Floating Hotel with 1920s Elegance and Riverfront Views
When it was built in the Roaring Twenties, the Delta Queen was one of the most expensive and luxurious steamboats ever made. It cost nearly a million dollars to construct and was outfitted with lavish balconied floors and a grand staircase lined with mahogany and brass. During World War II, it served as a floating barracks, traveling more than 5,000 miles to reach New Orleans via the Panama Canal. Though it's now retired from active duty, the boat has been designated a National Historic Landmark and inducted into the National Marine Hall of Fame. It’s now a floating hotel docked beside Coolidge Park on the Tennessee River. At night, strings of lights decorate the ship, adding a festive glow during the holidays.
The boat’s Paddlewheel Restaurant, located near the grand staircase, looks out over the river. The dining room is elegantly furnished with Tiffany glass pieces and crowned by a chandelier. Here, chefs serve southern-inspired fare such as shrimp and grits or fried catfish with hush puppies. A holiday dinner available with this Getaway's fifth option entitles two people to a yuletide meal with all the fixings.
President Jimmy Carter once stayed in a cabin near the ship's sun deck. While you’re on board, you'll stay in an elegant standard or deluxe cabin with paneled walls, wood furnishings, and wide windows. In the morning, dine on a breakfast buffet of pastries, french toast, and hickory-smoked bacon.
Chattanooga, Tennessee: Museums and Parks Along the Riverfront
Located right along Tennessee’s border with Georgia, Chattanooga was once a railroad hub, inspiring the song "Chattanooga Choo Choo." Today, the city has scrubbed away its industrial-era grime and looks greener; there's an electric-powered tram through the city, pedestrian bridges, and tree-lined avenues. With winter temperatures usually staying way above freezing, Chattanooga is a year-round walking city.
The Delta Queen floats along the North Shore, an up-and-coming neighborhood with independent boutiques and restaurants. Here you’ll find Coolidge Park, a downtown hangout where kids can hop on a century-old carousel and enjoy acres of open green space. Chattanooga is home to one of the world’s longest pedestrian bridges: the Walnut Street Bridge, which stretches over the Chattanooga River with its wrought-iron trusses. From here, you can take a scenic stroll toward downtown attractions, such as the Tennessee Aquarium and the Hunter Museum of American Art.