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Cruises to Natchez

Natchez (Photo:Warren Price Photography/Shutterstock)
Natchez (Photo:Warren Price Photography/Shutterstock)

About Natchez

Set on a 250-foot-high bluff overlooking the Mississippi River, Natchez is known for its annual spring pilgrimage of antebellum homes -- those built before (ante) the Civil War (bellum, Latin for war). It wasn't too many years ago that some residents in this very Southern town still called the Civil War "The War Between the States." Even local tour guides sometimes jokingly exaggerate local pronunciations by stretching "War" to two syllables.

Before "the War," Natchez was a ritzy town for white citizens. It was a cultural center with opera and more, counting among the 6,600 residents who lived here in 1860 as many as 22 millionaires, including cotton and sugar cane plantation owners from Louisiana who established their grand family homes in Natchez.

More than 600 pre-Civil War structures still stand, and many have been adapted for use as bed and breakfasts, shops, museums, homes and other facilities. There are so many because Natchez did not fight in the Civil War (unlike those upriver in Vicksburg, which was under siege by Union troops for 47 days before surrendering).

A battle between two garden clubs was the biggest struggle for years, but has long been settled in Natchez, which now has about 15,800 residents.

Natchez is 95 miles southwest of Jackson, Mississippi's capital, and 85 miles north of Baton Rouge, Louisiana's capital. It marks the beginning of the Natchez Trace Parkway, a historic forest road without billboards or commercial buildings that extends north to Nashville.

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Why go to Natchez?

Pros:

More than 600 pre-Civil War structures still stand as museums, shops, historic homes and even B&Bs

Cons:

Smoot's Grocery, home to the Delta blues, opens at 5; your ship might be leaving by then

Bottom Line:

Natchez offers the Museum of African-American History & Culture in addition to hundreds of antebellum mansions

Natchez Cruise Port Facilities?

American Cruise Lines docks their ships on the opposite side of the river from Natchez, in Vidalia, Louisiana. A shuttle runs regularly between the boat and town.

American Queen docks at an area called Natchez Under the Hill, where there are several shops and the Under-the-Hill Saloon. Several ATMs are found after a walk or ride up the hill to the main part of Natchez. The nearest ATM is at the Natchez Convention Center, 211 Main St.; another is at Concordia Bank, 300 Main St. There's also an ATM at Magnolia Bluff's Casino on Roth Hill Road.

Currency & Best Way to Get Money?

Currency is the U.S. dollar. Credit cards are accepted almost everywhere.

Language?

English is the language spoken here.


Natchez Cruise Reviews

see50states
Sail Date: Apr 2019
The Historic Longwood Exploration was fascinating. The history of the house, the area, and the times were portrayed in an entertaining and intriguing fashion... Read More
American Queen
digcruising2
Sail Date: Jun 2017
Natchez is a former prosperous port. It has many good restaurants and several plantation town mansions. There are a few museums of note and churches with exceptional work and windows. The downtown is not doing... Read More
Queen of the Mississippi
Brataf
Sail Date: May 2017
Rich in history. Walking tours were great.... Read More
Queen of the Mississippi
lynnmarv1
Sail Date: Mar 2018
We went to the JN Stone House and it was lovely to hear the history of a home which has been in the same family for many generations. The owner's piano concert and music history lesson was interesting and we... Read More
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