St. Paul to New Orleans

Fares from $6,999
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Cruise Summary

AUTHENTIC AMERICA ON THE MIGHTY MISSISSIPPI - Experience the majesty of the mighty Mississippi aboard this entertaining and informative voyage. Storybook American towns and vibrant, bustling cities provide excitement between peaceful fields of gold, majestic panoramas, and high bluffs. Onboard, merriment and wonder abound, with music from special guests, such as a romantic concertina by Dustin and Courtney Cunningham, and blues by legendary Memphis artist Joyce Cobb and her band. Jeff Hutson performs a cabaret, and tribute artist George Buss brings President Abraham Lincoln to life. You can even suspend your disbelief with a mind-boggling performance by Danté, a New Orleans-based magician who mixes intriguing sleight of hand and comedy to make for a fantastic night of entertainment. There is no better way to see America than from the perspective of the river. After cruising amid the charms and gracious style of our elegant American Duchess, you will forever be changed.
 
Included Tours:
• See ports of call below for information on included tours.

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

Itinerary

Vessel: American Duchess™



Day 1: Hotel Stay - Minneapolis, MN

Hotel Stay - Minneapolis, MN

Enjoy your complimentary stay at The Westin in downtown Minneapolis. The evening is yours to get self-acquainted with the local attractions of Minneapolis. 

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

Day 2: St. Paul, MN

Departure 5:00 PM
St. Paul, MN

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 Minneapolis 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.

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
Provided
Duration
6.5 hours

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 on the river. Later in Red Wing’s history the economy began to flourish with the pottery industry, which became a main source of income between 1877 and 1967. Today, the city offers endless opportunities to travel back in time and learn about settlers and travelers that occupied the land before today, or to admire the craftsmanship and creativity of local artisans of both the present and the past.

Aliveo Military Museum
The Aliveo Military Museum has a significant collection of military artifacts such as edged weapons, flags, badges and much more! They have a vast collection that includes artifacts and relics from all major wars from the Revolutionary War to the current Middle-East Wars. They believe in education about our military history through preservation, protention and presentation of the military artifacts themselves.

Red Wing Marine Museum
The Red Wing Marine Museum is in one of the city’s historical venues along the river near boathouse village and depicts one of the oldest manufacturing industries-the boat and motor business. It sits very near the site of the original factory where Red Wing-made boats and motors were made and launched. e museum exhibits include more than 30 restored Red Wing orobred marine engines, outboard motors and a display of fishing tackle, photographs, documents and other river-related items. e significance of the building is such that in 1885, this limestone building was constructed as the Red Wing Waterworks. e plant used steam power to intake water from the Mississippi River, it went through a fourteen-inch cast iron intake pipe, wells and two filters before it was pumped into the street mains and a reservoir atop Sorin’s Bluff (Memorial Park). Seven miles of water mains then distributed water throughout the city. is building was placed on the National Register of Historic Places and received an Award of Merit from the Heritage Preservation Committee in 2014 for the work done to preserve this significantly historic asset in the city.

Pottery Museum of Red Wing
Nearly 6000 unique pieces of stoneware, art pottery, and dinnerware await you at the Pottery Museum of Red Wing. Spanning 90 years of production, from 1877-1967, these artifacts tell the dynamic and colorful story of this Mississippi River town. Using nature’s elements of earth, fire, and water, the pottery artisans created a local legacy known throughout the world. Come and view nearly 100 years of history and tradition, beautifully displayed for your enjoyment.

St. James Hotel
This beautiful and historic hotel opened on Thanksgiving Day in 1875, drawing in many businessmen who wished for first-class lodging in the wheat-trading center of the world. The St. James Hotel became an immediate sensation, cementing its name as the hub of activity in Red Wing nearly overnight. Located just a few steps from the Red Wing train depot and steam boating docks, St. James was booked to full capacity each night. Inside, wealthy travelers and businessmen alike marveled at the stunning four-story Italianate structure filled with elegant furnishings, Brussels carpets, English velvet carpets, steam heat, hot and cold running water, gas on every floor, and a state-of-the-art kitchen! Today, the hotel is owned by the Red Wing Shoe Company and continues to flaunt pristine elegance in each and every detail, just as it has for the past 140 years. While visiting, discover the history of Clara Nelson, St. James’ historical waitress hired in 1914. It wasn’t long after she was hired that she learned she had much more talent than even she knew, as she slowly began to gain control of the kitchen, claiming her position within the hotel and shaping its history with features and traditions that are still seen here today.

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
Provided
Duration
4 hours
Hidden Waters of the Mississippi: A Scenic Kayak Tour

On this exclusive scenic experience, take to the waters as we embark on an adventure along the winding waters, into the vibrant heart of the natural and rich ecosystem of the Mississippi River Valley. Nature will be at our fingertips as we glide by waving green banks, beneath the swooping wings of eagles, and atop sky blue waters in your personal kayak.

Our journey will begin as we push off the banks of the Ole Miss Marina Colvill Park into the smooth currents of the Mississippi River. Guided by a team of talented naturalists and expert kayak navigators, we will begin on a leisurely paddle tour through the hidden and scenic waters of the river. Enjoy narrations and insight about the surrounding landscapes and take in the views of the river from a fresh perspective.

Continue paddling in the shadows of the legendary and towering Barn Bluff, an impressive 400-foot cliff which has served as a visual reference for river explorers throughout history. We will then travel away from the main channel, along twisted and secretive waters, until the monumental views of Lake Pepin, the largest lake on the Mississippi River come into sight.

Amaze at the biodiversity of the region and take advantage of this exclusive opportunity to engage in conversation with nature experts about the river’s ecosystem and the native wildlife found grazing along the banks, hidden among the trees, and swimming beneath our kayaks. Life jackets, personal kayaks, and paddles will all be provided.

Please note: there is a maximum weight limit of 300 pounds.

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

Transportation
Provided
Duration
3 hours

Day 4: La Crosse, WI

La Crosse, WI

Named by explorer Zebulon Pike, who saw a group of people playing a game with sticks that looked like a cross, La Crosse is now a popular tourist stop. Filled with statues, architecture, and an exquisite view of the river, this river city is an artist’s dream. Like much of Wisconsin, La Crosse became heavily involved with the lumber industry in the mid-1800s until the decline of the forests throughout much of Wisconsin took its toll. But in the wake of the vanishing lumber era, La Crosse became a city renowned for its beer making, with around five breweries operating in La Crosse near the turn of the century. Today, make note of lingering pieces of history along the streets of the city, inside local breweries, and within the floorboards of historic homes and businesses.

Dahl Auto Museum
The Dahl Auto Museum celebrates the Dahl family’s involvement as automotive dealers spanning over 100 years and five generations. It also features the history of the automobile through the eyes of the Ford Motor Company, an extensive mascot collection and many beautifully restored classic automobiles from the turn of the century to present. Approximately 20 antique and classic cars are on display to highlight each decade from Dahl Automotive’s inception in 1911. To incorporate historic La Crosse, the museum also features a re-creation of the Starlite Drive-in eatre.

Chapels of St. Rose
The shape of this immense and beautiful chapel symbolizes attributes of God. The high ceilings represent a God who transcends the finite world while the shape of the nave, transepts and sanctuary form a cross, acknowledging an immanent God who has been with humankind even through suffering and death. At the entrance of the chapel, just above the door, a relief of Moses before the burning bush is showcased. Admire bronzed statues, symbolic paintings and sculptures, stained glass windows and mosaics.

Hixon House
This beautiful Victorian house is filled with nearly all of the original furnishings, making it stand out from many other historical homes. The construction of the home began in 1858 by lumber baron Gideon Hixon, who featured beautiful woodwork and ornate interior decoration. His wife, Ellen, is responsible for the decoration of the home, who chose the late Victorian/Edwardian style, accenting rooms with “Turkish Nooks.” It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Riverside Museum
Riverside Museum exhibits chronicle the history of La Crosse, concentrating on the Mississippi River and its importance to the area. Exhibits range from prehistoric artifacts and cave drawings to logging, rafting, and the Pearl Button Process. A large collection of artifacts from the steamboat “War Eagle” are on display and a PBS Video about La Crosse is shown.

Riverside International Friendship Garden
La Crosse enjoys thriving relationships with sister cities, business partners, students and people from around the world. To celebrate the success of these partnerships, and build a tribute to the culture and traditions, the township decided to create a garden filled with the flowers and decorations closely resembling a garden that could be found in each one of these sister cities. In the Chinese Gardens, principles of Feng Shui are showcased as rock, soil, water, architecture, and plants are harmoniously and meticulously to create a free flowing movement, just as they would be arranged in ancient China. In the French Garden, finely trimmed plants, granite statues, and elegant fountains are arranged in a formal and geometric pattern, recreating the sophistication and romance found in France. The German Garden is adorned with colorful hydrangea, roses, and fruit bearing shrubs, which set a vibrant contrast to the Rock Garden and pergola. Inside the Norwegian Garden, many waterfalls trickle past luscious rhubarb, strawberry, and blueberry plants creating an pleasantly aromatic environment. Conclude the day at the casual Russian Garden, with tree-filled groves, an elegant “Basedka” structure centerpiece, and beautiful sculpture focal points. Conclude the day at the casual Russian Garden, with tree-filled groves, an elegant “Basedka” structure centerpiece, and beautiful sculpture focal points.

Winona Revealed: The Midwest's Best Kept Secret

Including a narrated city tour, a ride on the Winona Tour Boat, and admission to Winona County History Center and Minnesota Marine Art Museum.

Begin the day at Winona County History Center, where exhibits will showcase an era where the bluffs were just being formed and the area was a booming lumber town. An impressive display of Native American artifacts, presidential memorabilia, and many more treasures are also waiting to be discovered here before we head to our next destination!

Then, discover a new aspect of the region with an intimate river experience aboard the Cal Fremling, our sleek, 1.4 million dollar, 60-foot boat named after the late Cal Fremling, a former Winona State University biology professor and river enthusiast. Experience the Mississippi River as our expert WSU tour guide covers river refuge history, aquatic life, and the river’s local environmental impacts, making sure to point out wildlife, vegetation, and scenery.

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
Provided
Duration
2.5 hours

Day 5: Dubuque, IA

Dubuque, IA

One of the few large cities in Iowa with hills, Dubuque is an extremely popular tourist destination, featuring unique architecture and desirable river location. From the America’s River Project in the Port of Dubuque that transformed the riverfront, to the revitalization of the historic Main Street, the ongoing evolution of the Historic Millwork District downtown, and the impressive and expansive westward growth, Dubuque remains a remarkable city along the Mississippi. Intelligent Community Forum named Dubuque as one of just five U.S. cities as a “Smart21 Community” in 2015 and the National Civic League has named Dubuque as a top All-American City three times in just six years! Guests will surely enjoy exploring this beautiful and unique city as they uncover the history and advancements held within.

St. Luke’s United Methodist Church
This beautiful Romanesque style church is characterized by thick walls, heavy columns and round arches for windows and doors. On foundations 32 inches thick, the walls are built of enduring Bedford limestone from Indiana. Each stone was cut by hand and if one looks carefully, imbedded fossils may be seen. Inside, the original organ from 1897 has been restored and is once again functioning, murals are displayed, and impressive wood-work. The church is most noted for its large collection of Tiffany stained glass windows, which have been called, “one of the five finest Religious Tiffany Collections in the world.” Explore the history and art of the church as an expert guide leads guests through the expansive church explaining some of the most interesting facts.

Dubuque Museum of Art
The Dubuque Museum of Art is the oldest cultural institution in the State of Iowa and was founded over 140 years ago as the Dubuque Art Association. Inside is a permanent collection of over 2,200 works concentrating on 20th-century American art with an emphasis on American Regionalism and artists connected to the Tri-State area. This includes works by Grant Wood, Arthur Geisert, and the complete collection of Edward S. Curtis’ The North American Indian, which is also part of a traveling exhibition program.

Old Courthouse Museum
Now a National Historic Landmark, construction for this colossal courthouse began in 1858 and was completed in just two years in 1860 for $100,000. It survived Union shelling, a direct hit from a tornado in 1953, and is now home to the largest collection of Vicksburg’s history. The Museum is filled with countless artifacts, including confederate flags, portraits, the trophy antlers won by steamboat Robert E. Lee in an 1870 race, an original Teddy Bear given by Theodore Roosevelt, and many more!

The Fenelon Place Elevator
The Fenelon Place Elevator is described as the world’s shortest, steepest scenic railway, 296 feet in length, elevating passengers 189 feet from Fourth Street to Fenelon Place. The railway was constructed in 1882 for the private use by a wealthy local banker and former state senator, J.K. Graves. See a view of the historic Dubuque business district, the river and three states.

Cable Car Square
Cable Car Square offers guests three blocks of boutiques and specialty shops. From the home and garden stores to apparel and accessories to a fair-trade retailer, this district has bit of everything to satisfy shoppers’ needs. Make sure to enjoy the coffee and sweet treats shops, as well as a store where you can sample homemade peanut butter!

Hotel Julien Dubuque
The original structure, four stories high, was called the Waples House and was named after its owner, Peter Waples, a wealthy Dubuque merchant. It was the first building visible to the travelers entering Dubuque from across the Mississippi. The Waples House was furnished extravagantly and was known far and wide for its gourmet cuisine. Now, over 100 years later, after a $33 plus million interior renovation and exterior restoration, Hotel Julien Dubuque has redefined elegance through the blending of its rich history with modern luxury and style.

Grand Opera House
Dubuque’s historic Grand Opera House is the oldest and grandest of more than 16 legitimate theaters that served the community prior to 1900. In 1889, W.L. Bradley, Jr. and other local businessmen invested $100,000 to create this iconic landmark. The architect, Willoughby Edbrooke, selected the Richardsonian Romanesque style and chose red sandstone and Dubuque brick for construction. The 1,100 seat auditorium included 2 balconies, 8 boxes and stalls, and a proscenium large enough to host major theatrical productions. Today, the theater is still used by the community and the productions continue to amaze guests.

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
Provided
Duration
4.5 hours

Day 6: Bettendorf, IA (Quad Cities)

Bettendorf, IA (Quad Cities)

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!

Isabel Bloom Studio
Isabel Rose Scherer was raised in the city of Davenport and began her artistic lifestyle early. In the early 1930s Isabel attended Grant Wood’s Stone City Art Colony where she learned how to carve limestone sculptures flawlessly. Her legacy lives on in the city of Davenport as her art pieces and influences are seen throughout the city, as well as her protégé, Donna Young, who works to help preserve Bloom’s legacy. During the one-hour-and-fifteen-minute guided tour, enjoy behind-the-scenes access to every step in the making of each Isabel Bloom sculpture. During the tour, discover how this company maintains the legacy of artist Isabel Bloom. Get a glimpse of some of her original art and photos and learn how her innovations still influence what we do today. As a remembrance of the tour, shop the gift shop where you can purchase exclusive sculptures available only to tour guests.

Figge Art Museum
This gigantic glass building on the banks of the Mississippi, designed by British architect David Chipperfield, is home to one of the Midwest’s finest art collections, and hosts world-class traveling exhibitions. Its studios, auditorium and spacious lobby are alive with art classes, lectures and special events that attract visitors of all ages. Tour the facility touching in nearly every style of art, spanning across the world, from classical to modern.

River Music Experience
Founded in 2004, the River Music Experience began primarily as a museum celebrating the roots of music and the Quad-Cities’ musical heritage. The program was so successful that the museum now hosts more live music and offers more opportunities for local musicians to perform. Explore the history of music in the Quad Cities and then stop in the Redstone Room to listen to live music as you snack on a delicious treat offered from the restaurant and bar inside. (Located half a block down West 2nd Street from the Figge Art Museum, then make a right onto Main Street). (Shows will run every hour beginning at 9:30 AM, will the exclusion of 12:30 PM, where no show will be running)

German-American Heritage Center
Founded on August 1, 1994 as a private, not-for-profit organization, the German American Heritage Center (GAHC) seeks to preserve the heritage of German speaking ancestors for present and future generations and to enrich the knowledge of the German immigrant experience. Today, the heritage center has evolved into a museum that includes a large permanent exhibit and two rotating special exhibits. Within the permanent exhibit, visitors enjoy an orientation theater, six education stations, and two restored hotel rooms. Guests enjoy an interactive experience as they learn about immigrants’ journey by sea, train and foot, to their final destination at the German American Heritage Center building, which was originally a very busy hotel for thousands of immigrants in the 1860s.

Quad City Botanicals Center
This museum’s mission is to show the federal government’s role in the Mississippi’s past as well as future efforts to maintain a healthy river. Guests can explore showcases of the history of Vicksburg and the region or exhibits about the 1927 flood and how it affected Vicksburg and the Mississippi River. Learn about the fish of the river up close in the museum’s 1,515-gallon aquarium or choose your own adventure on the river with the Mississippi Trail Interactive exhibit!

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
Provided
Duration
4.5 hours
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
Provided
Duration
3.75 hours

Day 7: Burlington, IA

Burlington, IA

Explored in 1673 by Pere Jaques 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
The 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.

Garrett-Phelps House Museum
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 Protestant Hospital. Walk around this exclusive gallery to view the unique medical instruments, uniforms, and photos of that time.

Burlington Capitol Theatre
A grand and beautiful asset to the city. Burlington, Iowa’s 1937 movie theater was 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
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 thousands of visitors every third week in June. Explore the unique gift shop, The Iowa Store, 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!

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.

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
Provided
Duration
2 hours

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 River. Hannibal offers more parks per citizens than most towns in the Midwest and was included in the famous “50 Miles of Art.” Today, the most popular draw of this quirky town is Hannibal’s very own Samuel Langhorne Clemens, recognized world-wide as Mark Twain. Many of the popular characters featured in Twain’s novels were based on people Clemens had known while growing up in Hannibal. Many of the characters and influences of this American icon are weaved into the streets, shops, restaurants, and museums of Hannibal waiting to be uncovered.

Big River Train Town
This Hannibal gem is packed with more toy trains than you have probably ever seen. Enjoy authentic replicas as they move swiftly along the tracks or learn the history of the models and the trains they are made after. As you walk around, relive your childhood and learn the stories of the railways’ past as you view some authentic memorabilia.

The Mark Twain Boyhood Home & Museum
This included tour visits seven buildings, five of which are listed on the National Register of Historic Places and two that are highly interactive museums showcasing fifteen original Norman Rockwell paintings! Learn about the Hannibal of Samuel Clemens’s childhood and explore the stories created through the powerful imagination of American icon, Mark Twain. Building 1: Interpretive Center – Here, explore interactive exhibits highlighting the stories and life of Samuel Clemens. Building 2: Mark Twain’s Boyhood Home & Garden – See the home where Clemens was raised, and where the adventures of Tom Sawyer took place, along with the home’s lovely gardens. Building 3: Boyhood Home Gift Shop – The original museum, which was built in 1937, now houses a gift shop offering Twain’s books. Building 4: Huckleberry Finn House – The childhood home of Tom Blankenship, the model for Huck Finn. Building 5: Becky Thatcher House – The home of Laura Hawkins, the inspiration for Becky. Building 6: J.M. Clemens Justice of the Peace Office – The location where Sam’s father held court. Building 7: Mark Twain Museum Gallery – This lovely two-story building features interactive exhibits, the Norman Rockwell Gallery, and treasured Clemens family artifacts. Live performances occur throughout the day at specific times. Tom & Huck Statue – Located at the foot of Cardiff Hill and offering a perfect location for a photo!

Trinity Episcopal Church
For more than 150 years, the Sanctuary of Trinity Episcopal Church, designed by architect Joseph A. Miller, has stood the test of time. With an interior consisting of a deeply arched heavy wooden beamed ceiling, beautiful bronze lanterns and side wall lamps, an impressive pipe organ and 18 illustriously conceived stained glass windows, Trinity Church is truly a historic marvel. As you step into the church, you are immediately transported back into time and enveloped by Hannibal’s past. Early church members commissioned well-known artists to design the Sanctuary’s beautiful stained glass windows. With signature designs by Charles Booth, Emil Frei, Jr. and the Louis Comfort Tiffany Glass Company, these windows are truly remarkable in their diverse artistic style, thematic construction and conceptual execution.

Cave Hollow West Winery
A fun place to meet other people and relax while enjoying local wine, beer and light snacks such as cheese and crackers! 

Karlocks Kars and Pop Culture Museum
Take a self-guided tour through Hannibal’s newest attraction! There is over 10,000 Square feet of artifacts which allow you to relive historic, pop culture moments. This museum also features over a dozen vintage cars, arcade games, 100’s of signs & posters, movie props jukeboxes and so much more! 

Hannibal History Museum 
Through interactive exhibits, artifacts and historic photos, the Hannibal History Museum tells the story of Hannibal’s remarkable past with exhibits including the founding of Hannibal which showcases how the New Madrid Earthquake and the failed settlement of Marion City affected the fledgling river town of Hannibal. Other exhibits include Antebellum Hannibal, Hannibal’s Civil War,  the Lumber Barons, The 20th Century Industry, The Art of Architecture, the Prominent Hannibalians and so much more!

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
Provided
Duration
1.5 hours
Muddy River Radio's Live Rendition of "Adventures of Huckleberry Finn"

In the early 1900s, a groundbreaking invention changed household entertainment. Step back in time to an era before television, the internet and social media – the Golden Age of 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 theatre 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 into the heart of Hannibal, Missouri, hometown of American icon Mark Twain. Arrive at the Mark Twain Museum Gallery, where, surrounded by artifacts from Twain’s illustrious career, you will experience one of Twain’s novels brought to life by the talented actors of the Muddy River Radio Theater group. From moving monologues to sound effects, everything will be performed live, right in front of your eyes! See for yourself how live radio would have been recorded in the Golden Age of Radio and be swept away by one of Twain’s most beloved stories.

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!

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

Transportation
Provided
Duration
1.75 hours

Day 9: Alton, IL

Alton, IL

In its early days, Alton was a bustling river town, much larger than Chicago. Alton was built on industry - flour mills, quarries, brick making, pottery making - and relied on the Mississippi River. The “Steamboat Era” played an important role of the growth of Alton, and riverboat traffic can still be seen from the riverfront up and down the Mighty Mississippi River

Audubon Center at Riverlands
Guest can view an ever-changing variety of songbirds and waterfowl at The Audubon Center at Riverlands. This unique attraction connects people to the beauty and significance of the Mississippi River. View bald eagles and herons as you experience the magnificent views of the quiet waters of Ellis Bay.

Alton Visitor Center
Stop at the Visitor’s Center and Mercantile Shop to learn more about the area and pick up a unique souvenir. Uncover the history of this American city and gather information on the best places to visit during your stay. Guests can then cross the street and explore the boutiques and shops with their eclectic collections!.

Piasa Bird
The Piasa Bird is a local legend in the Alton area. Its founding’s go back to 1673 when Father Jacques Marquette, in recording his famous journey down the Mississippi River with Louis Joliet, described the “Piasa” as a birdlike monster painted high on the bluffs along the Mississippi River, where the city of Alton, Illinois now stands. View the Piasa Bird and learn the tail of this Native American Mystical creature that is painted along the cliffs of Alton.

Jacoby Arts Center
The Jacoby Arts Center is a beacon in downtown Alton, attracting community interest and art lovers from across the country. Housed in the renovated 1899 Jacoby furniture store on Broadway this three-story, 40,000-squarefoot brick building was donated to the Madison County Arts Council by C. J. Jacoby and Co., Inc. and opened as an art center in 2004. In this new facility you will find a sparkling art gallery, a dynamic educational facility, and an array of exquisite artisans’ crafts.

Broadway Stop
Hop-off at this Central Alton stop, where you will find an array of activities to explore at your leisure. Choose to spend your afternoon shopping at the unique boutiques, treat yourself to a delicious lunch at one of the local eateries, or stroll along the street and admire the historic buildings and the stories they have to tell. As you make your way through town, discover why Alton is often referred to as one of the Most Haunted Towns in America.

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
Provided
Duration
3.75 hours

Day 10: St. Louis, MO

St. Louis, MO

St. Louis, Missouri, famously referred to as the “Gateway City,” is known for its diverse neighborhoods and the different cultures and traditions each one brings forth. The iconic city was founded in 1764 by French explorers who settled on the east side of the Mississippi, claiming the land as their fur trading post. In 1803, the city’s name began to spread as the beginning point for the famous Louis and Clark Expedition. The city is typically associated with its 630-foot stainless steel monument, the Gateway Arch, which stands proud on the banks of the Mississippi River to symbolize the westward expansion of the United States.

Driving Tour of St. Louis
Enjoy a narrated Driving tour of St. Louis that will include all the major sights including a stop to take a photo of the Gateway Arch!
 

The Lewis and Clark Gateway to the West St. Louis City Tour

Begin your day of historic exploration in the city known as “The Gateway to the West.” Renowned as an 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.

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.

Perched on the eastern edge of Forest Park and over a century old, the chic Central West End is full of charming sidewalk cafés, galleries, antique shops, restaurants, boutiques, and pubs. It’s a little European, a little New York, and totally St. Louis. Here, guests can stroll the tree-lined streets and enjoy lunch on their own at one of the area’s many eateries.

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.

At the Lewis & Clark 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.

Our final stop brings us 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.

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

Transportation
Provided
Duration
5.5 hours

Day 11: Chester, IL

Chester, IL

Known as the “Home of Popeye”, Chester, Illinois is a city rich in history and pop culture. Because creator and writer of Popeye, Elzie Crisler Segar, was born here, the famous characters starred in the show will be seen showcased frequently throughout the town. Stop at the Popeye Character Trail to view granite statues of the characters overlooking the Mississippi or check out America’s only Popeye museum and gift shop to take home a souvenir to remind you of your visit to Chester! Spend the day exploring the unique history as you walk through luxurious homes, historical buildings, and museums!

Cohen Memorial Home
The Cohen home is located on a beautiful historical site on Harrison Street overlooking the Mississippi River. Its unusual blue storm windows make it a very visible landmark for boats on the river and travelers approaching the Chester Bridge from Missouri. Built in 1855, it was the home of the William Cohen family who lived there until 1983. The upstairs’ bedrooms contain furnishings and collections from several families of Chester including the Cohen family.

The Spinach Can Collectibles and Museum
As the only Popeye collectibles store and museum in America, this small shop located in Downtown Chester will surely bring back memories of the past as you explore. Walk around the front to see original and rare collectables featuring Popeye, Olive Oyl, Wimpy, Bluto, Swee’Pee, Jeep, and much more. Pick out the perfect unique book, toy, video, postcard, poster, or other memorabilia for someone back home or to keep for yourself. Then head into the back to see some rare and highly sought after Popeye collectibles.

The Courthouse and Randolph County Museum
The museum houses permanent displays as well as some artifacts that are temporarily on loan, and it hosts shows and exhibits which showcase specific treasures from the heritage and the long history of Randolph County. In addition, the newly established archives room will enable the museum to properly preserve and store documents, photographs, and other non-displayed artifacts for generations to come. Explore the history of Randolph County through collections of paintings, articles, photos, and artifacts that depict their past.

Welcome Center
The Chester Welcome Center offers a lookout point which gives a fantastic vantage point to observe the majestic Mississippi River below. You won’t miss this building as a large statue of the iconic Popeye cast in bronze marks its location along the Chester streets. The Chester Welcome Center is located in Segar Park next to the Chester Bridge overlooking the Mississippi River. The new Welcome Center contains restrooms, an information center with displays and a large deck overlooking the Mississippi River and Missouri Bottoms. The bronze statue of Popeye the Sailor Man has been overlooking the Mississippi River in Segar Park for more than 30 years. This is the first of numerous Popeye & Friends Character Trail statues of Popeye characters placed in various areas in Chester.

Ste. Genevieve...Missouri's Oldest European Settlement

Step back in time and into the fascinating world of an authentic 18th-century French colony and witness the charming antiquity that has been historically preserved. As we set off, watch out the windows of the motorcoach and discover some of the hidden treasures the city of Chester has to offer. Hear about the city that was shaped by the imagination of one artist.

We will then make our way to the historic town of Ste. Genevieve, Missouri’s oldest European settlement. Amaze at some of the city’s most rustic structures featuring rare architectural styles lining the streets just waiting for their stories to be told, as you hear the history of this incredibly historic town with roots dating back to 1722.

A visit to the Welcome Center will help us to fill in the gaps of our Ste. Genevieve history knowledge in a friendly, interactive environment. Then, at Ste. Genevieve Church, built in the late 1890’s, tour this historic sanctuary lined with stunning stained glass windows and historic artifacts while enjoying a live organ concert performed by a local organist. Explore the Ste. Genevieve’s historic downtown Landmark District, where you are free to visit the shops and art galleries within the French-Creole style buildings that line the streets. Complete this historical tour at the Bolduc House Museum. Step into a different time as we experience the French Colony lifestyle prior to the Louisiana Purchase as period re-enactors perform 18th-century activities at this National Historic Landmark.

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

Transportation
Provided
Duration
4.5 hours
A Tale of Tears: The Story of Two Cultures' Painful, Yet Inspirational Migration to a New Beginning

Embark on a journey through history and discover the roots of America’s melting pot on a full-immersion cultural expedition. Retrace the route taken by displaced Native Americans on the Trail of Tears, discover the German roots of a small Missouri town, and witness the history of Altenburg, MO on an American Duchess Exclusive Heritage tour.

Our first stop brings us to the Trail of Tears State Park in Jackson, Missouri. With 3,415 acres of pristine scenery, the Trail of Tears State Park blends beautiful countryside and untouched landscapes with one of the most devastating events of Native American history. The park memorializes the devastating effects of the relocation of the Cherokee Nation from east of the Mississippi River to present-day Oklahoma in 1838 and 1839. The tribe journeyed through the land on an agonizing trek that resulted in starvation, death, and heartache and was so dubbed the “Trail of Tears.” Explore the Visitor’s Center for an in-depth understanding of this American tragedy as a powerful documentary traces the events of this cultural banishment.

Almost simultaneously, another exodus was taking place in nearby Altenburg, Missouri. Known today as one of the largest intact German communities in the country, Altenburg has preserved their heritage in their new lands over 200 years later. Escaping religious oppression, the Lutherans of Germany made the journey up the Mississippi River from present-day New Orleans in search of a land they could call home. They found this new home in a small valley in Missouri. You will have the opportunity to take a historic driving tour of this small town including a stop at the Trinity Church with a pipe organ demonstration before heading off to lunch!

As with many cultures, the Germans share their heritage through their music and food. As an extra-special treat, local German-American cooks will prepare an unbelievably delicious authentic family-style lunch with all of the German delicacies! No German lunch would be complete without some local German-style beer and live music to complete the authentic cultural experience! To complete your day, you will arrive at the Lutheran Heritage Center and Museum founded in 1910. Explore the museum, which showcases the Lutheran’s immigration from Germany in 1838 and 1839, including the seven colonies established here in the area. Visit the “Big School” Gallery located in an original 1845 church, the Main Gallery, and the authentic 1839 Log Cabin, which served as the first Lutheran Missouri Synod Seminary, located on the premises.

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

Transportation
Provided
Duration
4 hours

Day 12: Cape Girardeau, MO

Cape Girardeau, MO

Nestled along the western banks of the mighty Mississippi River lays the city of Cape Girardeau, Missouri. It’s a community rich in history and heritage. For more than 250 years, people have been drawn to Cape Girardeau and the river on which it lies. Stroll along the riverfront, where the passion that led Mark Twain to write so eloquently about Cape Girardeau in Life on the Mississippi, the inspiration that Gen. Ulysses S. Grant used to lead with firm conviction as he took command of the Union Army in the historic downtown, and the warmth and hospitality that community founder Louis Lorimier extended to Lewis and Clark while on the journey of a lifetime as they set forth on their Corps of Discovery to explore the Louisiana Purchase will be prominent.

Mississippi River Tales Murals
The Mississippi River Tales Mural is the largest and most dramatic of Cape Girardeau’s murals and is located on a portion of the downtown floodwall. Covering nearly 18,000 square feet, this 1,100-foot-long mural features 24 historically-themed panels that vividly portray Cape Girardeau’s rich history and heritage; descriptive markers provide an explanation of each panel. The Missouri Wall of Fame Mural features 47 individuals who were born in Missouri or achieved fame while living in the state.

Red House Interpretive Center
The Center commemorates the life of community founder French-Canadian, Louis Lorimier, as well as the visit of Meriwether Lewis and William Clark in November, 1803. The Interpretive Center houses an early 1800s exhibit that reflects the lives of the early settlers of the old Cape Girardeau district. In addition, a rendering of Lorimier’s Trading Post displays authentic items that would have been sold at the turn of the 19th century. The gardens on the north side of the house show the types of garden you might have seen in 1803 with flowers, vegetables, cooking herbs, and medicinal herbs.

Old St. Vincent’s Church
The Renaissance architecture, referred to as English Gothic Revival style, is not only beautiful but also extremely rare, as very few churches of this style exist in America today. Explore the many artifacts preserved in the church as you admire the arches and woodwork lining the interior of the chapel. Discover this fully restored beauty as it transports you back in time.

Glenn House
Completed in 1883, the Glenn house is a fully restored historic museum in Cape Girardeau, Missouri. It is a prime example of the Victorian period lifestyle including the architecture, furnishings, clothing, and décor. The Glenn House was built for David A. Glenn, who was an influential figure in the city’s history. He and his family occupied the home until 1915. Before they vacated the home, it was renovated in 1900 to the Queen Anne Style. The house is listed on the National Register of Historical Places. Many of the furnishings and features of the home have been restored to their original beauty and have been kept authentic to the Victorian time interior.

Holland School of Visual and Performing Arts River Campus
Earl and Margie Holland School of Visual and Performing Arts is composed of departments covering the history and science of art, music, theater, and dance. Visit the beautiful campus and explore the unique styles and subjects taught here. Walk around and discover impressive pieces of art, in many different styles, showcasing the talent and hard work of local students.

Crisp Museum
The Crisp Museum collects in three thematic areas: archaeology, history, and fine art. The Archaeology collection has several collections of prehistoric Native American artifacts, which illustrate aspects of the daily and ceremonial lives of the indigenous peoples who lived in southeastern Missouri from 13,500 B.C. to 1400 A.D., highlighting some very rare and exotic artifacts. The museum’s historical collections cover a wide range of artifacts with strengths in the areas of militaria, firearms and their accessories, clothing, and hand tools.

Cape River Heritage Museum
Since its founding in 1981, the Cape River Heritage Museum has focused on local history while preserving a historic building at the corner of Frederick and Independence streets. Located in an old fire house, the museum offers events, tours, and exhibits on steamboats, education, commerce, the Missouri mule, the state flag, the Show-Me slogan, Native American culture, and fire and police memorabilia. Snap a picture of yourself in the model steamboat or in the cab of a tall-ladder fire truck from the 1950s!

A Tale of Tears: The Story of Two Cultures' Painful, Yet Inspirational Migration to a New Beginning

Embark on a journey through history and discover the roots of America’s melting pot on a full-immersion cultural expedition. Retrace the route taken by displaced Native Americans on the Trail of Tears, discover the German roots of a small Missouri town, and witness the history of Altenburg, MO on an American Duchess Exclusive Heritage tour.

Our first stop brings us to the Trail of Tears State Park in Jackson, Missouri. With 3,415 acres of pristine scenery, the Trail of Tears State Park blends beautiful countryside and untouched landscapes with one of the most devastating events of Native American history. The park memorializes the devastating effects of the relocation of the Cherokee Nation from east of the Mississippi River to present-day Oklahoma in 1838 and 1839. The tribe journeyed through the land on an agonizing trek that resulted in starvation, death, and heartache and was so dubbed the “Trail of Tears.” Explore the Visitor’s Center for an in-depth understanding of this American tragedy as a powerful documentary traces the events of this cultural banishment.

Almost simultaneously, another exodus was taking place in nearby Altenburg, Missouri. Known today as one of the largest intact German communities in the country, Altenburg has preserved their heritage in their new lands over 200 years later. Escaping religious oppression, the Lutherans of Germany made the journey up the Mississippi River from present-day New Orleans in search of a land they could call home. They found this new home in a small valley in Missouri. You will have the opportunity to take a historic driving tour of this small town including a stop at the Trinity Church with a pipe organ demonstration before heading off to lunch!

As with many cultures, the Germans share their heritage through their music and food. As an extra-special treat, local German-American cooks will prepare an unbelievably delicious authentic family-style lunch with all of the German delicacies! No German lunch would be complete without some local German-style beer and live music to complete the authentic cultural experience! To complete your day, you will arrive at the Lutheran Heritage Center and Museum founded in 1910. Explore the museum, which showcases the Lutheran’s immigration from Germany in 1838 and 1839, including the seven colonies established here in the area. Visit the “Big School” Gallery located in an original 1845 church, the Main Gallery, and the authentic 1839 Log Cabin, which served as the first Lutheran Missouri Synod Seminary, located on the premises.

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

Transportation
Provided
Duration
4 hours

Day 13: 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 14: 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, who promptly sold it to the United States in the Louisiana Purchase. The city is remembered as being the nearby location for the Mississippi River military engagement, the Battle of Island Number Ten, during the Civil War. The city is famous for being the site of a series of over 1,000 earthquakes in 1811 and 1812, caused by what is called the New Madrid Seismic Zone. Today, explore this quaint river town that will surely steal the hearts of all guests.

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 15: 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. 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 16: Memphis, TN

Memphis, TN

Memphis is a city built on melody from the jazz dives and blues clubs of Beale Street to the Memphis Rock 'N' Soul Museum, Gibson Guitar factory, Sun Studio and the famous Stax Museum of American Soul Music. In a city of contrasts, the tragic but uplifting stories of the National Civil Rights Museum are balanced by the frivolity of the twice-daily march of the ducks at the Peabody Hotel.

National Civil Rights Museum
Located at the Lorraine Motel, the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., chronicles key episodes of the American Civil and human rights efforts globally, through collections, exhibitions, and educational programs (Admission Additional)

Memphis Rock ‘N’ Soul Museum
See the complete story of Memphis music history, as researched by the Smithsonian Institution. This museum tells of the musical pioneers and legends of all racial and sodo-economical backgrounds who, for the love of music, overcame obstacles to create musical sound that changed the world.

Beale Street
Beale Street is a significant location in the city’s history as well as in the history of the blues. Step into the center for Southern Folklore, a non-profit organization that show cases and celebrates the culture- the foods, the music, the arts, the traditions, and the stories of the South.

Auto Zone Park & Peabody Hotel
AutoZone Park is home of the minor league baseball team, the Memphis Redbirds. The Peabody Hotel is a luxury hotel in Downtown Memphis. Well known for the famous “Peabody Ducks” the hotel rooftop, but make a daily trek at 11:00 AM to the hotel’s lobby in a “March of Ducks” celebration.

Memphis Music Hall of Fame
More than a century ago, music began pouring into Memphis, Tennessee. Musicians of all races and backgrounds came together and, for the love of music, created a sound that changed the cultural complexion of the world forever. America’s music exploded out of Memphis. Today, the Memphis Music Hall of Fame honors many of the greatest musicians of all time, who created this city’s musical legacy, and who shook our planet to the core!

The Elvis Experience

Includes an all-access pass to Graceland, a guided tour through Memphis and a walk on Beale Street!

Enhance Mississippi River journey with a special tour throughout the streets of Memphis and on to 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!

The journey continues 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 smoky barbeque wafting through the alleys.

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

Transportation
Provided
Duration
6.25 hours

Day 17: Helena, AR

Helena, AR

In the Valley of Crowley’s Ridge, sits the small town of Helena, Arkansas. Founded in 1833 as an industrious port city, Helena is now experiencing a rebirth with a blend of thriving entrepreneurship and Southern hospitality. Helena’s successful marriage of old world culture and urban revival can be attributed in part to the many young professionals that now call Helena home. In the 1940s and 1950s, blues music became extremely popular and Helena was the center of it all. King Biscuit Time is the longest running blues radio show in the entire country and it has served as an inspiration for many famous musicians. The show started in 1941 and was the only radio show in the entire country to feature African American musicians. The year it began, a group of African American blues musicians were given one hour on the radio on the condition that they sign a sponsor, which King Biscuit Flour agreed to do.

Helena Museum
The Helena Museum has its earliest beginnings in 1874 as part of a volunteer fire company. This company, named the Hook and Ladder, began lending books and newspapers to the public. After several incarnations, the library, the original component of the museum, began acquiring donations of historic artifacts, and in 1929 a new museum wing was completed to showcase the collection. The Helena Museum has the distinction of being the oldest purpose-built museum in the state of Arkansas, and features an impressive collection of Thomas Edison memorabilia, works by Mark Twain, Civil War artifacts, and Native American collections.

St. Mary’s Catholic Church
Built in 1934 and designed by architect Charles Eames, St. Mary’s Catholic Church has the distinction of being Eames first large commission. Charles Eames is widely known for his modern furniture designs and his work on St. Mary’s Catholic Church reflected a departure from traditional architectural design employed in church building. During the early 20th century, people were accustomed to Renaissance-style churches. This church however is a modern interpretation of medieval-esque design. The church is designed to resemble the world-half in light and half in dark. Admire the qualities about this church that make it stand out from the rest of its time. Notice features such as the large wall space contrasted with very little window space, dark ceilings showcasing the exposed beams, painted brick walls, and unique light fixtures that all contribute to a genuine medieval atmosphere.

Freedom Park
This beautiful park, the location of a Civil War camp of “contraband” (former slaves), encourages contemplation. Five interpretive stations explore the experiences of these Freedom Seekers who followed the Union Army into Helena in 1862. The many interpretive panels discuss the courage and hardships encountered by African Americans as they moved from fugitive slave, to freedom, and for some, enlistment in the Union Army. This park is the first site in Arkansas to be designated as a “Network to Freedom” site through the National Park Service Underground Railroad Program.

Fort Curtis
The original Fort Curtis was built soon after Union forces occupied Helena in 1862 and served in the Union defense during the Battle of Helena in July, 1863. This replica, named after the Union General in command - Samuel R. Curtis, allows visitors to experience an earthen fort, including the massive 24-pounder guns. Exhibit panels and costumed interpreters portray the story of the original fort, its unique construction, and role the fort played in Civil War era Helena.

Pillow-Thompson House
Built in 1896 by Jerome B. Pillow, the historic Pillow- Thompson House has been beautifully restored to offer visitors a look at one of the finest examples of Queen Anne Architecture in the South. The home features many original furnishings and showcases the quality and high degree of Victorian embellishments that were utilized in the construction of many finer homes in Helena during the Gilded Age.

Delta Cultural Center
Experience the history of Helena through two interactive museums the Visitor’s Center and the Depot. The Visitor’s Center, located just one block north of the Depot, features “Delta Sounds” music exhibit, a live radio studio, and the Museum Store. The Depot features the exhibit “A Heritage of Determination” which depicts the history of the Delta from its earliest inhabitants through settlement and subsequent Mississippi River Floods. Upstairs there is an exhibit called “Civil War in the Delta” which explains the Battle of Helena.

Mississippi Delta Gospel and the Birthplace of the Blues

Experience the Blues, un-filtered and un-refined, as we set off on the Blues Trail to the place where it all began. This experience begins with a visit to the Greater First Baptist Church, where a rousing gospel choir performance is sure to inspire. As we funnel into the warm and cozy church and into the rustic, wooden pews, listen as Reverend Hughes welcomes us to the heart of the Delta, where gospel was born. Renditions of the “Battle Hymn of the Republic,” “Amazing Grace,” and “Swing Low Sweet Chariot” will have you swaying back and forth and clapping along before making our way to Clarksdale, Mississippi – known as the “Birthplace of the Blues!”

Soak in this quintessential southern town on a narrated tour – explore all of the highlights landing it on the Blues Trail. Clarksdale is so passionate about its Blues roots that the buildings and sidewalks ooze that gritty feeling evoked by the music of the region. From the weathered store fronts, guarded by well-used furniture and covered in faded paint—this town is proudly displaying its culture. Then, experience the blues in its’ pure and raw excellence at the Delta Blues Museum, where exhibits captivate the history and heritage of the Blues made by legends such as Sam Cooke, Muddy Waters, and Tennessee Williams.

Just a short walk across the street will bring us to Ground Zero Blues Club. This iconic juke joint, owned by Golden Globe winning actor Morgan Freeman, accurately showcases the nuances of the Blues. This dimly lit musical haven truly captures the authenticity in every inch of the building. From the mismatched furniture, to the artwork and artifacts adorning the already too cluttered walls lit only by strings of lights hung from the exposed beams—feel completely cultural immersed. See, hear, and taste the culture that is the Blues. Grab a chair and belly up to the table as a sampling of traditionally Southern snacks are offered for your enjoyment. While delving into fried green tomatoes, fried pickles, fried green beans, and sweet potato fries, enjoy an exclusive live musical performance by a local Blues legend offering a unique cultural experience to complete your cultural experience of the birthplace of the Blues.

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

Transportation
Provided
Duration
4.75 hours

Day 18: Vicksburg, MS

Vicksburg, MS

Vicksburg perfectly blends Southern culture and heritage with exciting modern-day attractions. Described as the “Key to the South” by Abraham Lincoln, this southern town carries a history unlike any other Civil War city. Vicksburg was founded in 1811 and grew as a vital river port city. It was a major component to the Civil War and carries much of the history within the town. Today, Vicksburg is a popular spot for tourists to learn about the battles of the city, taste the cuisine, visit the many museums, and pick out the perfect souvenir.

Church of the Holy Trinity
This incredible church spans over 125 feet long, 52 feet wide, and reaches 61 feet high to the apex of the roof. The church was constructed in Romanesque Revival style, finished in red brick, though it showcases zigzag tracery, which was highly unique to the style at the time. The stained-glass windows may be the main draw – there are 26. They were given as memorials and six of them were created by Tiffany Studios in New York under the supervision of Louis Comfort Tiffany.

Anchuca Mansion
The word Anchuca derives from an Indian word meaning, “happy home”, which is the exact vibe this home gives off. Built in 1830 by politician J.W. Mauldin, Anchuca is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places. During the war, the house was used as a shelter for those who had suffered. Tour the home and its beautiful furnishings.

Old Court House Museum
Now a National Historic Landmark, construction for this colossal courthouse began in 1858 and was completed in just two years in 1860 for $100,000. It survived Union shelling, a direct hit from a tornado in 1953, and is now home to the largest collection of Vicksburg’s history. The museum is filled with countless artifacts, including confederate flags, portraits, the trophy antlers won by steamboat Robert E. Lee in an 1870 race, an original Teddy Bear given by Theodore Roosevelt, and many more!

Biedenharn Coca-Cola® Museum
At the Biedenharn Coca-Cola Museum, enjoy the wide variety of Coca-Cola memorabilia in an authentic candy store and soda fountain setting. This building is where Coca-Cola was bottled for the first time anywhere in the world in 1894.

Lower Mississippi River Museum
This museum’s mission is to show the federal government’s role in the Mississippi’s past as well as future efforts to maintain a healthy river. Guests can explore showcases of the history of Vicksburg and the region or exhibits about the 1927 flood and how it affected Vicksburg and the Mississippi River. Learn about the fish of the river up close in the museum’s 1,515-gallon aquarium or choose your own adventure on the river with the Mississippi Trail Interactive exhibit!

Old Depot Museum
This museum has a 250-sq ft diorama of the Vicksburg Battlefield. It also houses 250 ship models, model railroads with railroading artifacts, 150 model cars cover the development of the automobile, an architectural display with models depicting the different styles of architecture in Vicksburg, and more than 40 original paintings of war on the river and Civil War artifacts.

On the Front Lines of the Civil War

Travel the front lines of one the most important battlefields in the country. Cross into enemy territory, hear the stories and hardships suffered by soldiers and discover what makes Vicksburg such an important city in American history. Aptly described by President Lincoln as “the key to victory,” the Siege and Battle at Vicksburg is a landmark in time that shaped our country and how wars would forever be fought.

Set off for the historic Vicksburg National Military Park. Here, we will travel the 16-mile road that weaves through the 1,300 monuments and markers. As our luxury motorcoach navigates the bluffs and fields that once served as crucial battlegrounds, we’ll cross both Union and Confederate lines and make a few stops to allow for a close-up experience at some of the key points of interest along the way. Tour the USS Cairo and Museum, an Iron Clad River Boat that was raised from the depths of the Mississippi River and can be boarded and fully explored. Climb the steps at the Illinois State Monument, the largest of the 27 state monuments and walk the National Cemetery, a peaceful location holding the largest amount of Civil War burials in the country, as well as the Vicksburg Battlefield Visitor’s Center where an informative fiber-optic display depicts the progression of the siege.

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

Transportation
Provided
Duration
4.5 hours

Day 19: Natchez, MS

Natchez, MS

This charming river town was first inhabited by Natchez Indians and French explorers who shared the land. It was founded in 1716, making it the oldest city on the Mississippi. The city is known for its elegance, hospitality, and impressive preservation of history – found on every street corner throughout Natchez. Guests enjoy the unique shops, restaurants, museums, and historical homes located in Natchez, all of which contribute to Hugh Bayless’ book, “The 100 Best Towns in America.”

Rosalie Mansion
In 1716, the French built Fort Rosalie overlooking the Mississippi River. In 1823, a mansion was built by a wealthy cotton planter on land north of the fort. The Mississippi State Society Daughters of the American Revolution have since gained ownership and have been maintaining the house and grounds since 1938. On this self-guided tour, discover the history of the house and the artifacts found throughout. Period-dressed docents can be found throughout the home to answer questions and to provide more information! Guests can explore the extensive gardens, gift shop, library, and carriage as well.

Natchez Visitor’s Center
Enjoy a short, 20-minute video in the Visitor’s Center Theater and hear about the history of Natchez. Then, explore the building at your leisure. At the entrance, a scaled display model of the city is showcased. Stop in the office for some general information and questions about the town and its history, including town highlights and points of interest.

William Johnson House Museum
William Johnson was known as the “Barber of Natchez”; he began as a slave and gained his freedom at age eleven. After his freedom, he began to work his way up in society, eventually becoming almost fully accepted within society. As the town barber, William Johnson was able to hear the stories and gossip of many of the residents, which he documented in his diary for over 16 years. His 3-story brick home was built in 1840 and showcases many original furnishings.

Magnolia Hall
This Greek Revival Mansion was built in 1858. The house was built before the breakout of the Civil War in town but did suffer some damage – a cannon ball was launched into their kitchen! It is now fully restored – the main floor offers a showcase of many antiques and furnishings and the upper floors offer a costume collection located in the Historic Clothing Museum. Tour the house and then stop in the gift shop for some souvenirs.

Stanton Hall
Irish Immigrant and cotton merchant Frederick Stanton built this Palatial Greek Revival mansion in 1857. It was appraised at $83,000 during that period, even before it was furnished. Take a 30-minute tour of the house – which takes up the entire block and is fully furnished. Afterwards you can stop for lunch in the Carriage House Restaurant, known for their fine southern cuisine.

King’s Tavern and Charboneau Distillery
Step off the motorcoach and walk through the front gate leading to the second floor porch of this 1789 building – the oldest structure in the city of Natchez. Join us for an exclusive tour of the King’s Tavern – a newly opened restaurant and bar, owned by Regina Charboneau, a nationally known chef, and her husband Doug. Enjoy an exclusive tour of the distillery, followed by a guided tour of the bar, located just next door, with a complimentary custom drink.

Natchez Association for the Preservation of Afro-American Culture Museum
Here, learn the history and culture of the African Americans over time. The museum will delve into the 300-year-old African American history, spanning four lifetimes from Colonial and Cotton Kingdom Natchez, to the Reconstruction and the Civil Rights Movements. As you explore this creative portrayal of the true African American story, you will unfold history to reveal Natchez in a light that is shown nowhere else around.

The Story of Cotton in the Antebellum South

Cross the river to Louisiana and visit historic Frogmore Plantation, designated a “Must See Site” by Rand McNally. Frogmore is the only historic & modern, 1800-acre working cotton plantation in the South. Take a seat on an original pew in an 1800s African American plantation church, as the mistress of Frogmore takes the audience back in time. Music fills the air as the “secret songs” are performed by local musicians. Enjoy the gospel songs and hear the narration about life on a cotton plantation.

Continue the experience exploring authentic slave cabins and cotton fields. Take a walk up to the fields and feel free to pick some cotton for a glimpse of the essence of life on a plantation. We encourage all to explore the historic steam engine cotton gin which the Smithsonian Institute states is the rarest of its kind in existence. After a complimentary beverage in the “Sharecropper Plantation Store,” contrast historical methods. On your return to Natchez, your guide will enlighten you with unusual cotton trivia and answer questions.

A visit to Longwood will complete the “Story of Cotton,” with a glimpse into the devastation caused by war and a changing America. This historic antebellum octagonal mansion is the largest of its shape in America. Also known as “Nutt’s Folly,” this unique mansion remains beautifully unfinished and stands symbolically in representation of the last burst of Southern opulence. A reminder of a time before war brought the cotton baron’s dominance to an end. After surviving decades of neglect and abandonment, Longwood stands strong today and is a can’t miss stop when visiting Natchez.

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

Transportation
Provided
Duration
4 hours
Inside Regina's Kitchen with Celebrity Chef Regina Charboneau

During our visit to Natchez, Mississippi, we will be welcomed into Twin Oaks, a beautiful, southern-style mansion and the personal home of award-winning chef Regina Charboneau. Regina is the author of numerous well-received cookbooks, and is recognized in the culinary world as the personification of southern hospitality. (In fact, she is often complimented for this by none other than Andrew Zimmern.) Regina never ceases to look forward to opening her front door to a limited number of American Queen Steamboat Company guests for intimate culinary experiences around her own dining room table.

Built in 1832, the historic Twin Oaks is a relic of the Antebellum Age of the South. Upon arrival, you'll get a taste of true, down-home hospitality as you're served up delicious southern libations to get nice and cozy before Chef Regina gives a tour of her home, all the while weaving in personal stories of her family and frequent visitors --friends, business colleagues, and celebrities who simply can't get enough of her cooking.

Regina's claim to fame is her much-coveted recipe for picture-perfect, buttery, flaky biscuits. She will share her secrets with you during this very intimate experience. If her southern-style biscuits weren't already enticing enough, Regina serves them on top of her homemade, creamy chicken pot pie. Her ability to take a seemingly simple, traditional dish and elevate it with such finesse never fails to amaze her guests. Not one to be content simply playing the hostess, Regina then invites you into her personal kitchen to get hands-on. You will work with your own dough right alongside her, following this expert's step-by-step instructions to recreate her mouthwatering masterpiece. But it's not all comfort food; you'll get a glimpse into some of Chef Regina's other dishes while at Twin Oaks.

You've never experienced a true southern experience until you spend some time here in Regina's kitchen. There is something about the relaxed atmosphere of Twin Oaks that makes cooking these dishes for yourself, with your own two hands, all the sweeter. Soon, you'll be ready to sample these incredible recipes straight from the oven, fresh, warm, and crispy! Our group of new friends will share some drinks, some pot pie, some laughs --and perhaps even a few surprises --around Regina's dining room table. Not only will you learn Chef Charboneau's inside secrets, but you won't leave her house empty-handed. Regina provides an American Queen Steamboat Company exclusive custom CDs loaded with your new recipes and even a few extras.

Chef Regina Charboneau was born and raised in Natchez, Mississippi. Her culinary success followed the talented chef from Mississippi, to San Francisco, where Regina birthed the idea of “Biscuits & Blues,” which became wildly successful and featured the flavors of her hometown. The nightclub has won multiple WC Handy awards for the Best Blues Club in America. Regina didn't stop there - in 2001, she returned home, where she purchased the historic Twin Oaks Mansion, where she currently resides and continues making strides in the industry. Whether Regina was collaborating as Chef De Cuisine and Culinary Director, sharing her knowledge in her cookbooks, managing and creating menus for her restaurants - including her newest - King's Tavern, or dabbling in the art of rum production with her family at Charboneau Rum Distillery, Regina is sure to bring a piece of the South to the table!

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

Transportation
Provided
Duration
2.5 hours

Day 20: Baton Rouge, LA

Baton Rouge, LA

Baton Rouge, the Capital of Louisiana, has a deep culture and rich history. Named by French explorer, Sieur D’Iberville after a reddish pole marking two separate tribal hunting grounds, Baton Rouge has transformed into a rich cultural city. Locals speak a specific version of French in their everyday language. The city is home to Louisiana’s capitol building which is the largest in the United States, as well as the Old State Capitol – a Gothic architectural monument located on the bluffs overlooking the Mighty Mississippi. Spend the day exploring all that Baton Rouge has to offer, from the museums and the architecture, to the shops and the cuisine – everyone will enjoy an exciting, busy day!

USS Kidd DD-61
Known as the “Pirate of the Pacific,” she is the centerpiece of a memorial which serves to honor men and women of our American armed forces. Just a short walk from the American Queen’s dock, guests can explore a Fletcher-Class Destroyer that fought in many battles in U.S. history. Named after Admiral Isaac C. Kidd, who died on the bridge of his flagship during Pearl Harbor, the USS Kidd has received 8 battle stars for WWII service and 4 battle stars for Korean War service. This 2,050 ton, 376 foot-long vessel has since been converted into a museum, with exhibits of extensive collections of war artifacts, ship models, memorial hall, real fighter planes and bombers, and memorials.

Capitol Park Museum
Here you can step onto a simulated Mardi Gras float, discover the difference between Cajun and Creole, and experience multimedia presentations of Louisiana history, industry, and culture. This impressive museum showcases collections of visual arts, jazz, costumes, textiles, and artifacts from Louisiana history. It was founded in 1906 and holds over 450,000 artifacts and works of arts. Permanent exhibits include: “Living with Hurricanes: Katrina and Beyond,” “Experiencing Louisiana: Discovering the Soul of America,” and “Grounds for Greatness: Louisiana”.

Louisiana’s State Capitol
The tallest capitol building in the nation was constructed during the Depression. Get a birds-eye view of the city and mighty Mississippi River from the 27th floor observation deck. This prime example of Art Deco Architecture was extremely popular in the 1930’s and stands 450 feet tall. The building holds 34 floors making it the tallest state capital in the United States. Guests can admire the uniquely constructed rooms throughout the building or take a ride up to the 34th floor to the observation deck where an impressive panoramic view of the city can be found.

LSU Museum Of Art
Located inside the Shaw Center for the Arts, the LSU Museum of Art seeks to enrich and inspire through collections, exhibitions, conservation, and education. Founded in 1959, the Louisiana State University Museum of Art has been fully accredited by the AAM and offers over 14 impressive galleries. Admire showcases from American, European, British, Chinese, and African influences and over 5,000 art pieces. Learn about the history of art and the influences it has on modern art styles and explore the extensive collection of original paintings, sculptures, photography, and more!

Louisiana’s Old State Capitol
A Gothic architectural monument located on the bluffs overlooking the Mighty Mississippi. This incredible building has withstood war, fire, scandal, and abandonment. It is now referred to as the Museum of Political History and has received awards for the architecture, exhibits, and preservation. Learn the history of Louisiana’s capital city, art, culture, and politics while you explore the original artifacts and interactive exhibits!

Day 21: St. Francisville, LA

St. Francisville, LA

Established in 1809, St. Francisville is the oldest town in the Florida Parishes. Below where St. Francisville is located currently, was a settlement called Bayou Sara in the 1790’s. When this settlement was destroyed by flooding and fires, many of the structures and artifacts were hauled up the bluff into St. Francisville where they are still standing. The town is referred to as “two miles long and two yards wide,” but that definitely doesn’t mean they have nothing to offer! Stop in at one of the unique shops, historical homes, beautiful churches, or breathtaking parks and you will agree. Spanish moss trees grow throughout the town, which creates a beautiful southern comfort to the atmosphere.

Royal Street
Take a stroll down Royal Street at any of the shops or just to admire the beautiful trees and homes. Or stop into Grandmother’s Buttons – a unique boutique that offers jewelry made out of 100 year old buttons. Inside the store, you can visit the button museum to learn the history of the business and the inspirations of the art. The store is located inside of a former historic bank lobby with 16-foot ceilings and a bank vault, even if jewelry is not in your plans – the architecture is beautiful!

West Feliciana Historical Society Museum
This museum is dedicated to the history, people, and architectures of West Feliciana Parish. Inside a former hardware store, built in 1896, the Historical Society Museum displays many artifacts, photos, costumes, and articles all portraying the history of St. Francisville. Just across the street, you can stop in one of the fine boutiques and shops!

Grace Episcopal Church
Built in 1860 and rebuilt in 1893 after the Union caused heavy damage in 1863, Grace Episcopal Church stands tall in St. Francisville. Enjoy a self-guided tour of the church and the grounds and make sure to check out the organ located inside – it dates all the way back to 1860! The church is one of the state’s oldest Protestant churches that still stand today.

Plantations of the Back Roads: St. Francisville

Today’s experience goes beyond the expectations of a “traditional” southern plantation and offers guided tours of two plantations with a more personal touch. Experience two southern plantations that have deep ancestral ties. Pay close attention to each home during the guided tour – see if the family portrait displayed in both plantations can be found!

We will begin at Rosedown Plantation, one of the most intact documented examples of a domestic plantation complex in the South. It embodies the lifestyle of the antebellum South’s wealthiest planters in a way very few other surviving properties can. The plantation’s landscape is a laboratory for the study and interpretation of the cultural traditions of slavery, the life style of the gentry, and long-standing scientific experiments in agriculture and horticulture. Rosedown was established in the 1830s by Daniel and Martha Barrow Turnbull, and remained in the hands of their descendants until the 1950s. Explore the elaborate home and sprawling gardens and visit the gift shop to search for souvenir reminders of your day exploring the “Plantations of the Back Roads.”

Then, travel to nearby Catalpa, a charming private home that has remained in the same family since the early 1800’s. Owner Mary Thompson, a descendant of the estate’s original family, is a gracious hostess who delights in sharing her grand home, its history and its connection with Rosedown Plantation. In every room of Catalpa, evidence of the family’s rich history lives on. The home is filled with furniture original to Catalpa in addition to china, crystal, silver and portraits that were once at Rosedown Plantation. At the conclusion of your visit, Mary invites all of her guests for a traditional southern farewell on the front porch with a complimentary glass of Sherry.

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

Transportation
Provided
Duration
4 hours

Day 22: Nottoway Plantation, LA

Nottoway Plantation, LA

Nottoway is the South’s largest, most glorious remaining Antebellum mansion with a rich history dating back to 1859. In a fabulous location along the great River Road overlooking the grand Mississippi River, this “White Castle” of the South transports visitors back to an era of glory and grandeur. Set amongst a natural backdrop of vibrant gardens and two hundred-year-old oak trees, Nottoway Plantation captivates all with a brilliant blend of  true Southern hospitality, history and mystery.

Enjoy an included tour of Nottoway Plantation, the South’s largest remaining antebellum mansion. This stunning historical plantation lies between Baton Rouge and New Orleans and offers a view of a truly grand plantation. The mansion flaunts three-floors, 64-bedrooms, and displays an incredible 22 white square columns which contribute to its’ nickname—“The White Castle of Louisiana.” The most popular room among guests is the White Ballroom, which is painted entirely in white and displays elaborate gold décor throughout. Rooms are trimmed in custom plaster frieze made from Spanish moss, clay, plaster, and mud and are all original to the house. And as if that weren’t enough, this immaculate mansion was constructed with 365 openings—one for each day of the year. Enjoy a guided walking tour of an American Castle as we explore within the pristine walls of Nottoway followed by a stroll through the lush grounds and gardens.

Life in the Bayou Cajun Swamp Tour: Nottoway

Today we explore a true Cajun Experience in the back bayous and swamps of Louisiana. Just down the historical River Road that beautiful Nottoway Plantation resides on, lays an oasis. Flanked by cypress and lush greens, Manchac Swamp offers a glimpse into what settlers of this area found upon arrival to southern Louisiana.

Travel through plantation country as our local guide enlightens us on the affluent southern Louisiana lifestyle during the era when sugar cane was king. After our 45-minute narrated tour of the river, we will arrive in La Place, Louisiana; home to the 250-acre ecosphere called Manchac Swamp.

For the next hour and a half we will be guided through this ecological environment by our knowable Cajun Captain. Enjoy the picturesque sights of moss-draped cypress trees and lush, exotic vegetation cover the wetlands as our tour boat navigates the swamp.

Because our boats are exclusive to this river, the swamp critters have even learned to recognize them as part of their own habitat. At the beckon of the Captain’s call, they emerge from the draping mossy Cypress trees to greet us. This ecosphere harbors American alligators, nutria, ibis, turtle, herons, raccoons, egrets, and species unique to Southern Louisiana. Get up close and personal with baby alligators as they come aboard the boat.

*While Louisiana’s Manchac Swamp is uniquely beautiful year-round, it is possible that alligators and other native wildlife may not be as active throughout these colder months. Please take this into consideration while booking this tour on dates October through December, as well as, February through March.

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

Transportation
Provided
Duration
4.5 hours
Grand Southern Plantation Tour: Nottoway

Embark on a journey from the capital city through the fields of southern Louisiana towards some of the South’s most prestigious, picturesque and historical plantations. Begin the adventure as we weave through the streets of Baton Rouge on our way to one of the south’s most stunning pieces of history, the Houmas House.

As we come to a stop in front of the Houmas House, its beauty confirms exactly why it is known as, “The Crown Jewel of Louisiana’s River Road.” Beyond its stunning architecture and perfectly manicured gardens, the Houmas House also offers its guests an incredible opportunity to delve into a deep, rooted history. Uncover history of the home, beginning with the indigenous Houmas Indians, the first owners of the plantation, who were given a land grant to occupy the land. Our personal guide, dressed in authentic period clothing will continue escorting us through the home, tracing the history to the Louisiana Purchase in 1803, when the property was established as a sugar plantation. After exploring the home’s unique artwork, antique artifacts, and immaculate gardens and grounds, experience culinary traditions of the region in a southern-style buffet lunch followed by free time to explore the home one last time at your leisure or to visit the gift shop.

Then, we head south through the sugarcane fields that helped build Louisiana and visit Oak Alley Plantation. A powerful testimony to the rich history of the antebellum south, Oak Alley invites visitors to explore all facets of her plantation past. The Slavery at Oak Alley exhibit, Civil War exhibit and Big House offer an experience as compelling as the plantation’s 25 historic acres and 300 year old ally of oaks. Then, enjoy the unique and exquisite gift shop at your leisure as we await our luxury motorcoach to continue our plantation journey.

On their own, each location offers the lavish luxuries of true Southern wealth, featuring awe-inspiring mansions, lush gardens, and the quintessential Southern experience—but combined—this tour offers a tri-fecta of Southern opulence and prestige. Don’t miss this exclusive opportunity!

Transportation
Provided
Duration
6.5 hours

Day 23: New Orleans, LA

Arrival 8:00 AM
New Orleans, LA

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

Post-Cruise: New Orleans Highlights Tour

Embark on an adventure through a city radiating an eccentric and authentic atmosphere and filled to the brim with history and culture close to the heart of America. Explore the history of New Orleans including the first settlers, religion, culture and Mardi Gras. On an exclusive New Orleans narrated driving tour, you will experience the city from an intimate first-person perspective. Relax in the comfort of our motorcoach as we glide past some of the most iconic attractions in the city including the French Quarter, Jackson Square and the Garden District, where elegant mansions stand as a testament to Greek revival, Italianate and Queen Anne Victorian styles. Then, we will travel down St. Charles Avenue, along the famous street car line, where New Orleans’ most prestigious and beautiful colleges, Tulane University and Loyola University are located.

Continue the day in New Orleans’ breathtaking City Park, a 400-acre park located in uptown between St. Charles Avenue and the Mississippi River, built on the site of the 1884 World's Fair. Here, we will take a short break to relax and soak in the awe inspiring scenery of “The Big Easy,” as you are treated to a complimentary coffee and a New Orleans’ signature Morning Call beignet. No trip to New Orleans would be complete without a stop at St. Louis Cemetery # 3, known better as the “The City of the Dead,” which is where we will conclude our exclusive journey through the city of New Orleans!

Note: Our Experience ends at New Orleans International Airport at 12:30 PM or at the official Post-Cruise City Stay Hotel at 1:00 PM.

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

Transportation
Provided
Duration
4 hours