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A journey along the majestic Mississippi River offers more than the wonders of the waterway, historic cities and excursions. You will also savor an opportunity to indulge in some of the finest Southern cuisine that the region has to offer. American Cruise Lines understands the importance of culinary exploration, curating an experience that showcases the best Southern food.

From hearty breakfasts to soul-satisfying dinners, enjoy select menu items on board that feature Southern flavors and traditions. Be treated to a cooking demonstration by one of our talented chefs who shares tips to help you carry home the tastes of the region. Nearby restaurants in ports of call offer additional opportunities to explore the region’s culinary creativity. To whet your appetite, here are a few examples:

Biscuits and Gravy

There is nothing better than starting the day with a warm, fluffy biscuit, an essential accoutrement to a southern breakfast. Before a day of excursions, enjoy one in the onboard restaurant. Maybe go with classic adornment with just butter melting into the flaky dough. Maybe add some jam. Or go all out and drizzle it with some sausage gravy. Oooh, what a way to start the morning!


A trip along the Mississippi would not be complete without indulging in these deep-fried, golden pillows of dough generously dusted with powdered sugar. Pair this delicacy with a cup of regional chicory coffee or Café au Lait at any time of day. The iconic beignets are available 24-hours a day at Café du Monde in New Orleans’ French Quarter. 


Steeped in history and bursting with flavor, gumbo is a quintessential Southern dish that reflects the region's diverse culinary heritage. At its heart, gumbo is a savory stew featuring a medley of ingredients such as okra, onions, celery, bell peppers, and a variety of seafood or sausage. Whether served on board or at a local eatery, a steaming bowl of gumbo is sure to nourish both body and soul. Just steps away from the ship’s landing in Natchez, the Magnolia Grill offers a spectacular shrimp, chicken, and okra gumbo.  

Fried Chicken

Few dishes evoke the essence of Southern comfort food quite like fried chicken. A crispy, golden-brown outside gives way to juicy, tender meat, creating a symphony of textures and flavors with every bite. Served alongside classic sides like mashed potatoes and collard greens, fried chicken is a timeless favorite that embodies the heart and soul of Southern cooking.


Beloved throughout the South, jambalaya is a hearty one-pot dish that features a tantalizing blend of rice, meat, seafood, vegetables, and aromatic spices, creating a symphony of flavors that crescendo on the palate. Enjoy jambalaya served in the onboard restaurant or venture out to Vicksburg’s Walnut Hills, renowned for their jambalaya, offering a true taste of the Mississippi River Delta. 

Soul Food

Rooted in Native American and African traditions, soul food is a cornerstone of Southern cuisine, celebrating the rich tapestry of flavors that define the region. Savory comfort foods such as creamy shrimp and grits, red beans and rice, smoky collard greens, sweet potatoes, ham hock, and cornbread, soul food encompasses a diverse array of dishes that nourish both body and spirit and offers a taste of Southern hospitality that is as comforting as it is delicious. Try downtown Memphis’ Alcenia’s Restaurant offers a delicious sampling or stay on board for soul food prepared by our team of master chefs. 


Memphis-style barbecue is typically made using pork ribs and shoulders, although many restaurants also feature beef and chicken. Memphis-style barbecue is slow-smoked. "Dry" ribs are covered with a mixture of spices and dried herbs before cooking and are often eaten without sauce. "Wet" ribs are brushed with sauce before, during, and after cooking. Memphis favorites include the legendary Charlie Vergos Rendezvous restaurant and Central BBQ.


Every great Southern meal includes a slice of pie, and the Mississippi Delta boasts an impressive array of sweet and savory varieties to satisfy any craving. From decadent pecan pie to sweet potato pie, each slice is a celebration of the region's bountiful harvest and culinary creativity. The Plantation Café at Oak Alley Plantation offers a heavenly Chocolate Pecan Pie and American Cruise Lines serves a variety of regionally inspired pie throughout your journey.  

Best Food on a Mississippi Cruise

The flavors you savor along your Mississippi River cruise will linger long after the voyage has ended. From the first bite of fluffy biscuits to the last crumb of pie, American Cruise Lines offers an unforgettable culinary experience on board and ashore that celebrates the rich tapestry of flavors found along the Mississippi Delta. Is your mouth watering yet? Join us for the history, culture, and cuisine along the Mississippi River. To learn more about Mississippi River cruises, CLICK HERE or call your Cruise Specialist today.