9 Day American Queen Voyages River Cruise from Memphis to Louisville 2022

American Queen Voyages River Cruise - Memphis to Louisville

Memphis to Louisville (or reverse)

Starting from $2,499
Ship(s): American Duchess
American Queen Voyages
9 Day American Queen Voyages River Cruise from Memphis to Louisville 2022

River Cruise Description

Two days exploring the rhythm, rock and blues of Memphis begin your journey that will inspire your inner artisan. Visit Paducah, Kentucky — one of nine UNESCO Creative Cities in the United States — and muse over Owensboro’s beautiful botanical gardens. W.C. Handy’s musical legacy lives on in Henderson, while an optional tour of Churchill Downs in Lousiville offers a rare glimpse into the biggest horse race in America.



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Departure DateShipPriced From
(per person)
 
Jul 2, 2022American Duchess$2,499Call Us!
Oct 15, 2022American Duchess$2,899Call 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 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 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 5 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 6 Henderson, KY

Greetings from Henderson, Kentucky – a walkable community wrapped in warmth. Since 1797, this port on the banks of the beautiful Ohio River has inspired commerce and influenced two world-renowned artists who turned life into beauty, art, commerce, and success. Ornithologist John James Audubon and famous blues musician W.C. Handy both once called Henderson home. Audubon spent time here in the 1800s studying and painting the birds that travel through this area on their migratory routes. His namesake museum offers a permanent collection of artwork and exhibits, as well as a downstairs gallery of rotating exhibits, including wildlife photography and paintings by local and regional artists. At the end of the 19th century, Henderson held a unique place in history due to the export of dark tobacco. Worldwide shipping from Henderson’s port resulted in Henderson becoming the richest community per capita in the United States during tobacco’s heyday. This led to the construction of many of the stately homes and buildings still standing in the vibrant downtown district. Wide streets welcome American Queen Voyages guests and showcase historic preservation that inspires storefronts and homes. Discover nature fingerprinted with humanity in the many parks and trails that showcase artistry throughout the town. With a great selection of galleries and annual art events, there are many types of art to view. Enjoy the many public sculptures located throughout downtown created by Louisville sculptor Raymond Graf or step in the OVAL Gallery at Bank Trust to see the rotating art exhibits on display. 

Day 7 Owensboro, KY

The exuberance that pervades the sounds of folk music flows through the community of Owensboro in Daviess County, Kentucky. Each of its spaces is a lovely ballad that tugs at the heartstrings of visitors – from the notes of bourbon distilleries to bumbling butterflies in the botanical garden. The tawny banks of this river jewel extend a warm welcome and invite you to experience the beauty in bluegrass. Owensboro’s first settler was William Smeathers, popularly known as Bill Smothers, who in 1797 built a cabin on the south bank of the Ohio River. Original settlers arrived in flatboats coming from the northeast, the flatboats naturally drifting to the south side of the riverbank with the swift river currents. The original site was called “Yellow Banks” in reference to the color of the soil along the banks. In 1817 the Kentucky General Assembly provided for the planned town and specified that it should be called Owensborough in memory of Col. Abraham Owen (changed to Owensboro in 1893). In 1860, county agricultural records show 11,000 sheep compared to 6,750 beef cattle. Consequently, barbecued mutton (sheep) and burgoo (stew made from mutton, other meats and vegetables) are the two foods that distinguish Daviess County barbecue from other areas. Although pork, chicken, and beef are prepared, the preference of locals is mutton and burgoo. The region has developed a unique style of pit barbecue featuring vinegar-based sauces mopped over the meat during its lengthy smoking process. The result of this process is a delicious, tangy, and very tender meat. 

Day 8 Brandenburg, KY

Brandenburg highlights everything that’s great about rural living, but with all the benefits and amenities offered by larger urban settings. Here you can find history, entertainment, scenery and culture. From Otter Creek Outdoor Recreation Area’s walking trails, fly fishing for trout and to scenic views of the Ohio River, from hiking a woodland trail to a bluegrass concert at Riverfront Park, from a morning of antique shopping to an afternoon on a perfectly groomed golf course, from an old-fashioned country fair to a classic car show. The essence of Kentucky radiates, from its bourbon traditions to a tableau of rolling farmland. Mysteries of the Civil War enlist lifelong learners on the battlefield while sprawling parks and trails make way for recreation.  For over ten thousand years, Native Americans were drawn to Brandenburg and Meade County because of the river, abundant game, fish nuts, berries, and ground for planting corn, and especially, a high-quality flint. The fact that they lived here at different periods is evidenced by the artifacts, burial grounds, and shell mounds found along the riverfront. Although many artifacts have been sold to domestic and international collectors, a movement has begun to honor this heritage with a museum. It is a subject of debate as to who the early settlers were, however, it is recognized that the Native Americans here were closely related to the Cherokee and Shawnee tribes. Given the large number of years (10,000 to 12,000), it is likely that the tribes were mixed across the centuries. 

Day 9 Louisville, KY (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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