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Visit historic St. Louis

Minneapolis to St. Louis

Example 9 Day Cruise aboard American Countess
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Discover the region and river that inspired renowned American novelist Samuel Clemens, better known as Mark Twain. Sail north from Minneapolis on this 9-day voyage aboard American Countess along the gorgeous Mississippi River toward the city of St. Louis. Along the way, stop in port towns such as Hannibal, Missouri, Mark Twain's hometown; Dubuque, Iowa, one of the state's oldest cities; La Crosse, Wisconsin, a laid-back small town with an Irish and German immigrant culture; 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.
Cruise the Mississippi River on your small ship cruiseAmerican Countess1The upper Mississippi regionVisit historic St. Louis
Highlights
  • Explore the parks and museums of St. Louis, Missouri.
  • See Mark Twain's childhood home and inspiration in his hometown of 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
Involves minimal physical effort and is typically associated with leisurely activities. Activities are low-intensity or last less than a few hours each day.
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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 craftsmen. 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 include 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. 

INCLUDED SHORE EXCURSIONS:
Aliveo Military Museum
 
The Aliveo Military Museum has a significant collection of military artifacts such as edged weapons, flags, badges and much more! They have a vast collection that includes artifacts and relics from all major wars from the Revolutionary War to the current Middle-East Wars. They believe in education about our military history through preservation, protention and presentation of the military artifacts themselves.  

Red Wing Marine Museum 
The Red Wing Marine Museum is in one of the city’s historical venues along the river near boathouse village and depicts one of the oldest manufacturing industries-the boat and motor business. It sits very near the site of the original factory where Red Wing-made boats and motors were made and launched. The museum exhibits include more than 30 restored Red Wing orobred marine engines, outboard motors and a display of fishing tackle, photographs, documents and other river-related items.

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.

INCLUDED SHORE EXCURSIONS:
Aliveo Military Museum
 
The Aliveo Military Museum has a significant collection of military artifacts such as edged weapons, flags, badges and much more! They have a vast collection that includes artifacts and relics from all major wars from the Revolutionary War to the current Middle-East Wars. They believe in education about our military history through preservation, protention and presentation of the military artifacts themselves.  

Red Wing Marine Museum 
The Red Wing Marine Museum is in one of the city’s historical venues along the river near boathouse village and depicts one of the oldest manufacturing industries-the boat and motor business. It sits very near the site of the original factory where Red Wing-made boats and motors were made and launched. The museum exhibits include more than 30 restored Red Wing orobred marine engines, outboard motors and a display of fishing tackle, photographs, documents and other river-related items.

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 paddle wheeler 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 showcase 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. 

INCLUDED SHORE EXCURSIONS:
Dahl Auto Museum  

Take a stroll down memory lane and immerse yourself in the rich history of the most widely used mode of transportation, the automobile. The Dahl Auto Museum celebrates the Dahl family's involvement as automotive dealers, with a history spanning over 100 years and five generations. It also features the history of the automobile through the eyes of Ford Motor Company, an extensive mascot collection and many beautifully restored classic automobiles from the turn of the century to present.
Suggested Visit: 30 - 45 minutes       

Hixon House   
This beautiful Victorian house is filled with nearly all of the original furnishings, making it stand out from many other historical homes. With 90 percent original furnishings, this nearly hidden downtown gem offers a window into early La Crosse life and the Victorian era around the country. 
 

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. 

INCLUDED SHORE EXCURSIONS:
Historic Millwork District
  
This repurposed warehouse district is now home to niche retail stores, cafes, coffee shops, apartments, and offices. Offering authenticity and character, the Millwork District shows the importance of sustainable urban design strategies. At the start of the 20th century, the area was the innovative and entrepreneurial center of the region and was the backbone of the regional economy.
Suggested Visit: 15 - 30 minutes

Dubuque Museum of Art  
Founded in 1874, the Dubuque Museum of Art (DuMA) is among Iowa's oldest cultural institutions and a Smithsonian affiliate. The permanent collections and loans include more than 2,400 works reflecting the unique artistic and cultural heritage of our region, including one of the largest collections of works by internationally renowned Iowa artist Grant Wood.
Suggested Visit: 30 minutes - 1 hour

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. The 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 was developed 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. 

INCLUDED SHORE EXCURSIONS:
Isabel Bloom Studio & Demonstration  
 
Isabel Rose Scherer was raised in the city of Davenport and began her artistic lifestyle early. In the early 1930s Isabel attended Grant Wood's Stone City Art Colony where she learned how to carve limestone sculptures flawlessly. Her legacy lives on in the city of Davenport as her art pieces and influences are seen throughout the city, as well as her protégé, Donna Young, who works to help preserve Bloom's legacy. During the 45-minute guided tour, enjoy behind-the-scenes access to every step in the making of each Isabel Bloom sculpture. Get a glimpse of some of her original art and photos and then visit the gift shop where you can purchase exclusive sculptures available only to tour guests.
Suggested Visit: 45 minutes - 1 hour     

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.

INCLUDED SHORE EXCURSIONS:
Des Moines County Heritage Center 
  
The museum opened in 2009 in the former Burlington Public Library, which was built in 1898. There are nine galleries on three levels in the museum, each one addressing a different aspect of county history. The 19th Century Gallery illustrates the growth of the small frontier territory into a lively and bustling city of the gaslight era. The 20th Century Gallery on the upper level displays changing exhibits that address the events and social changes of the 1900s. Military, agriculture, and music are all also showcased throughout the museum, as they are all very influential and important aspects of the county's history.
Suggested Visit: 30 minutes - 1 hour

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 the 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. 

INCLUDED SHORE EXCURSIONS:
Big River Train Town 
 
This Hannibal gem is packed with more toy trains than you have probably ever seen. Enjoy authentic replicas as they move swiftly along the tracks or learn the history of the models and the trains they are made after. As you walk around, relive your childhood and learn the stories of the railways' past as you view some authentic memorabilia.    

Haunted House & Wax Museum  
This Wax museum features wax figures of Mark Twain and his characters which include real human hair and fingernails! There will be a guide there to tell you all the stories and talk about each one of the wax figures. Don't forget to stop by the haunted house or the gift shop for some unusual finds!

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 Countess

American Countess
American Countess Entertainment
American Countess Relaxation

Dates & Prices

My Preferred Start Date

Per person starting at
Rates are dynamic and fluctuate based on capacity. Contact us for a specific quote.
American Countess Inside stateroom
Select a Date
Inside Staterooms (E)
170 sq. ft. (wheelchair-accessible rooms are 220 sq. ft.). 43 cabins located on the Observation and Cabin Deck. Queen bed or two single beds, Full bathroom with shower, Writing desk with chair, Interior access.
American Countess Single outside
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Single Outside Stateroom With Open Veranda (SO)
180 sq. ft. 1 cabin located on the Observation Deck. With open veranda, Single bed, Full bathroom with shower, Furnished lounge area with sofa and desk, Sliding doors open to deck, Interior access.
American Countess Deluxe Outside
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Deluxe Outside Staterooms With Open Veranda (B)
220 sq. ft. with open veranda (wheelchair-accessible rooms are 300 sq. ft.). 44 cabins located on the Observation Deck. Queen bed or two single beds, Full bathroom with shower, Furnished lounge area with sofa and desk, Sliding doors open to deck, Interior access.
American Countess Veranda Suite
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Veranda Suites With Private Balcony (A)
255 sq. ft. with 40-sq.-ft. private veranda (wheelchair-accessible rooms are 325 sq. ft.). 35 cabins located on the Cabin Deck. Queen bed or two single beds, Full bathroom with shower, Furnished lounge area with sofa and desk, Sliding doors open to veranda, Interior access.

Notes

PLEASE NOTE: All fares, itineraries, special interest series, entertainment, shore excursions and other voyage attributes are subject to change without notice, and we reserve the right to not honor any published prices that we determine were erroneous due to printing, electronic or clerical error. 
Included
  • 8 Breakfasts, 6 Lunches, 7 Dinners
  • 8 Nights Accommodations
  • Accommodations as listed
  • Ground transportation as listed
  • Activities as listed
  • Meals as listed
  • Access to a 24-7 Emergency line while traveling
  • Unlimited Wifi
  • Gratuities to Onboard Crew
  • Port Taxes & Fees
  • Open Bars & Lounges throughout the vessel including a juice bar every morning
  • In-Room Dining
  • Bicycles & Hiking Sticks equipment if needed
  • Live, Daily Onboard Entertainment & Enrichment
  • Locally Sourced & regionally Inspired Cuisine from land and sea
  • Gourmet Selections of freshly prepared choices for breakfast, lunch and dinner
  • Unlimited Beverages including an extensive wine list, choice spirits, local craft beers and specialty coffees
  • Unlimited Guided Tours designed with your comfort in mind aboard private, deluxe motorcoaches
  • 1-night Pre-cruise Hotel Stay with free ground transfers between hotel and vessel
Excluded
  • Travel Insurance
  • Personal Expenses
  • Flight costs (please request a quote)
  • Fuel and transportation surcharges (when applicable)
  • 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.
  • Transfers to and from the airport

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Kate was great to work with in the planning stage. She was prompt, helpful, and efficient. Our tour guide, Edwin, was knowledgeable and passionate. We were very happy to have traveled with Adventure Life, it made the trip easy and a true pleasure. We could concentrate on enjoying the experience rather than the details of travel.
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