Mississippi Archives – Crown Cruise Vacations
A well-loved teddy bear rests in a rocking chair in my guest room. The worn stuffed animal belonged to my husband Bill when he was a child.
Years ago, I was curious as to how that childhood favorite critter got its name. I found the answer. But I was also happy to see a mural about the teddy bear namesake when my American Duchess riverboat stopped in Vicksburg, Mississippi.
The first cruise I ever took was the 1976 inaugural tour of the Mississippi Queen. The paddle wheeler went from New Orleans to Cincinnati for my memorable voyage.
A favorite of cruisers, the Mississippi Queen was dismantled and sold for scrap in 2011. A sad loss for her many fans.
Are you a movie buff? Like scary stuff?
This trivia quiz has a two-part answer. First, what movie was filmed at this famous Southern mansion? Second, what is the name of the historic house?
Don’t look at the answer below until you’ve formulated your own sweet response. Congratulations, if you are correct.
When I pulled into the teeny town of Indianola, I got a real surprise. Pulling up at the same time was the ultimate bluesman – B.B. King himself. Turns out that Indianola is King’s hometown, the place where he is honored with a fascinating museum. He stops by there every once in a while.
Just happened to be my lucky day to meet him.
What does that have to do with cruising? Well, the beautiful Holland America cruise ship ms Eurodam has been saluting B.B. King in a special way this year. For a first, the Eurodam has transformed the ship’s Queen’s Lounge into B.B. King’s Blues Club for five nights each week on cruises.
All the way from world-famous Beale Street in Memphis, the vibrant blues musical experience features an eight-piece band with two vocalists backed by a drummer, bassist, guitarist, sax player, trumpet player and Hammond B-3 organ player.
To set the atmosphere, the Eurodam’s Queen Lounge is decorated with portraits of the blues legend plus a special stage crafted to resemble a Memphis club with guitars hanging in the backdrop.
In addition, a live stage show “Memphis Sounds” headlines one night on the ship’s Mainstage. Director by Marion Caffey and produced by B.B. King’s Blues Club CEO Tommy Peters, the show salutes the true sounds of the blues. The 45-minute performance also incorporates video production to tell the story of the blues.
This is the first year for the B.B. King’s Blues Club on Holland America. Right now it is only on the ms Eurodam on cruises through June 20, 2013. With its popularity, however, the nifty club might continue on theEurodam and be offered on other Holland America ships as well.
That would be fantastic! I am a big B.B. King fan and hope to make one of those cruises myself.
Until then, I’ll share two delicious tidbits with you. Exclusive specialty cocktails from the land-based B.B. King’s Blues Clubs are being served in the Eurodam club. Here’s the recipe for one of them – the rum-based Lucille.
And here’s the story of why B.B. King names all his guitars “Lucille.” I discovered that answer when I visited Indianola and met the famed musician.
Seems King was playing an Arkansas bar on a winter night in 1949 when punches began flying between two men. In the melee, a barrel of kerosene being burned for heat tumbled over and everyone fled as flames engulfed the road house. But King plunged back inside the inferno to save his guitar.
He later recalled, “I almost lost my life trying to save my guitar.”
To remind himself never to do anything so risky again, he renamed the instrument after the woman whose charms had set off the fight.
Her name, of course, was Lucille.
The B.B. King Lucille Cocktail
2 oz. coconut rum
0.5 oz. blue Curacao
1.5 oz. orange juice
1.5 oz. pineapple juice
Mix all ingredients together. Add ice. Shake and pour. Or blend and pour. Garnish with a pineapple wedge. Sip while listening to B.B. King sing the blues.
By Jackie Sheckler Finch
In fact, visitors have been known to balk when it came time to scrunch into the space-capsule-looking gadget. Some prospective riders have turned and walked away when faced with the claustrophobic prospect. So why do it?
Rolling a bicycle off the boat for a quick tour of Paducah, Kentucky, the Cincinnati woman says the pedaling transportation is a wonderful option.
“You have more freedom on a bicycle than on a tour bus,” Marlene said. “You can stop whenever you want to take a picture or look at something. I think it’s great that the American Queen has these bikes for us to use without charge.”
The neon green bicycles are a new perk aboard the American Queen. Passengers can use the bicycles and helmets free of charge to visit riverfront towns when the paddlewheeler docks.
Marlene had cruised on all three boats – the American Queen, the Mississippi Queen and the Delta Queen – before they went out of business in 2008.
“I was really disappointed when they stopped,” Marlene said. “I’ve been on the Delta Queen twice, the Mississippi Queen once and the American Queen four times. I didn’t want to see the boats get lost. I felt sorry that our children might not be able to ride on a riverboat the way we had.”
When she heard that the American Queen was back on the rivers in April 2012, Marlene says she was thrilled and quickly booked a cruise.
“It’s a beautiful way to travel,” she said. “Having the free bikes is a really nice addition.”
By Jackie Sheckler Finch