combination
  • Flat-screen TV
  • French Doors Open onto Deck
  • Observation Deck
  • Interior and/or Exterior Access

Category A

Deluxe Outside Staterooms with Private Veranda (A) 

With your own private veranda, these staterooms are so enjoyable you might decide to extend your journey. Sit in your cozy armchairs and prop your feet up on the ottoman as you read through the River Times, our daily program, and discover the delights that await you.

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  • 190 sq. ft. with 40 sq.ft. Veranda
  • Queen Bed or Two Single Beds
  • Tub/Shower Combination
  • Flat-screen TV
  • French Doors Open onto Veranda
  • Texas Deck
  • Interior Access

Category AA

Superior Outside Staterooms with Open Veranda (AA) 

Settle in your sitting area, open the French doors to the deck, and greet the day as the banks of the river slip majestically by. Some staterooms in this category offer a view of the paddlewheel, while others offer expansive views of America’s heartland.

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  • 210 sq. ft.
  • Queen Bed or Two Single Beds
  • Tub/Shower Combination
  • Flat-screen TV
  • Sitting Area
  • Vanity Mirror and Desk
  • French Doors Open onto Deck
  • Promenade and Observation Decks