Day 1: Hotel Stay - Memphis, TN
Welcome to the Home of the Blues, the Birthplace of Rock ‘n’ Roll, and exactly the place you want to be! Venture out into the streets of Memphis at your leisure to enjoy the city’s scrumptious eateries, unique boutiques and shops, and the lively entertainment scene. The day is in your own hands, while you are here, don’t forget to experience some of the city’s most historic attractions including Beale Street, Graceland, and Sun Studio!
And if you don’t know where to start – a quick stop to the Hospitality Desk can help! The desk will be located in the official Pre-Cruise Hotel and open for your convenience between 2:00 PM and 7:00 PM. Here, an AQSC representative, with the help of a local Memphis representative, will happily provide you with dining, entertainment, and sight-seeing suggestions to help you make the best of your time in Memphis. While here, discover everything you need to know about your upcoming voyage. Our friendly staff can assist with everything from general questions to reserving shore excursions.
Day 2: Memphis, TN
Departure 5:00 PM
Today is the day you have been waiting for! Prepare to embark on an unforgettable journey down America’s largest and most historical river.
If you haven’t gotten your full dose of Memphis 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 start your voyage and begin a luxurious voyage down the Mississippi River, where memories will be made that will last a lifetime!
Day 3: River Cruising
Relax on deck with a copy of Huckleberry Finn or another imaginative selection borrowed from our revered Mark Twain Gallery, enjoy some quiet time in the Ladies' Tea Parlor, or recruit your fellow guests for an exciting board game in our Gentlemen's Card Room. For a remarkable one-of-a-kind experience, take a guided tour of the American Queen's Engine Room to explore the inner workings of our classic, steam-powered vessel. There is always plenty to do between dawn and dusk on the river!
Day 4: New Madrid, MO
New Madrid was founded in 1776 by Spanish Governor Esteban Rodríguez Miró who welcomed Anglo-Saxon settlers but required them to become citizens of Spain and live under the guidance of his appointed impresario, Revolutionary War veteran, Colonel William Morgan of New Jersey. Some 2,000 settled in the region. In 1800, Spain traded the territory to France in the Third Treaty of San Ildefonso, and France promptly sold it to the United States as part of Louisiana Purchase. The city is remembered as being the nearby location for the Mississippi River military engagement, the Battle of Island Number Ten, during the Civil War. The city is famous for being the site of a series of more than 1,000 earthquakes in 1811-1812, caused by what is called the New Madrid Seismic Zone. Today, explore this quaint river town that will appeal to all guests.
INCLUDED SHORE EXCURSIONS
New Madrid Historical Museum
Located in the former Kendall Saloon off of Main Street, the New Madrid Historical Museum shares the history of this river town from the Mississippian period through the 20th century. Here, guests can explore the great earthquakes of 1811 and 1812, documented with seismographic recordings, Native American artifacts, Civil War artifacts, early family life in the city of New Madrid during the 19th and 20th centuries and the gift shop!
New Madrid County Courthouse
In 1812 New Madrid was a vast county extending south through much of Arkansas. The area was cut roughly in half during the following year, and even further reductions came by 1816. New Madrid County, located by the Mississippi, was one of Missouri’s earliest counties. The town of New Madrid was founded in 1783, and the county was organized in 1812. First courts met in New Madrid, but county records previous to 1816 are missing. After the devastating earthquake of 1811 and repeated flooding of the Mississippi, the court chose an inland site for the county seat. For the 20th century courthouse, New Madrid County purchased a new site north of the original town in March 1915. From architects who presented plans, the court selected those from H. G. Clymer of St. Louis. Clymer's plan was for a brick building 107 by 75 feet with stone trim. Additional funds for finishing the courthouse and jail were authorized early in 1917, but no bids were received. World War I was beginning, and the labor force was reduced. Finally, W. W. Taylor, a master builder from Cape Girardeau, superintended final interior work, which was completed in January 1919. Final costs exceeded $100,000. This courthouse continues in use as New Madrid's seat of justice.
Hunter-Dawson State Historic Site
Hunter-Dawson State Historic Site preserves a now-vanished part of Missouri: The stately Bootheel Mansion. Filled with original pieces and furnished in the style similar to its heydays of the 1860s-1880s, this ornate mansion provides a history lesson in every corner. Most of the original furniture, purchased by the house’s first owners, Amanda and William Hunter, are still in the house today.
Restored to the one-room school that operated at Higgerson Landing in 1948, the Higgerson School is a window to the educational practices that shaped and served rural America from the early 19th century. Experience the typical school day of children attending all eight grades in one room with one teacher. Relive the days of playing “Wolf Over and River” and “Caterpillars,” a trip to the outdoor facility and crossing the fence on the stile. Visit Higgerson Landing Gift Shop before heading to your next stop.
River Walk Gallery
The oldest home in New Madrid, the Hart-Stepp House was built by Abraham Augustine in 1840 and moved to its present location in order to escape the encroaching waters of the Mississippi River. It is now home to the River Walk Gallery and the New Madrid Chamber of Commerce. The Gallery features the works of local photographer and artists.
Day 5: Paducah, KY
Paducah embraces their harmonious history between the European settlers and the Padoucca Indians native to the area. The city is located at the confluence of the Ohio and the Tennessee Rivers and because of this, it is often called the Four-Rivers Area due to the proximity of the Ohio, Cumberland, Tennessee, and Mississippi Rivers. This prime location has played a major role in Paducah’s history, as transportation was easily accessible – the economy was strong and travelers were frequent!
INCLUDED SHORE EXCURSIONS
National Quilt Museum
Celebrating 25 years in 2016, The National Quilt Museum is the largest of its kind in the world. It is the portal to the contemporary quilt experience - exhibits and workshops by renowned quilters who are implementing creative approaches to fiber art. The 27,000-square-foot contemporary structure features three galleries highlighting a collection of contemporary quilts and changing thematic exhibitions that celebrate the talent and diversity of the global quilting community. Workshops taught by world-class fiber art instructors are offered year-round. The Museum Shop & Book Store offers Kentucky Crafted items and quilt-related instructional and collector books.
These incredible works of art span “Wall to Wall” across 3 linear blocks of historic of Paducah. They were started over twenty years ago by Robert Dafford and his team of artists. The walls line the riverbanks of the Ohio River. The murals portray images of Paducah and the river basin’s history, and create a nice backdrop for the city, where flooding once was prevalent. (mural books are sold at Yeiser Art Center at 2nd & Broad)
Lloyd Tilghman House
This historic Greek Revival house was built in 1852 for Lloyd Tilghman, a new member of Paducah’s community at the time. After the house was completed, Tilghman did not purchase the property. Instead, the builder, Robert Woolfolk became the sole owner of the house and grounds. Tilghman, his wife, their seven children, and five slaves resided in the home until 1861. It was then that Woolfolk and his family moved into the home. Their family was pro-South and proudly flew a Confederate flag causing many uproars in the community and with the Federal Troops who located their headquarters just across the street from the home. Eventually Woolfolk and his family were banished from Paducah and the United States, forced to live in Canada on August 1, 1864.
Paducah Railroad Museum
The original Freight House (across the parking lot from the Museum) was built in 1925 by the Nashville, Chattanooga, and St. Louis Railway. In 1996, the Freight House was sold and the Museum moved to a building one-half block away. Here, learn the history of the railroad and those who used it, explore the authentic train models, and enjoy the memorabilia showcased for guests.
River Discovery Center
In 1988 Mayor Gerry Montgomery and her committee pursued the development of a museum to showcase the Four Rivers Region’s maritime heritage. The River Heritage Center was planned in 1992 as the very beginning stages of the mayor’s dream. Years later the museum was relocated by Seamen’s Church Institute of New York and renamed the River Heritage Museum before finally receiving its current name, the River Discovery Center in 2008. Here explore artifacts, exhibits, and interactive displays that share the history of marine life and the history of the river. Trail Interactive exhibit
The Moonshine Company
Explore, taste, and purchase traditional and international award winning Kentucky moonshine and moonshine flavors at The Moonshine Company in historic downtown Paducah. Located only blocks from the confluence of the Ohio and Tennessee Rivers, The Moonshine Company offers complimentary guided museum tours and moonshine samples that are distilled on-site in our 108-year-old building. Get a glimpse into the rich Kentucky moonshine history with their collection of historic moonshine stills and purchase that same moonshine secretly produced and bootlegged by our family over 80 years ago to bring home with you!
Day 6: Savannah, TN
Savannah is the largest town on the Tennessee, discovered in the 1820’s and incorporated in 1833. The most common association with this historical town comes with its ties to the Battle of Shiloh – a major Civil War Battle also known as the Battle of Pittsburg Landing, fought on April 6th 1862. Spend the day exploring the stories and history associated with the city of Savannah and its deep Civil War ties then explore the city’s many trails and paths winding down the lush banks of the Tennessee River and admire the beautiful sights!
INCLUDED SHORE EXCURSIONS
Enjoy a day in the Tennessee sunshine in this 44 acre park overlooking the Tennessee River. Relax in front of the water at any of the pavilions or benches, take a brisk walk on the paved walking trails wrapping around the banks of the river.
Tennessee River Museum
This museum, founded in 1992 is located in an old post office building in downtown Savannah that was constructed in 1939. The building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Inside, exhibits and collections are dedicated to preserving the history of the Tennessee River Valley so that future generations have an accurate depiction of their heritage and history. The museum features seven permanent exhibits such as “Paleontology,” filled with more than 200 fossils, “Archeology,” comprised of antique pottery and tools, “Pioneers,” exploring the Chickasaw Treaties, “Trail of Tears,” portraying the historical Native American travels to Oregon, “War on the River,” explaining the battles of Union invasions, “The Golden Age of Steamboats,” highlighting the historic Tennessee Riverboat trade, and “Musseling,” featuring the story of the historic pearl button industry.
The Williams-Shutt House (White Pillars)
Constructed in 1874 and remolded about 1910, this colonial revival has a two story frame with an Ionic portico, wrap around porches, Palladian pediment windows, headlights, and sidelights. The exterior has remained unaltered since about 1910. While still retaining the earlier floor plan, White Pillars was altered early in the 20th century when an outsized portico and matching wrap around porch were added. The home was remolded and transformed into a colonial revival mansion during this time. It is now home to Savannah Mayor Bob and wife Janie Shutt, and hosts annual out door venues including a songwriter’s gala during the Tennessee River Run festival hosted by hometown country artist Darryl Worley.
Savannah Historic District
This two mile stretch passes 42 historic homes which accurately portraying the architectural styles across Savannah’s history. Many of the homes are privately owned so are not open to tour, but are just as beautiful on the outside as they are on the interior. Featured homes include U.S. Grant’s Headquarters, the Churchwell-MicGinley-Taylor House, a former women’s college from the 19th century, and Irwinwood which was named after the owner who was credited for acquiring the land for Shiloh National Military Park in the 1890’s.
The Cherry Mansion
This beautiful mansion was the headquarters for U.S. Grant during the Battle of Shiloh. Hear the stories of Grant during his time within the property and hear about some of the Battle of Shiloh history. Admire the unique fireplaces, desks where Grant would sit to construct plans of battle, hand-made stone fences surrounding the property, and views of the Tennessee River off of the back porch.
Day 7: Florence, AL
Established in 1818 as a small river town, it is impressive how far this city has grown. Today, Florence is considered one of the largest and most progressive cities in North Alabama. The city offers an extremely developed arts initiative and a vibrant and alive downtown district. Visitors are never disappointed with this city’s delicious cuisine and the unique shopping options.
INCLUDED SHORE EXCURSIONS
Florence-Lauderdale Tourism Bureau
Make a stop at this information center to learn about Florence’s past, present, and future plans. Pick up some useful brochures and local maps that will help make the best of your time in the city and make sure to check out the unique merchandise!
Pope’s Tavern Museum
It is one of the oldest structures in Florence. Located on the military road that connected Nashville to the Natchez Trace and on to New Orleans, the tavern was an ideal stop for weary travelers in the 1800s. during the Civil War, the wounded were brought here from as far away as Franklin and Shiloh. The building was later home to the Lambeth family and remained a private residence until purchased by the city in 1965.The museum houses beautiful antiques and fascinating artifacts from the 18th and 19th centuries. The second floor is filled with artifacts from the Civil War and items of local history.
Kennedy-Douglass Center for the Arts
Kennedy-Douglass Center for the Arts is a gallery, educational facility, museum, and a center for the coordination and promotion for cultural activity in the area. It serves as the administrative office for all the museums. It is a home base and meeting place for cultural groups and a showcase and classroom for all arts disciplines. The center features annual exhibits and rotating exhibits by artists from the Southeast, also offering workshops and classes for all ages, concerts, and interesting lectures and programs.
W.C. Handy House Museum
Handy became famous for his blues compositions, such as “The Memphis Blues” and “St. Louis Blues.” He was also a musician, band conductor, and author. The museum houses a collection of memorabilia, musical instruments, personal papers, and original sheet music. Handy’s famous trumpet and his personal piano are just a few of the items on display. His hometown honors the legacy of the “Father of the Blues” with a birthday party at the museum each November 16 and with the week-long W.C. Handy Music Festival during the summer.
Frank Lloyd Wright Rosenbaum House
The Rosenbaum House is the only Wright-designed structure in Alabama. It was built for Stanley and Mildred Rosenbaum, who were the sole owners and occupants of the house until 1999 when the house was purchased by the city of Florence. The house has all the hallmarks of Wright’s Usonian style, including flat multilevel roofs, cantilevered eaves, and carports, flowing space, use of natural materials and expanses of glass. Wright designed an addition to the house in 1948, adding two wings. The house has been meticulously restored. The city received the 2004 Wright Spirit Award in the Public Domain from the Frank Lloyd Wright Building Conservancy for the preservation of this important architectural gem. The house holds its original Wright-designed furniture and is open as a city museum.
Florence Indian Mound & Museum
The Florence Indian Mound is the Tennessee Valley area's largest domiciliary mound. It is typical workmanship of the Indians who lived in this area before the Cherokees, Chickasaws, and Creeks. Early settlers found steps on one side of the mound, and discovered that it had been enclosed by an earthen wall. The museum contains Native American artifacts dating back over 10,000 years arranged in chronological order. (Visible as we turn from Chamber Street onto Court Street)
Day 8: 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. Consider booking an indulgent, stress-relieving massage in the American Queen's spa. Browse The Emporium gift shop for that perfect keepsake, or take the time to mingle with fellow guests.
Day 9: Chattanooga, TN
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 Chattanooga at your leisure or consider a Post-Cruise Premium Shore Excursion with airport transfer.