Day 1: Hotel Stay - Minneapolis, MN
Enjoy your included, one-night stay in Minneapolis. The evening is yours to get self-acquainted with this culturally diverse city steeped in natural beauty.
Our Hospitality Desk will be located in the hotel for your convenience between 3:00 PM and 7:00 PM. It is here that our friendly staff can assist with everything from general questions about your upcoming voyage to reserving Premium Shore Excursions. An American Queen Steamboat Company representative, as well as a local representative, will be readily available to provide you with dining, entertainment, and sight-seeing suggestions so that you may maximize your time in Minneapolis.
Day 2: St. Paul, MN
Departure 5:00 PM
Today is the day you have been waiting for! Prepare to embark on an unforgettable journey on America’s largest and most historical river.
If you haven’t gotten your full dose of Minneapolis yet, visit the AQSC Hospitality Desk (Open at 8:30 AM!) for ideas about how to spend your day. The official Voyage Check-In will be open from 9:00 AM to 12:00 PM. During this fast and easy procedure, our representatives will arrange your transfer to the vessel and answer any questions you might have. The process is simple and will have you back to exploring in no time, and, if you think of any more questions, the Hospitality Desk will be at your service until 3:00 PM, when the complimentary boat transfers will begin.
It’s time to begin a luxurious voyage down the Mississippi River, where memories will be made that will last a lifetime!
Day 3: River Cruising
There is always plenty to do between dawn and dusk on the river and today is the perfect day to enjoy the many public spaces and activities that are available to you onboard. Gaze at the beautiful landscapes and small river towns as you mingle with fellow guests and discuss the unique aspects of river life. If you fancy a moment for yourself, retreat to The Lincoln Library adorned with ornate bookcases stocked with an imaginative selection. Take hold of a literary classic, curl up on a plush chair in a cozy corner and relish every moment of serenity. Our fitness facility, business center, movie theater and grand lobby offer a more stimulating day on the river for those who wish to indulge in more energy-infused activity. However you wish to spend your day, make it your own and revel in every moment.
Day 4: Clinton, IA
The city of Clinton has much to offer, all with the beautiful backdrop of the Mississippi River. Situated at the crossroads of the Lincoln Highway and the Great River Road, Clinton is the Eastern-most point in the state of Iowa. At the height of its local economy during the late 19th Century, Clinton was regarded as the lumber capital of the nation; a history that is reflected as visitors pass many old sawmills. Today, agriculture plays a big part in Clinton’s economy, which is visible in the beautiful rolling fields filled with luscious, fresh harvest crops. Explore the history of this fascinating river town and discover a lifestyle that will stand out from today’s norm!
Included Shore Excursions:
Windmill Cultural Center
The Windmill Cultural Center was dedicated in April 2010 and show- cases 23 model windmills and the variety of tasks they are able to perform. The windmills represent mills found in 10 European countries: Belgium, Denmark, England, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Portugal, and the Netherlands. Three of the models are motorized, and the windmills vary in size from tabletop to 6’ tall. The different backgrounds of the windmills give each its own design, which demonstrates the evolution of windmills throughout the years. Located inside the Windmill Cultural Center is a charming gift shop where unique gifts, such as Delft pottery, windmill souvenirs, and De Immigrant stone-ground flour may be purchased.
De Immigrant Windmill
This impressive, authentic Dutch windmill stands 90 feet tall on the dike in Fulton, Illinois. The new windmill was built specifically for Fulton in Heiligerlee, the Netherlands. Dutch millwrights built the structure, took it apart, shipped the pieces to the United States, and traveled to Fulton several times to reassemble the structure. It was dedicated at the annual Dutch Days festival in May 2000. The windmill stands proudly along the banks of the Mississippi River to honor the local Dutch heritage. It is fully operational, using the sails to run millstones to grind grain. The windmill employs a set of blue basalt millstones to produce flour from wheat, rye, corn, buckwheat, and flaxseed. Stone-ground flours are produced at the windmill and sold at the Windmill Cultural Center gift shop. Volunteer Millers guide guests through the interior of the windmill where they are able to admire the craftsmanship of this incredible Fulton landmark.
Lumber was an essential resource in the city of Clinton, not only for the construction of buildings and barns, but also for its contribution to the industry that brought with it the railroad, the immigrants, and the entrepreneurs. Hear the buzz of the sawmill as logs are cut into lumber and envision the workings of the Struve Mill where hundreds of pieces of wood became beautiful trims, doors, and flooring. Experience what life was really like in a lumber camp and explore the authentic sawmill equipment throughout the museum. Then, watch in amazement as four famous Clinton lumber barons come back to life to share the story of how they put the city of Clinton on the map as one of the world’s largest producers of lumber!
George M. Curtis Mansion
This restored Victorian home of lumber baron George M. Curtis is a prime example of period architecture with its original Tiffany glass windows, delicately carved banisters, ornate wood trim, and massive fireplaces. Rich in the history of the area, this mansion makes an elegant backdrop for special events. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The tour of the Mansion will end with a sampling of local Wide River Wines on the wrap-around front porch.
Clinton County Historical Museum & Library
Since its establishment in 1964, the Clinton County Historical Society Museum has established a collection of artifacts from Clinton County. The museum has an impressive collection of the work of local artisans. Exhibits and galleries take up two floors of the building and display local art, artifacts and history, antique musical instruments, and much more. After exploring the fascinating and interactive museum floors, gusts can stop into the gift shop, where an assortment of local historical books, prints, and souvenirs can be purchased! Trail Interactive exhibit!
Day 5: Dubuque, IA
One of the few large cities in Iowa with hills, Dubuque is an extremely popular tourist destination, featuring unique architecture and desirable river location. From the America’s River Project in the Port of Dubuque that transformed the riverfront, to the revitalization of the historic Main Street, the ongoing evolution of the Historic Millwork District downtown, and the impressive and expansive westward growth, Dubuque remains a remarkable city along the Mississippi. Intelligent Community Forum named Dubuque as one of just five U.S. cities as a “Smart21 Community” in 2015 and the National Civic League has named Dubuque as a top All-American City three times in just six years! Guests will surely enjoy exploring this beautiful and unique city as they uncover the history and advancements held within.
Included Shore Excursions:
St. Luke’s United Methodist Church
This beautiful Romanesque style church is characterized by thick walls, heavy columns and round arches for windows and doors. On foundations 32 inches thick, the walls are built of enduring Bedford limestone from Indiana. Each stone was cut by hand and if one looks carefully, imbedded fossils may be seen. Inside, the original organ from 1897 has been restored and is once again functioning, murals are displayed, and impressive wood-work. The church is most noted for its large collection of Tiffany stained glass windows, which have been called, “one of the five finest Religious Tiffany Collections in the world.” Explore the history and art of the church as an expert guide leads guests through the expansive church explaining some of the most interesting facts.
Dubuque Museum of Art
The Dubuque Museum of Art is the oldest cultural institution in the State of Iowa and was founded over 140 years ago as the Dubuque Art Association. Inside is a permanent collection of over 2,200 works concentrating on 20th-century American art with an emphasis on American Regionalism and artists connected to the Tri-State area. This includes works by Grant Wood, Arthur Geisert, and the complete collection of Edward S. Curtis’ The North American Indian, which is also part of a traveling exhibition program.
Old Courthouse Museum
Now a National Historic Landmark, construction for this colossal courthouse began in 1858 and was completed in just two years in 1860 for $100,000. It survived Union shelling, a direct hit from a tornado in 1953, and is now home to the largest collection of Vicksburg’s history. The Museum is filled with countless artifacts, including confederate flags, portraits, the trophy antlers won by steamboat Robert E. Lee in an 1870 race, an original Teddy Bear given by Theodore Roosevelt, and many more!
The Fenelon Place Elevator
The Fenelon Place Elevator is described as the world’s shortest, steepest scenic railway, 296 feet in length, elevating passengers 189 feet from Fourth Street to Fenelon Place. The railway was constructed in 1882 for the private use by a wealthy local banker and former state senator, J.K. Graves. See a view of the historic Dubuque business district, the river and three states.
Cable Car Square
Cable Car Square offers guests three blocks of boutiques and specialty shops. From the home and garden stores to apparel and accessories to a fair-trade retailer, this district has bit of everything to satisfy shoppers’ needs. Make sure to enjoy the coffee and sweet treats shops, as well as a store where you can sample homemade peanut butter!
Hotel Julien Dubuque
The original structure, four stories high, was called the Waples House and was named after its owner, Peter Waples, a wealthy Dubuque merchant. It was the first building visible to the travelers entering Dubuque from across the Mississippi. The Waples House was furnished extravagantly and was known far and wide for its gourmet cuisine. Now, over 100 years later, after a $33 plus million interior renovation and exterior restoration, Hotel Julien Dubuque has redefined elegance through the blending of its rich history with modern luxury and style.
Grand Opera House
Dubuque’s historic Grand Opera House is the oldest and grandest of more than 16 legitimate theaters that served the community prior to 1900. In 1889, W.L. Bradley, Jr. and other local businessmen invested $100,000 to create this iconic landmark. The architect, Willoughby Edbrooke, selected the Richardsonian Romanesque style and chose red sandstone and Dubuque brick for construction. The 1,100 seat auditorium included 2 balconies, 8 boxes and stalls, and a proscenium large enough to host major theatrical productions. Today, the theater is still used by the community and the productions continue to amaze guests.
Day 6: La Crosse, WI
Named by explorer Zebulon Pike, who saw a group of people playing a game with sticks that looked like a cross, La Crosse is now a popular tourist stop. Filled with statues, architecture, and an exquisite view of the river, this river city is an artist’s dream. Like much of Wisconsin, La Crosse became heavily involved with the lumber industry in the mid-1800s until the decline of the forests throughout much of Wisconsin took its toll. But in the wake of the vanishing lumber era, La Crosse became a city renowned for its beer making, with around five breweries operating in La Crosse near the turn of the century. Today, make note of lingering pieces of history along the streets of the city, inside local breweries, and within the floorboards of historic homes and businesses.
Included Shore Excursions:
Dahl Auto Museum
The Dahl Auto Museum celebrates the Dahl family’s involvement as automotive dealers spanning over 100 years and five generations. It also features the history of the automobile through the eyes of the Ford Motor Company, an extensive mascot collection and many beautifully restored classic automobiles from the turn of the century to present. Approximately 20 antique and classic cars are on display to highlight each decade from Dahl Automotive’s inception in 1911. To incorporate historic La Crosse, the museum also features a re-creation of the Starlite Drive-in eatre.
Chapels of St. Rose
The shape of this immense and beautiful chapel symbolizes attributes of God. The high ceilings represent a God who transcends the finite world while the shape of the nave, transepts and sanctuary form a cross, acknowledging an immanent God who has been with humankind even through suffering and death. At the entrance of the chapel, just above the door, a relief of Moses before the burning bush is showcased. Admire bronzed statues, symbolic paintings and sculptures, stained glass windows and mosaics.
This beautiful Victorian house is filled with nearly all of the original furnishings, making it stand out from many other historical homes. The construction of the home began in 1858 by lumber baron Gideon Hixon, who featured beautiful woodwork and ornate interior decoration. His wife, Ellen, is responsible for the decoration of the home, who chose the late Victorian/Edwardian style, accenting rooms with “Turkish Nooks.” It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Riverside Museum exhibits chronicle the history of La Crosse, concentrating on the Mississippi River and its importance to the area. Exhibits range from prehistoric artifacts and cave drawings to logging, rafting, and the Pearl Button Process. A large collection of artifacts from the steamboat “War Eagle” are on display and a PBS Video about La Crosse is shown.
Riverside International Friendship Garden
La Crosse enjoys thriving relationships with sister cities, business partners, students and people from around the world. To celebrate the success of these partnerships, and build a tribute to the culture and traditions, the township decided to create a garden filled with the flowers and decorations closely resembling a garden that could be found in each one of these sister cities. In the Chinese Gardens, principles of Feng Shui are showcased as rock, soil, water, architecture, and plants are harmoniously and meticulously to create a free flowing movement, just as they would be arranged in ancient China. In the French Garden, finely trimmed plants, granite statues, and elegant fountains are arranged in a formal and geometric pattern, recreating the sophistication and romance found in France. The German Garden is adorned with colorful hydrangea, roses, and fruit bearing shrubs, which set a vibrant contrast to the Rock Garden and pergola. Inside the Norwegian Garden, many waterfalls trickle past luscious rhubarb, strawberry, and blueberry plants creating an pleasantly aromatic environment. Conclude the day at the casual Russian Garden, with tree-filled groves, an elegant “Basedka” structure centerpiece, and beautiful sculpture focal points. Conclude the day at the casual Russian Garden, with tree-filled groves, an elegant “Basedka” structure centerpiece, and beautiful sculpture focal points.
Day 7: Winona, MN
Explore Winona, Minnesota, one of the most beautiful places in the country. The city is referred to as the “Island City” by locals because of the large sand bar it was built upon. Evidence suggests that the land’s history reaches back as early as 9500 B.C., while present-day Winona was founded as the small village of Keoxa in 1851. Nestled between the covered limestone river bluffs of the Mississippi River, this small town is full of culture and small town Americana. Enjoy stunning views of the rolling bluffs as they plummet to the mighty Mississippi below in this beautiful and historic city, filled with incredible museums, galleries, and parks.
Included Shore Excursions:
Minnesota Marine Art Museum
This nonprofit art museum and educational center opened in July of 2006 to help showcase and recognize the Winona area for their culture and art. The museum originally featured a collection of traditional marine paintings and folk art. Today, the museum holds pieces of art that potray the history of American Europe including styles such as Impressionism, Luminism, Realism, Modernism, and Contemporary.
Winona County History Center
Founded in 1935, The Winona County Historical Society is comprised of three museums. The Willard Brunnell House, located in local southern city, Homer, the Rural Heritage Museum at the County's fairgrounds in St. Charles, and finally, the main museum, the History Center, which houses the Society's offices and the Laird Lucas Library and Archives. The History Center is the largest County Historical Society in the state of Minnesota. It showcases three floors of exhibits and is where the Society often hosts regular programs and events. The modern, yet rustic building is filled with Winona's 1915 Armory and the contemporary Laird Norton Addition, designed by Joan Soranno, which has won several design awards.
Polish Cultural Institute and Museum
Artifacts of early Polish culture are displayed in the old Laird Norton Lumber Company building that employed thousands of Polish men working in riverfront sawmills. Explore the collections dating from the 1850s depicting the lives of these early settlers. A must see is a historic Solidarity banner with signatures of world leaders. The gift shop has Lubiana pottery exclusive to North America.
Watkins Museum and Store
This Winona landmark is clad inside and out with regal finishes, with a marble rotunda, Tiffany-style glass and a freestanding dome covered with 24-karat gold leaf. Watkin’s company began in 1894 selling products such as J.R. Watkins Liniment, which was their very first and most popular. The company was noted as the very first business in America to offer the famous, “money back guarantee” in 1869 as Watkins made most of his sales door-to-door. Explore the Watkins’ museum and store and get a glimpse of the history from the company’s perspective spanning more than 140 years. Walk around and discover photographs, articles, artifacts, and memorabilia before strolling through their gift shop offering more than 350 unique Watkin’s products that have stood the test of time.
Day 8: Red Wing, MN
Red Wing, Minnesota was included on National Geographic Traveler’s list of most historic places in the world. Discovered in the early 1850’s, the lands were used mostly for harvesting wheat that would be transported on the river. Later in Red Wing’s history the economy began to flourish with the pottery industry, which became a main source of income between 1877 and 1967. Today, the city offers endless opportunities to travel back in time and learn about settlers and travelers that occupied the land before today, or to admire the craftsmanship and creativity of local artisans of both the present and the past.
Included Shore Excursions:
Aliveo Military Museum
The Aliveo Military Museum has a significant collection of military artifacts such as edged weapons, flags, badges and much more! They have a vast collection that includes artifacts and relics from all major wars from the Revolutionary War to the current Middle-East Wars. They believe in education about our military history through preservation, protention and presentation of the military artifacts themselves.
Red Wing Marine Museum
The Red Wing Marine Museum is in one of the city’s historical venues along the river near boathouse village and depicts one of the oldest manufacturing industries-the boat and motor business. It sits very near the site of the original factory where Red Wing-made boats and motors were made and launched. e museum exhibits include more than 30 restored Red Wing orobred marine engines, outboard motors and a display of fishing tackle, photographs, documents and other river-related items. e significance of the building is such that in 1885, this limestone building was constructed as the Red Wing Waterworks. e plant used steam power to intake water from the Mississippi River, it went through a fourteen-inch cast iron intake pipe, wells and two filters before it was pumped into the street mains and a reservoir atop Sorin’s Bluff (Memorial Park). Seven miles of water mains then distributed water throughout the city. is building was placed on the National Register of Historic Places and received an Award of Merit from the Heritage Preservation Committee in 2014 for the work done to preserve this significantly historic asset in the city.
Pottery Museum of Red Wing
Nearly 6000 unique pieces of stoneware, art pottery, and dinnerware await you at the Pottery Museum of Red Wing. Spanning 90 years of production, from 1877-1967, these artifacts tell the dynamic and colorful story of this Mississippi River town. Using nature’s elements of earth, fire, and water, the pottery artisans created a local legacy known throughout the world. Come and view nearly 100 years of history and tradition, beautifully displayed for your enjoyment.
St. James Hotel
This beautiful and historic hotel opened on Thanksgiving Day in 1875, drawing in many businessmen who wished for first-class lodging in the wheat-trading center of the world. The St. James Hotel became an immediate sensation, cementing its name as the hub of activity in Red Wing nearly overnight. Located just a few steps from the Red Wing train depot and steam boating docks, St. James was booked to full capacity each night. Inside, wealthy travelers and businessmen alike marveled at the stunning four-story Italianate structure filled with elegant furnishings, Brussels carpets, English velvet carpets, steam heat, hot and cold running water, gas on every floor, and a state-of-the-art kitchen! Today, the hotel is owned by the Red Wing Shoe Company and continues to flaunt pristine elegance in each and every detail, just as it has for the past 140 years. While visiting, discover the history of Clara Nelson, St. James’ historical waitress hired in 1914. It wasn’t long after she was hired that she learned she had much more talent than even she knew, as she slowly began to gain control of the kitchen, claiming her position within the hotel and shaping its history with features and traditions that are still seen here today.
Day 9: St. Paul, MN
Arrival 8:00 AM
Thank you for cruising with us! We hope that you had a memorable experience and look forward to welcoming you aboard in the future. Enjoy St. Paul at your leisure or consider a Post-Cruise Premium Shore Excursion with airport transfer.