Cruise ship decides to venture to Natchez again this year

Published 12:05 am Saturday, February 2, 2013

NATCHEZ — A small ship that cruised into Natchez in November will be back again this year with two sold-out trips.

The Yorktown cruise ship, a 138-passenger vessel, made one trip to Natchez last year, and Travel Dynamics International Marketing Manager Diana Ditto said Natchez was one of its most popular ports.

“Obviously (Natchez) is a gorgeous city, with the overwhelming plethora of beautiful and historic homes, so we will be touring those again.”

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Passengers on Yorktown’s previous trip to Natchez toured antebellum homes and visited the St. Catherine Creek Wildlife Refuge.

But passengers won’t be visiting Natchez and its historic homes just for the aesthetic appeal when the ship arrives in April.

“We’re an educational tour operator,” Ditto said. “We bring with us distinguished lectures and historians, usually from Tulane, Harvard, Yale or another university.”

Ditto said the passengers hear lectures from one of the university’s professors that may be on expert on trade on the Mississippi or history of the antebellum South.

“They usually lecture on the port of call before arrival and explain why we’re going there,” she said. “It really helps shape the experience.”

The cruise ship measures 257-feet long and 43-feet wide and travels up and down America’s small waterways.

“It’s more of a yacht-like experience,” Ditto said.

The Yorktown’s trips, which are back-to-back from March 29 to April 8 and then April 8-18, start in New Orleans and make stops in Mobile, Ala., Pensacola, Fla., Gulf Islands National Seashore, Baton Rouge and St. Francisville, Natchez, Vicksburg and finally back to New Orleans.