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View the iconic arch when you visit St. Louis, gateway to the west

Illinois River: St. Louis to Ottawa

St. Louis - Ottawa - Example 9 Day Cruise aboard American Countess
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Join us on this 9-day tour to experience the best of the Illinois River aboard the American Countess. Explore the legacy of the American Midwest on this river cruise through the historic heartland from St. Louis to Ottawa. This tour takes you aboard a luxurious cruise ship that offers both excitement and relaxation to a number of lovely American port cities. Visit ports like Peoria, Illinois, the oldest European town in Illinois, or Hannibal, Missouri, the birthplace of renowned novelist Mark Twain, to explore the natural beauty and history. ​
Visit historic Chicago, IllinoisCruise the Mississippi River on your small ship cruiseAmerican Countess1Stroll through historic ChicagoVisit the striking Gateway ArchView the iconic arch when you visit St. Louis, gateway to the west
  • Discover Chicago, Illinois's arts, gastronomy, history, and more
  • Learn about the hometown of the legendary author Mark Twain
  • Visit Peoria, Illinois, the oldest European settlement in Illinois
  • Experience Alton, Illinois's natural beauty and small-town atmosphere
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.

Full Itinerary

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Day 1: Hotel Stay in St. Louis, Missouri

Enjoy your complimentary stay at the pre-cruise hotel. The evening is yours to become acquainted with the city. For your convenience, the Hospitality Desk will be located in the hotel, and the friendly staff can assist with everything from general questions about your upcoming voyage to reserving premium experiences. Representatives and the local port/city partner will be available to provide you with dining, entertainment, and sightseeing options to maximize your time here. 

Day 2: St. Louis, Missouri | Embark

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Dinner
No city wants to be known as a “fly-over” city. St. Louis, nestled about 300 miles from its more popular cousin, Chicago, has long had that unfortunate designation. But there’s a case to be made for “St. Louie,” as it’s affectionately called, as America’s most hidden gem. The city is typically associated with the Gateway Arch, which stands on the banks of the Mississippi River. At 630 feet, “The Arch” is an architectural marvel that is more than twice as tall as the Statue of Liberty. The stainless-steel-faced landmark pays homage to Thomas Jefferson and St. Louis’ position as the gateway to the West. 

Day 3: Hannibal, Missouri

  • 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. 

Day 4: Grafton, Illinois

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Grafton is the oldest city in Jersey County, founded as a river community with an eye on supporting riverboats traveling between Chicago and St. Louis. Boat construction, quarries, and mills were part of the city’s early industrial years. Grafton housed a factory that made boats through the 1960s. The city’s early history is the stuff of legends. Early Grafton was reminiscent of the Wild West. Due to the relatively short distance across the river to Missouri, the city lured outlaws who would hide out in surrounding hollows and caves. Infamous outlaw Jesse James and his gang reportedly spent time at The River House Hotel, or the “Bloody Bucket” as it was later known. Now known as the Great Rivers and Routes region, this is the only place where the Mother Road of Route 66 meets the Great River Road. The convergence of those two iconic roads is also the intersection of fascinating people, places and things that make this region so special. 

Alongside famous roads, history and small-town charm, the region celebrates three of the nation’s great rivers – the Mississippi, Missouri and Illinois. Where else can you find: the remnants of a prehistoric native civilization; ties to both Abraham Lincoln and Miles Davis; and a historic bridge that takes a sharp bend in the middle. Grafton’s history is openly depicted in every rustic home, residents’ undeniable hospitality, sweeping views and its vibrant downtown district. Discover museums that highlight the city’s history, explore unique shops and eateries or sip robust wines from one of the many wineries across the county.

Day 5: Havana, Illinois

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Not to be confused with the infamous capital and largest city of Cuba, Havana is a small town in West Central Illinois, with a population of 3,300. Locals called their town Havana because they were next to a nearby river island shaped like Cuba: “Cuba Island.” Havana was incorporated as a town in 1848. In 1900 the wetlands were destroyed and drained for farm use. After the last great flood, these same areas were reclaimed and returned to the use nature intended. Soon, the area was known as a fishing and hunting center and gained notoriety as the most important inland fishing port in the U.S. 

Day 6-7: Peoria, Illinois

  • Ship
  • 2 Breakfasts, 2 Lunches, 2 Dinners
The largest city on the Illinois River, Peoria is situated where it widens to form Peoria Lake. With Peoria Heights, West Peoria, Bartonville, Bellevue, East Peoria, Creve Coeur, Marquette Heights, North Pekin, and Pekin, Peoria forms an urbanized industrial complex. Peoria also offers a bustling art and culture scene and offers a robust history. The city is named for the Peoria Indians, one of the five tribes in the Illinois confederacy, who had long inhabited the area creating a network of commerce and trade before European settlement. Peoria is one of the state’s oldest settled locations. The French under René-Robert Cavelier built Fort Crèvecoeur on the river bluffs opposite the present city in 1680, but the fort was plundered and deserted later that same year. A decade later the French military, with the assistance of the Illinois Indians, built a large fortification known as Fort Pimiteoui. Other settlements around Peoria Lake, established by the French, Native Americans, and later colonists, followed. 

Day 8: Ottawa, Illinois

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Ottawa, situated at the confluence of the Illinois and Fox rivers, is a vibrant tourist destination located 80 miles outside of downtown Chicago. The city is chockfull of historic homes that cater to the curiosity of history buffs and architectural fans alike. American Queen Voyage guests also note its friendly and neighborly, hometown feel. Here, everyone is a special guest, and the area businesses provide personal attention to everyone’s needs and expectations. The residents offer a handshake, a warm greeting and an experience made from the heart. This is a place of progress, trendsetters, and modern movements, from the innovators of the past to the forward thinkers of today. 

Day 9: Ottawa, Illinois | Disembark

  • 1 Breakfast
As your vacation 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.


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
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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.


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. 
  • 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
  • Pre-Paid Gratuities
  • 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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