New U.S. river cruise line French America Line has announced a special, one-time 16-day river cruise itinerary, dubbed Great Southern Explorer.
The sailing will take place November 12 - 27 from Nashville to New Orleans onboard the line’s flagship, Louisiane. Great Southern Explorer will sail the Cumberland, Tennessee, Mississippi and Ohio rivers, beginning with an overnight stay and breakfast at the Gaylord Opryland Hotel in Nashville prior to embarkation and concluding with a one-night post-cruise hotel stay and breakfast in New Orleans at the Hotel Montelone.
The itinerary will explore the music, culture and food in ports of call like Nashville, home to the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, and Memphis, with time to tour Elvis Presley’s Graceland, listen to blues on Beale Street, visit the Stax Museum of Soul Music or sample barbecue at Charles Vergo’s Rendezvous, said Christopher Kyte, chairman, French America Line. The cruise will also include several days of scenic cruising to enjoy fall foliage and new breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea and dinner menus by Chef de Cuisine Regina Charboneau, as well as a visit to the chef’s home of Natchez. On Thanksgiving, a special guest chef will prepare a celebratory dinner.
Onboard, guests will be able to enjoy dining experiences like French-style rotisserie in The Veranda, the Louisiane's casual indoor/outdoor Parisian-style bistro, as well as The French Quarter Lounge, which is stocked with French wines, American Bourbon and Engine Gin. The Crescent Room, which is the ship’s main dining room, has a rolling silver cart for nightly prime rib, prepared tableside by a carver. After dinner each evening, The Veranda converts into Bar Rive Gauche for French jazz, Bordeaux wines and onion soup gratinée, said Kyte.
To celebrate regional food, Chef Regina will offer special talks, tastings and cooking demonstrations. She has also invited a series of special guests for “Regina’s Table,” where they will share insights on food, literature and art while enjoying food and conversation, said Kyte.
Chef Regina will also share fall entertaining tips and demonstrate favorite recipes. Tom Ramsey, a noted chef, sommelier, restaurateur, writer and media personality from Jackson, Mississippi, is currently writing the Southern Staples cookbook series with Chef Regina. He will be guest chef onboard for the Thanksgiving holiday portion of the sailing from Memphis to New Orleans.
On November 21 – 23, Chef Tom will demonstrate a series of dishes that will be featured dinner appetizers, including Chef Tom’s Delta Tamales, Chef Tom’s BBQ Shrimp and Chef Tom’s Rumaki. November 24 will showcase a collaborative four-course Thanksgiving Menu by Chef Regina and Chef Tom as prepared by Chef Tom, with a choice of traditional and nouveau dishes, including Carved Prime Rib and Roast Turkey as well as Pistachio Encrusted Lemon Fish and Chef Tom’s Turkey Torchon, along with ample starters, side dishes and desserts, including Pumpkin Cheesecake with Praline Sauce, Apple Crisp with Caramel Ice Cream and Chocolate Layer Cake with Crème Anglaise. On November 25, Chef Tom will demonstrate Shrimp Etouffee that will be featured on that evening’s dinner menu.
The Great Southern Explorer voyage, November 12-27, 2016, from Nashville to New Orleans is priced from $5,999 per person/double occupancy. Guests have a choice of seven categories of staterooms and suites. Pricing is virtually all-inclusive and includes pre- and post-cruise deluxe hotel stays with breakfast; all meals, including free-flowing house wines, beers and spirits, artisanal coffees and teas, soft drinks, still and sparking water, and 24-hour room service; nightly live entertainment in two venues; informative cultural and historical talks; complimentary Traveler’s Collection shore excursions, including all admissions; complimentary use of bicycles with helmets and maps for private explorations in all ports of call; complimentary WiFi, and in-room iPads pre-loaded with daily activities, menus and local information.