Daily bluegrass performances are a highlight on the new Bourbon and Bluegrass itinerary from American Queen Steamboat Company. // © 2014 American Queen Steamboat Company
In 2014, American Queen Steamboat Company will sail in the Pacific Northwest with American Empress, and American Cruise Lines has a series of newbuilds in the works. Additionally, these major players in U.S. river cruising are announcing new themes and deals.
Bourbon and Bluegrass
On American Queen Steamboat Company’s new Bourbon and Bluegrass itinerary, guests are invited to explore top local distilleries and enjoy spectacular Bluegrass music on a daily basis. Sailing between St. Louis and Cincinnati, the nine-day journey blends historic discovery, music and the Kentucky Bourbon Trial. Ports include Cape Girardeau, Mo.; Paducah, Henderson and Louisville, Ky.; and Madison, Ind.
Sailing on Aug. 29 and Sept. 5, Bourbon and Bluegrass voyages will feature distilleries from the makers of Jim Beam, Buffalo Trace and Heaven Hill. Famous bourbon makers will also be onboard to pair their finest creations with the exceptional cuisine shaped by celebrity chef Regina Charbonneau.
“Sipping bourbon and enjoying Bluegrass are two iconic American pastimes that go hand in hand,” said Ted Sykes, president and chief operating officer of American Queen. “Our guests will appreciate this authentic experience that brings the history and culture of the Ohio Valley region to life.”
The cruise includes:
- A pre-cruise hotel stay in St. Louis or Cincinnati (depending upon the departure)
- Onboard Bluegrass shows featuring Rhonda Vincent and the Rage and Storefront Congregation
- Lectures and tasting opportunities from Four Roses Bourbon, Buffalo Trace Distillery, Heaven Hill Distilleries and other Kentucky bourbons
- Distillery tours along the Kentucky Bourbon Trail, where 95 percent of all bourbon is made
- Premium touring opportunities to the Bluegrass Hall Of Fame and International Bluegrass Music Museum in Owensboro, Ky
Fares begin at $2,549 per person. Shore tours in all ports and complimentary wine and beer with dinner are also included.
Complimentary Shore Excursions
American Cruise Lines is packing in the value this year. The line will offer complimentary shore excursions on its 2014 Mississippi and Columbia & Snake River cruises on the Queen of the Mississippi and the Queen of the West. Shore excursions will take place at each port and are valued at more than $300 per person.
Complimentary tours on the Mississippi River include:
- Battle of Vicksburg Tour in Vicksburg, Miss. Guests will tour the Vicksburg National Military Park and discover the site of one of the Civil War’s legendary battles, the Siege of Vicksburg.
- Oak Alley Plantation Tour in Oak Alley, La. Guests will sip Mint Juleps as they enjoy an educational tour by guides in period clothing and a walk through the quarter mile canopy of 300-year-old oak trees.
- Mark Twain Boyhood Home & Museum in Hannibal, Mo. Guests will take a trolley tour of this historic town and discover the inspiration behind Mark Twain’s writing while reliving their favorite scenes from Twain’s stories.
Complimentary tours on Columbia and Snake River cruises include:
- Mount St. Helens Tour in Rainier, Wash. A scenic bus ride takes guests to the Mount St. Helens Johnston Ridge Observatory, which sits on a bluff overlooking the crater and offers views of Mount St. Helens' lava dome, pumice plain and landslide deposit.
- Columbia Gorge Discovery Center in The Dalles, Ore. Guests to this sprawling interactive museum will learn about local culture and history through a range of exhibits, including one that focuses on the volcanic upheaval and raging floods that created the gorge.
- Winery Tour in Richland, Wash.. Known as The Heart of Washington Wine Country, the Tri-Cities region houses more than 160 wineries within a 50-mile radius. Guests will sample award-winning wines on a narrated winery tour.