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

American Queen Voyages River Cruise - Memphis to Chattanooga

Scenic Gorges in Autumn

Starting from $3,899
Ship(s): American Countess
American Queen Voyages
13 Day American Queen Voyages River Cruise from Memphis to Chattanooga 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 17, 2022American Countess$3,899Call Us!

River Cruise Itinerary

Day 1 Memphis, 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 Memphis, TN

Memphis’ history and heritage begins with the indigenous people who lived by the mighty Mississippi. Throughout the years it has been home to cotton tycoons and enslaved people, to musicians who sounded the first notes of songs that still echo around the world today, and to civil rights icons including Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Visitors embrace the diversity of this city that has been coined not only the home of the blues but also the birthplace of rock ‘n’ roll and its many music-themed attractions. As one of the most famous music destinations in the world, Memphis is a melodious port for American Queen Voyages guests to experience, including Beale Street Historic District, Blues Music Hall of Fame, Center for Southern Folklore, Graceland, Gibson Guitar Factory, Memphis Music Hall of Fame, Memphis Rock ‘n’ Soul Museum, St. Blues Guitar Workshop, Stax Museum of American Soul Music, Sun Studio and the W.C. Handy home and museum. Memphis is also rich with arts, sculpture and painting exhibits offering pieces form Rodin to Renoir. Explore the Dixon Gallery and Gardens, Memphis Botanic Garden, Memphis Brooks Museum of Art, Metal Museum, Belz Museum of Asian and Judaic Art, CrosstownArts and the Cotton Museum at the Memphis Cotton Exchange. If you prefer to discover a destination by walking its streets, boogie on down to Beale Street – it’s alive with quirky places to indulge in some authentic Southern barbeque, shop for souvenirs and sip on a Blue Suede Tini or some other music-inspired local libation. 

Day 3 Ashport Landing, TN

Ashport Landing is situated southwest of Golddust and northeast of Ashport Revetment, a levee with an elevation of 223 feet. Ripley, the county seat, lies 14 miles to the east and Memphis is 40 miles north. Strategically placed above our boat’s docking area on the Chickasaw Bluffs is Fort Pillow, built by Confederate Brigadier General Gideon Johnson Pillow in early 1862 and used by both sides during the war. Fort Pillow is rich in both historic and archaeological significance. One of the most controversial battles of the Civil War occurred here. The Battle of Fort Pillow – also known as the Fort Pillow massacre – was fought on April 12, 1864. The battle ended with a massacre of 221 Union soldiers (many of them blacks) attempting to surrender. Military historian David Eicher concluded: “Fort Pillow marked one of the bleakest, saddest events of American military history.” Today, at Fort Pillow State Historic Park, among the restored fortifications, you can study cannons and other artifacts along the 20 miles of trails.

Day 4 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 5 Cape Girardeau, MO

Nestled along the western banks of the mighty Mississippi River, you’ll find Cape Girardeau, Missouri – a community rich in history and heritage. For more than 250 years, people have been drawn to Cape Girardeau and the river on which it lies. As you stroll along the riverfront, pause for a moment... you’ll feel the passion that led Mark Twain to write so eloquently about Cape Girardeau in Life on the Mississippi, the inspiration that Gen. Ulysses S. Grant used to lead with firm conviction as he took command of the Union Army in the historic downtown and the warmth and hospitality that community founder Louis Lorimier extended to Meriwether Lewis and William Clark, while on the journey of a lifetime as they set forth to explore the Louisiana Purchase on their Corps of Discovery. Cape Girardeau, which has shown hospitality to the likes of Twain, Lewis and Clark, and General Grant, greets today’s guests in the same vein. Whether pedaling along the bike lanes that strip along the city streets, hiking through a state park, walking across one of many covered bridges, shopping for antiques, visiting area wineries, viewing murals that stretch the entire length of the downtown area, or stepping back in time at any number of historic sites, the Show Me State does not disappoint. Peeking through the long-standing architecture and handsome panoramas are moments that will mature into golden memories. Take time to embrace legends, discover a simpler time and relive the wonders of the past. 

Day 6 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 7 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 8 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 9 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 10 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 11 River Cruising (2)

Because history plays such a large part of your river cruise experience, spend some time with our onboard Riverlorian to gain insight into our nation’s history and heritage. Relive a tale from Mark Twain, or simply enjoy fascinating stories, facts and fables about the very stretch of river on which you are cruising.

Day 12 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 13 Chattanooga, 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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