VACAYA New Orleans Cruise
Updated: May 23
Join us for an LGBTQ New Orleans and the Mighty Mississippi River cruise sailing on the American Duchess November 14-22, 2021.
Eight incredible nights sailing round trip from New Orleans with port stops in St. Francisville, Natchez, Vicksburg, Baton Rouge, and Nottoway on the luxurious and historic paddlewheeler American Duchess.
The AMERICAN DUCHESS® is a boutique-style riverboat offering exquisite dining, beautiful decks and exceptional amenities. Her suites range from 180 to 550 square feet, allowing guests to stay in some of the largest accommodations on the rivers. Unique to the American Duchess are her Loft Suites, which feature two stories enhanced by floor-to-ceiling windows, two full bathrooms, a comfortable dining area, a beautiful lounge with a queen sofa-bed, a private balcony and an upstairs bedroom.
Combining the best of the old and the new, this beautiful lady epitomizes the grace and grandeur that have made cruising on the Mississippi River a cherished American tradition for more than two centuries.
Inspired by America’s heartland and Southern heritage, the menus showcase the varied cultural and culinary influences of the United States. In the elegant Grand Dining Room, any meal will keep you savoring the memory of the flavors and sharing your excitement for the excellent service – even after you leave the ship. If you are looking for a more casual atmosphere, the River Club and Terrace is for you. Meals there feature favorite main dishes, such as roast prime rib alongside irresistible sides – roasted new potatoes, classic mac-and-cheese and fresh salads.
The rhythm of the river is slow as a southern drawl that invites us all to take a deep breath and enjoy the simple moments. The Lincoln library is more than just a space to gather for morning coffee and your favorite book. And the Art Walk, a passageway alongside The Show Lounge, features a series of paintings by Claude Monet. It’s the perfect place to soak up some beauty or simply curl up with a book in one of its window seats.
The VACAYA all-LGBTQ full ship charter's journey starts with an overnight at the Hilton Riverside, just steps from all the excitement, music and culinary adventures of the Big Easy's famed French Quarter and Warehouse District. The American Duchess will dock at the Riverwalk Shopping Centre at the foot of Canal Street - mere feet from the Hilton Riverside.
The American Duchess will be VACAYA's home away from home for seven luxurious nights. You will journey back in time to uncover the treasures, charm and history of the Deep South as you indulge in iconic cuisine spiced with the cultural flavours of the region's past.
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5-STAR LUXURY CLOSE TO HOME
American Duchess’ staterooms are some of the most spacious available on the rivers of America (or any river in the world, for that matter), with well-appointed staterooms and suites up to 550 square feet. Your stateroom or suite provides the perfect retreat after each fun-filled day, inviting you to take a deep breath and enjoy life’s simple moments.
Haven Staterooms (HV) - starting at USD$2,997/person
Located in the central heart of American Duchess, the ultimate hideaway Haven Staterooms (HS) offer a 180-square-foot interior retreat – the perfect place to unwind after a fun-filled day of sightseeing, cocktail parties, delicious feasts, and fabulous VACAYA entertainment. A full bath with shower, writing desk, coffee maker, and mini refrigerator round out this luxurious retreat. Haven Staterooms are the perfect choice if you’re looking for a truly great night of sleep – spacious, dark (there are no windows), quiet, cozy, comfortable.
Veranda Suite (VS) - starting at USD$5,997/person
Duchess’ Veranda Suites (VS) offer the perfect break from a busy day on the river. Settle in at your furnished lounge area with sofa and desk or slide open the doors to your private veranda and peacefully watch America’s southland drift by. Enjoy the finest amenities in these luxurious accommodations, which feature generous closet space, a coffee maker, mini refrigerator, and full bathroom with shower. A single sofa bed can accommodate a 3rd guest in some VS suites. There are a few wheelchair accessible suites in this category that are 330 sq. ft.
Loft Suite (LFS) - starting at USD$8,997/person
Duchess’ spacious, elegant Loft Suites (LS) are your new home away from home. The lower level features a full bathroom, small dining area, and beautiful lounge area furnished with a full-size sofa-bed, coffee maker, mini refrigerator, and a flat-screen TV. Sliding doors give access to your private veranda, where you can unwind and take in the majestic riverside scenery. Ascend the stairs to the upper level of the loft, and discover a tranquil retreat with a flat-screen TV, semi-private bedroom, full bathroom featuring floor-to-ceiling marble and tub/shower combination, and plentiful closet space. A major feature of this suite is Commodore Services, including a River Butler.
MORE THAN YOU COULD EVER IMAGINE... INCLUDED
For the first time in all-LGBT+ cruising history, VACAYA offers you a close-to-home vacation option that challenges all typical expectations. Of course, savvy travelers recognize “value” doesn’t mean “low price.” Instead, value is defined as getting something extraordinary for a great price. And that’s exactly what VACAYA’s 2021 New Orleans Mississippi River Cruise delivers. At VACAYA they are dedicated to providing you with the very best. That’s what drives them, journey after journey. And it’s amazing what’s included:
1 Night at the Hilton New Orleans Riverside Pre-Cruise (including taxes and porterage)
Breakfast at the Hilton
7 Nights aboard an authentic steam-powered paddlewheeler, American Duchess
Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner served each day throughout the cruise
Non-premium beer and wine at dinner.
Cappuccino, expresso, specialty coffees, soft-serve ice cream, soft drinks, and bottled water throughout the cruise
Afternoon tea, coffee, cookies and snacks available each day
Welcome canapés and bottle of wine in Suites
24-hour Room Service
Daily housekeeping and nightly turn down service
Included excursions in most ports of call
Daily Excursions on innovative “Hop-On Hop-Off” motorcoach in most ports of call
Use of Fitness Center
Unlimited Onboard WiFi
In-Room Iron and Ironing Board
In-Room Keurig Coffee-Maker and Mini-Fridge
William Roam Bath Amenities
Onboard Enrichment Lectures
VACAYA Signature Parties and Social Activities
The following services are available for an additional charge:
Premium Beverage Package
PREMIUM BEVERAGE PACKAGE
If you desire more than beer and wine with dinner, VACAYA's unlimited all-inclusive premium beverage package affords you carefree enjoyment of your favorite premium spirits, beer, and wine by the glass throughout the length of your voyage. Some restrictions do apply. Package can be purchased in advance beginning in late 2020.
COMMODORE SERVICE FOR OWNER'S & LOFT SUITES
Guests holding reservations for Owner’s Suites and Loft Suites will receive AQSC’s exclusive Commodore Services, an elite level of hospitality and amenities:
Pre-boarding privileges (one hour earlier than standard)
Fruit basket and bottle of wine in your suite upon arrival
Preferred dining arrangements
Reserved seating in The Show Lounge theater
Dinner with Senior Officers of the American Duchess
In addition to Commodore Service hospitality and amenities, Owner’s Suite and Loft Suite guests will also receive the services of a friendly River Butler:
Tour of your suite upon arrival
Unpacking of luggage and hanging of clothes
Preparation and packing of luggage
Laundry and pressing service
Shoe shine and conditioning
Afternoon tea served in your suite
Breakfast and dinner served on balcony/veranda (upon request)
In-suite pre-dinner canapés
In-suite post-dinner sweets
Port taxes and admin fees are USD$347/person. Pre-paid gratuities are USD$156/person. Prices are subject to change. Click here for VACAYA's full Terms and Conditions including payment and cancellation policies.
Day 1 - Sunday, Nov. 14, 2021 → New Orleans, LA
Let VACAYA co-founder Randle Roper show you his hometown favorites! After a little solo exploration and dinner on your own, meet up with Randle and the team to hit some of the city’s most famous gay bars along Bourbon Street. Head back at your leisure to enjoy your included stay at Hilton New Orleans Riverside. Our Hospitality Desk at the hotel can assist with everything from general questions about your upcoming voyage to reserving premium experiences. VACAYA, American Queen Steamboat Company, and local representatives will all be readily available to provide you with dining, entertainment, and sightseeing options to maximize your time here.
Day 2 - Monday, Nov. 15, 2021 → New Orleans, LA (set sail at 5PM)
Enjoy an easy morning with your included breakfast at the hotel or use our amazingly central location as the jumping off point for exploring The Crescent City. New Orleans’s Creole, Cajun, and other diverse residents blended to develop art, cuisine, music, and general culture unlike any other in the United States. Uncover the treasures of the city as you explore the unique sites and attractions lining New Orleans’ historic streets. A bon voyage departure like you’ve never seen will take place on the River Club Terrace and the top Deck, so grab your parasol and make your way to witness how authentic steam power can propel us back in time as we get to know our traveling companions for the next few days. Dinner and an evening of entertainment await!
Day 3 - Tuesday, Nov. 16, 2021 → River Cruising
There’s always plenty to do between dawn and dusk on the river and today is the perfect day to enjoy the many public spaces and activities that are available to you onboard. Gaze at the beautiful landscapes and small river towns as you mingle with fellow guests and discuss the unique aspects of river life. If you fancy a moment for yourself, retreat to The Lincoln Library adorned with ornate bookcases stocked with an imaginative selection. Take hold of a literary classic, curl up on a plush chair in a cozy corner and relish every moment of serenity. Our fitness facility, business center, movie theater, and grand lobby offer a more stimulating day on the river for those who wish to indulge in more energy-infused activities. However you wish to spend your day, make it your own and revel in every moment!
Day 4 - Wednesday, Nov. 17, 2021 → 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 still stand. With over 140 buildings on the National Register, beautiful homes nestled in the rolling countryside, and bustling Main Street shops, this quaint town situated on the bluffs of the Mississippi River has a style all its own.
Hop-On Hop-Off Included Excursions:
Today, you’ll get your first taste of AQSC’s included Hop-On Hop-Off excursions that begin right from the dock and take you around town to all the main points of interest. We encourage you to hop off the motorcoach whenever the urge catches you, because another one is on its way to pick you up, typically stopping every 15 to 20 minutes.
Royal Street Guests can hop off here and walk over to The Republic of West Florida Historical Site. Or choose to stroll into Grandmother’s Buttons, a very unique southern boutique that offers jewelry made out of 100-year-old buttons. Inside the store, you can visit the button museum to learn the history of the business and the inspirations of the art. The store is located inside a former historic bank lobby with 16-foot ceilings and a bank vault. Even if jewelry isn’t in your plans, the architecture is beautiful.
Old Market Hall Become steeped in southern charm and local artistry. Stop at Harrington Gallery to experience one-of-a-kind paintings and beautiful pieces by local artists. Visit the Shanty Too, a quaint boutique featuring artisan jewelry and gifts. The structure was built in 1819 and has a beautiful open layout. Now, the building is used as a market center for the town to host their small businesses.
West Feliciana Historical Society Museum Learn about St. Francisville and Louisiana’s history and culture. Also, feel free to stop at the West Feliciana Parish Library and relax with a good book or newspaper. This museum is dedicated to the history, people, and architectures of West Feliciana Parish. Built inside a former hardware store built in 1896, the Historical Society Museum displays many artifacts, photos, costumes, and articles all portraying the history of St. Francisville. Just across the street, you can stop in any of the fine boutiques and shops.
Grace Episcopal Church Originally built in 1827, this restored Gothic structure is one of the oldest Protestant churches in Louisiana. Learn about its significance during the Civil War and its historical Civil War cemetery. Built in 1860 and rebuilt in 1893 after the Union Army caused heavy damage in 1863, Grace Episcopal Church stands tall in St. Francisville. Enjoy a self-guided tour of the church and the grounds and make sure to check out the organ located inside – it dates all the way back to 1860.
Bicycles for Leisurely Use While in Port The ship offers 10 complimentary bicycles and helmets at each port on your river cruise. Simply sign up at the front desk. With so many picturesque towns along the rivers, cycling is a great way to explore the shops and sites while getting in your daily dose of cardio. Our onboard staff will also provide you with local attraction maps and guides so that you can explore each port as you wish along your river journey.
Redemption & Rehabilitation at Angola Penitentiary Angola Prison is known today as a model facility and takes great pride in the faith-based rehabilitation of its inmates. Your perception of prison will be changed today. As we wind through Angola’s vast, rich farmland where over five million pounds of produce are harvested by inmates each year, gaze upon the fields that seem to expand forever. Our ride will wind along as we pass inmates harvesting crops, cattle herds, the K-9 training facility, and the Rodeo arena. We will stop in front of the prison’s first and most famous Red Hat Cell Block. Listed on the National Registry of Historic Places, the penitentiary’s first cell block was home to the escape artist Charlie Frazer. At the chapel you’ll have a once-in-a-lifetime chance to hear the enlightening stories from current inmates and the journey of their transformation into the inspiration and well-rounded people they are today. While here, learn more about the ongoing effort to change prisons in America. Film buffs will recognize Angola Prison from the Oscar-winning film Dead Man Walking, with Susan Sarandon and Sean Penn.
Independent Lunch Recommendations (not included):
The Francis Southern Table & Bar: If you’re too enthralled in St. Francisville to make it back to the ship for lunch, consider partaking in local Cajun & Creole delights. Whether you choose Gumbo, a shrimp po’ boy (that’s a sandwich, y’all), frog legs, or a corn grit cake topped with the best shrimp & sauce ever, you’ll savor every bite of your own plate and the person’s next to you! Vegetarian and vegan friendly as well! Website: https://www.thefrancissoutherntable.com/Home#!
The Francis Southern Table & Bar: Established in November of 2019, The Saint Restaurant & Bar has quickly achieved respect and success within the region, rising to one of the top ten restaurants on OpenTable among all metropolitan Baton Rouge restaurants. Chef Michael Dardenne and his team have found an ideal balance between Cajun culture, European tradition, and cutting-edge flavors that the public can’t get enough of. Website: https://stfrancisvilleinn.com/about-our-restaurant/
Day 5 - Thursday, Nov. 18, 2021 → Natchez, MS
It seems as if history fell asleep and awoke unscathed by the changing times in this magical port. This charming river town was founded in 1716, making it the oldest city on the Mississippi River. It’s known for its elegance, hospitality, and impressive preservation of history – found on every street corner. Enjoy the unique shops, restaurants, museums (including the Afro-American Culture Museum), and historic homes, all of which inspired Hugh Bayless to include Natchez in his book “The 100 Best Towns in America.”
Hop-On Hop-Off Included Excursions:
Rosalie Mansion In 1716, the French built Fort Rosalie overlooking the Mississippi River. In 1823, a mansion was built by a wealthy cotton planter on land north of the fort. The Mississippi State Society Daughters of the American Revolution have since gained ownership and have been maintaining the house and grounds since 1938. On this self-guided tour, discover the history of the house and the artifacts found throughout. Period-dressed docents can be found throughout the home to answer questions and to provide more information. Explore the extensive gardens, gift shop, library, and carriage as well.
Natchez Visitor’s Center Enjoy a short, 20-minute video in the Visitor’s Center Theater and hear about the history of Natchez. Then, explore the building at your leisure. At the entrance, a scaled display model of the city is showcased. Stop in the office for some general information and questions about the town and its history, including town highlights and points of interest.
William Johnson House Museum William Johnson was known as the “Barber of Natchez;” he began as a slave and gained his freedom at age eleven. After his freedom, he began to work his way up in society, eventually becoming almost fully accepted. As the town barber, William Johnson was able to hear the stories and gossip of many of the residents, which he documented in his diary for over 16 years. His 3-story brick home was built in 1840 and showcases many original furnishings.
Magnolia Hall This Greek Revival Mansion was built in 1858. The house was built before the breakout of the Civil War in town but did suffer some damage – a cannon ball was launched into their kitchen! It is now fully restored – the main floor offers a showcase of many antiques and furnishings and the upper floors offer a costume collection located in the Historic Clothing Museum. Tour the house and then stop in the gift shop for souvenirs.
Stanton Hall Irish Immigrant and cotton merchant Frederick Stanton built this Palatial Greek Revival mansion in 1857. It was appraised at $83,000 during that period (that’s about $2.5 million in today’s dollars), even before it was furnished. Take a 30-minute tour of the house – which takes up the entire block and is fully furnished. Afterwards you can stop for lunch in the Carriage House Restaurant, known for their fine southern cuisine.
Natchez Association for the Preservation of Afro-American Culture Museum Here, learn the history and culture of African Americans over time. The museum will delve into the 300-year-old African American history, spanning four lifetimes from Colonial and Cotton Kingdom Natchez, to the Reconstruction and the Civil Rights Movements. As you explore this creative portrayal of the true African American story, you will unfold history to reveal Natchez in a light that is shown nowhere else around.
Fortunes and Follies: A Glimpse into the Antebellum South On today’s journey, visit two of the most iconic structures in Natchez: Longwood Mansion and Melrose Mansion. Dive deep into discovery of the antebellum South while touring these historic homes. Expert guides provide new, interesting insights on the period and its architecture.
Independent Lunch Recommendations (not included):
The Guest House Restaurant: Today’s recommendation features authentic Mediterranean & Cajun-inspired cooking and the best outdoor courtyard dining in Natchez. And don’t miss Henry, who greets everyone with what is clearly his trademark, “Welcome to the Deep South” as he serves you their famous Babaganoush (roasted eggplant dip) – delicious! Vegan and Vegetarian friendly too. Website: https://www.guesthouseinnatchez.com/our-restaurant
The Guest House Restaurant: Directly across the wharf from where the ship will port, get ready for a treat as you grab a cold craft beer and donut burger and watch the river flow by from the casual and festive porch. The Catfish or killer pork BBQ tacos are spectacular as well. Website: https://thecamprestaurant.com
Day 6 - Friday, Nov. 19, 2021 → Vicksburg, MS
Vicksburg perfectly blends Southern culture and heritage with exciting modern attractions. As a major battle site during the Civil War, this Southern town carries a history unlike any other. Vicksburg is also the place where Coca-Cola was first bottled, a fact that is happily immortalized at the Biedenharn Coca-Cola Museum. Learn about the historic conflicts of the city, taste its cuisine, visit the many museums, and pick out the perfect souvenir.
Hop-On Hop-Off Included Excursions:
On the Front Lines of the Civil War
Travel the front lines of one the most important battlefields in the country. Cross into enemy territory, hear the stories and hardships suffered by soldiers and discover what makes Vicksburg such an important city in American history. Aptly described by President Lincoln as “the key to victory,” the Siege and Battle at Vicksburg is a landmark in time that shaped our country and how wars would forever be fought.
Set off for the historic Vicksburg National Military Park. Here, we’ll travel the 16-mile road that weaves through the 1,300 monuments and markers. As our luxury motorcoach navigates the bluffs and fields that once served as crucial battlegrounds, we’ll cross both Union and Confederate lines and make a few stops to allow for a close-up experience at some of the key points of interest along the way. Tour the USS Cairo and Museum, an Iron Clad River Boat that was raised from the depths of the Mississippi River and can be boarded and fully explored. Climb the steps at the Illinois State Monument (the largest of the 27 state monuments) and walk the National Cemetery, a peaceful location holding the largest amount of Civil War burials in the country, as well as the Vicksburg Battlefield Visitor’s Center, where an informative fiber-optic display depicts the progression of the siege.
A Round of Golf at the Vicksburg Country Club It’s time to tee off in Vicksburg! Join us for a fantastic round of 18 holes at the Vicksburg Country Club Golf Course, built in 1929. All cart, clubs, and green fees are included.
Independent Lunch Recommendations (not included):
Anchuca: Anchuca Café offers a casual yet elegant dining experience offering award-winning gourmet southern dishes. Guests consistently say it’s the best steak they’ve ever had. Other specialties include their scrumptious Shrimp & Grits, Panéed Catfish featuring Mississippi farm raised catfish, and the very popular Surf & Turf, a proven people pleaser. Website: http://www.anchuca.com/?page_id=269
Walnut Hills Restaurant: Respecting tradition, down to the most minute detail, is what keeps the lunches and dinners popular at this Southern mecca. Mismatched rockers on the porch, whiskey bottles of the wonderful homemade hot pepper sauce on each table, and the delicious cayenne-laced fried chicken served by Miss Herdcine Williams makes this award-winning restaurant a one-of-a kind Southern experience. Some call this chicken the world’s best! Website: https://walnuthillsms.com/
Day 7 - Saturday, Nov. 20, 2021 → Baton Rouge, LA
Baton Rouge grants a strikingly different experience from those of the small-town stops throughout our journey. In this energetic port, history-facing museums and landmarks fraternize with forward-looking art and industry to offer a personalized encounter to each visitor. Allow the flowing, carefree words of denizens to dance through the eardrums during a meander through the city streets. Choose to hop on one of our deluxe motorcoaches and explore the diversity this city has to offer, or take a walk down the river path alongside our riverboat.
Hop-On Hop-Off Included Excursions:
USS Kidd Just a short walk from the dock, guests can explore a Fletcher-Class Destroyer that fought in many battles in U.S. history. Named after Admiral Isaac C. Kidd, who died on the bridge of his flagship during Pearl Harbor, the USS Kidd has received eight battle stars for WWII service and four battle stars for Korean War service. This 2,050-ton, 376-foot-long vessel has since been converted into a museum, with exhibits of extensive collections of war artifacts, ship models, memorial hall, real fighter planes and bombers, and memorials.
Capitol Park Museum This impressive museum showcases collections of visual arts, jazz, costumes, textiles, and artifacts from Louisiana history. It was founded in 1906 and holds over 450,000 artifacts and works of arts. Permanent exhibits include “Experiencing Louisiana: Discovering the Soul of America,” and “Grounds for Greatness: Louisiana.” Rotating exhibits change frequently and can cover a range of different historical events.
Louisiana’s State Capitol This prime example of Art Deco Architecture was extremely popular in the 1930s and stands 450 feet tall. The building holds 34 floors, making it the tallest state capital in the United States. Guests can admire the uniquely constructed rooms throughout the building or take a ride up to the 34th floor to the observation deck where an impressive panoramic view of the city can be found.
LSU Museum Of Art Immerse yourself in the history of Louisiana and its culture through art at the LSU Museum of Art. Located on the fifth floor of the Shaw Center for the Arts, the museum hosts a variety of historic and contemporary art exhibits as well as a vast permanent collection spanning the 1700s to present day with over 6,500 artworks on display year round. Paired with a variety of programming and an education space to explore, a visit to LSU MOA is perfect for all interests.
LSU Rural Life Museum Dedicated to the preservation and exhibition of materials from the cultures of 18th and 19th century rural Louisianans, the LSU Rural Life Museum sends guests back in time to experience the lifestyles and life-ways of these remarkable people. Explore the largest collection of artifacts and architecture from the period, all in a safe, outdoor rural landscape.
Independent Lunch Recommendations (not included):
Louisiana Lagniappe Restaurant: In addition to old-time favorites Seafood Gumbo and Corn and Crab Bisque, they serve many different house-made gumbos, soups, and bisques, including Roasted Red Pepper and Jumbo Lump Crab, Duck and Andouille Gumbo, Shrimp and Artichoke, Crab and Brie, Southwestern Seafood Bisque, Roasted Cauliflower and Garlic with Jumbo Lump Crab, and Lobster Bisque to name a few. Website: http://louisianalagniapperestaurant.com/menu.php
Parrain’s Seafood: This restaurant is committed to bringing guests the freshest and highest quality seafood in town. They have mouth-watering selections that are featured daily on the extensive menu. They offer daily specials for lunch and dinner. Website: http://parrains.com/
If you’re looking for a little off-the-beaten path fun, one of the best escape rooms in the entire country is located here in Baton Rouge. 13th Gate offers a perfect way to bond with friends over an exciting hour of problem-solving and silliness. Located at 800 St. Philip Street, 13th Gate is an easy walk from the dock!
Day 8 - Sunday, Nov. 21, 2021 → Nottoway, LA
American Queen Steamboat Company features an exclusive port at Nottoway. While the boat is docked, visit the sugarcane estate – the largest standing antebellum mansion in the South. Nottoway is an intricate building with impressive detail. Original furnishings mingle with era-appropriate antiques to create an atmosphere that does justice to the home’s original ambiance. It is a fascinating history and one that provides immense insight that informs today’s racial equality discussions – an experience you won’t want to miss.
Hop-On Hop-Off Included Excursion:
Enjoy an included tour of Nottoway, the South’s largest remaining antebellum mansion. This stunning historical place lies between Baton Rouge and New Orleans. The mansion flaunts three floors, 64-bedrooms, and displays an incredible 22 white square columns which contribute to its nickname—“The White Castle of Louisiana.” The most popular room among guests is the White Ballroom, which is painted entirely in white and displays elaborate gold décor throughout. Rooms are trimmed in custom plaster frieze made from Spanish moss, clay, plaster, and mud and are all original to the house. And as if that weren’t enough, this immaculate mansion was constructed with 365 openings—one for each day of the year. Enjoy a guided walking tour of an American Castle as we explore within the pristine walls of Nottoway followed by a stroll through the lush grounds and gardens.
Independent Lunch Recommendations (not included):
The Mansion Restaurant: Nottoway’s Mansion Restaurant offers classic Louisiana Creole-inspired cuisine and outstanding service. This restaurant features a beautifully restored turn-of-the-century dining room with stunning views of centuries-old oak trees. They have outdoor dining available as well, located on the covered 2nd-floor balcony of the Rotunda, offering sweeping views of Nottoway’s beautiful grounds. Website: https://www.nottoway.com/dining
Day 9 - Monday, Nov. 22, 2021 → New Orleans, LA (disembark 9AM)
We say “so long” today, but it’s never goodbye for long. Another VACAYA adventure lies just around the corner. We’ll see you again soon! If you’re flying out from New Orleans today, we recommend flights at 12pm or later.
Interested in this VACAYA LGBTQ River Cruise? - click here to learn more.
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AQSC Care - Enhanced Health and Safety protocols aboard American Queen Steamboat Company
Communication with our guests begins before they have committed or booked their experience on our vessels. Health and safety information will be communicated to our guests and a pre-cruise screening process has been instituted to determine the health eligibility of those who wish to cruise with us. The following outlines the new procedures in place to ensure the health and safety of our guests and crew:
In accordance with industry standards, we will conduct pre-voyage screenings for the protection of all our guests, staff and crew at the designated check-in hotel. Before boarding the vessel, all guests will be required to complete a health and safety questionnaire.
At guest check-in a medical professional will perform health screenings and answer any guest or crew questions. The medical professional will have the authority to deny boarding to anyone that may pose a health risk.
All guests and crew will complete a medical travel screening survey and have their temperatures taken. All forms will be reviewed by our medical representative and a member of our shipboard staff.
Because of changes in check-in and boarding processes, no guests or crew will be allowed to check-in directly on the vessel. Only those who have completed and passed the medical screening will be allowed to board the vessel.
Information will be provided to all guests and crew regarding onboard sanitization and safety procedures.
American Queen Steamboat Company representatives will greet each visitor at the vessel access point. The following procedures will be enforced and will be managed by the Master and a medical representative.
One controlled access point will be maintained on the vessel.
We will require a 24-hour notice for anyone that needs access to the vessel and has not been pre-screened during hotel screening. This includes all guests, crew, visitors and contractors.
A representative will be used to conduct screening, complete the health and safety survey and provide reports to the Master and each Hotel Director.
Thermal cameras will take the temperature of each guest and crew member boarding the vessel in addition to the manual temperature checks completed in the pre-cruise screening.
Screening and Monitoring During Your Cruise
Monitoring both guests and crew during the cruise for symptoms and ensuring compliance with written policies and procedures is vital to maintaining a safe and healthy environment. Screening during the cruise will be handled through the following methods.
Trained staff will maintain protocols and observe passengers and crew for symptoms. The Master and medical representative will respond to medical calls, keep records, practice quarantine procedures and utilize shoreside medical facilities for passenger and crew follow-up.
The vessel access point will be monitored when in port, and controlled access to the vessel will be maintained. All passengers and crew will be passively monitored by thermal imaging when returning to the vessel.
American Queen Steamboat Company vessels will support random manual screening at the primary vessel access point in addition to passive thermal screening. In the event of a confirmed positive case, the vessel will manually screen 100% of all individuals coming and going from the vessel.
If a guest or crewmember has an elevated temperature, he or she will be evaluated by a medical representative before being allowed to board the vessel.
Any guest who has an elevated temperature, shows signs or symptoms of illness or that vessel management feels needs to be further assessed will be sent directly to a local medical care partner for evaluation and testing. Any guest or crew that tests positive for any contagious condition will not be allowed to rejoin the vessel.
We have instituted new training procedures for all housekeeping and sanitation staff. Increased sanitation of all contact surfaces such as handrails, tables, chairs, desks, work surfaces, door handles, telephones and elevator controls in both front and back of house will be conducted hourly with higher concentrated solutions.
Sanitation will occur at scheduled times and as further required with emphasis on high touch points.
Additional Medical Resources
Each of our vessels carries a certified onboard medical representative to respond to and assist guests with urgent medical care and coordinating shoreside medical assistance as needed.
Telehealth resources will now be available on board. Guests who wish to speak with a medical representative will now have the opportunity to chat with an Ochsner professional without leaving the boat.
Given the nature of our river itineraries, we have the ability to reach shore-based medical facilities very quickly. We have established a relationship with Ochsner Health along our Mississippi River vessel routes. While in port most days, our guests and crew have priority access to shoreside medical evaluation and treatment if needed on any cruise.
Quarantine procedures are in place for short term separation of potentially ill guests or crew until our next port of call, at which advanced medical care can be accessed. Upon a positive test or elevated response, the American Queen Steamboat Company response team will determine what additional company resources are required.
In an emergency, we have the ability to quickly transfer passengers and crew to emergency medical services ashore by coordinating pick-up at municipal landings and docking facilities.
We will feature new protocols for all motor coach sanitation and safety. A reduced number of guests being transported on each motor coach (targeting 52% of capacity) will allow adequate space between individuals. For a full list of cleaning procedures, click here.
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