Memphis to Chattanooga

Fares from $2,299
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Cruise Summary

THE ENDURING LEGACY OF THE CIVIL WAR - The Mississippi River and its tributaries was of great strategic value as both a transportation and communication route during the Civil War. Experience authentic Southern culture as you journey through living history and explore the legacy of that storied conflict, both onboard and in ports of call. We will be joined by distinguished guest speakers such as Gene Salecker, who will discuss the Civil War-time tragedy of the sinking of the SS Sultana on the Mississippi River – the worst maritime disaster the United States has known – and Curtis Fields in an eerily accurate portrayal of Union Gen. Ulysses S. Grant, quoting in first person from the general’s memoirs, articles, and letters. Another historic figure comes to life through tribute artist George Buss, as President Abraham Lincoln. Bobby Horton revisits the Civil War through songs and stories. For a little fun and frivolity, we welcome Dave Para and Cathy Barton for a homespun show featuring various stringed instruments, and, as always, the American Queen Band and Ensemble provide a cornucopia of entertainment throughout the voyage. 
 
Included Tours:
• See ports of call below for information on included tours.

Pre-Cruise City Stay Package:
• Begin your journey with an unforgettable 3-day/2-night city stay package. Click Here for full details and package pricing.

All themed entertainment, events and tours are subject to change without notice.

Itinerary

Vessel: American Queen



Day 1: Hotel Stay - Memphis, TN

Hotel Stay - Memphis, TN

Enjoy your complimentary stay at the Sheraton Memphis Downtown Hotel. The evening is yours to get self-acquainted with this city's famed eateries, unique shops and lively entertainment.

Our Hospitality Desk will be located in the hotel for your convenience between 2:00 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 Memphis.

Day 2: Memphis, TN

Departure 5:00 PM
Memphis, TN

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!

Pre-Cruise: The Elvis Experience

Begin your journey along the Mississippi River with a king's treatment as we depart the hotel and weave our way through the streets of Memphis towards the home of the King himself - Graceland Mansion!

Enter through “The King's” front door where the presence of Elvis can still be felt within the walls as you walk through the same rooms as he did after a long day's performance. Custom crafted and state-of-the art iPads will help guide your way through each room, providing thoughtful narration by actor and Elvis enthusiast, John Stamos as well as personal commentary by Elvis' daughter, Lisa Marie Presley.

At this musical mecca, discover distinctly “Elvis” rooms such as the famous “Jungle Room,” an homage to “The King's” love for Hawaii, featuring green shagged carpets, exotically carved woodwork, and a Polynesian feel. View “Vernon's Office,” where Elvis' father, Vernon Presley, managed his career, as well as the Trophy Building and Racquetball Building, where you will find hundreds of awards and accolades, received throughout his career as well as those awarded posthumously. Just outside the mansion, a short stroll through the Meditation Garden, where “The King's” final resting place is located alongside other members of his family. Pay your respects to Elvis and his contributions to American music and entertainment, knowing his legacy resonates throughout the world and spans multiple generations.

But the adventure doesn't end there! This Elvis experience continues with exclusive exhibits including: • Graceland Mansion Audio-Guided Tour with New Orientation Film • Full Access to State-of-the-Art Visitor Entertainment Complex - NEW! • Elvis' Two Custom Airplanes • Elvis Presley Car Museum - NEW! • Elvis: The Entertainer Career Showcase Museum - NEW! • Elvis Discover Exhibits - NEW!

Before our journey continues enjoy some free time for lunch on your own at one of the many Elvis themed eateries! We then continue with Graceland in our rearview and Memphis's heart and soul - Beale Street ahead. Oozing with the gritty feeling of the blues and rock `n' roll, Beale Street's musical history is alive in every store front lining the road, street band performing on the corner, and brick paving our way. A larger-than-life iconic brass statue of Elvis marks the starting point of the “Walking in Memphis” portion of this exclusive excursion. Here, we will experience the most famous street in Memphis as our local guide leads us through the vibrant city he calls home. Our personal and exclusive guide shares his infectious enthusiasm and love for this southern city as he narrates stories of his favorite attractions as we walk past. A stroll along Beale Street is littered with music, history, culture and the sweet smell of smokey barbeque wafting through the alleys.

You will not want to miss this exclusive experience through the Music City!

All shore excursions, prices, and information are subject to change without notice.
 

Transportation
Provided
Duration
6.5 hours
Pre-Cruise: Soundtrack of Memphis

Today, we embark on a musical tour of Memphis, Tennessee, the “Birthplace of Rock and Roll.” Activities begin in the early afternoon with a relaxing driving tour of Midtown Memphis's 342-acre Overton Park, where our first stop is the iconic Levitt Shell amphitheater. Here, we'll be treated to a musical performance by our tour guide on the stage where Elvis Presley put on his first paid concert in 1954.

Our driving tour continues through Overton Square, a cultural hotspot of the 1970s that has since been revitalized into a thriving, modern entertainment district. We'll pass Galloway House, the Methodist church where Johnny Cash and the Tennessee Two put on their first performance, and “Soulsville, U.S.A,” where legends like Otis Redding, Booker T. & the MGs, Isaac Hayes, and others got their starts at Stax Records. Other sites include Priscilla Presley's high school, Church Park, and the W.C. Handy House Museum, the turn-of-the-century log shack that was home to the “father of the blues” himself.

As a brief intermission from our driving tour, we'll stop off at the Tennessee Welcome Center. Then, continue past sites that include Court Square, historic Beale Street, and the National Civil Rights Museum, built around the infamous Lorraine Motel where Martin Luther King, Jr. was tragically assassinated in 1968. And no visit to Memphis, “Blues City,” would be complete without seeing the Blues Hall of Fame.

Additional sites that we will see today include the South Main Arts District, the Gibson Guitar Factory, scenic Vance Avenue, Bluff Park, FedExForum, and the WDIA radio station, where soul music first hit the airwaves. We'll top off our tour with the magnificent Peabody Hotel, the famed Memphis Front Street (also known as “Cotton Row”), and Lauderdale Courts. Time permitting, we'll see Humes High School --Elvis Presley's alma mater --and Sun Studio, a rock and roll landmark. 

This excursion concludes at the dock of the vessel.

All shore excursions, prices, and information are subject to change without notice.
 

Transportation
Provided
Duration
3 hours

Day 3: River Cruising

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, 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 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 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.

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.

Higgerson School
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 5: Paducah, KY

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!

Check-in Along the Chitlin' Trail

The year is 1915 and America is disjointed by segregation and heavily governed by Jim Crow Laws. In the heart of the country sat Paducah, Kentucky, a quaint, yet bustling city on the Chitlin’ Trail. Deemed one of the very few safe and acceptable areas for African American entertainers to perform in the early to mid-1900s, the Chitlin’ Trail saw hundreds of musicians as they made the journey from New Orleans to Chicago leaving traces of jazz, blues and soul in their wake.

A rustic colonial structure adorned with simple white lettering across the front porch reading, “Hotel Metropolitan” became a safe haven for these traveling musicians. Step into the radiating heat of the Kentucky sun and meet Miss Maggie, a ball of southern energy and hospitality, as she opens the door to this historical hotel … time turns back a century. Miss Maggie used her undeniable determination and willpower to establish this much needed “colored” hotel in 1909, an almost unfathomable task for a black woman at the time.

Follow Miss Maggie through the rooms as she shares the rich history this hotel has stowed in its walls. Listen as she gossips about its past boarders, including B.B. King, Billie Holiday, Ike and Tina Turner, just to name a few in the hotel’s famous guest book. If you listen closely, you can almost hear the laughter and music reverberating through the halls of the old hotel, billowing out into the streets of Paducah and enveloping the neighborhood.

The Hotel Metropolitan, “The Respectable Place to Stay Since 1909,” is a project of Save America’s Treasures, a US government initiative created in 1998 to preserve and protect historic buildings, arts, and published works.

Note: This tour is not handicapped accessible.

All shore excursions, prices, and information are subject to change without notice.

 

Transportation
Provided
Duration
1.5 hours

Day 6: Savannah, TN

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!

Special Civil War Event: Shiloh National Military Park
No soldier who took part in the two day’s engagement at Shiloh ever spoiled for a fight again,” recalled one Union veteran. “We wanted a square, stand-up fight [and] got all we wanted of it.” Besides preserving the site of the April 1862’s battle in Tennessee, the park commemorates the subsequent siege, battle, and occupation of the key railroad junction at nearby Corinth, Mississippi. 

Join us as we continue on to one of the most informative and interesting Civil War National Parks. Shiloh National Military Park contains a wide array of historic sites. In addition to the battlefield of Shiloh itself, the park contains a separate unit at Corinth, Mississippi, that preserves and interprets the Siege and Battle of Corinth. Located within the boundaries of Shiloh Park, there is also a United States National Cemetery, which contains around 4,000 soldiers and their family members. A National Historic Landmark in its own right, the Shiloh Indian Mounds are also located within the park boundaries. 

Day 7: Florence, AL

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.

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)

Sweet Home Alabama: A Musical Journey through Time

When thinking about America’s Deep South and its musical influence, images of Memphis’ Beale Street, Nashville’s Honky Tonks and hopping Juke Joints in the Mississippi Delta likely come to mind. What may not come to mind is the profound affect that the state of Alabama has had on Music in America. Uncover the hidden melodies of Alabama, on today’s experience through musical history in the region.

Begin your musical journey at the iconic Alabama Music Hall of Fame, an impressive 12,500 square-foot museum dedicated to revealing the story, accomplishments and success of musicians in every genre – ranging from finely orchestrated classical compositions to the uncoordinated, deep and raspy voices of folk music. Soak in the eccentric environment as you pass glamorously sequined costumes, see the deep grooves engraved in some of the most coveted records from years of being replayed, hear the mechanical buzz resonate from authentic juke-boxes as the arm searches for the record and drops the needle on your favorite track, or gaze into the eyes of one of your icons as we pass by life-sized statues of musical legends. Then, travel back in time as we discover where many of these musical giants began their legacies.

As we arrive at the Muscle Shoals Studio, it’s difficult to imagine how this humble building has harbored some of the most well-known and respected artists of today. But in 1969, a group of four musicians worked together to create their very own recording studio, recording some of the most iconic music legends in history including, The Rolling Stones, Elton John, Willie Nelson, and Bob Dylan. Discover the history of this incredible studio and all of the tremendously talented artists that have left a piece of their legacy behind for us to uncover.

All shore excursions, prices, and information are subject to change without notice.

Transportation
Provided
Duration
3 hours

Day 8: River Cruising

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
Chattanooga, TN

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.

Post-Cruise: Chattanooga Tour...Battle for Chattanooga Museum, World's Steepest Incline, and the Famous Lookout Mountain!

For Civil War enthusiasts, Chattanooga offers a glimpse into history unlike many battlefields. So disastrous were the battles of Lookout Mountain, Missionary Ridge and Orchard Knob that on November 29th, General Braxton Bragg asked to be relieved of his duties. Following the decisive victories at Chattanooga, General Ulysses S. Grant immediately instituted the Chattanooga-Ringgold Campaign and announced to the Washington War office that the defeat of the Confederates was “most complete.”

After departing the vessel, we will embark on an exclusive and informative city tour before riding on the steepest passenger railway in the world - Lookout Mountain’s Incline Railway. Known as “America’s Most Amazing Mile,” The Incline’s trolley-style cars climb through the natural beauty surrounding historic Lookout Mountain at a breathtaking 72.7% grade – almost straight up! Sit back, relax and enjoy the scenic views of the mountains and valleys from the observation windows on the train as well as the panoramic views from the observation tower at The Incline’s top station.

After reaching the top of Lookout Mountain, explore the Battles for Chattanooga Museum as well as Point Park; part of the Chickamauga-Chattanooga National Military Park System. Discover how the battles on these historic grounds changed the outcome of the Civil War.

All shore excursions, prices, and information are subject to change without notice.

Transportation
Provided
Duration
4-4.5 hours