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The Weekend Australian - Travel - - DESTINATION AFLOAT -

Amer­i­can Queen Steam­boat Com­pany has two ves­sels, Amer­i­can Queen and Amer­i­can Em­press. The for­mer cruises the Lower Mis­sis­sippi be­tween New Or­leans and Mem­phis, the Up­per Mis­sis­sippi from St Louis to St Paul, and the Ohio, Ten­nessee and Cum­ber­land rivers. Amer­i­can Em­press cruises the Columbia and Snake rivers of the Pa­cific North­west. More: amer­i­cansteam­boat­com­pany.com

US history and Amer­i­can Queen’s ex­clu­sive tours of Vicks­burg’s Civil War sites at­tract buffs from across the world. Mean­while, this colour­ful old town with a che­quered past also has the Old Court House Mu­seum, which houses macabre mem­o­ra­bilia, such as no­tices of slave sales, and, more cheer­fully, an orig­i­nal Teddy bear given by Pres­i­dent Teddy Roo­sevelt. (The Roo­sevelts were pi­o­neers in river boat history.)

Our ea­gerly awaited Pre­mium Ex­pe­ri­ence shore ex­cur­sion is at hand. This time, we are on the road in a small bus fol­low­ing the Blues Trail to Clarks­dale, Mis­sis­sippi. But first, we cross to Helena, Arkansas, and file into the Greater First Bap­tist Church to hear the finest, most heart­felt gospel singing imag­in­able.

Then on to Clarks­dale’s Delta Blues Mu­seum, which traces the history and ca­reers of blues leg­ends such as WC Handy, Muddy Wa­ters, John Lee Hooker and oth­ers, then fi­nally to Mor­gan Free­man’s juke joint, Ground Zero, where we snack on all man­ner of wickedly good southern-fried tit­bits. We have fol­lowed the mu­sic and found its source.

Maggy Oehlbeck was a guest of Amer­i­can Queen Steam­boat Com­pany.

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