Ottawa (Chicago) to Alton (St. Louis)

Fares from $2,799
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Cruise Summary

FALL IN LOVE WITH THE HEARTLAND - Set off on an amazing journey from the backdrop of Chicago's soaring skyline to the famed Gateway Arch in bustling St. Louis. As you cruise along the Illinois River you will be treated to some of the most beautiful scenery while visiting amazing port towns steeped in American history.

Theme:
• America's Heartland*
 
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 Duchess™



Day 1: Boutique Hotel - Chicago, IL

Boutique Hotel - Chicago, IL

Enjoy your included, one-night stay at the iconic Drake Hotel in Chicago. The evening is yours to get self-acquainted with this culturally diverse city, rich in architectural beauty and hidden history.

Our Hospitality Desk will be located in the hotel for your convenience between 3:00 PM and 7:00 PM. It is here that our friendly staff can assist with everything from general questions about your upcoming voyage to reserving Premium Shore Excursions. An American Queen Steamboat Company representative, as well as a local representative, will be readily available to provide you with dining, entertainment, and sight-seeing suggestions so that you may maximize your time in Chicago.

Day 2: Ottawa, IL

Departure 4:00 PM
Ottawa, IL

Today is the day you have been waiting for! Prepare to embark on an unforgettable journey through history.

If you haven’t gotten your full dose of Chicago yet, visit the AQSC Hospitality Desk for ideas about how to spend your day. The official Voyage Check-In will be open from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. During this time, our representatives will arrange for 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. If you have any additional questions, the Hospitality Desk will be at your service until the complimentary vessel transfers begin at 3:00 p.m.

 

Reddick Mansion
Historically important and architecturally unique, the Reddick Mansion anchors Washington Square, the site of the first Lincoln-Douglas Debate. Built in 1855, this lovely 22-room Italianate mansion was possibly the most expensive and ornate private home built in Illinois before the Civil War. Guests can join period-dressed docents for a fully guided tour of this historic location!

I & M Canal Toll House
The last remaining toll house on the I & M Canal, the I&M Toll House offers a unique glimpse into life in the 1800’s when the canals offered a popular mode of both passenger and cargo transportation. Hop off here to meet two period-dressed docents who will offer interesting narration about the history of the house as well as an informative demonstration of coopering.  

Ottawa Historical and Scouting Heritage Museum
Dedicated to the preservation of the history of boy and girl scouts in the Ottawa area, the museum offers collections and memorabilia relating to Ottaway’s historic past. A one-time booming canal town, the museum provides an information look into the history of the city. Guests can enjoy a self-guided tour of the museum, where knowledgeable docents will be on-site to offer information and answer questions. 

Washington Square Park
The site of the first Lincoln-Douglass debate, this square is full of historical significance. Guests can hop-off here to witness a Lincoln impersonator who will provide informative information and a riveting account of the debate!

Downtown Shopping
The central area of the town, the downtown area of Ottawa offers a mix of shops and galleries for guests to explore at their leisure in search of perfect mementos of their time in this river-side town!

Day 3: Ottawa, IL

Ottawa, IL

Located at the confluence of the Illinois and Fox River, Ottawa became a conduit for river barges and connects Lake Michigan and Chicago to the Mississippi River. Home to the site of the first Lincoln-Douglass debate, this Illinois town is steeped in rich American history. A one-time booming canal town, Ottawa is still a major sand and glass center due to their numerous silica sand deposits.

Reddick Mansion
Historically important and architecturally unique, the Reddick Mansion anchors Washington Square, the site of the first Lincoln-Douglas Debate. Built in 1855, this lovely 22-room Italianate mansion was possibly the most expensive and ornate private home built in Illinois before the Civil War. Guests can join period-dressed docents for a fully guided tour of this historic location!

I & M Canal Toll House
The last remaining toll house on the I & M Canal, the I&M Toll House offers a unique glimpse into life in the 1800’s when the canals offered a popular mode of both passenger and cargo transportation. Hop off here to meet two period-dressed docents who will offer interesting narration about the history of the house as well as an informative demonstration of coopering.  

Ottawa Historical and Scouting Heritage Museum
Dedicated to the preservation of the history of boy and girl scouts in the Ottawa area, the museum offers collections and memorabilia relating to Ottaway’s historic past. A one-time booming canal town, the museum provides an information look into the history of the city. Guests can enjoy a self-guided tour of the museum, where knowledgeable docents will be on-site to offer information and answer questions. 

Washington Square Park
The site of the first Lincoln-Douglass debate, this square is full of historical significance. Guests can hop-off here to witness a Lincoln impersonator who will provide informative information and a riveting account of the debate!

Downtown Shopping
The central area of the town, the downtown area of Ottawa offers a mix of shops and galleries for guests to explore at their leisure in search of perfect mementos of their time in this river-side town!

The All-American Historic Legacy

A journey through America’s canals and high-tea with Mrs. Lincoln

In the 1800s canals were vital lifelines for Americans. Canals provided a thoroughfare for travelers as well as transport of goods. Pulled using the power of mules, canals were an efficient way to navigate the lands and were a popular mode of transportation for President and Mrs. Lincoln. The Lincolns utilized the Illinois and Michigan Canal in the mid 1800’s to travel between Washington, DC and Springfield, Illinois. An advocate of the canal, President Lincoln enjoyed taking his children on this aquatic journey.

Today, guests will step back in time and onto The Volunteer a vessel straight out of the history books as they traverse the very same canals utilized all those years ago. Fueled by stocky mules, tirelessly leading the way, we will travel through the I&M Canal, as period-clothed guides offer informative explanations of each step as we pass through the locks and offer entertaining stories and anecdotes about how the canals helped build Chicago.

After passing through the canal, we’ll head over to the historic Visitor’s Center – once a home to a local horse and buggy maker – where we will meet with Mrs. Mary Lincoln, wife of our fearless President. As Mrs. Lincoln welcomes us with an invitation to afternoon high tea including tea, scones, sandwiches and sweet treats in the Lock 16 vintage room, adorned with linen, china and the finest silver. Listen closely as she regales us with the latest political talk, personal stories of her childhood and courtship with Abe and, perhaps, even offers us some presidential secrets divulged by her late husband.

In the 1800’s parks were used as extensions of people’s homes. With a lack of air conditioning and electronic entertainment, people flocked to parks for leisure activity. We will do just that as our final stop on this lovely afternoon. Take in the natural wildlife and fresh air before heading back to the luxurious American Duchess!

Transportation
Included
Price
$79 per guest
Duration
4.5 hours
Tour Capacity
50 guests

Day 4: Peoria, IL

Peoria, IL

The largest city on the Illinois River, Peoria is the oldest European settlement in Illinois. Named after the Peoria Native American Tribe, the city was settled in 1680 by French explorers. With a good blend of government and official buildings as the county seat – Peoria also offers a bustling art and culture scene and offers a robust historical story to entertain guests from around the world.

Apollo Theatre
One of America’s few remaining Art Nouveau quintessential theater that harkens back to the days when going to the theatre was an important, distinguished event. Built in 1914 and designed by noted architect Frederic J. Klein, guests can enjoy a guided tour of this historic theatre as well as an exclusive presentation on the history of the town and the theatre. will be showed to them.

Cathedral of St. Mary of the Immaculate Conception
A magnificent gothic-style cathedral designed by Chicago architect Casper Mehler, built in 1885. Join a member of the Diocese for a guided tour of the Cathedral and discover the history that lies within its adorned walls.

Archbishop Fulton Sheen Museum
This museum celebrates the life of Archbishop Fulton Sheen, who throughout his career, never forgot his Peoria roots. Guests can enjoy a self-guided tour of the museum where artifacts and memorabilia are on display as well as an informational video that highlights the achievements of Sheen.

Studios on Sheridan
Housed in a renovated 1930’s era warehouse that was one the Sunbeam Bakery, Studios on Sheridan are eclectic collaborations of various vintage goods, art studios and antique shops nestled into a charming backdrop in a historic area of town. Guests can wander through the various galleries and shops in search for a perfectly unique memento of their time in Illinois.

Sculpture Walk
Explore a unique part of this beautiful town at the Peoria Sculpture Walk. With 16 large scale sculptures crafted by sculptors representing two countries and nine states, the sculpture walk is the ideal way to spend some time in Peoria! 

Peoria Riverfront Museum – A one-of-a-kind collaboration where guests can explore and learn about the world – from the Peoria backyard to far-off galaxies. Focused on interdisciplinary learning with a concentration on art, history, science and achievement – the Peoria Riverfront Museum offers rotating and permanent exhibits including fine art, folk art, natural sciences and more. There is truly something for everyone at this river side museum! 

Peoria and the Prairie

A wildlife experience in America’s mid-west prairies including an encounter with “Big Mike!”

Experience the wildlife of the Midwest on this nature lover's expedition. Join us on a "safari" tour as we head into the wild outdoors and the prairies of Wildlife Prairie Park! Take in the beautiful scenery and nature on a scenic ride through the 1,800-acre zoological park. Often referred to as the "Jewel in the Midwest" the Park boasts over 150 animals and 50 species all native to the area. As we continue deeper into the Park, animals graze and explore just outside the windows! Then as we come to a stop, we'll visit with Big Mike, the Park's famous domesticated bison who is larger than life and a popular mascot of the facility. Friendly and sociable, guests can snap their picture with this furry giant before heading inside for an informative and interactive presentation by a Park naturalist. They will present an interactive lecture about three species that call Wildlife Prairie Park home.

A great afternoon for animal and nature lovers alike to take in the ecological and zoological delights of the Peoria region.

Transportation
Included
Price
$69 per guest
Duration
4.75 hours
Tour Capacity
50 guests
Peoria, Illinois: A Hands-On Artful Experience

Enjoy a day full of artful creation as you embark on a hands-on experience and glimpse into the growing art scene of Peoria, Illinois.

Begin the day by pounding some clay at the Wheel Art Pottery Studio, the archetype for the city's current effort to redefine its industrial history and landscape into one for the arts. In the studio, marvel at the workshop’s unique inventory of creations as you are welcomed into this one-of-a-kind studio. Artist and founder, Jacob Grant, will lead guests in a hands-on pottery demonstration, allowing them to create two original pieces. Don’t worry if it isn’t perfect, that’s what makes it unique! Upon your departure, Jacob will prepare your pieces to their final form and have them shipped to your home.

Next, take a seat at J Draper Glass Studio, where founder and artist, Jeremie Draper, will present a narrated demonstration of the ancient yet intricate art of glass blowing, as you watch a professional glass blowing demonstration at the J Draper Glass Studio. The team of J Draper Glass will take you on a journey and share their passion about this hot molten medium as they skillfully pull molten blobs of glowing glass from a furnace of 2150°F and shape it into vases, bowls, or sculptures. Watching this ancient medium, you will gain an appreciation for this ancient technique, discovered by the Romans around 50 B.C. The experience will include solid & blown demonstrations from our glass team and time for questions about this unique medium. At the tour's conclusion, guests will be invited to choose an original creation as a keepsake.

Shipping Note/Disclaimer: Keepsake from J Draper Glass will be given to guests at completion of tour, while those from Wheel Art Pottery Studios will be shipped to guests’ residencies. Due to high costs, shipping will only be available within the Continental US. For guests outside of this shipping range, a complimentary mug or bowl will be offered.

Transportation
Included
Price
$99 per guest
Duration
4.5 hours
Tour Capacity
24 guests

Day 5: Havana, IL

Havana, IL
Nature lovers and history buffs will relish the day touring this beautiful scenic port.




Lincoln’s New Salem
Tour the historical site of Lincoln’s New Salem.Including self-guided tours of recreated historic sites including 12 log houses, the Rutledge Tavern, 10 workshops, stores, mills and a school where church services were held complete with period furnishing from the 1830s. The furnishings, including many items actually used by the people of New Salem in Lincoln's time. The collection includes such early-nineteenth-century articles as wheat cradles, candle molds, cord beds, flax hackles, wood cards, dough and cornmeal chests and early American pewter. Upon arrival to the site, guests will be greeted by a New Salem guide dressed in period attire and will embark on a self-guided tour of the site.With complete leisure to spend as much, or as little, time as they would like guests can truly enjoy this historic site.Docents placed throughout the area will provide insightful information as well as interesting demonstrations of coopering, blacksmith or rifle shooting will be offered.

Honestly Abe

An In-depth experience celebrating the life and history of America’s 16th President, Abraham Lincoln including his home and the Lincoln Presidential Library.

Abraham Lincoln, perhaps one of America’s most well-known president and a great American hero, is credited for preserving the Union during the U.S.. Civil War as well as the emancipation of slaves throughout the country. Born in Kentucky, Lincoln spent most of his life in the western frontier known today as Illinois.

We’ll begin our Lincoln-inspired tour in the very town that helped to mold the 16th president of the United States. A town lined with log houses, the 1830’s-style New Salem is a replica of the town Lincoln spent a portion of his adult years. It was here that he worked as a sales clerk before enlisted in the Black Hawk War and becoming elected to the Illinois General Assembly in 1834. As you walk through the town, you can almost feel the presence of our late president, hearing his footsteps as he walks the streets of the town – unknowingly paving his way towards history.

Every corner offers a new historic surprise in the town of New Salem as docents and demonstrators in period clothes provide historical insight on what life during Lincoln’s time. As we tour the first home young Lincoln lived in own his own, we will get a glimpse of an inside look into Lincoln’s character, not only as a President, but as a private citizen, too.

Next, we will head to Springfield, Illinois, the capital of Illinois and all things Lincoln. We’ll start our journey through Springfield at the Lincoln Home National Historic Site. Take a peek into Lincoln’s personal life, as you are guided through the only home he ever owned. All of this history is sure to work up an appetite, so we will stop in for lunch at one of Springfield’s oldest restaurants, Maldaners. Established in 1884 and situated on the famous Route 66 Maldaners offers a delicious buffet-style lunch, sure to fuel you for the rest of the day’s activities!

After lunch, a visit to every President’s ultimate tribute; their Presidential Library! At The Lincoln Presidential Museum and Presidential Library which features hundreds of historical artifacts combined with interactive exhibits highlighting his life as well as original copies of the Emancipation Proclamation and the Gettysburg Address. A dynamic individual, the library takes great lengths to accurately portray his character, focusing not only on his political career, but heavily on that of his family and personal life. Always by his side, Mrs. Lincoln and the kids hold a prominent place in the Library and guests can even snap a photo with the entire Presidential family!

This is a great chance to see Lincoln not only as a President, but as a common husband, father, and citizen who made it his mission to improve the economic and social conditions of his countrymen.

Transportation
Included
Price
$79 per guest
Duration
9 hours
Tour Capacity
50 guests

Day 6: Leisurely River Cruising

Leisurely River Cruising

There is always plenty to do between dawn and dusk on the river and today is the perfect day to enjoy the many public spaces and activities that are available to you onboard. Gaze at the beautiful landscapes and small river towns as you mingle with fellow guests and discuss the unique aspects of river life. If you fancy a moment for yourself, retreat to The Lincoln Library adorned with ornate bookcases stocked with an imaginative selection. Take hold of a literary classic, curl up on a plush chair in a cozy corner and relish every moment of  serenity. Our fitness facility, business center, movie theater and grand lobby offer a more stimulating day on the river for those who wish to indulge in more energy-infused activity. However you wish to spend your day, make it your own and revel in every moment.

Day 7: Hannibal, MO

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. 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 Sam 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.

Mississippi Mud...A Hands-on Experience

Prepare yourself for a day of creativity and expression as we set out for the working studio at Ayer’s Pottery. As you enter this quaint and quirky shop, take in the organic, earthy aroma that radiates from each rustic brick lining the walls of the gallery. Walk the perimeter of the gallery, appreciating unique, hand-crafted pottery pieces ranging in different sizes, shapes, and textures.

Admire the delicate and fragile ceramic shapes that were created by the molding and forming of professional potter, Steve Ayers. His unique and absolutely stunning pieces are recognized nationwide for their particularly rich colored glazes. Get a personal demonstration of this artisan as he works his hands into the clay and produce one-of-a-kind art, look around at all of Ayer’s masterpieces – all of which are fully functional and contain no lead and is both dishwasher and microwave safe!

Then, get ready to suit up and give it a try for yourself! Head down to the workshop, and become an artist, spinning your very own potter’s wheel as you try out some of the techniques you watched during the demonstration. Feel your mind drift into serenity as you press your thumbs into the cool, damp clay, molding a piece of art into your very own souvenir. Project your creative mind and personality into a masterpiece that will then be fired up and shipped to your home as a perfect and unique keepsake of your Hannibal adventure! Protective apron/suit will be provided, but keep in mind that creativity can be messy business! Let your creative juices flow! Please note in advance that in order to proceed to the workshop, guests will need to be able to travel down a 16-step flight of steps comfortably.

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

Transportation
Included
Price
$69 per guest
Duration
1.5 hours
Tour Capacity
6 guests
Muddy River Radio's Live Rendition of "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn"

Step back in time to an era before television, before the internet and social media. A time of one of the most ground-breaking inventions of the early 1900s – The time of the radio. With the invention of the radio, for the first time in history, Americans could receive timely information, sometimes up to the minute, an unfathomable concept at the time.

With the introduction of radios in most households around the country, the entertainment industry began to explode like an uncontainable, vibrant wildfire which swept across the nation, enticing listeners from coast to coast. Sounds of swing music, smooth jazz, presidential addresses, and globalized news reports became the anthem of our country. Perhaps the most popular and captivating, though, were the contemporary sounds of live radio theater productions, which prompted families to gather around the radio and, for a moment, forget the worries of everyday live in the early 1900s.

Join us, as we journey through the small town of Hannibal, Missouri, home of American icon Mark Twain. Arrive at Cave Hollow West Winery, situated on the very location where Mark Twain’s famous character, Tom Sawyer and his gang, raided the Sunday School Picnic in the Adventures of Tom Sawyer. Nestle up inside the intimate, dim-lit winery in front of the cherry wood fire place and prepare for a one-of-a-kind entertainment presentation. Today’s show features local “Muddy River Radio” theater group, an incredibly talented collection of entertainers known for their 1940s-style radio theater productions.

The group will take the stage and offer a nostalgic present for our guests with their rendition of America’s famous novel, “Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.” This entirely acoustic performance will showcase the power of sound to recreate a story near and dear to the Mississippi region. Enjoy Muddy River Radio’s masterful interpretation, alluring your imagination to run wild as Tom and his gang are brought to life!

Do not miss out on this exclusive opportunity to celebrate the Mississippi region and an era that has faded into our history books!

Transportation
Included
Price
$59 per guest
Duration
1.75 hours
Tour Capacity
80 guests

Day 8: Alton, IL

Alton, IL

Alton was founded in 1837 and is located just 25 miles north of St. Louis, Missouri. This mid-western city is full of history, culture, and recreational opportunities. Explore the city that holds the site of the final debate between Abraham Lincoln and Stephen Douglas and the home of Robert Wadlow – the world’s tallest man, and legendary musician, Miles Davis. Admire the beauty of Alton, noted for its prominent limestone bluffs along the Mississippi River that makes this city a rare and treasured stop.

Living History of Alton, Illinois

Walk in the footsteps of President Abraham Lincoln as guests are invited to explore his early career in Alton. We will experience all of the key locations that launched the career of this political giant. Guests can stand on the river banks in the exact location that Abraham Lincoln stood face to face with James Shields while preparing to duel in 1842. Experience the broad and ever-lasting effects the War Between the States had on this area as we stand in the midst of the ruins left behind by the Civil War as it touched this river community in the 1860s.

In addition to the seven incredibly interesting Lincoln & Civil War sites, this experience will also include the statue of Robert Wadlow, the World’s tallest man. Stand next to him and compare yourself to this 8 foot, 11 inch giant of Alton! Then, enjoy Piasa Park, where guests can hear the history of the Piasa Bird or read the story off of a large granite arrowhead with engravings – Learn about Chief Ouatoga and how they fought this legendary bird. Get a picture of the giant Piasa Bird mural painted on the side of the bluff before we conclude this incredible day!

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

Transportation
Included
Price
$59 per guest
Duration
3.75 hours
Tour Capacity
50 guests

Day 9: Alton, IL

Arrival 8:00 AM
Alton, IL

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 St. Louis at your leisure or consider a Post-Cruise Premium Shore Excursion with airport transfer.

Post-Cruise: The Lewis and Clark Gateway to the West St. Louis City Tour

Including visits to the Confluence Tower and Lewis and Clark State Historic Site, a photo opportunity at the St. Louis Arch, and a tour of St. Louis!

Begin your day of historic exploration in the city known as “The Gateway to the West.” Renowned as a important location during the iconic Lewis and Clark exploration in 1804, today’s excursion weaves through the streets of St. Louis and follows the footsteps of the intrepid explorers in the days leading up to their momentous departure.

Our day of exploration begins at the Confluence Tower monument, two identical and strategically placed towers mark a significant moment in the formation of the Corps of Discovery. Rising 180 feet into the sky, one tower points toward the Mississippi River and the other, the Missouri River, marking the confluence where Lewis and Clark converged to set off on their journey. Take a short ride up to the top of the towers to admire the breathtaking view of the Midwestern countryside below.

We will continue to the Lewis and Clark State Historic Site, an incredible museum dedicated to sharing the stories of the explorers. The guided tour of this 14,000 square-foot facility delves into stories rarely heard, weaving through extraordinary exhibits and galleries, which include a replica of the 55-foot keelboat used by the Corps to navigate the waters of the Missouri River. Enter a dream-like realm in the state-of-the-art theater, where a high-definition interpretive video will be shown. Throughout the museum, spend time admiring the journals of Lewis and Clark in which they transcribed the events and experiences they encountered on their journey.

As we make our way back to the “Gateway City,” a local historian leads this city tour and narrates the story of how St. Louis became one of America’s most beloved cities. Uncover the city’s deep-rooted history and see iconic sights throughout St. Louis, including the beautiful Forest Park, Cathedral Basilica, and the Anheuser-Busch Brewery, as well as Downtown St. Louis.

Departing the Central West End, one of America’s most prominent landmarks comes into view. The Gateway Arch rises high over the Mississippi River marking the heroic and intrepid journey of Lewis and Clark. Stand in the shadow of this massive monument for a picture-perfect photo stop before heading to Hartford, Illinois to uncover little-known facts of how the Corps of Discovery started its journey.

This historical excursion ends at the official post-cruise hotel or the St. Louis International Airport.

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

Transportation
Included
Price
$69 per guest
Duration
4.5 hours
Tour Capacity
50 guests