Day 1: Hotel Stay - New Orleans, LA
Enjoy your complimentary stay at the InterContinental New Orleans. The evening is yours to get self-acquainted with the many treasures of New Orleans.
Our Hospitality Desk will be located in the hotel for your convenience between 3:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. 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 New Orleans.
Day 2: New Orleans, LA
Departure 5:00 PM
Today is the big day! Spend your last day here in the city of New Orleans before embarking on an unforgettable journey!
The official Voyage Check-in will be open between 9:00 AM and 12:00 PM located in the Pre-Cruise Hotel. 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!
After you are comfortably aboard the vessel, wave “Au Revoir” to New Orleans as we set off on an incredible adventure up the Mighty Mississippi!
Day 3: Nottoway Plantation
Nottoway is the South’s largest, most glorious remaining antebellum mansion, with a rich history dating back to 1859. In a fabulous location along the Great River Road, this White Castle of the South transports visitors back to an era of glory and grandeur. Set among a natural backdrop of vibrant gardens and 200-year-old oak trees, the mansion boasts three floors and 64 bedrooms, and flaunts an incredible 22 white square columns. The most popular room among guests is the White Ballroom, which is painted entirely in white with elaborate gold décor throughout. Rooms are trimmed in custom plaster frieze made from Spanish moss, clay, plaster and mud, and are all original to the house. And as if that weren’t enough, this immaculate mansion was constructed with 365 openings – one for each day of the year. Nottoway Plantation captivates all with a brilliant blend of true Southern hospitality, history and mystery.
Day 4: St. Francisville, LA
Established in 1809, St. Francisville is the oldest town in the Florida Parishes. Below where St. Francisville is located currently, was a settlement called Bayou Sara in the 1790’s. When this settlement was destroyed by flooding and fires, many of the structures and artifacts were hauled up the bluff into St. Francisville where they are still standing. The town is referred to as “two miles long and two yards wide,” but that definitely doesn’t mean they have nothing to offer! With over 140 buildings on the National Register, beautiful plantation homes nestled in the rolling countryside and bustling Main Street shops, this quaint town situated on the bluffs of the Mississippi River has a style all its own.
Included Shore Excursions:
Take a stroll down Royal Street at any of the shops or just to admire the beautiful trees and homes. Or stop into Grandmother’s Buttons – a unique boutique that offers jewelry made out of 100 year old buttons. Inside the store, you can visit the button museum to learn the history of the business and the inspirations of the art. The store is located inside of a former historic bank lobby with 16-foot ceilings and a bank vault, even if jewelry is not in your plans – the architecture is beautiful.
West Feliciana Historical Society Museum
This museum is dedicated to the history, people, and architectures of West Feliciana Parish. Inside a former hardware store, built in 1896, the Historical Society Museum displays many artifacts, photos, costumes, and articles all portraying the history of St. Francisville. Just across the street, you can stop in one of the fine boutiques and shops.
Grace Episcopal Church
Built in 1860 and rebuilt in 1893 after the Union caused heavy damage in 1863, Grace Episcopal Church stands tall in St. Francisville. Enjoy a self-guided tour of the church and the grounds and make sure to check out the organ located inside – it dates all the way back to 1860! The church is one of the state’s oldest Protestant churches that still stand today.
Day 5: Natchez, MS
This charming river town was founded in 1716, making it the oldest city on the Mississippi. The city is known for its elegance, hospitality and impressive preservation of history – found on every street corner. Enjoy the unique shops, restaurants, museums and historical homes, all of which contribute to Hugh Bayless’ book “The 100 Best Towns in America.”
In 1716, the French built Fort Rosalie overlooking the Mississippi River. In 1823, a mansion was built by a wealthy cotton planter on land north of the fort. The Mississippi State Society Daughters of the American Revolution have since gained ownership and have been maintaining the house and grounds since 1938. On this self-guided tour, discover the history of the house and the artifacts found throughout. Period-dressed docents can be found throughout the home to answer questions and to provide more information! Guests can explore the extensive gardens, gift shop, library, and carriage as well.
Natchez Visitor’s Center
Enjoy a short, 20-minute video in the Visitor’s Center Theater and hear about the history of Natchez. Then, explore the building at your leisure. At the entrance, a scaled display model of the city is showcased. Stop in the office for some general information and questions about the town and its history, including town highlights and points of interest.
William Johnson House Museum
William Johnson was known as the “Barber of Natchez”; he began as a slave and gained his freedom at age eleven. After his freedom, he began to work his way up in society, eventually becoming almost fully accepted within society. As the town barber, William Johnson was able to hear the stories and gossip of many of the residents, which he documented in his diary for over 16 years. His 3-story brick home was built in 1840 and showcases many original furnishings.
This Greek Revival Mansion was built in 1858. The house was built before the breakout of the Civil War in town but did suffer some damage – a cannon ball was launched into their kitchen! It is now fully restored – the main floor offers a showcase of many antiques and furnishings and the upper floors offer a costume collection located in the Historic Clothing Museum. Tour the house and then stop in the gift shop for some souvenirs.
Irish Immigrant and cotton merchant Frederick Stanton built this Palatial Greek Revival mansion in 1857. It was appraised at $83,000 during that period, even before it was furnished. Take a 30-minute tour of the house – which takes up the entire block and is fully furnished. Afterwards you can stop for lunch in the Carriage House Restaurant, known for their fine southern cuisine.
King’s Tavern and Charboneau Distillery
Step off the motorcoach and walk through the front gate leading to the second floor porch of this 1789 building – the oldest structure in the city of Natchez. Join us for an exclusive tour of the King’s Tavern – a newly opened restaurant and bar, owned by Regina Charboneau, a nationally known chef, and her husband Doug. Enjoy an exclusive tour of the distillery, followed by a guided tour of the bar, located just next door, with a complimentary custom drink.
Natchez Association for the Preservation of Afro-American Culture Museum
Here, learn the history and culture of the African Americans over time. The museum will delve into the 300-year-old African American history, spanning four lifetimes from Colonial and Cotton Kingdom Natchez, to the Reconstruction and the Civil Rights Movements. As you explore this creative portrayal of the true African American story, you will unfold history to reveal Natchez in a light that is shown nowhere else around.
Day 6: Vicksburg, MS
Vicksburg perfectly blends Southern culture and heritage with exciting modern attractions. Described as the key to the South by President Abraham Lincoln, this Southern town carries a history unlike any other Civil War city. Vicksburg was founded in 1811 and grew as a vital river port city. It was a major component to the Civil War and carries much of the history within the town. Today, Vicksburg is a popular spot for tourists to learn about the battles of the city, taste the cuisine, visit the many museums and pick out the perfect souvenir.
Included Shore Excursions:
Church of the Holy Trinity
This incredible church spans over 125 feet long, 52 feet wide, and reaches 61 feet high to the apex of the roof. The church was constructed in Romanesque Revival style, finished in red brick, though it showcases zigzag tracery, which was highly unique to the style at the time. The stained-glass windows may be the main draw – there are 26. They were given as memorials and six of them were created by Tiffany Studios in New York under the supervision of Louis Comfort Tiffany.
The word Anchuca derives from an Indian word meaning, “happy home”, which is the exact vibe this home gives off. Built in 1830 by politician J.W. Mauldin, Anchuca is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places. During the war, the house was used as a shelter for those who had suffered. Tour the home and its beautiful furnishings.
Old Court House 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!
Biedenharn Coca-Cola® Museum
At the Biedenharn Coca-Cola Museum, enjoy the wide variety of Coca-Cola memorabilia in an authentic candy store and soda fountain setting. This building is where Coca-Cola was bottled for the first time anywhere in the world in 1894.
Lower Mississippi River Museum
This museum’s mission is to show the federal government’s role in the Mississippi’s past as well as future efforts to maintain a healthy river. Guests can explore showcases of the history of Vicksburg and the region or exhibits about the 1927 flood and how it affected Vicksburg and the Mississippi River. Learn about the fish of the river up close in the museum’s 1,515-gallon aquarium or choose your own adventure on the river with the Mississippi Trail Interactive exhibit!
Old Depot Museum
This museum has a 250-sq ft diorama of the Vicksburg Battlefield. It also houses 250 ship models, model railroads with railroading artifacts, 150 model cars cover the development of the automobile, an architectural display with models depicting the different styles of architecture in Vicksburg, and more than 40 original paintings of war on the river and Civil War artifacts.
Day 7: Leisurely River Cruising
As history plays such a large part of your river cruise experience, spend some time with our onboard Riverlorian to gain insight into our nation's history and heritage. Relive a tale from Mark Twain or simply enjoy the fascinating stories, facts and fables of the very stretch of river on which you are cruising.
Day 8: Port of the Mississippi Delta
The Mississippi Delta is more than a geographical region. It is a way of life - a true cultural experience based around agriculture, music and history. These small river towns have been the inspiration for authors, musicians and artists for centuries. Lower Mississippi River voyages include a unique glimpse into a Port of the Mississippi Delta.
Included Shore Excursions:
Hop on our deluxe motorcoaches and begin your tour of the South’s Casino Capital! There’s no shortage of fun in this Mississippi town. Tunica offers casinos, history, great food and fun – all within its quaint boarders. The tour starts with a stop at the Tunica River Park. Located on the banks of the Mighty Mississippi, the Tunica River Park is a magnificent combination of modern architecture and nature’s splendor. Step up to the observation deck to enjoy spectacular river views, enjoy the interactive history displays at the Mississippi River Museum, or take a walk through the eco trail, winding through nearly two miles of beautiful wetland forest. Experience the unspoiled timber, native creatures and Mississippi plant life, as you unwind and become one with nature.
Your tour continues with a stop at the Tunica Museum to delve into America’s diverse history. The exhibits range from Native American prehistory through European exploration, to military and commercial advancements from the 19th and 20th centuries. At the Tunica Casino District, go all in at one of several of the high rollers’ casinos, or enjoy a five-star lunch at a casino restaurant.
Day 9: Memphis, TN
Enjoy a complimentary city tour of Memphis, Tennessee. During this exclusive narrated driving tour of Memphis, you will see such landmarks like Sun Studio, The Peabody Hotel, National Civil Rights Museum and a cruise past Beale Street. Included is a Graceland Platinum ticket! After a guided tour of the Graceland Mansion, enjoy self-guided tours of the rest of the outlying museums.
Included Shore Excursions:
Memphis Rock ‘N’ Soul Museum
See the complete story of Memphis music history, as researched by the Smithsonian Institution. This museum tells of the musical pioneers and legends of all racial and socio-economic backgrounds who, for the love of music, overcame obstacles to create the musical sound that changed the world.
Is a significant location in the city’s history as well as in the history of the blues. Step into the center for Southern Folklore, a non-profit organization that show cases and celebrates the culture- the foods, the music, the arts, the traditions, and the stories of the South.
Auto Zone Park & Peabody Hotel
AutoZone Park is home of the minor league baseball team, the Memphis Redbirds. The Peabody Hotel is a luxury hotel in Downtown Memphis; it is well known for the famous “Peabody Ducks” that live on the hotel rooftop, but make a daily trek at 11:00 AM to the hotel’s lobby in a “March of Ducks” celebration.
Memphis Music Hall of Fame
More than a century ago, music began pouring into Memphis, Tennessee. Musicians of all races and backgrounds came together and, for the love of music, created a sound that changed the cultural complexion of the world forever. America’s music exploded out of Memphis. Today, the Memphis Music Hall of Fame honors many of the greatest musicians of all time, who created this city’s musical legacy, and who shook our planet to the core!
Day 10: Leisurely River Cruising
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 or take in a guided tour of the Pilot House where you can witness the latest high-tech electronics that help us navigate our innovative paddlewheeler up the changing currents of Old Man River in modern-day America.
Day 11: 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, who promptly sold it to the United States in the 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 over 1,000 earthquakes in 1811 and 1812, caused by what is called the New Madrid Seismic Zone. Today, explore this quaint river town that will surely steal the hearts of 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 photographers and artists.
Day 12: 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!
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.
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.
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 13: Cape Girardeau, MO
Nestled along the western banks of the mighty Mississippi River lays the city of Cape Girardeau, Missouri. It’s a community rich in history and heritage. For more than 250 years, people have been drawn to Cape Girardeau and the river on which it lies. Stroll along the riverfront, where the passion that led Mark Twain to write so eloquently about Cape Girardeau in Life on the Mississippi, the inspiration that Gen. Ulysses S. Grant used to lead with firm conviction as he took command of the Union Army in the historic downtown, and the warmth and hospitality that community founder Louis Lorimier extended to Lewis and Clark while on the journey of a lifetime as they set forth on their Corps of Discovery to explore the Louisiana Purchase will be prominent.
Included Shore Excursions:
Mississippi River Tales Murals
The Mississippi River Tales Mural is the largest and most dramatic of Cape Girardeau’s murals and is located on a portion of the downtown floodwall. Covering nearly 18,000 square feet, this 1,100-foot-long mural features 24 historically-themed panels that vividly portray Cape Girardeau’s rich history and heritage; descriptive markers provide an explanation of each panel. The Missouri Wall of Fame Mural features 47 individuals who were born in Missouri or achieved fame while living in the state.
Red House Interpretive Center
The Center commemorates the life of community founder French-Canadian, Louis Lorimier, as well as the visit of Meriwether Lewis and William Clark in November, 1803. The Interpretive Center houses an early 1800s exhibit that reflects the lives of the early settlers of the old Cape Girardeau district. In addition, a rendering of Lorimier’s Trading Post displays authentic items that would have been sold at the turn of the 19th century. The gardens on the north side of the house show the types of garden you might have seen in 1803 with flowers, vegetables, cooking herbs, and medicinal herbs.
Old St. Vincent’s Church
The Renaissance architecture, referred to as English Gothic Revival style, is not only beautiful but also extremely rare, as very few churches of this style exist in America today. Explore the many artifacts preserved in the church as you admire the arches and woodwork lining the interior of the chapel. Discover this fully restored beauty as it transports you back in time.
Completed in 1883, the Glenn house is a fully restored historic museum in Cape Girardeau, Missouri. It is a prime example of the Victorian period lifestyle including the architecture, furnishings, clothing, and décor. The Glenn House was built for David A. Glenn, who was an influential figure in the city’s history. He and his family occupied the home until 1915. Before they vacated the home, it was renovated in 1900 to the Queen Anne Style. The house is listed on the National Register of Historical Places. Many of the furnishings and features of the home have been restored to their original beauty and have been kept authentic to the Victorian time interior.
Holland School of Visual and Performing Arts River Campus
Earl and Margie Holland School of Visual and Performing Arts is composed of departments covering the history and science of art, music, theater, and dance. Visit the beautiful campus and explore the unique styles and subjects taught here. Walk around and discover impressive pieces of art, in many different styles, showcasing the talent and hard work of local students.
The Crisp Museum collects in three thematic areas: archaeology, history, and fine art. The Archaeology collection has several collections of prehistoric Native American artifacts, which illustrate aspects of the daily and ceremonial lives of the indigenous peoples who lived in southeastern Missouri from 13,500 B.C. to 1400 A.D., highlighting some very rare and exotic artifacts. The museum’s historical collections cover a wide range of artifacts with strengths in the areas of militaria, firearms and their accessories, clothing, and hand tools.
Cape River Heritage Museum
Since its founding in 1981, the Cape River Heritage Museum has focused on local history while preserving a historic building at the corner of Frederick and Independence streets. Located in an old fire house, the museum offers events, tours, and exhibits on steamboats, education, commerce, the Missouri mule, the state flag, the Show-Me slogan, Native American culture, and fire and police memorabilia. Snap a picture of yourself in the model steamboat or in the cab of a tall-ladder fire truck from the 1950s!
Day 14: Chester, IL
Known as the “Home of Popeye”, Chester, Illinois is a city rich in history and pop culture. Because creator and writer of Popeye, Elzie Crisler Segar, was born here, the famous characters starred in the show will be seen showcased frequently throughout the town. Stop at the Popeye Character Trail to view granite statues of the characters overlooking the Mississippi or check out America’s only Popeye museum and gift shop to take home a souvenir to remind you of your visit to Chester! Spend the day exploring the unique history as you walk through luxurious homes, historical buildings, and museums!
Included Shore Excursions:
Cohen Memorial Home
The Cohen home is located on a beautiful historical site on Harrison Street overlooking the Mississippi River. Its unusual blue storm windows make it a very visible landmark for boats on the river and travelers approaching the Chester Bridge from Missouri. Built in 1855, it was the home of the William Cohen family who lived there until 1983. The upstairs’ bedrooms contain furnishings and collections from several families of Chester including the Cohen family.
The Spinach Can Collectibles and Museum
As the only Popeye collectibles store and museum in America, this small shop located in Downtown Chester will surely bring back memories of the past as you explore. Walk around the front to see original and rare collectables featuring Popeye, Olive Oyl, Wimpy, Bluto, Swee’Pee, Jeep, and much more. Pick out the perfect unique book, toy, video, postcard, poster, or other memorabilia for someone back home or to keep for yourself. Then head into the back to see some rare and highly sought after Popeye collectibles.
The Courthouse and Randolph County Museum
The museum houses permanent displays as well as some artifacts that are temporarily on loan, and it hosts shows and exhibits which showcase specific treasures from the heritage and the long history of Randolph County. In addition, the newly established archives room will enable the museum to properly preserve and store documents, photographs, and other non-displayed artifacts for generations to come. Explore the history of Randolph County through collections of paintings, articles, photos, and artifacts that depict their past.
The Chester Welcome Center offers a lookout point which gives a fantastic vantage point to observe the majestic Mississippi River below. You won’t miss this building as a large statue of the iconic Popeye cast in bronze marks its location along the Chester streets. The Chester Welcome Center is located in Segar Park next to the Chester Bridge overlooking the Mississippi River. The new Welcome Center contains restrooms, an information center with displays and a large deck overlooking the Mississippi River and Missouri Bottoms. The bronze statue of Popeye the Sailor Man has been overlooking the Mississippi River in Segar Park for more than 30 years. This is the first of numerous Popeye & Friends Character Trail statues of Popeye characters placed in various areas in Chester.
Day 15: St. Louis, MO
St. Louis, Missouri, famously referred to as the “Gateway City,” is known for its diverse neighborhoods and the different cultures and traditions each one brings forth. The iconic city was founded in 1764 by French explorers who settled on the east side of the Mississippi, claiming the land as their fur trading post. In 1803, the city’s name began to spread as the beginning point for the famous Louis and Clark Expedition. The city is typically associated with its 630-foot stainless steel monument, the Gateway Arch, which stands proud on the banks of the Mississippi River to symbolize the westward expansion of the United States.
Day 16: Alton
Enjoy a complimentary city tour of nearby St. Louis, Missouri. Famously referred to as the “Gateway City,” St. Louis is known for its diverse neighborhoods and the different cultures and traditions each one brings forth. The iconic city was founded in 1764 by French explorers who settled on the east side of the Mississippi, claiming the land as their fur trading post. In 1803, the city’s name began to spread as the beginning point for the famous Louis and Clark Expedition. The city is typically associated with its 630-foot stainless steel monument, The Gateway Arch, which stands proud on the banks of the Mississippi River to symbolize the westward expansion of the United States.
Included Shore Excursions:
Audubon Center at Riverlands
Guest can view an ever-changing variety of songbirds and waterfowl at The Audubon Center at Riverlands. This unique attraction connects people to the beauty and significance of the Mississippi River. View bald eagles and herons as you experience the magnificent views of the quiet waters of Ellis Bay.
Alton Visitor Center
Stop at the Visitor’s Center and Mercantile Shop to learn more about the area and pick up a unique souvenir. Uncover the history of this American city and gather information on the best places to visit during your stay. Guests can then cross the street and explore the boutiques and shops with their eclectic collections!.
The Piasa Bird is a local legend in the Alton area. Its founding’s go back to 1673 when Father Jacques Marquette, in recording his famous journey down the Mississippi River with Louis Joliet, described the “Piasa” as a birdlike monster painted high on the bluffs along the Mississippi River, where the city of Alton, Illinois now stands. View the Piasa Bird and learn the tail of this Native American Mystical creature that is painted along the cliffs of Alton.
Jacoby Arts Center
The Jacoby Arts Center is a beacon in downtown Alton, attracting community interest and art lovers from across the country. Housed in the renovated 1899 Jacoby furniture store on Broadway this three-story, 40,000-squarefoot brick building was donated to the Madison County Arts Council by C. J. Jacoby and Co., Inc. and opened as an art center in 2004. In this new facility you will find a sparkling art gallery, a dynamic educational facility, and an array of exquisite artisans’ crafts.
Hop-off at this Central Alton stop, where you will find an array of activities to explore at your leisure. Choose to spend your afternoon shopping at the unique boutiques, treat yourself to a delicious lunch at one of the local eateries, or stroll along the street and admire the historic buildings and the stories they have to tell. As you make your way through town, discover why Alton is often referred to as one of the Most Haunted Towns in America.
Day 17: Hannibal, MO
Hannibal, Missouri, has a rich history, diverse industrial economy and truly remarkable arts. The city was founded in 1819 by Moses D. Bates and became a popular stop along the river for many steamboats traveling up the Mississippi River. Hannibal offers more parks per citizens than most towns in the Midwest and was included in the famous “50 Miles of Art.” Today, the most popular draw of this quirky town is Hannibal’s very own Samuel Langhorne Clemens, recognized world-wide as Mark Twain. Many of the popular characters featured in Twain’s novels were based on people Clemens had known while growing up in Hannibal. Many of the characters and influences of this American icon are weaved into the streets, shops, restaurants, and museums of Hannibal waiting to be uncovered.
Included Shore Excursions:
Big River Train Town
This Hannibal gem is packed with more toy trains than you have probably ever seen. Enjoy authentic replicas as they move swiftly along the tracks or learn the history of the models and the trains they are made after. As you walk around, relive your childhood and learn the stories of the railways’ past as you view some authentic memorabilia.
The Mark Twain Boyhood Home & Museum
This included tour visits seven buildings, five of which are listed on the National Register of Historic Places and two that are highly interactive museums showcasing fifteen original Norman Rockwell paintings! Learn about the Hannibal of Samuel Clemens’s childhood and explore the stories created through the powerful imagination of American icon, Mark Twain. Building 1: Interpretive Center – Here, explore interactive exhibits highlighting the stories and life of Samuel Clemens. Building 2: Mark Twain’s Boyhood Home & Garden – See the home where Clemens was raised, and where the adventures of Tom Sawyer took place, along with the home’s lovely gardens. Building 3: Boyhood Home Gift Shop – The original museum, which was built in 1937, now houses a gift shop offering Twain’s books. Building 4: Huckleberry Finn House – The childhood home of Tom Blankenship, the model for Huck Finn. Building 5: Becky Thatcher House – The home of Laura Hawkins, the inspiration for Becky. Building 6: J.M. Clemens Justice of the Peace Office – The location where Sam’s father held court. Building 7: Mark Twain Museum Gallery – This lovely two-story building features interactive exhibits, the Norman Rockwell Gallery, and treasured Clemens family artifacts. Live performances occur throughout the day at specific times. Tom & Huck Statue – Located at the foot of Cardiff Hill and offering a perfect location for a photo!
Trinity Episcopal Church
For more than 150 years, the Sanctuary of Trinity Episcopal Church, designed by architect Joseph A. Miller, has stood the test of time. With an interior consisting of a deeply arched heavy wooden beamed ceiling, beautiful bronze lanterns and side wall lamps, an impressive pipe organ and 18 illustriously conceived stained glass windows, Trinity Church is truly a historic marvel. As you step into the church, you are immediately transported back into time and enveloped by Hannibal’s past. Early church members commissioned well-known artists to design the Sanctuary’s beautiful stained glass windows. With signature designs by Charles Booth, Emil Frei, Jr. and the Louis Comfort Tiffany Glass Company, these windows are truly remarkable in their diverse artistic style, thematic construction and conceptual execution.
Cave Hollow West Winery
A fun place to meet other people and relax while enjoying local wine, beer and light snacks such as cheese and crackers!
Karlocks Kars and Pop Culture Museum
Take a self-guided tour through Hannibal’s newest attraction! There is over 10,000 Square feet of artifacts which allow you to relive historic, pop culture moments. This museum also features over a dozen vintage cars, arcade games, 100’s of signs & posters, movie props jukeboxes and so much more!
Hannibal History Museum
Through interactive exhibits, artifacts and historic photos, the Hannibal History Museum tells the story of Hannibal’s remarkable past with exhibits including the founding of Hannibal which showcases how the New Madrid Earthquake and the failed settlement of Marion City affected the fledgling river town of Hannibal. Other exhibits include Antebellum Hannibal, Hannibal’s Civil War, the Lumber Barons, The 20th Century Industry, The Art of Architecture, the Prominent Hannibalians and so much more!
Day 18: Leisurely 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 Gentelmen's Card Room.
Day 19: Bettendorf, IA
Discover one of the marvels on the Mississippi River! The Quad Cities combines the cultures of Rock Island, Moline/East Moline in Illinois and Davenport, Bettendorf in Iowa. This fun and friendly area is home to hundreds of music, food, and art festivals. Blues, jazz, rock, and many other music stylings can be found not only at the festivals, but also at music venues in the downtown areas. Museums that tell the history of the area and feature international and national traveling exhibits will also keep you busy, as over 20 museums are scattered throughout the Quad Cities and feature everything from Buffalo Bill Cody and German immigration to fine art collections, and Native American Indian history. Come for a visit and experience Quad Cities on the mighty Mississippi River, their Midwestern hospitality will make you feel right at home!
Included Shore Excursions:
Isabel Bloom Studio
Isabel Rose Scherer was raised in the city of Davenport and began her artistic lifestyle early. In the early 1930s Isabel attended Grant Wood’s Stone City Art Colony where she learned how to carve limestone sculptures flawlessly. Her legacy lives on in the city of Davenport as her art pieces and influences are seen throughout the city, as well as her protégé, Donna Young, who works to help preserve Bloom’s legacy. During the one-hour-and-fifteen-minute guided tour, enjoy behind-the-scenes access to every step in the making of each Isabel Bloom sculpture. During the tour, discover how this company maintains the legacy of artist Isabel Bloom. Get a glimpse of some of her original art and photos and learn how her innovations still influence what we do today. As a remembrance of the tour, shop the gift shop where you can purchase exclusive sculptures available only to tour guests.
Figge Art Museum
This gigantic glass building on the banks of the Mississippi, designed by British architect David Chipperfield, is home to one of the Midwest’s finest art collections, and hosts world-class traveling exhibitions. Its studios, auditorium and spacious lobby are alive with art classes, lectures and special events that attract visitors of all ages. Tour the facility touching in nearly every style of art, spanning across the world, from classical to modern.
River Music Experience
Founded in 2004, the River Music Experience began primarily as a museum celebrating the roots of music and the Quad-Cities’ musical heritage. The program was so successful that the museum now hosts more live music and offers more opportunities for local musicians to perform. Explore the history of music in the Quad Cities and then stop in the Redstone Room to listen to live music as you snack on a delicious treat offered from the restaurant and bar inside. (Located half a block down West 2nd Street from the Figge Art Museum, then make a right onto Main Street). (Shows will run every hour beginning at 9:30 AM, will the exclusion of 12:30 PM, where no show will be running)
German-American Heritage Center
Founded on August 1, 1994 as a private, not-for-profit organization, the German American Heritage Center (GAHC) seeks to preserve the heritage of German speaking ancestors for present and future generations and to enrich the knowledge of the German immigrant experience. Today, the heritage center has evolved into a museum that includes a large permanent exhibit and two rotating special exhibits. Within the permanent exhibit, visitors enjoy an orientation theater, six education stations, and two restored hotel rooms. Guests enjoy an interactive experience as they learn about immigrants’ journey by sea, train and foot, to their final destination at the German American Heritage Center building, which was originally a very busy hotel for thousands of immigrants in the 1860s.
Quad City Botanicals Center
Explore this award-winning Sun Garden with blooms of exotic tropical flowers, a 14-foot waterfall, and reflecting pools. Outdoor gardens feature magnificent conifer collections, thousands of spring bulbs, colorful and rare perennials. This stunning botanical center hosts extravagent festivals, parties, and events. Be certain to explore the gift shop before you depart.
Day 20: 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 21: 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 22: 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 23: Red Wing, MN (Minneapolis)
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 nearby Minneapolis at your leisure or consider a Post-Cruise Premium Shore Excursion with airport transfer.