1Hotel Stay in Memphis, TN
Enjoy a complimentary stay at the pre-cruise hotel. The evening is yours to become acquainted with the city. Cruise staff will be located in the hotel to help you with any questions or to help reserve premium experiences.
Welcome aboard the American Queen! Memphis’ history and heritage begins with the indigenous people who lived by the mighty Mississippi. Throughout the years it has been home to cotton tycoons and enslaved people, to musicians who sounded the first notes of songs that still echo around the world today, and to civil rights icons including Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Visitors embrace the diversity of this city that has been coined not only the home of the blues but also the birthplace of rock ‘n’ roll and its many music-themed attractions
3Scenic River Cruising
4New Madrid, MO
New Madrid is famous for being the site of a series of more than 1,000 earthquakes in 1811 and 1812, caused by the New Madrid Seismic Zone. During your visit to this port, explore the history of earthquakes in addition to Native American artifacts and Civil War artifacts. Located on the river in the former Kendall Saloon at the foot of Main Street, the New Madrid Historical Museum reflects the history of the town from the Mississippian period up through the early 20th century. The Native American culture known as The Mississippian rose in the Mississippi Valley around 700 AD and lasted until approximately 1400 AD. The primary site of the Mississippians was near present-day St. Louis. The main settlement in the New Madrid area has come to be known as the Lilburn Fortified Village Site. The Museum is fortunate to have hundreds of items from this period from pottery to jewelry to stone tools and points. The Great Quakes of 1811-12 are also well documented in the Museum’s collections as is the potential for future seismic activity. The Great New Madrid earthquakes began on December 16th, 1811. On that day three quakes estimated to have been anywhere from 6.5 to 7.7 in magnitude struck the region in a natural disaster that would impact a huge chunk of North America. Almost 2,000 earthquakes hit in a three-month period and caused upheaval that lasted for years. The New Madrid area still experiences regular shakes and is at risk for large quakes in the future.
5Cape Girardeau, MO
Nestled along the western banks of the mighty Mississippi River, you’ll find Cape Girardeau, Missouri – 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. As you stroll along the riverfront, pause for a moment... you’ll feel 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 Meriwether Lewis and William Clark, while on the journey of a lifetime as they set forth to explore the Louisiana Purchase on their Corps of Discovery. Cape Girardeau, which has shown hospitality to the likes of Twain, Lewis and Clark, and General Grant, greets today’s guests in the same vein. Whether pedaling along the bike lanes that strip along the city streets, hiking through a state park, walking across one of many covered bridges, shopping for antiques, visiting area wineries, viewing murals that stretch the entire length of the downtown area, or stepping back in time at any number of historic sites, the Show Me State does not disappoint. Peeking through the long-standing architecture and handsome panoramas are moments that will mature into golden memories. Take time to embrace legends, discover a simpler time and relive the wonders of the past.
Paducah’s significant American heritage can be traced to the city’s strategic location at the confluence of the Ohio and Tennessee rivers. Paducah, originally known as Pekin, was settled around 1815 in McCracken County. The community was inhabited by a mix of Native Americans and Europeans who lived harmoniously, trading goods and services. In 1827, William Clark, of Lewis and Clark fame, arrived in Pekin with a title deed to the land he now owned. The town was platted out and named in honor of the largest nation of Native Americans that ever roamed North America, the Padouca Indians. Lewis and Clark had made acquaintance with many of them on their trek west. Discover how Paducah played a pivotal role in American history from rivers to railroad transportation, the Civil War to civil rights. Museums and riverfront “Wall to Wall” murals by the Dafford Murals Team weave the story of Paducah’s past and guide viewers to experiences and landmarks throughout the town, where historical markers detail the significance and cultural heritage. In the hands of artists, modern Paducah was thrown into form. Fingertips muddied with passion and eased by the vision of river water glided along the surface to pull up the community and create the National Quilt Museum. Residents backstitch past into present, then bind appreciation for culture – ensuring that the seams of history will not soon come undone. The people of Paducah have taken great care to orchestrate every crevice of its community into a symphony of craft and color.
In 1805 a state-appointed commission purchased a 30-acre plot on the Cumberland River from Robert Nelson and established the county seat of Dover. By 1850 the Tennessee frontier town had blossomed into a large river trade center and the second largest steamboat port on the Cumberland. A resting dock meets American Queen Voyages guests in Dover, a town that reveals the value of serenity in river living, where peace and quiet are interrupted only by birdsong and cricket chirps. Adventure through Fort Donelson – Dover’s touchpoint during the Civil War – which has been resurrected into Fort Donelson National Battlefield Park, a nexus of history and natural riches. Fort Donelson was the site of a major Union victory. Here, hilltops harbor somber stories, country roads lose themselves in golden horizons and historic treasures are kept secret behind the tree lines. Union troops, who had occupied the town since the fall of Fort Donelson in 1862, set fire to Dover to prevent the town from falling into the hands of General Nathan Bedford Forrest; only four buildings survived the conflagration. Capture the romance of this little river town’s past and experience the everyday phenomenon of its future at Cross Creeks National Wildlife Refuge, an 8,862-acre habitat for waterfowl and aquatic plant life. Or venture to Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area, one of the largest blocks of undeveloped forest in the eastern U.S. with over 170,000 acres of forests, wetlands, and open lands on a peninsula between Kentucky and Barkley lakes in Western Kentucky and Tennessee.
8Nashville (Clarksville), TN
Clarksville is a modern, booming city with a charming small-town feel, located about 40 minutes northwest of Nashville. Clarksville is one of Tennessee’s oldest cities, founded in 1784 before Tennessee achieved statehood. The city prospered from river trade, especially tobacco, through the 19th century. The Customs House Museum, an ornate, Victorian building from 1898, offers local history and art exhibits, plus model trains. Northeast, surrounded by parkland, the vast Dunbar Cave complex dates back thousands of years. The McGregor Park Riverwalk follows the meandering, tree-lined Cumberland River. The river’s history is traced at the As the River Flows Museum. Fort Defiance, on a bluff 200 feet above the confluence of the Red and Cumberland Rivers, has been a hub of activity for more than two centuries. During the Civil War, the hilltop was chosen by Confederate troops as a site to defend the river approach to Clarksville. In 1862 the fort was captured by Union forces, renamed, and occupied for the remainder of the war. Today, a visitor will find Fort Defiance remarkably well preserved; the outer earthworks, powder magazine, and gun platforms are still discernible. From natural beauty and worldly cuisines to historic attractions, scenic rivers and trails, Clarksville was named 2019’s “Best Place to Live” by Money.com. The city’s historic sites preserve the ingenuity of the human spirit and deliver lasting memories. It is also a lively university city with an artsy vibe. Thanks to a trendy craft food and beverage scene, visitors can experience, taste, and savor its breweries, wineries, and distilleries.
9Disembark in Nashville (Clarksville), TN
Ask an agent about extending your stay with a hotel package, or booking a premium shore excursion for a musical city tour or a tour about Elvis!