French America Line—now scheduled to begin sailing this Oct. 1 instead of in late August as first announced—is adding itineraries along the rarely visited Illinois and Arkansas rivers in 2017. Bookings for next year have opened aboard the flagship Louisane.
All cruise-tours are commissionable to travel planners, and 2017 brochures are now available.
Offered from March 4, 2017, to January 6, 2018, the 48 five- to 14-day programs focus on regional food, music and culture on the Mississippi, Ohio, Tennessee, Cumberland and Red rivers in addition to the Illnois and Arkansas.
New 2017 destination ports include Chattanooga, Louisville and Pittsburgh, with pre-cruise, one-night deluxe hotel stays prior to embarkation included in the tariff.
Sixteen 2017 itineraries will offer the opportunity to spend the night on board prior to disembarkation in four ports: Louisville, Memphis, Natchez and St. Louis.
Pricing includes the pre-cruise hotel stay, free-flowing house wines, spirits, beers, artisanal coffees and teas, soft drinks, sparking and still water, and Traveler Collection guided shore excursions. The use of bicycles with helmets and maps for private explorations is included, too. Optional Curator Collection and pre- and post-cruise experiences are also available.
'Deep South' itineraries will sail the Lower Mississippi and rarely-visited Red River beginning March 4, departing from New Orleans and Memphis. A 'Southern Spirit' 10-day grand cruise-tour from New Orleans to Memphis is available in nine departures from March to December. Other programs include 'Plantation Celebration,' from Memphis to New Orleans; 'Red River Holiday,' round-trip New Orleans, including a December departure to see the Christmas lights; and 'Splendors of the South,' a six-day program round-trip New Orleans.
Other choices are 'Historic Currents,' an eight-day cruise-tour from Memphis to St. Louis, and 'Sounds of the River,' a five-day sampler round-trip Memphis.
'Mississippi Headwaters' itineraries sail the Ohio, Mississippi and rarely traveled Illinois River, departing from St. Louis, St. Paul and Chicago. 'Jewels of the Heartland,' 10 days, from St. Louis to St. Paul, has three departures. The Sept. 29 program begins in Chicago with an overnight and breakfast at the historic Palmer House Hilton Hotel and continues by private vintage Vista-Dome Streamliner train to St. Louis for embarkation aboard Louisiane.
'Midwestern Majesty,' an eight-day cruise-tour from St. Paul to St. Louis, has departures in July, September and October, while 'Marquette Explorer,' also eight days, travels between St. Louis and Chicago (with Ottawa, Illinois, used as the point for coach transfer to or from Chicago).
'River Crossroads' itineraries ply the Ohio and Mississippi rivers beginning at St. Louis, Louisville and Pittsburgh. They include 'Enchanting Passages,' a six-day tour from St. Louis to Louisville; 'American Adventure,' eight days, between Pittsburgh and Louisville; and 'Blue Grass Grandeur,' also eight days, from St. Louis to Louisville.
'River Pioneers' is a 14-day Collector's Cruise-Tour from Pittsburgh to New Orleans. The itinerary traces the path of New Orleans, the first steamboat on America's rivers known for its epic 1811-1812 voyage from Pittsburgh to New Orleans. The program starts Oct. 25.
'Wildnerness Rivers' itineraries chart the Tennessee and Cumberland, beginning in Louisville and Chattanooga. 'Appalachian Elegance,' from Louisville to Chattanooga, and 'Backroads of America,' from Chattanooga to Louisville, are each nine days.