(3 p.m. AEST) — Australia’s Cruiseco has made another interesting move, partnering with new river cruise operator French America Line to charter a sailing in the United States’ Deep South.
Cruiseco’s other full-ship charter, on a much larger scale, is Ovation of the Seas’ first cruise into Australia at the end of the year. Its Mississippi cruise is aboard the refurbished Louisiane, departing New Orleans on 26 October 2016 and ending in Nashville, Tennessee.
Passengers can expect to enjoy jazz, blues, rock ‘n’ roll and country music performances, plus visits to historic mansions and plantation estates and an after-hours private tour of Graceland, the home of Elvis.
“This one of a kind trip is perfect for music lovers and history buffs,” said Amber Wilson, Cruiseco’s international marketing manager.
Chicago-based French America Line president Tom Markwell, who visited Sydney and Brisbane this week, told local media the short cruise made an ideal “add-on” for Australians travelling to America “because we know you don’t come to the U.S just for a river cruise”.
Compared to other lines on the Mississippi, Markwell said French America is a more “premium, elegant experience” and serves superior food from Paris-trained head chef Regina Charboneau, “one of the best Southern chefs in the country”. All food, drinks, shore excursions and gratuities are included in fares.
“We’re very casual, we don’t have jackets and ties at night. Dining on the verandah is open until midnight. We have a full service spa and three lounges, which is rare for a ship of only 150 passengers. There’s chicory coffee, French-pressed coffee, to go with your fresh macaroons. Each room has an iPad containing suggested reading, movies, music and weather information relating to where you’re sailing.”
Louisiane, which is currently undergoing an extensive five-month refurbishment, can navigate less visited parts of the river between Florida Panhandle and St. Louis, Minnesota, allowing 11 different itineraries instead of the same one.
Cruiseco CEO Steve Lloyd said: “Louisiane is America’s only boutique, luxury riverboat to explore the country’s beautiful heartland and Deep South. This intimate riverboat embraces the French refinement and character that was brought to the region during its colonisation of ‘New France’.”
Cruiseco also operates two of its own vessels, Cruiseco Adventurer on the Mekong, and Cruiseco Explorer, in Myanmar. There are approximately 300 Cruiseco agents in travel agencies across Australia, New Zealand and the U.K.