Enjoy your complimentary stay at the pre-cruise hotel. The evening is yours to become acquainted with the city. For your convenience, our Hospitality Desk will be located in the hotel, and our friendly staff can assist with everything from general questions about your upcoming voyage to reserving premium experiences. Representatives from American Queen Voyages and our local port/city partner will be available to provide you with dining, entertainment and sightseeing options to maximize your time here.
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. As one of the most famous music destinations in the world, Memphis is a melodious port for American Queen Voyages guests to experience, including Beale Street Historic District, Blues Music Hall of Fame, Center for Southern Folklore, Graceland, Gibson Guitar Factory, Memphis Music Hall of Fame, Memphis Rock ‘n’ Soul Museum, St. Blues Guitar Workshop, Stax Museum of American Soul Music, Sun Studio and the W.C. Handy home and museum.
3Scenic River Cruising
Watch small river towns and lush landscapes slowly become lost in the horizon as sunlight plays upon the deck. Take hold of a literary classic, curl up on a plush chair in a cozy corner and relish in the moment of tranquility. Experience the fulfillment that river cruising offers.
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.
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.
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 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.
Nashville is the capital of Tennessee and is situated on the Cumberland River. The city was founded by James Robertson and a party of Wataugans in 1779, and was originally called Fort Nashborough, after the American Revolutionary War hero Francis Nash. Nashville quickly grew because of its prime location, accessibility as a river port, and its later status as a major railroad center. By 1860, when the first rumblings of secession were heard across the South, pre-war Nashville was a prosperous city. The city’s significance as a shipping port made it a desirable prize as a means of controlling important river and railroad transportation routes. In 1862, Nashville became the first state capital to fall to Union troops. Though the Civil War left it in dire economic straits, Nashville rebounded. Within a few years, the city had reclaimed its important shipping and trading position, and, also, a solid manufacturing base.
As your American Queen Voyages journey concludes, there are other opportunities for you to take in the town -- whether it's an optional premier post-cruise experience or a quick transfer to the airport for your final trip home -- your AQV team can pre-arrange everything for you.