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Polished carrier Cruise West breathes new life into a dying breed of heartland voyages. Celebrated by a few small, local cruise lines like the Spirit of Peoria, grand old Mississippi and Hudson River sailings will join Cruise West’s exotic naval repertoire in spring 2011. Rediscovering a pair of great Eastern-American waterways by way of a small upscale cruiser and ingenious, jam-packed seven-night itineraries, passengers come face to face with the ghosts of the American Revolution and the Civil War, the unbound wilderness, and the rusty trumpets of southern blues impresarios.
The 102-passenger Spirit of Adventure kicks off the season on March 19, sailing up the Mississippi River from New Orleans to Memphis, calling on ports all but one day of the voyage, in line with the Cruise West immersion mantra. Boarding a new passenger set the same day, the ship snakes further up the Mississippi to visit Native-American trading routes, the stomping grounds of Abraham Lincoln, and finally, Nashville – still one of the most legendary and lucrative musicians’ communities nationwide. Starting from $3,499 per person, with shore excursions, these rare seasonal sailings are only available through May 2011.
The following October, the Spirit will rest its hull on the Hudson River for just one month. Making a round-trip voyage from New York City, the vessel will leave behind the dazzling Manhattan skyline, to observe the onset of fall in the state’s prized Hudson Valley region, paying visits to national parks, historic mansions, and more. Rates start from $3,200 per passenger, including shore excursions.