New Era of Luxury American River Cruising Opens with Launch of French America Line’s Louisiane

Louisiane, an intimate riverboat for just 150 guests, has begun her inaugural year sailing America’s rivers; 2017 cruise tours start March 4, 2017
Louisiane, an intimate riverboat for just 150 guests, has begun her inaugural year sailing America’s rivers; 2017 cruise tours start March 4, 2017

NEW ORLEANS – A new era of boutique American river cruising has opened with the launch of French America Line’s 75-stateroom flagship, Louisiane.

Formerly the Columbia Queen, riverboat has undergone a multimillion dollar refurbishment to reflect a subtle but elegant French-inspired ambience to embrace the rich history of the areas she sails that were once known as French America. The ship brims with exquisite French style and the romantic joie de vivre of her home port of New Orleans. Inaugural sailings have already commenced.

The ship accommodates a maximum of 150 guests in 75 suites and staterooms and a crew of 64 for sailings that celebrate regional cultural influences in food, music and history. The Lousiane’s small size allows her to access historic river ports on five American rivers that larger ships cannot navigate. This creates an opportunity to see and experience ports that haven’t been accessed by a U.S. river ship in more than a decade.

“We designed Louisiane to embody superb river experiences, including exploring many diverse traditions on our country’s waterways that were influenced by la belle France during the colonization of America. It’s a wonderful narrative and quite unique to what’s currently available, offering the highest level of service and amenities comparable to that found on the rivers of Europe,” said Christopher Kyte, Chairman, French America Line.

“We also believe that the integrity of the company to whom you trust your vacation should be reflected in our fare structure. Therefore, we guarantee that we will not artificially inflate our prices and then lower prices as the sailing date approaches. You can book early with utmost confidence that you are receiving the best price available, as our fares remain the same from the moment they are created until the moment the vessel sails. That is the French America Line promise,” said Kyte.

“To set a new standard for sophisticated travelers, we offer a variety of cruise lengths to suit any schedule with inspired itineraries that visit a waterfront tapestry of charming towns, villages and grand cities. We hope to capture your heart with the finest regional French, Southern and continental cuisine afloat by Regina Charboneau, our award-winning Chef de Cuisine, and set your spirits soaring with the best-of-America onboard entertainment each night. We have also added some delicious and luxurious surprises, from Hermès bath amenities in the Richelieu Suites and L’Occitaine en Provence in all staterooms to fresh marcarons from the House of Ladurée upon embarkation and nightly gourmet Vosges chocolates at turndown,” he said.

Innovative Experiences

French America Line’s flagship, Louisiane.
French America Line’s flagship, Louisiane.

Itineraries on America’s most iconic rivers and waterways – Mississippi, Ohio, Tennessee, Cumberland and Red rivers = range from five to 10 days. Pricing is virtually all-inclusive, with one-night pre-embarkation deluxe hotel stay in some of America’s most legendary hotels, all meals, free-flowing hand-selected beverages, wines, beer and spirits, nightly live entertainment, informative cultural and historical talks by onboard Illuminators, and memorable Traveler Collection shore excursions in every port of call included in the tariff.

Bicycles, helmets and maps are also available for independent explorations in every port of call. For more in-depth experiences during the cruise tour, optional private Curator Collection guided experiences may be added. Optional Prelude and Encore packages are also available for extended pre- and post-cruise experiences.

To enhance experiences onboard and in port, hand-selected expert Illuminators will bring to life surprising facets of regional culture, history, politics, music and more. Lively sessions might delve into the nuances of barbecue styles, the history of classic American cocktails, the origins of Zydeco, the blues or bluegrass music traditions, the religious underpinnings of Mardi Gras, the socio-economic impact of changing agricultural practices on the Mississippi or Native American history in the Upper Midwest.

Signature features on Louisiane include:

  • Complimentary one-night pre-cruise stay in deluxe luxury hotel and next day breakfast and transfer to the riverboat on sailing day
  • Complimentary daily Traveler Collection shore excursions in every port of call, inclusive of any admission fees
  • All meals are included in the tariff, featuring open seating in two dining venues offering inventive regional, French and Continental favorites as well as healthy Currents Cuisine selections under 400 calories for breakfast, lunch, dinner and 24-hour room service
  • Complimentary free-flowing hand-selected wines, spirits, beers, soft drinks, artisanal coffees, tea and choice of still or sparkling Natura brand water in suites and staterooms, replenished daily
  • Full-service Currents Spa with relaxing body treatments and salon nail and hair services with L’Occitaine en Provence products
  • Complimentary WiFi in all public areas
  • Complimentary onboard enrichment talks with noted regional historian Illuminators and live evening musical entertainment celebrating the best of the river and coastal regional America
  • Famed House of Ladurée Parisian-style macarons fresh from its New York City boutique upon embarkation, followed by nightly turndown service of gourmet Vosges chocolates
  • French America Line is also the only American river cruise line to offer in-room iPads pre-loaded with e-books, daily shore excursion programs and menus for onboard dining and entertainment

75 Suites + Staterooms for Just 150 Guests

  • Guests have a choice of 75 suites and staterooms in seven categories, many with private verandas or French balconies for optimal river viewing, all situated on the top three of the intimate ship’s four decks
  • All staterooms feature individual climate control, makeup mirror, deluxe mattresses clad in luxurious linens and duvets, private bathroom with plush towels and L’Occitane en Provence bath amenities, spa-quality bathrobes and slippers, in-room safe, ample storage space, 24-hour room service, flat screen LED television with satellite programming, direct-dial telephones and complimentary 24-hour room service
  • Richelieu Suite: The most lavish accommodations onboard are these two spacious suites on the uppermost Champlain Deck, with panoramic windows and wraparound outdoor promenade seating area, a queen bed, double armoire with built-in drawer storage, chest of drawers, desk and exclusive extras, including Hermès bath amenities, evening canapés, complimentary laundry, fresh fruit and flowers upon arrival, complimentary Curator Collection experiences and private car transfers to/from the airport

Dining + Entertainment  

  • Culinary delights are available around the clock and reflect the regional French, Southern and continental favorites of celebrated Chef de Cuisine Regina Charboneau
  • Convivial Welcome Reception and Farewell Dinner on every voyage
  • The Crescent Room the main dining room on the first level La Salle Deck is a plush jewel box designed for distinctive gourmet dining with open seating, featuring skilled tableside service for breakfast, lunch, and multi-course dinner, and then it transforms into a lively venue for an evening cabaret show
  • Veranda, a casual French Quarter-style bistro with indoor and outdoor open seating, serves breakfast, lunch, dinner, afternoon tea, and savory and sweet crepes, beignets and specialty coffees and tea throughout the day, complete with an ever-changing backdrop of charming river town views from its aft perch atop the Champlain Deck
  • The French Quarter Lounge is just the first of three lounges, overlooking the bow on the Joliet Deck, featuring soft jazz nightly
  • The Great River Room is forward on the Marquette Deck and the location for quiet card games as well as private receptions and events
  • Bar Royale adjoining The Orleans Room is ideal for stylish pre-dinner aperitifs

2017 U.S. River Cruise Tour Itineraries

The 2016 Louisiane catalog, with detailed descriptions of itineraries that visit the Deep South, the Heart of America, River Crossroads and Wilderness Rivers, as well as highlights in all ports of call, is now available.

Bookings have also opened for 2017 itineraries, offered from March 4, 2017 to January 6, 2018, featuring 48 five- to 14-day experiential cruise tours New in 2017 are itineraries that also sail along the rarely visited Illinois and Arkansas rivers, and new 2017 destination ports that include Chattanooga, TN; Louisville, KY and Pittsburgh, PA, with pre-cruise one-night deluxe hotel stays prior to embarkation included in the tariff.

Sixteen 2017 itineraries offer the opportunity to spend the night onboard prior to disembarkation in four engaging ports of call, Louisville, KY; Memphis, TN; Natchez, MS, and St. Louis, MO, to permit personal explorations. Discover the allure of thoroughbred racing and aged bourbon; the beats of Beale Street; the charms of antebellum homes and southern entertaining, or the sights and tastes of Music City USA.

DEEP SOUTH™ itineraries will sail the Lower Mississippi and rarely-visited Red River beginning March 4, 2017, departing from New Orleans, LA and Memphis, TN.

MISSISSIPPI HEADWATERS™ itineraries will sail the Ohio, Mississippi and the rarely traveled Illinois River, departing from St. Louis, MO; St. Paul, MN and Chicago, IL.

RIVER CROSSROADS™ itineraries will sail the Ohio and Mississippi rivers beginning in St. Louis, MO; Louisville, KY, and Pittsburgh, PA.

WILDERNESS RIVERS™ itineraries will sail the Tennessee and Cumberland rivers beginning in Louisville, KY and Chattanooga, TN.

Partnership with French Heritage Society

French America Line has a newly formed partnership with the French Heritage Society.  Established in 1982, the French Heritage Society includes 12 chapters in the U.S. and France. Through various activities and educational programs, they facilitate the preservation, restoration and promotion of French heritage throughout France and the U.S. Their central mission of is to ensure that the treasures of our shared French architectural and cultural heritage survive to inspire future generations. This is done through restoration, preservation and cultural grants, educational programs, lectures and conferences. A portion of the sale of French America Line’s Curator Collection experiences will benefit the Society’s efforts along the Louisiane’s river routes.

To reserve or learn more, visit or call 888-387-1140.

Preferred Partner with Journese 

French America Line has been named a preferred partner with Journese, the luxury brand of Pleasant Holidays, one of the country’s largest tour operators.

“French America Line is a great fit for Journese, as the new cruise line offers diverse and rarely sailed river cruises visiting charming American destinations with a wealth of amenities, enriching excursions and superb dining and entertainment that Journese guests are seeking. We’re proud to include Journese among the unique lifetime experiences our travel agency partners can offer their clients,” said Amy Comparato, Brand Director, Journese.

Journese is the luxury brand of Pleasant Holidays, offering fully customized four-and five-star journeys across the globe, including Australia, Canada, the Caribbean, Central America, Cook Islands, Europe, Fiji, Mexico, New Zealand, The Hawaiian Islands, The Islands of Tahiti, United Arab Emirates and the United States. Serving vacationers since 1977, Journese provides boutique service, expert knowledge, private transportation options and upscale activities. Journese is a member of the United States Tour Operator Association (USTOA) and participates in the $1 million travelers’ assistance program. CST 1007939-10.

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