12 Day American Queen Voyages River Cruise from Chattanooga to Memphis 2022

American Queen Voyages River Cruise - Chattanooga to Memphis

Scenic Gorges in Autumn

Starting from $3,599
Ship(s): American Countess
American Queen Voyages
12 Day American Queen Voyages River Cruise from Chattanooga to Memphis 2022

River Cruise Description

The beautiful colors of autumn greet guests around each bend. Enjoy a hot apple cider from a local coffee shop and take in the fresh fall air as you cruise through the most spectacular gouge area east of the Rocky Mountains. Tree-lined bluffs provide a palette of colors. Make sure to come out on the deck as we navigate the highest single-lift lock in the Eastern part of America.

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Departure DateShipPriced From
(per person)
Oct 28, 2022American Countess$3,599Call Us!

River Cruise Itinerary

Day 1 Chattanooga, TN (Hotel Stay)

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 Chattanooga, TN

Chattanooga is nestled along the Tennessee River in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains which invites visitors to capture the natural world without wandering far from its vibrant city center. Chattanooga is one of America’s most breathtaking cities. According to whom, you say? Lonely Planet named it as the “Best in the U.S.” and one of “10 U.S. destinations you need to see in 2018.” And The New York Times named Chattanooga one of the “Top 45 Places to go” in the world. Downtown Chattanooga harmonizes its water worlds, verdure, and industry into a picture-perfect melody. Some visitor highlights include the Chattanooga Choo Choo, located in the heart of downtown, which serves both as historic landmark and experience in itself. And the Walnut Street Bridge, a 2,376-foot-long pedestrian bridge that connects downtown with North Chattanooga. Walking the bridge offers scenic views of the river and the cityscape.

Day 3 River Cruising

Watch small river towns and lush landscapes slowly become lost in the horizon as sunlight plays upon the deck. Take hold of a literary classic, curl up on a plush chair in a cozy corner and relish in the moment of tranquility. Experience the fulfillment that river cruising offers.

Day 4 Decatur, AL

Decatur is a city in Morgan and Limestone counties. The city, nicknamed “The River City,” is located in Northern Alabama on the banks of Wheeler Lake, along the Tennessee River. It is the largest city and county seat of Morgan County. History awaits in Decatur. Reach out and touch the past – with living stories of the Civil War at your fingertips. Did you know that Decatur was home to the largest collection of Victorian and earlier 20th century craftsman and bungalow homes in Alabama or that Hartselle was once the site of a bank robbery? Decatur is really a small town, but its charm is unmistakable. Discover the history of Morgan County at the area’s many historic locations, including the Old State Bank Building, one of only four structures in the town left unscathed by the Civil War. The oldest standing bank building in the state; its vault, with 22-inch-thick walls, was a haven from blistering bullets, mortar bombs and cannon fire. Whether you want to hike, rent a kayak or go fishing, get lost in Decatur’s dynamic geography. Home to hundreds of species of wildlife, birds and game fish, take advantage of the great bass fishing on Wheeler Lake or walk the trails of Point Mallard. Explore the new state-of-the-art natural science museum. Deciding what to do during your port call may be your biggest challenge. Relax, reach out and touch the past; take time out to experience this Tennessee River legend and absorb the living heritage it has to offer. 

Day 5 Florence, AL

Florence is home to the University of North Alabama, the oldest college in the state. From composed bluffs that overlook the Tennessee River to historic homes within the city’s beating heart, this college town harmonizes the twang of country with the coolness of R&B to create a culture all its own. Visit the only Frank Lloyd Wright-designed home in the state and tour the recording studios that launched the careers of such legendary performers as Aretha Franklin, Willie Nelson, The Rolling Stones, Paul Simon, The Osmond Brothers and Percy Sledge. This short list cannot encompass the many talented musicians who found their place in history by recording in nearby Muscle Shoals. FAME Studios, Muscle Shoals Sound, and a host of other recording studios made little Muscle Shoals, Alabama, the Hit Recording Capital of the World in the 1960s. It is said that musical heritage was the area’s birthright. W.C. Handy, the Father of the Blues, was born in Florence, and so were Sam Phillips and Buddy Killen, often considered to be the fathers of Rock and Roll. Today, there are recording studios all over the Muscle Shoals region, still making hits and propelling artists to fame. Stroll through the Sweetwater District, just past the Singing River Bridge, an up-and-coming neighborhood where the streets come to life with the scent of azaleas and dogwood trees. Within this melting pot, traditional meets contemporary to compose the beauty that is Florence. If your preference is nature, there are walking trails, legendary fishing, world-class golf, and water sports.

Day 6 Savannah, TN

The town’s charming original name was “Rudd’s Ferry,” named for James Rudd, an early settler who established a ferry at the site in the early 1820s. Rudd’s Ferry was later purchased by a wealthy landowner, David Robinson, who renamed it “Savannah” after Savannah, Georgia, the hometown of Rudd’s wife, Elizabeth. The most common association with this historic town is the Battle of Shiloh – one of the bloodiest of the Civil War fought in 1862. Also known as the Battle of Pittsburg Landing, the conflict took place 10 miles southwest of town. Today, the Shiloh National Military Park is considered one of the best-preserved battlefields in the U.S. It spans 4,200 acres which includes a visitor center that houses many artifacts and an historic demonstration video for guests to get a better understanding of its importance. The Cherry Mansion just off the town square, while not open for tours, is one of 41 historic homes in the area. The circa 1830 house was built by David Robinson and later expanded on by his son-in-law William H. Cherry. It was commandeered by Union General Ulysses S. Grant for use as his headquarters during the war. American Queen Voyages guests can uncover all the history associated with Savannah and the Tennessee River Valley through interactive and educational displays at the Tennessee River Museum. Savannah is also renowned as the “Catfish Capitol of the World” so if you get peckish while exploring town, why not sample the local catch before returning to your boat.

Day 7 River Cruising (3)

There is always plenty to do between dawn and dusk on the river, and today is the perfect day to enjoy the many public spaces and activities available on board. Gaze at beautiful landscapes and small river towns as you mingle with fellow guests and discuss the unique aspects of river life.

Day 8 Dover, TN

In 1805 a state-appointed commission purchased a 30-acre plot on the Cumberland River from Robert Nelson and established the county seat of Dover. By 1850 the Tennessee frontier town had blossomed into a large river trade center and the second largest steamboat port on the Cumberland. A resting dock meets American Queen Voyages guests in Dover, a town that reveals the value of serenity in river living, where peace and quiet are interrupted only by birdsong and cricket chirps. Adventure through Fort Donelson – Dover’s touchpoint during the Civil War – which has been resurrected into Fort Donelson National Battlefield Park, a nexus of history and natural riches. Fort Donelson was the site of a major Union victory. Here, hilltops harbor somber stories, country roads lose themselves in golden horizons and historic treasures are kept secret behind the tree lines. Union troops, who had occupied the town since the fall of Fort Donelson in 1862, set fire to Dover to prevent the town from falling into the hands of General Nathan Bedford Forrest; only four buildings survived the conflagration.  Capture the romance of this little river town’s past and experience the everyday phenomenon of its future at Cross Creeks National Wildlife Refuge, an 8,862-acre habitat for waterfowl and aquatic plant life. Or venture to Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area, one of the largest blocks of undeveloped forest in the eastern U.S. with over 170,000 acres of forests, wetlands, and open lands on a peninsula between Kentucky and Barkley lakes in Western Kentucky and Tennessee. 

Day 9 Paducah, KY

Paducah’s significant American heritage can be traced to the city’s strategic location at the confluence of the Ohio and Tennessee rivers. Paducah, originally known as Pekin, was settled around 1815 in McCracken County. The community was inhabited by a mix of Native Americans and Europeans who lived harmoniously, trading goods and services. In 1827, William Clark, of Lewis and Clark fame, arrived in Pekin with a title deed to the land he now owned. The town was platted out and named in honor of the largest nation of Native Americans that ever roamed North America, the Padouca Indians. Lewis and Clark had made acquaintance with many of them on their trek west. Discover how Paducah played a pivotal role in American history from rivers to railroad transportation, the Civil War to civil rights. Museums and riverfront “Wall to Wall” murals by the Dafford Murals Team weave the story of Paducah’s past and guide viewers to experiences and landmarks throughout the town, where historical markers detail the significance and cultural heritage. In the hands of artists, modern Paducah was thrown into form. Fingertips muddied with passion and eased by the vision of river water glided along the surface to pull up the community and create the National Quilt Museum. Residents backstitch past into present, then bind appreciation for culture – ensuring that the seams of history will not soon come undone. The people of Paducah have taken great care to orchestrate every crevice of its community into a symphony of craft and color. 

Day 10 Columbus, KY

Columbus, the oldest town in Kentucky’s Jackson Purchase, was first settled in 1804 on the Mississippi floodplain. Initially it was known as Iron Banks after the site’s French name “les rivages de fer.” The name was changed to Columbus in honor of the Italian explorer in 1820, the year the town received its first post office and was formally established. It was the original Hickman County seat before the transfer of the court to the more central location of Clinton.  In 1861, after the Civil War broke out, the town was seized by Confederate forces, who fortified the site building Fort de Russey, overlooking the Mississippi. Confederate general Leonidas Polk attempted to string and maintain a large anchor chain across the entire river at Columbus to block Union traffic downriver. Columbus was also the northernmost spur on the Mobile and Ohio Railroad. The Union responded by Gen. Ulysses S. Grant engaging the Confederates at Belmont on the Missouri shore. This was Grant’s first direct combat during the war. These actions are today commemorated at Columbus-Belmont State Park near Columbus. The Great Mississippi Flood of 1927 deluged the town, as well as many areas downriver in the Mississippi Delta, where hundreds of thousands of acres were flooded. Survivors moved the town of Columbus, rebuilding it on higher ground above the flood plain. Some of the original houses were saved and moved inland. Given its isolated location in a rural area and the decline in river traffic, the town has lost population for years.

Day 11 New Madrid, MO

New Madrid is famous for being the site of a series of more than 1,000 earthquakes in 1811 and 1812, caused by the New Madrid Seismic Zone. During your visit to this port, explore the history of earthquakes in addition to Native American artifacts and Civil War artifacts. Located on the river in the former Kendall Saloon at the foot of Main Street, the New Madrid Historical Museum reflects the history of the town from the Mississippian period up through the early 20th century. The Native American culture known as The Mississippian rose in the Mississippi Valley around 700 AD and lasted until approximately 1400 AD. The primary site of the Mississippians was near present-day St. Louis. The main settlement in the New Madrid area has come to be known as the Lilburn Fortified Village Site. The Museum is fortunate to have hundreds of items from this period from pottery to jewelry to stone tools and points. The Great Quakes of 1811-12 are also well documented in the Museum’s collections as is the potential for future seismic activity. The Great New Madrid earthquakes began on December 16th, 1811. On that day three quakes estimated to have been anywhere from 6.5 to 7.7 in magnitude struck the region in a natural disaster that would impact a huge chunk of North America. Almost 2,000 earthquakes hit in a three-month period and caused upheaval that lasted for years. The New Madrid area still experiences regular shakes and is at risk for large quakes in the future. 

Day 12 Memphis, TN (Disembark)

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.
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