River cruises continue to gain popularity on North American waterways, with paddlewheelers and steamboats taking passengers a step back in time.
American Queen Steamboat Company
The American Queen Steamboat Company, formerly the Great American Steamboat Company, is taking voyagers out on the famed American Queen paddlewheel steamboat, sailing down the Mississippi, Ohio and Tennessee rivers.
In 2013, travelers can choose from 30 departures from Memphis and New Orleans with a variety of themes celebrating different aspects of American culture—from Baseball Legends to Blues & Barbecue. The voyages will showcase Southern culture in particular such as its history, Civil War battlefields and Lower Mississippi’s plantations.
Trips range from four to 12 nights, and fares start at $1,095 pp. Every trip includes a 1-night stay at a deluxe hotel in the city of departure, shore tours on Steamcoaches in all ports, alcoholic beverages and soft drinks, and wine with dinner.
For more information, call (888) 749-5280 or visit americanqueensteamboatcompany.com.
Tauck, too, is getting in on the American Queen action with its new Life on the Mississippi itinerary. The 11-day trip is part of the American Journeys collection, a collaboration between Tauck and the award-winning filmmaker Ken Burns. In fact, Burns, along with his collaborator Dayton Duncan, helped craft the itinerary.
“Ken and Dayton have an amazingly broad knowledge of the Mississippi, its influence on American history and culture, and the people and places along its banks,” says Tauck CEO Dan Mahar in a press release. “With their insights and experience, we’ve been able to craft an itinerary for our guests that is truly unique.”
The journey starts with an overnight stay at The Peabody Memphis, and then takes off on a 7-night cruise down the Mississippi, ending with a 2-night stay at The Roosevelt New Orleans.
Tours will run northbound and southbound from February through June 2013 and in November and December, with Christmas and New Year’s Eve departures. Rates start at $4,790 pp dbl and include shore excursions, sightseeing, lectures by local experts, entertainment, complimentary wine and beer with onboard dinners, airport transfers, gratuities for ship and hotel staff, and most meals.
For more information, call (800) 468-2825 or visit tauck.com.
American Cruise Lines
American Cruise Lines is also taking passengers along the Mississippi, on an 8-day tour on its 150-guest paddlewheeler, Queen of the Mississippi.
Passengers will enjoy spacious staterooms with private balconies, dining with panoramic views of the river, and daily educational events and entertainment showcasing what life on the Mississippi was like. The company also acquired a 132-year old Nichol steam calliope that was previously on the Washington, a steamboat that was on the Mississippi and Ohio rivers from 1880 to 1938. Queen of the Mississippi will be playing sounds from the instrument as it goes along the river.
“The instrument perfectly suits our new paddlewheeler,” says Timothy Beebe, v.p. of American Cruise Lines, in a press release. “Blending both old and new, Queen of the Mississippi provides a truly authentic and nostalgic cruise experience, while offering the best and most comfortable accommodations ever available on the Mississippi River.”
Rates start at $3,995 for a dbl no balcony, and $5,945 single with private balcony. For more information, call (800) 814-6880 or visit americancruiselines.com.