Red Wing (Minneapolis) to Alton (St. Louis)

Fares from $1,999
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Cruise Summary

AN AMERICAN LITERARY ICON – Many would argue that Samuel Clemens, best known by his pen name Mark Twain, is quite simply one of America's greatest authors. On this magnificent journey along the Upper Mississippi River, you will delve deep into the life and work of Samuel Clemens as you witness his legendary words and wit brought to life onboard by an expert tribute artist who will leave you with the lasting impression that you just had an in-depth conversation with the legendary author himself. Our included Hop-on Hop-off tours allow you to explore Twain's childhood hometown of Hannibal, Missouri; the town from where much of the inspiration for his beloved classics such as The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is derived. You will not want to miss this opportunity to share the Mississippi River with Mark Twain.

Theme:
• Mark Twain*

Included Tours:
• See ports of call below for information on included tours.

Premium Shore Excursions:
• See ports of call below for the options available to you. Click Here to learn more and to place reservations.

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

Itinerary

Vessel: American Queen



Day 1: Hotel Stay - Minneapolis, MN

Hotel Stay - Minneapolis, MN

Your journey begins with a deluxe hotel stay near Minneapolis. Tomorrow, you will board the vessel.

Day 2: Red Wing, MN

Departure 5:00 PM
Red Wing, MN

Explore nearby Minneapolis at your leisure or consider a Pre-Cruise Premium Shore Excursion with afternoon transfer to the vessel.

Pre-Cruise: St. Paul City Tour

Today, discover the rich history of Minnesota’s bustling, energetic capital, St. Paul. Uncover some of the city’s many mysteries as you learn why the city has been divided into two cities, rather than one, why the state capital rooted its home here, and the reasons behind the names “Minneapolis” and “St. Paul.”

At Minnehaha Falls, breathe in the fresh air as the breeze blows a shimmering mist across your cheeks. Watch the fresh water pour off the slick sheets of rock at the top of the cliffs, powerfully funneling into the small body of water located below. At the Minneapolis Stone Arch Bridge admire the beauty of the architectural link that contrasts the metallic structures of the urbane city with the natural glimmer of the Mississippi waters. Watch as the Mississippi rapids channel towards Saint Anthony Falls downstream before visiting the restored Harriet Island Regional Park with its paddlewheel riverboats.

Watch the city unfold through the windows of the motorcoach as we pass some of the most historical treasures of the city including Fort Snelling, St. Paul Cathedral, the Minnesota State Capitol building, the new Guthrie Theater, and Historic Summit Avenue lined in pristine Victorian architecture.

Note: This tour includes an hour and a half lunch stop at West 7th Street where guests can enjoy lunch on their own at one of the many local St. Paul eateries.

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

Transportation
Included
Price
Call for pricing
Duration
6.5 hours
Tour Capacity
100 guests

Day 3: Red Wing, MN

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 up the river. Later in Red Wing’s history the economy began to flourish due to the thriving 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.

Pottery Museum of Red Wing
Explore one of the most important trades in the Red Wing, with history stretching back centuries. Learn about the importance of pottery in the city and see why so many people collect their particular pottery pieces! Pottery was a very historic industry in the city of Red Wing, dating back from 1877 to 1967. This museum opened in 2001 in the former Stoneware Company building, where crocks, jugs, churns, and other stoneware items were made between 1883 and 1930. The original building was 3000 square foot and could hold up to 1200 items. After the museum relocated across the street, they had access to 13,000 square feet which could hold much more. Many beautiful pieces of pottery were donated and displayed in the museum for their grand opening in 2014. View more than 6,000 unique pieces, all with different stories to tell.

Sheldon Theatre
The country's first city-owned theatre, which showcases the best in arts and entertainment from Minnesota's heartland and beyond. The theater began in the early 20th century after Theodore B. Sheldon loaned an impressive $83,000 in trust to the City of Red Wing, with the hope that they would develop something that the public could benefit positively. When the doors first opened in 1904, the interior showcased beautiful arches, plaster sculptures, decorative paintings, and extreme detail all across. Over the years, through many economic hardships, the theater was slowly stripped of its ornate furnishings and details. Today, the theater has been fully restored to its original elegance.

Bush & Main Street’s Shopping District
Stop for a snack or a souvenir, visit the Native-American Store, UFFDA shop, and more. A must-see at this stop is the St. James Hotel where Clara will greet guests to share a story that can’t be missed.

St. James Hotel
Guests will be greeted by the hotel’s historical “Clara” in the main lobby of the grand hotel. Clara will guide you through the hotel, painting a picture of the history and art within for all guests. Learn her role in the hotel and the impacts she left for years to come. (Tours offered at 1:00 PM, 2:00 PM, and 3:00 PM) The hotel opened on Thanksgiving Day in 1875 and drew many businessmen in that wished for first-class lodging in the wheat-trading center of the world. The four-story Italianate structure was filled with beautiful furnishings, Brussels carpets, English velvet carpets, steam heat, hot and cold running water, gas on every floor, and a state-of-the-art kitchen! Then, hear about the history of Clara Nelson, a waitress hired at the St. James 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 and claim her position within the hotel and its history.

Red Wing Visitor Center and Art Association
Exhibits local artwork and shops.

Red Wing Marine Museum
This incredibly interesting museum is located in a fully-restored 1883 Red Wing building. The original building was the home of Red Wing Waterworks and fed the Red Wing Fire Department a clean supply of water. After a disastrous fire swept through the Diamond and the Red Wing Flour Mills, the town reassessed the importance of the building. Eventually a grant was given for $80,400 to implement a new water system and gas supply company, leaving the building abandoned until 2011. Now, the building hosts the Marine Museum which showcases the history of engines and boats. Exhibits include Steamboats, Sea Wing, Tug Boats, Riverboat History, Barge Industry, Red Wing Yacht Club History, Thorobred Marine Engines, and much more!

On Eagle's Wings

Set out for the oldest city along the Upper Mississippi River, Wabasha, Minnesota, first winding through the streets of an iconic river town, Red Wing. Admire the rustic brick buildings, daunting bluffs opening up the Mississippi River, and quirky artwork that lines the streets along the way.

Notice the buildings along the road aging as we enter Wabasha, overflowing with history and culture. Prepare yourself for an unforgettable “nose to beak” experience as we arrive at the National Eagle Center. Spend the day discovering the US national symbol of freedom – the American bald eagle! Get up close and personal to these regal creatures unlike ever before as trained professionals supervise a room full of golden eagles.

Watch in awe as birds with wingspans reaching close to 8 feet soar through the sky, swooping gracefully through the wind currents. Follow the majestic creatures outside to learn why this area is known as America’s Eagle Destination, as you search the horizon for eagles in their natural setting atop the observation deck above the Mississippi River. The overlook is the perfect location for bird watching and when you finally catch sight of these incredible and powerful birds soaring over the currents of the Mighty Mississippi River, you will truly understand the meaning and beauty of the Freedom it proudly represents!

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

Transportation
Included
Price
Call for pricing
Duration
4 hours
Tour Capacity
75 guests

Day 4: La Crosse, WI

La Crosse, WI

La Crosse, named by explorer Zebulon Pike who saw a group of people playing a game with sticks that looked like a cross, is a popular destination for tourists. 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-1800's 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.

Dahl Auto Museum
View antique cars and learn about the Ford Motor Company and its five generations of history through their automotive journey since 1911. The Dahl Auto Museum celebrates the Dahl family's involvement as automotive dealers spanning over 100 years and 5 generations. It also features the history of the automobile through the eyes of 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 inception in 1911. To incorporate historic La Crosse, the museum also features a re-creation of the Starlite Drive-in Theatre.

Chapels of St. Rose
A beautiful historic Romanesque-style house of worship. It has been open since 1871. 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.

Hixon House
A beautiful look back in time at an authentic Victorian home. Built in 1859, this Italianate house features beautiful woodwork and lavish interior decoration. With approximately 90% of its original furnishings, the Hixon House is a unique historical home truly representative of its era. 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 1859 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 Aesthetic fashion style, accenting rooms with “Turkish Nooks.” It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Riverside Museum
Visit the Riverside Museum to enjoy exhibits that explore the chronological history of La Crosse. 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 to a large collection of birds and fresh water clams. A video of the history of La Crosse is shown and artifacts of the steamboat “The War Eagle” are on display.

Riverside International Friendship Garden
A place of beauty that reflects an appreciation for the diverse cultures that share the earth. Here, you’ll find gardens to represent six different nations from around the world. 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 one of these sister cities. The town is currently sister cities with areas in Ireland, Russia, France, Norway, Germany, and China. The township has worked together to create the Riverside International Friendship Gardens in Riverside Park along the banks of the beautiful Mississippi River. (Located inside the same building as the Riverside Museum)

Winona Revealed: The Midwest's Best Kept Secret

Today, prepare to discover the Upper Mississippi River region from a rare, interactive perspective.

Discover a new aspect of the region with an intimate river experience on a narrated sightseeing tour onboard the Winona Tour Boat. Experience the Mississippi River, as the USCG-licensed captain covers river refuge history, aquatic life, and the river’s local environmental impacts, making sure to point out native wildlife, including eagles in their natural habitat! We will also discover the history of Winona, and the importance of the Mississippi River throughout its history.

Soak in the beauty of the river from a closer perspective. Appreciate the simplicity of nature within the Mississippi River and along the river banks, a refreshing contrast to the hustle and bustle of everyday life. After our captain navigates us back to shore, we will make our way back to the vessel. 

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

Transportation
Included
Price
Call for pricing
Duration
2.5 hours
Tour Capacity
50 guests

Day 5: Dubuque, IA

Dubuque, IA

Dubuque is Iowa’s oldest city and is among the oldest settlements west of the Mississippi River. The first permanent settler of the area was French-Canadian fur trader Julien Dubuque who arrived in 1785. Dubuque’s location to the Mississippi and its abundant land and resources, attracted large numbers of immigrants, particularly Irish and Germans, from overcrowded cities on the east coast. Dubuque is filled with historic sites, architectural Historic Districts with well-preserved buildings and homes, history and art museums, the great Mississippi River, and a revitalized main street that invites guests with Dubuque’s claim-to-fame as an “All-American City.”

St. Luke’s United Methodist Church
Bask in the beauty of light filtered through 101 Tiffany stained glass windows, all of which are original pieces created by Louis Comfort Tiffany (from New York City). They have been fully restored to allow for intense, vibrant colors. 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 woodwork. The church is most noted for its large collection of Tiffany stained glass windows, which has 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 chauffeurs guests through the expansive church explaining some of the most interesting facts.

Dubuque Museum of Art
Discover the third largest collections of Grant Wood art in Iowa. Its permanent collection concentrates on 20th century American art with an emphasis on American Regionalism. Their priority is to collect works by Regionalist artists and artists connected to the Tri-states region. The permanent collection is composed of more than 2,100 works, primarily paintings and works on paper. The Dubuque Museum of Art is Iowa’s oldest cultural institution, established in 1874. The Museum strives to present current, quality art in a beautiful and inspiring environment. Artist such as Iowa Regionalist Grant Wood and a complete collection of Edward S. Curtis’ The North American Indian, are on display in this facility. Its permanent collection is composed of over 2200 works, primarily paintings and works on paper.

The Fenelon Place Elevator
Enjoy a view of the Mississippi River and downtown Dubuque on the Fenelon Place Elevator, also known as the Forth Street Elevator. The funicular railway is claimed to be the shortest and steepest railroad in the world. 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 a wealthy local banker and the former state senator. Where you will see a view of the historic Dubuque business district, the river and three states.

Hotel Julien Dubuque
Experience this remarkable boutique hotel, offering the area's most elegant accommodations and impeccable service. After a $30+ million complete renovation, the Hotel Julien Dubuque is now a true landmark of luxury and sophistication. The hotel's contemporary elegance and sumptuous comfort complement the grandeur of the historic Old Main District 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 170 years later, after a $33 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
This impressive opera house was built in 1889 for $65,000. At this time, it was the largest theater ever to be built in the city of Dubuque and over 2,600 live productions were performed at the theater. Dubuque's historic Grand Opera House is the oldest and grandest of more than 16 legitimate theaters which served the community prior to 1900. In 1889 W.L. Bradley, Jr. and other local businessmen invested $100,000 to create this iconic landmark of Dubuque culture. The architect Willoughby Edbrooke selected the Richardsonian Romanesque style and chose red sandstone and Dubuque brick for construction. The 1,100 seat auditorium included two balconies, eight 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 delight the viewers.

The Old Jail Museum & Dubuque County Courthouse
As a prime example of Egyptian Revival style, the Dubuque County Jail is one of three of its kind still standing today. It is famous for having once hosted Butch Cassidy, who was detained here for a mere four hours. The jail was built in 1857 and is a rare example of Egyptian revivalist architecture. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is also an official National Landmark. The Old Jail Museum exhibits some of the Dubuque County Historical Society's most unique and interesting artifacts. It's one-of-a-kind collection pieces include the Julien Dubuque family cradle, a passenger wagon from the Dubuque-based A. A. Cooper Wagon Works company dating back to the 1860s, the ACME Life Saving Device that saved 27 people from the 1946 Hotel Canfield fire, and a Civil War flag. The Old Jail also features a light and sound show, "The Hanging of Patrick O'Connor", which tells the story of how O'Connor was condemned and hanged for the murder just 20-yards from the jail.

Galena, Illinois Including the Home of General Ulysses S. Grant

Unwind as we travel to the beautiful town of Galena, nestled in the rolling hills of Northwest Illinois, enchanting visitors with incredible historic sites and attractions, wonderful specialty shops and unlimited dining options. As you lounge in the comfort of the motorcoach, gaze out on some of Galena’s hidden treasures as they fill the frames of your windows. Admire the pristine architecture of the historical Desoto House Hotel, a functioning hotel constructed in 1855 and named the “Largest Hotel in the West,” as we pass the Old Market House, discover Galena’s community life dating back to 1845, and stare in awe at the pristine 1857 Italianate architecture visible at Galena’s Belvedere Mansion. As our ride comes to a stop, look out the window to see another Italianate-styled brick house – the home of General Ulysses S. Grant! During the Civil War, Galena gave the Union Army nine generals including Ulysses S. Grant, who later became the 18th President of the United States. Admire this fully restored historical home in its authentic 1868 glory as you explore original Grant family furnishings and memorabilia!

The rest of your day in Galena is spent at your leisure. Take all the time needed exploring the remarkable exhibits that dig further into the stories of historical legend, Ulysses S. Grant at the U.S. Grant Museum. After you have seen everything that interests you, use the remaining time to take a short walk to Downtown Galena, a must-stop for shopping lovers. The shopping district offers some of the most quirky and unique boutiques and shops that you can explore, making sure to pick up a memento of your time in this historic town. Downtown Galena harbors many distinctive handcrafted souvenirs, cafés with their own spin on a “cup of joe,” and antique shops creating an atmosphere reminiscent of “Main Street USA.” You will not want to miss out on this exciting adventure through the streets of Galena!

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

Transportation
Included
Price
Call for pricing
Duration
4.5 hours
Tour Capacity
50 guests

Day 6: Bettendorf (Quad Cities), IA

Bettendorf (Quad Cities), IA

Bettendorf, Iowa, is the starting point of historic exploration where you will set off to uncover the intriguing evolution of five individual, yet unified, communities known as the Quad Cities. During the Civil War, the nearby river towns of Davenport, Iowa, Rock Island, Illinois. and Moline, Illinois, thoughtful planning and strong leaders helped them to flourish while other settlements began to fail. It was during this same time period that the three towns began to refer to themselves as the “Tri-Cities.” Today, despite the name “Quad Cities,” the area is comprised of five towns in total with the addition of East Moline, Illinois, and Bettendorf, Iowa. Enjoy the diverse culture of this “melting-pot” city and uncover the stories of Quad Cities’ past in the many museums, boutiques, and eateries!

Village of East Davenport
The Village of East Davenport invites you to discover our unique blend of history, shopping, confectioneries, galleries, pubs, dining, lodging, events & celebrations, along with our scenic parks that overlook the the mighty Mississippi River. Come for an unstructured day, strolling from place to place and discovering surprises among the many unique shops that make-up the Village of East Davenport, Iowa.

Isabel Bloom Studio
During your visit you’ll have behind-the-scenes access to every step in the making of each Isabel Bloom sculpture. Guests can browse the shop, learn how these renowned statues are created and view a video about the process every 20 minutes. Isabel Rose Scherer was raised in the city of Davenport and began her artistic lifestyle early. In the early 1930’s 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 this day 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 our 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
The Figge Art Museum is the premier art exhibition and education facility. With soaring glass walls reflecting the constantly changing sky, the museum’s expansive galleries and intimate rooms are home to some of the Midwest’s finest art collections. This gargantuan 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
Listen to the sounds of American roots music. Guests will have the exclusive opportunity to enjoy a remarkable show available only to our American Queen passengers (See show times on map). Founded in 2004, the River Music Experience began primarily as a museum celebrating roots 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.)

German-American Heritage Center
The German American Heritage Center is housed in the restored Germania Haus/Miller Hotel, which was originally used by many German immigrants during the 19th century and was built in 1862. The Center includes preserved documents and artifacts related to the role of German immigrants during the development of the Quad Cities. The Center features a museum, archives, and records repository. 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. Visitors enjoy an interactive experience as you 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
Dedicated to bringing people and plants together in fun and meaningful ways. Adjacent to the Mississippi River in downtown Rock Island, Illinois, the Quad City Botanical Center showcases many gardens and greenrooms, showing the beauty and art of gardening. This massive garden opened in 1998 as a public garden displaying hundreds of plants ranging from tropical varieties to regional zone five perennials. The center is open 360 days a year, offering guided tours of the gardens and ground, the greenhouse, and educational programs. Quad City Botanical Center is comprised of an indoor tropical atrium, a spacious banquet room, a seasonal G-Scale garden train exhibit, other thriving outdoor gardens, an educational greenhouse, a three-season event canopy, resource library, and gift shop.

The John Deere Experience

Discover a true American success story as you learn the legacy behind one of America’s Agricultural giants. We will begin the tour with a trip to the John Deere Harvester Work Factory. This experience will be a favorite for guests of all interests! Learn how John Deere has adapted to the agricultural and economical changes to remain a main producer in the industry. Gaze in awe at the gargantuan machinery as a guide explains each one’s purpose and its evolution while navigating through the factory in the comfort of a tram.

Conclude the day at the John Deere Pavilion where we will see both modern-day and concept machines displayed in their working environments, hear stories about owners and operators as they describe a typical workday and learn about how John Deere equipment has changed their work and helped shape the land. Explore the innovative and refreshing displays on how the industry is pushing for cleaner, more efficient machinery and production. The best part – guests actually have the chance to climb into the seats of the massive machinery and discover the changes and features of both old and new tractors on a hands-on experience unlike ever before! You will have the opportunity to feel the power of a John Deere in action as excavators crawl through simulators in this full sensory tour experience.

All guests must wear long pants and full shoes that cover both the toes and heel. Sandals and open toe shoes are not permitted.

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

Note: Please keep in mind that due to changes in the factory’s schedules, tours are subject to change which might result in cancellation.

Transportation
Included
Price
Call for pricing
Duration
4.5 hours
Tour Capacity
50 guests
Uncovering the Hidden Treasures of LeClaire, Iowa

Perfectly situated along the bend of the Mighty Mississippi River, the city of LeClaire is one of Iowa’s most beautiful hidden treasures. Begin with a journey through the charming streets of this river town and uncover the history and culture intertwined as our local expert sheds light on the most iconic buildings and attractions LeClaire has to offer.

Prepare to begin a fascinating day of exploration as we uncover one of LeClaire’s most prized possessions, the Lone Star Wooden Hull Steam-Powered Paddle Wheel, the very first licensed riverboat pilot on the Mississippi which has been dry docked and displayed directly in the center of a two-story museum for guests to explore from the inside out! Then, explore even more hidden treasures held within the Buffalo Bill Museum, featuring the life of local and nationwide frontiersmen, pilots, engineers, and musicians and their valuable contributions to the evolution of America!

If you have spare time, head across the street and explore LeClaire’s more than ideal downtown shopping district! Weave your way in and out of unique boutiques and shops offering anything from antiques or home décor to trendy clothing and eccentric souvenirs! Grab a quick bite at one of the many eateries before heading to our final destination!

Continue the adventure at the Antique Archeology Shop located just downtown, better known as the home base location for History Channel sensation, “American Pickers.” Browse the impressive selection of quirky and original merchandise and even make an offer!

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

Transportation
Included
Price
Call for pricing
Duration
3.75 hours
Tour Capacity
50 guests
The Man Behind the Title: The Life and Presidency of Herbert Hoover

In the fall of 1929, America was on the brink of a devastating economic disaster the likes of which have never been replicated to this day. Stock markets crashed, unemployment began to skyrocket and moral was steadily declining, The Great Depression was upon us. It was within this environment that the United States welcomed its 31st president, President Herbert Hoover, into an unrelenting period of hardship in this country’s history.

Born within the walls of a meager two-room home, Herbert Hoover was orphaned at the age of nine and lived his adolescence and early adulthood on uncertain terms. In the small town of West Branch, Iowa President Hoover’s humble beginnings sit, largely untouched as a testament to hard work and dedication in America.

Enjoy a narrated tour of the Herbert Hoover National Historic Site including Hoover’s birthplace and the remaining buildings from his time in West Branch including President and Mrs. Hoover’s grave site and the Presidential Library and Museum. After witnessing his quaint beginnings, step into the grand entryway of the Library and Museum built in his honor to discover the many aspects of the man behind the title. Enjoy a self-guided tour that weaves through his history, ideals, and highlights his great humanitarian efforts overseas. Sit and listen to stories of lives he touched from across the world and view historic footage of the day he was sworn into office.

The story of Herbert Hoover goes beyond his presidency. It’s a true American experience that tells how one man, through family, faith, education and hard work brought himself beyond his simple beginnings.

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

Transportation
Included
Price
Call for pricing
Duration
4.25 hours
Tour Capacity
50 guests

Day 7: Burlington, IA

Burlington, IA

Explored in 1673 by Pere Jacques Marquette and Louis Joliet, the land that is now Des Moines County changed hands from France to Spain, back to France and finally to the United States as part of the Louisiana Purchase. After Lt. Zebulon Pike’s expedition landed at what is now Crapo Park in 1805, it was part of several territories – Louisiana, Indiana, Missouri, and Michigan. In 1834, residents named the land “Burlington” after trader John Gray’s Vermont hometown. When Iowa was named a territory in 1838, Burlington remained the capital. Today, visitors enjoy the sights and attractions of the town as the hills and valleys, prairies, and the Mississippi River create the perfect scenic backdrop.

Des Moines County Heritage Center
This historical museum located in downtown Burlington features exhibits highlighting the agriculture, musical culture, military history, and economical growth of Des Moines County. Explore all nine galleries on this three-level museum and travel back in time. The Des Moines County Heritage Center Museum opened in 2009 in the former Burlington Public Library, which was built in 1898. There are nine galleries on three levels in the Museum, each one addressing a different aspect of county history. The 19th Century Gallery illustrates the growth of the small frontier territory into a lively and bustling city of the gaslight era. The 20th Century Gallery, on the upper level, displays changing exhibits that address the events and social changes of the 1900s. Military, agriculture, and music are all also showcased throughout the museum, as they are all very influential and important aspects of the county’s history.

Mosquito Park
Named for its size, this park provides a bluff-top look at the massive river. Mosquito Park is located on a bluff overlooking the Mississippi River just north of downtown and boasts one of the most beautiful views in the area.

Phelps House Museum
This three-generation house features furnishings dating from 1774. The mansion offers stunning and dramatic views as it is located at the top of Snake Alley. Explore century-old history with a guided tour of Burlington’s Phelps House. William Garrett, an early Burlington merchant, built a home at the top of the hill overlooking downtown Burlington and the river in 1851. As his family grew and his business became successful, Mr. Garrett enlarged and remodeled the house in 1870. Three generations of his family lived in this home through many tragedies and triumphs. The interior showcases the furnishings and belongings of the Garrett and Phelps families who lived here for more than 100 years. The ballroom on the third floor features Medical Memories, which highlights the years this home served as the first Presbyterian Hospital. Walk around this exclusive gallery to view the unique medical instruments, uniforms, and photos of the healthcare industry through history.

Snake Alley
This famous winding street received its name from Ripleys’ Believe It or Not in 1940 when Robert L. Ripley saw the limestone and blue clay street in person. The Alley, constructed in 1894 with intensions to link the downtown district to the shopping area on North Sixth Street, consists of five half curves and two-quarter curves with a 58 foot drop over a distance of 275 feet. If you’re feeling brave, take a walk down the “crookedest street in the world” and our motorcoaches will pick you up at the bottom of the alley to continue your tour.

Capitol Theatre
Tour this 1930 Art Deco Theater and learn of its rich history. The theater which was the center of the town for decades, went through many years of deterioration as the city struggled economically. Today, the theater stands proud in its former beauty, once again a popular location for visitors and residents to explore. The theater was a grand and beautiful asset to the city of Burlington throughout the century. Burlington, Iowa's 1937 Capitol movie theater sat for years in deterioration. Once the center of activity in a bustling downtown, the Capitol Theater shut its doors in 1977 and faced the wrecking ball within the next decade. Luckily, it was spared and fully restored to its opulent form. Today, films and live performances are still being offered here and visitors can admire the beauty of this historical piece of Burlington.

Port of Burlington Welcome Center
Tourism information about the area and the state of Iowa is available. The Burlington Welcome Center is located within a historic building on the Mississippi River, dedicated in 1928 as the Municipal Docks and features historic displays of the area and souvenirs in the Iowa Store. The Port of Burlington Welcome Center has vast amounts of information on this area as well as the rest of the state. A scenic plaza area on the east side of the Port showcases the Mississippi riverfront. An outdoor stage located at the south end of the building is the site of Burlington Steamboat Days American Music Festival, which attracts crowds in excess of 100,000 visitors every third week in June. Explore the unique gift shop to pick out the perfect souvenir of Burlington. The store offers a wide selection of one-of-a-kind trinkets, jewelry, and art pieces handcrafted by local artists!

Live Cabaret Show in the Bart Howard Room

Songwriter Bart Howard, a Burlington native, has been described as “elegant, urbane and smart in business matters.” “Lena Horne” included Howard's “Let Me Love You” in her repertoire. When Frank Sinatra turned 50, he asked Howard to write a song for him, and Howard composed “The Man in the Looking Glass,” which Sinatra included in his 1965 September of My Years album. “Fly Me to the Moon” became widely known to all generations when Neil Armstrong walked on the moon and NASA essentially adopted the song. Nearly all of the greats from Tony Bennett to Johnny Mathis have recorded his songs.

Bart Howard began his career at the age of 16 as a pianist for a touring dance band that toured with the specialty act, Daisy and Violet Hilton – conjoined twins. Shortly after this, Howard entered the US Army for four years. He returned to his passion in 1951, when he began playing regular gigs at Tony’s West Side Club in New York City, eventually becoming the M.C. and accompanist at the Blue Angel in Manhattan. His career took off, but Howard always managed to stay true to the music.

Howard was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1999 (for “Fly Me to the Moon” – the Towering Song Award, given to creators of a song that uniquely influenced the culture over the years) and at the end of his life saw his music regaining popularity. Today we can enjoy a live cabaret show of his music and other cabaret standards in the room named in his honor. This hour long show will take you back in time when Sinatra, Martin, Horn and others ruled the airwaves. Because of the intimacy of this room space is limited to 40 persons.

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

Transportation
Included
Price
Call for pricing
Duration
2 hours
Tour Capacity
50 guests

Day 8: 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.

Big River Train Town
Embark on a journey back in time when the steam coach stops at the Big River Train Town Model Train Museum. Here’s we will embrace the golden age of railroading. 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 railway’s past as you view some authentic memorabilia.

The Mark Twain Boyhood Home & Museum
Learn everything there is to know about this literary icon. The mission of the Mark Twain Home Foundation is to promote awareness and appreciation of the life and works of Mark Twain and to demonstrate the relevance of his stories and ideas to citizens of the world. This included tour visits eight buildings, six 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 and goes even further into the life of Clemens. Building 4: Huckleberry Finn House – The childhood home of the real Huck Finn, who goes by the name, Tom Blankenship. 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: Grant’s Drug Store – The location where the family lived briefly and where John Clemens died. (Display through window). Building 8: Museum Gallery – This lovely 2-story building features interactive exhibits, the Norman Rockwell Gallery, and treasured Clemens family artifacts. Live performances are played throughout the day at specific times. Tom & Huck Statue – Located at the foot of Cardiff Hill and offers a perfect location for a photo!

Trinity Episcopal Church
A stunning historical church in the heart of Hannibal featuring beautiful interior and exterior decorations and architecture. 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 an 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.

Hannibal History Museum
Hear the history of this historical town along the Mississippi. View artifacts, photos, and exhibits explaining how the city evolved to where it is today.

Ayers Pottery
Steve Ayers has been a professional potter for 30 years and has been making pottery in Hannibal for 20 of those years. Ayers Pottery is recognized nationwide for its beautiful form and intense color-rich glazes. Especially notable are his deep rich red colors that are difficult to attain. Steve makes pottery with the customer in mind, pottery that is both attractive and functional. Handles must feel comfortable, spouts must pour, pottery must be microwaveable, oven-safe, and fit in the dishwasher. All of Ayers Pottery is lead free and food safe. Take some time to browse the showroom then take home a piece of functional art hand made in Hannibal. (Admission Additional)

Cave Hollow Complex
Explore the wild imagination of iconic American writer, Mark Twain, through the caves that inspired the many stories of his childhood. (Admission Additional. Tour Takes 55 minutes to complete, bring a light jacket). Mark Twain Cave Complex hosts the first show cave in Missouri dating back to 1886. Explore the natural wonder, beauty and the history, fictional and non-fictional, offered in this remarkable landmark that has been listed as a Registered National Natural Landmark since 1972. Discover the inspiration Twain had as he ran through the caves as a young boy and enjoy samples of wine as you do it! (Admission Additional, located at the Cave Hollow Complex. Tour takes 55 minutes to complete, bring a light jacket)

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
Call for pricing
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
Call for pricing
Duration
2.75 hours
Tour Capacity
80 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
Call for pricing
Duration
4.5 hours
Tour Capacity
50 guests