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Minneapolis to St. Louis

Example 9 Day Cruise aboard American Queen
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Discover the region and river that inspired famed American novelist Samuel Clemens, better known as Mark Twain. On this 9-day cruise onboard American Queen, sail north from St. Louis, Missouri, along the magnificent Mississippi River toward the city of Minneapolis. Along the way, visit port towns such as Hannibal, Missouri, Mark Twain's hometown; Dubuque, Iowa, one of the state's oldest cities; La Crosse, Wisconsin, a relaxed small town with a culture influenced by Irish and German immigrants; and Red Wing, Minnesota, where you can admire the work of local artisans and learn about the town's role in America's westward expansion.
St. Louis' iconic arch at nightCruise the Mississippi River on your small ship cruiseAmerican queen2
Highlights
  • Explore the parks and museums of St. Louis, Missouri.
  • Visit Mark Twain's childhood home and source of inspiration in Hannibal.
  • Relax in the laid-back lifestyle of La Crosse and its diverse influences.
  • Admire the work of local artists and craftspeople in Red Wing, Minnesota.
Places Visited
Activity Level: Relaxed
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Full Itinerary

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Day 1: Hotel Stay in Minneapolis

Enjoy your complimentary stay at the pre-cruise hotel. The evening is yours to become acquainted with the city. 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. Both American Queen Steamboat Company and local representatives will be readily available to provide you with dining, entertainment and sightseeing options to maximize your time here.

Day 2: Red Wing, MN | Embark

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Dinner
Red Wing was included on National Geographic Traveler’s list of the world’s most historic places. The port city offers endless opportunities to travel back in time and learn about settlers and pioneers who occupied the land or admire the craftsmanship and creativity of local artisans of both the present and the past.  The first settlers in town built small mills, factories, and workshops, similar to ones they were familiar with in New England where many came from. Immigrants from Germany, Ireland, and Sweden were also skilled craftsman. Some early and persistent industries are tanning and shoe-making. Other businessmen made farm equipment, bricks, barrels, boats, furniture, pottery, and buttons. Consumables included beer and lumber. Service industries including stone-cutting, hospitality, and retailing. The Saint James Hotel remains a working token of the earlier time. Red Wing also was the home of Gustavus Adolphus College, a private liberal arts college. It was founded in Red Wing but moved to East Union before settling in St. Peter. Red Wing was once home to Hamline University, founded in 1854 as the first institution of higher education in the state of Minnesota; it closed in 1869 due to low enrollment. The Red Wing stoneware and pottery industry developed in the northwest of the city. It used clay from the area of Hay Creek, near a hamlet named Claybank. A railroad branch line was built to carry the clay to Red Wing. The factory buildings remain, but only traces of the railroad, abandoned in 1937, are left. 

Day 3: Red Wing, MN

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
A walk through the city streets showcases an array of elegant hanging flower baskets from which shades of red, purple, orange and pink drape. Also home to the famous Red Wing Shoes, this is a place you’re going to love to explore.

Day 4: La Crosse, WI

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
La Crosse resides along the famous Great River Road National Scenic Byway, considered by some as the most scenic drive in America. This river town also has a long-standing romance with the steamboat era, and as our paddlewheeler kisses its port, guests are welcomed by its eye-catching vistas and expansive waterfront park. The La Crosse Region is a proud part of the Driftless Region, a part of the world with an ancient, distinct topography and unparalleled views. “Drift” refers to glacial drift; the rock and sediment deposited by a glacier as it moves over an area of land. During the last Ice Age, a small piece of the Upper Mississippi Region was miraculously left untouched by glacial erosion and deposits. The surrounding landscapes that once featured prominent bluffs were leveled to plains and rolling hills, yet no glaciers entered one small pocket; thus, the Driftless Region became the last remnant of the natural, rugged terrain that once spanned today’s Upper Midwest. Straddling the Mississippi, the Driftless Region of today encompasses more than 24,000 miles across Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Illinois. La Crosse County is one of the 18 Wisconsin counties within the realm of the Driftless. Within its depths, La Crosse harbors a vibrant community; the cultural exchange among it and its six sister cities showcases a deep appreciation for enrichment through diversity. Influences from far-off destinations such as Bantry, Ireland, and Bavaria, Germany, woven into the history and charm of this scenic port, will certainly stir a traveler’s soul. 

Day 5: Dubuque, IA

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Victorian meets bohemian in this ever-growing Mississippi River gem that’s sure to leave dazzling memories. In Dubuque you can check off your outdoor bucket list in the perfect nature getaway, and explore historic districts peppered with preserved history. Take a ride on the historic Fenelon Place Elevator, which is also the shortest, steepest, scenic railway, spanning 296 feet in length. Admire the 105 stained-glass Tiffany windows at St. Luke’s United Methodist Church, home to “one of the five finest religious Tiffany collections in the world.” See all the wildlife displays and hands-on exhibits at the National Mississippi River Museum. Cap your day in Dubuque with a tasting at one of the local vineyards or tasting rooms including Stone Cliff and Park Farm wineries. Be sure to take a little piece of Dubuque home with you with goodies from Betty Jane Candies, named the “Top Culinary Gift in Iowa” by People magazine. 

Day 6: Bettendorf, IA

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Situated in southeastern Iowa, Bettendorf is part of a large metro area called the “Quad Cities,” a collection of river vistas and metropolitan communities that meld Midwestern neighborliness with rich educational, cultural, and recreational opportunities. Comprised of the Mississippi riverfront towns of Bettendorf and Davenport in Iowa and Moline and Rock Island in Illinois, these distinctively different urban areas, without friction, blend into the melting pot that the region celebrates. Whimsical architecture complements the eccentric gardens of the Quad City Botanical Center in neighboring Rock Island. The first European-American settlers were predominantly German immigrants who worked as farmers, skilled laborers, and small business owners. They established a village called Lilienthal, after an early tavern and dance hall. An adjacent village of Gilbert developed alongside in 1858. The two villages eventually combined to become the town of Gilbert. Circa 1900, the town gave William and Joseph Bettendorf 70 acres of riverfront land on the condition that they move their iron wagon business from Davenport to Gilbert. In 1903, the town petitioned for incorporation, requesting to change the town’s name in honor of the brothers whose factory was a major economic influence in the early development of the city.  Today Bettendorf offers an array of recreational opportunities including three golf courses, numerous trails for biking, hiking, and walking, and Dek Hockey rinks. Dek Hockey, a variation of Ball Hockey, is played on foot with an orange ball in a boarded rink on a surface that protects players from common leg and foot injuries. 

Day 7: Burlington, IA

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Burlington is the center of a micropolitan area, which includes West Burlington and Middletown, Iowa, and Gulfport, Illinois. The site, originally called Shoquoquok, was settled as Flint Hills in 1833 and renamed a year later by a settler for his hometown of Burlington, VT. Iowa’s nickname, “The Hawkeye State,” has its roots in Burlington. At Judge David Rorer’s suggestion, publisher James G. Edwards changed The Iowa Patriot newspaper’s name to The Hawk-Eye and Iowa Patriot in tribute to his friend, Chief Black Hawk. Rorer is said to have found the name in James Fenimore Cooper’s The Last of the Mohicans, but Edwards proposed the nickname to “...rescue from oblivion a memento, at least of the name of the old chief.” Burlington was a bustling river port in the steamboat era and a central city to the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy railroads. The “Burlington Route” (1848-1970) merged into the Burlington Northern Railroad (1970-1996), which in turn merged into the BNSF Railway (1997-present). The Burlington name has been given to one of BNSF’s main east-west lines (the largest in the U.S.) – Ottumwa subdivision – which still crosses the Mississippi at Burlington.

Day 8: Hannibal, MO

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Located 100 miles north of St. Louis on the Mississippi River, Hannibal is one of Missouri’s and the region’s best tourism destinations. Hannibal could be described as ordinary, but the father of American literature would beg to differ. The town, with style and dignity, comes to life in the writings of Mark Twain. People, entities, and livelihoods of Hannibal’s past endure within the pages of “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” and “Life on the Mississippi,” and the town’s preservation efforts allow visitors to step right onto the page where Twain left off. Today, the river stretches north toward country that’s almost as wild and beautiful as it must have been then, and still enlivened by the coming and going of rivercraft. Hannibal attractions are sure to make your port call unforgettable. Explore the Mark Twain Cave written about in five of Twain’s books. This famous cave was also used by Jesse James as a hideout following his 1879 bank robbery in Saverton, Mo. His signature remains on the cave to this day. Or discover unique attractions like Karlock’s Kars & Pop Culture Museum, home to more than 10,000 square feet of artifacts that allow you to relive historic, pop culture moments. Among the remarkable exhibits are more than a dozen vintage cars. The cars include everything from fame-off restorations of beautiful classics to one-of-a-kind American muscle cars. Alternatively, take a walk in the woods at Sodalis Nature Preserve, a 185-acre park with a paved walking and biking loop and the opportunity for woodland hiking. 

Day 9: St. Louis, MO | Disembark

  • 1 Breakfast
As the journey concludes, there are other opportunities for you to take in the town. Enjoy the city at your leisure, or consider an airport transfer.

Ship/Hotel

American Queen

American queen2
American Queen1
American Queen Relaxation

Dates & Prices

My Preferred Start Date

Per person starting at
$2,499
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Category E
Surrounded by wonderful period details, accompanied by every modern convenience, these cozy havens will make your cares disappear. Ample shelving and storage spaces keep necessities out of the way yet easily accessible. Has 132 sq. ft..
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Category SI
These intimate cabins with ample storage space are slightly scaled down to accommodate the independent traveler, and feature a single bed. Has 80 sq. ft.
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Category D
An expansive bay window overlooking the scenery of America’s heartland is the main draw of this spacious category. Curl up in front of the window with a new novel, and savor a moment that belongs to only you. Has 190 sq. ft. with bay window.
American Queen
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Category C
Open your French doors, and enjoy the fresh air. Sit on the deck outside your stateroom, and take in the gently changing views of the landscape, or indulge in a leisurely morning in bed with room service Has 140-160 sq. ft. with open veranda.
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Category B
Can you imagine opening French doors to a sweeping river vista and the sweet scent of magnolia trees? Sit on the deck outside your stateroom and greet early-morning strollers, relax in bed with your favorite book or soak in a hot bath. Has 190-205 sq. ft. with open veranda.
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Category A
With a private veranda, these staterooms are so enjoyable that you might decide to extend your journey. Relax in a cozy armchair and enjoy the view as you anticipate the activities of the day. Has 190 sq. ft. with 40-sq.-ft. private veranda.
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Category SD
Greet the day in your cozy stateroom, relaxing before breakfast, or simply enjoy a leisurely morning in bed with room service. Has 140 sq. ft.
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Category JS
Settle into your sitting area, open the French doors to the deck, and greet the day as the banks of the river majestically slip by. Some staterooms in this category offer a view of the paddlewheel, while others provide expansive views of America’s heartland. Has 210 sq. ft. with open veranda.
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Category PS
These spacious retreats offer unmatched views, each with a 6-foot-square viewing window that overlooks the paddlewheel, for a truly authentic steam boating experience. Stateroom 383: 342 sq. ft. Staterooms 385 and 386: 302 sq. ft.
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Category DS
You will feel right at home on the river in our magnificent suites. Indulge in a soothing soak in your tub, then retire to your cozy armchair or sofa, prop your feet up on the ottoman and read through the River Times – our daily program – to discover the delights that await. Has 230 sq. ft. with open veranda.
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Category LS
Our spacious, elegant suites are furnished to provide the warm ambiance of a fine Southern estate. Open your French doors and delight in sweeping river views as you sip a beverage and share conversation in your cozy sitting area. These suites are the ideal choice for family and friends vacationing together. 353-363 sq. ft. with private or open veranda
American Queen
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Category OS
Open French doors and step out onto your veranda to unwind on your amply furnished patio. Adorned with 11- foot vaulted ceilings, overhead lighting and a cozy interior lounging area with a sofa-bed and cocktail tables, these expansive suites can accommodate up to three guests, and epitomize luxurious river cruising. 348 sq. ft. with 690-sq.-ft. exclusive veranda
Included
  • 8 Breakfasts, 6 Lunches, 7 Dinners
  • 8 Nights Accommodations
  • Accommodations as listed
  • Ground transportation as listed
  • Excursions and activities as listed
  • Meals as listed
  • Beverages
  • Unlimited Free Wifi
  • One Night Pre-Cruise Hotel
  • Open Bars and Lounges
  • All-Day In-Room Dining
  • Bicycles & Hiking Sticks equipment if needed
  • Live, Daily Onboard Entertainment & Enrichment
  • Unlimited Included Expedition Adventures by Zodiac or Kayak (For Expedition Cruises Only)
Excluded
  • Travel Insurance
  • Personal Expenses
  • Flight costs (please request a quote)
  • Fuel and transportation surcharges (when applicable)
  • Arrival & Departure Transfers
  • Port Fees
  • Optional Premium Shore Excursions - highly recommend booking these in advance. If interested, ask us for a detailed list of premium excursions for your cruise as these vary depending on your departure date.
  • Mandatory Gratuities

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The trip was terrific with great planning on your part. Most of the adventures were not mainstream and somewhat off the beaten path which made it especially enjoyable!! We felt taken care of and you all were readily available to respond to questions and issues. I would highly recommend your company and friends have already expressed interest based on our pictures and excitement.
Gale Cantor
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