Day 1: Hotel Stay - St. Louis, MO
Enjoy your complimentary stay at the pre-cruise hotel. The evening is yours to become acquainted with the city. Our Hospitality Desk will be located in the hotel, and our friendly staff can assist with everything from general questions about your upcoming voyage to reserving premium experiences. Both American Queen Steamboat Company and local representatives will be readily available to provide you with dining, entertainment and sightseeing options to maximize your time here.
Day 2: St. Louis, MO
St. Louis, famously referred to as the Gateway City, is known for its diverse neighborhoods and the different cultural traditions each one brings forth. The city is typically associated with its 630-foot stainless steel monument, the Gateway Arch, which stands on the banks of the Mississippi River to symbolize the westward expansion of the United States.
Day 3: Alton, IL
This adventurist’s oasis is always welcoming to our guests – as dewdrops of watercraft greet them from the shorelines. Founded in 1837, Alton has preserved its small-town aesthetic, but mated it with the modern industry and art that birthed its contemporary ambiance. Cafés overlook limestone bluffs draped in greenery as breezes and birds alike whistle through the trees. Enjoy both the indoor and outdoor treasures that showcase the enchantment that this river town has to offer.
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 4: Chester, IL
Let the us transport you back to the good ol’ days – an era of cereal and Saturday morning cartoons. Before he sailed the Seven Seas, Popeye the Sailor Man was but a twinkle in the eye of Elzie Segar, a Chester native. This is your opportunity to seize nostalgia in the birthplace of one tough gazookus. Chester not only groomed Segar’s creative talent, but also acted as a muse, providing character inspiration in the form of its own residents. So, enjoy the origin of this childhood classic and keep good behavior – that’s your one life-saver with Popeye the Sailor Man – toot-toot.
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 5: Cape Girardeau, MO
Cape Girardeau has shown hospitality to the likes of Mark Twain, Meriwether Lewis and William Clark, and now greets our guests in the same vein. Peeking through the long-standing architecture and handsome panoramas are moments that will mature into golden memories. They say sometimes the little things make the biggest impact, and here, a million little things have built an empire. Take time to dance among the light of day or pedal along the sliver of bike lanes that strip along city streets. Embrace legends, discover a simpler time and relive the wonders of the past. Here, exploration of young America is at your fingertips.
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 6: Paducah, KY
In the hands of artists, modern Paducah was thrown into form. Fingertips muddied with passion and eased by the vision of river water glided along the surface to pull up the community and create the National Quilt Museum. Residents backstitch past into present, then bind appreciation for culture – ensuring that the seams of history will not soon come undone. The people of Paducah have taken great care to orchestrate every crevice of its community into a symphony of craft and color. Life is a work of art, and the town of Paducah certainly is alive and well. Feast in this foodies’ fantasy. Uncover mastership. Catch a glimpse of Paducah.
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.
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 7: New Madrid, MO
New Madrid is known for being near the military engagement the Battle of Island Number Ten during the Civil War. The city is also famous for being the site of a series of more than 1,000 earthquakes in 1811 and 1812, caused by what is called the New Madrid Seismic Zone. Explore the history of earthquakes, documented with seismographic recordings, in addition to Native American artifacts, Civil War artifacts and family life in New Madrid during the 19th and 20th centuries.
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 8: Ashport Landing, TN
The cornstalks that stretch to wave guests into port are certainly not the highlight of Ashport Landing; strategically placed above our docking area on the Chickasaw Bluffs is Fort Pillow, where rest the silenced voices of the Civil War. The smoke has cleared to shed light on the pogrom that transpired at this decisive point. It is there that the Fort Pillow Massacre took the lives of 221 Confederate mercenaries. Experienced historians resurrect stories misplaced in the tumult of war. Let our troop of deluxe motorcoaches escort you through the agricultural South to experience this history buffs’ hideaway.
INCLUDED SHORE EXCURSIONS
Included Fort Pillow Tour
Located on the western edge of Tennessee, approximately 40 miles north of Memphis, Fort Pillow State Historic Park is rich in historic and archaeological significance. Steep bluffs overlooking the Mississippi River made this area a strategic location during the Civil War. The fort was originally built by Confederate troops in 1861 and named after General Gideon J. Pillow of Maury County. It was abandoned in 1862 due to the Union Navy’s advancement along the Mississippi River. The area became a state park in 1971.
Join us today as we explore the 1,642-acre fort, known for its well-preserved breastworks and reconstructed inner fort. We will begin with a narrated driving tour as we make our way to the Interpretive Center and Museum, where Civil War artifacts, including a cannon and interpretive displays relating to the history of Fort Pillow are displayed.
After a short film about the 1864 battle, explore the gift shop and choose a souvenir to remember your visit to the historic fort. The day will conclude with a reenactment of the battle, so you can watch the events unfold before your very eyes.
Day 9: Memphis, TN
Memphis has a plethora of places to visit and things to do for all guests. Embrace the city that has been coined not only the home of the blues but also the birthplace of rock ‘n’ roll. Boogie on down to Beale Street – alive with quirky places to indulge in some Southern barbeque, purchase souvenirs for friends and family (or a little something for yourself) and sip on a Blue Suede Tini. As one of the most famous music destinations in the world, Memphis is a melodious port for our guests to experience.
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!