American Queen Cruise Review
Itinerary: Mississippi River - St. Louis to St. Paul - August 2014
What a wonderful trip we had, traversing the Mississippi River, from St. Louis MO to St. Paul MN, on the American Queen. We arrived in St. Louis and spent the afternoon at the Gateway Arch, riding to the top in the tiny cars of the elevator. There were actually 5 seats and you have to duck just to get in. You get to know your fellow travelers well when knees are touching in the middle. Fortunately the ride is only 4 minutes up and 3 minutes coming down. There is also a lovely museum and 2 movies to see. We chose the Lewis & Clark movie and it was very humbling to see what they went through trying to find a northern water passage across our country. Made me feel real guilty complaining about a middle seat on an airplane flight.
American Steamboat gives you a one night hotel stay before departure which takes all the worry out of whether or not your flight will arrive on time. The boat is drop dead gorgeous-see the Central Stairway picture. Everywhere we went we were followed by the company buses so we always traveled in style. The birthday cake below is one of many throughout St. Louis, celebrating their 250 year history. The one in our photo was taken at the Budweiser brewery, one stop on the pre cruise city tour.
I especially liked this route because we had 2 days of river cruising and the scenery was beautiful. Sky spent quite a bit of time spotting eagles and helping fellow passengers get a glimpse of these beautiful birds. Each cruise has a theme and ours was The Music of the Sixties. The entertainment was great and we even had a prom night with dancing. In spite of the pain in my knee I was in heaven dancing just like I did as a teenager (OK-not exactly like a teenager, but at least we are moving on the floor) There was just as much heavy breathing as there was back then but this time it was just to keep from passing out.
At each port, there was an included hop-on, hop-off bus provided with stops at several interesting sites. At two of the ports, we opted for the premium tour to see something beyond the community we were visiting. From Dubuque IA, I traveled to Dyersville IA to visit the Field of Dreams. While there I met one of the original “ghosts” who told us stories about the movie and the impact it still has, 25 years later. Taking one of my photos of the field, I saw a large glowing ball just in front of the cornfield-could it be I captured a ghost still haunting the field?? At the same time, Sky went to Galena, IL, to visit the home of Ulysses S Grant.
On this voyage, we visited Hannibal MO, home of Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain), Dubuque, IA, La Crosse WI, Red Wing MN and ended in St. Paul MN. Before heading to the airport, we took a city tour of the twin cities and learned about the local caves and gangsters, prohibition and murder-very intriguing. I think having the pre and post tours as an option is a huge plus for American Steamboat Company.
If you have ever considered a river cruise, this boat is a must. There are many different routes to choose from and each one is unique. In addition to the Mississippi, Ohio, Tennessee and Cumberland rivers with the American Queen, this company offers trips on the Columbia and Snake River in the OR/WA area on the American Empress. You must try this cruise line. You won’t be disappointed.