Day 1: St. Louis, MO
Departure 5:00 PM
Explore St. Louis at your leisure or consider a pre-cruise Premium Shore Excursion with afternoon transfer to the vessel.
Day 2: Chester, IL
Known as the “Home of Popeye”, Chester, Illinois is a city rich in history and pop culture. Because creator and writer of Popeye, Elzie Crisler Segar, was born here, the famous characters starred in the show will be seen showcased frequently throughout the town. Stop at the Popeye Character Trail to view granite statues of the characters overlooking the Mississippi or check out America’s only Popeye museum and gift shop to take home a souvenir to remind you of your visit to Chester! Spend the day exploring the unique history as you walk through luxurious homes, historical buildings, and museums!
Cohen Memorial Home
Dubbed by Mark Twain “the house with the blue windows,” this historical home overlooks the Mississippi River from high atop the bluffs. Guests are welcome to tour the historic home and its original furnishings. The Cohen Home is a beautiful historical site located on Harrison Street overlooking the Mississippi River. Its unusual blue storm windows make it a very visible landmark for boats on the river and travelers approaching the Chester Bridge from Missouri. Built in 1855, it was the home of the William Cohen family who lived there until 1983. The upstairs’ bedrooms contain furnishings and collections from several families of Chester including the Cohen family.
Spinach Can Collectibles and Museum
Located in the old Opera House Antiques where the creator of Popeye, Elzie Segar worked. Today, the Spinach Can serves as the international headquarters for the Popeye Fan Club and store for everything Popeye. Also at this stop, Pinky’s Sugarland, a small historic building which is now a specialty shop for cake pops, cupcakes, cakes and handmade greeting cards. As the only Popeye collectables store and museum in America, this small shop located in Downtown Chester will surely bring back memories of the past as you explore. Walk around the front to see original and rare collectables featuring Popeye, Olive Oyl, Wimpy, Bluto, Swee’Pen, Eugene the Jeep, and much more. Pick out the perfect unique book, toy, video, postcard, poster, or other memorabilia for someone back home or to keep for yourself. Then head into the back to see some rare and highly sought after Popeye collectables.
This small historic building is now a specialty shop for delicious treats and unique sentiments. Guests can pick up a cake pop, cupcakes or handmade greeting cards and souvenirs. You won’t miss this quaint sweet-shop as it’s clad in a rose bright pink hue.
The Courthouse and Randolph County Museum
Here guests can enjoy an outstanding 360-degree view of the Mississippi River, Missouri farmlands and Chester alongside Olive Oyl and Swee’Pea. Also here, guests can tour the 1864 Annex Museum. This stone Gothic structure museum contains artifacts that display the rich history of the early French settlers. The museum houses permanent displays as well as some artifacts that are temporarily on loan, and it hosts shows and exhibits which showcase specific treasures from the heritage and the long history of Randolph County. In addition, the newly established archives room will enable the museum to properly preserve and store documents, photographs, and other non-displayed artifacts for generations to come. Explore the history of Randolph County through collections of paintings, articles, photos, and artifacts that depict their past.
The Chester Welcome Center offers a lookout point which gives a fantastic vantage point to observe the majestic Mississippi River below. You won’t miss this building as a large statue of the iconic Popeye cast in bronze marks its location along the Chester streets. The Chester Welcome Center is located in Segar Park next to the Chester Bridge overlooking the Mississippi River. The new Welcome Center contains restrooms, an information center with displays and a large deck overlooking the Mississippi River and Missouri Bottoms. The bronze statue of Popeye the Sailor Man has been overlooking the Mississippi River in Segar Park for more than 30 years. This is the first of numerous Popeye & Friends Character Trail statues of Popeye characters placed in various areas in Chester.
Day 3: Cape Girardeau, MO
Nestled along the western banks of the mighty Mississippi River, the city of Cape Girardeau, Missouri is found; 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. Stroll along the riverfront, where 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 on the Mississippi in historic downtown, and the warmth and hospitality that community founder Louis Lorimier extended to Lewis and Clark while on the journey of a lifetime as they set forth on their Corps of Discovery to explore the Louisiana Purchase.
Mississippi River Tales Mural
Depicting Cape Girardeau’s rich history and heritage, the Mississippi River Tails Mural and the Missouri Wall of Fame highlight some of Missouri’s most notable citizens. The Mississippi River Tales Mural is the largest and most dramatic of Cape Girardeau's murals and is located on a portion of the downtown floodwall. Covering nearly 18,000 square feet, this 1,100-foot-long mural features 24 historically-themed panels that vividly portray Cape Girardeau's rich history and heritage; descriptive markers provide an explanation of each panel. The Missouri Wall of Fame Mural features 47 individuals who were born in Missouri or achieved fame while living in the state.
Red House Interpretive Center
Located just off Main Street in historic downtown Cape Girardeau. The center commemorates the life of the towns’ founder, Louis Lorimier, as well as the historic visit made here by Lewis and Clark in 1803. Explore this historic building and museum and learn about frontier life. The Center commemorates the life of community founder French-Canadian, Louis Lorimier, as well as the visit of Meriwether Lewis and William Clark in November, 1803. The Interpretive Center houses an early 1800's exhibit that reflects the lives of the early settlers of the old Cape Girardeau district. In addition, a rendering of Lorimier's Trading Post displays authentic items that would have been sold at the turn of the 19th century. The gardens on the north side of the house show the types of garden you might have seen in 1803 with flowers, vegetables, cooking herbs, and medicinal herbs.
Old St. Vincent’s Church
Beautiful Renaissance architecture and ornate interior. The Renaissance architecture, referred to as English Gothic Revival style that this miraculous church is styled in, is not only beautiful but also extremely rare, as very few churches of this style exist in America today. Explore the many artifacts preserved in the church as you admire the arches and woodwork lining the interior of the chapel. Discover this fully restored beauty as it transports you back in time.
Hop off at the Holland School of Visual and Performing Arts to explore the Crisp Museum. The museum is dedicated to exhibiting significant historical and cultural objects of regional and national importance. Completed in 1883, the Glenn house is a fully restored historic museum in Cape Girardeau, Missouri. It is a prime example of the Victorian period lifestyle including the architecture, furnishings, clothing, and décor. The Glenn House was built for David A. Glenn, who was an influential figure in the city’s history. He and his family occupied the home until 1915. Before they vacated the home, it was renovated in 1900 to the Queen Anne Style. The house is listed on the National Register of Historical Places. Many of the furnishings and features of the home have been restored to their original beauty and have been kept authentic to the Victorian time interior.
Holland School of Visual and Performing Arts River Campus
The home to the Earl and Margie Holland School of Visual and Performing Arts. The Earl and Margie Holland School of Visual and Performing Arts is composed of departments covering the history and science of art, music, music, theater, and dance. Visit the beautiful campus and explore the unique styles and subjects taught here. Walk around and discover impressive pieces of art, in many different styles, showcasing the talent and hard work of local students.
Crisp Museum’s Crossroads Gallery
Interactive kiosks and exhibits highlight the history of southeast Missouri, while the Old Bridge Overlook and Park provide a dramatic view of the impressive Bill Emerson Memorial Bridge. The Crisp Museum collects in three thematic areas: archaeology, history, and fine art. The Archaeology collection as several collections of prehistoric Native American artifacts, which illustrate aspects of the daily and ceremonial lives of the indigenous peoples who lived in southeastern Missouri from 13,500 B.C. to 1400 A.D., highlighting some very rare and exotic artifacts. The museum's historical collections cover a wide range of artifacts with strengths in the areas of military, firearms and their accessories, clothing, and hand tools.
Cape River Heritage Museum
Learn all about Cape Girardeau at the Cape River Heritage Museum…where history comes to life. Founded in 1981, this museum offers an ever-changing lineup of exhibits highlighting the heritage and culture of the region. Since its founding in 1981, the Cape River Heritage Museum has focused on local history while preserving a historic building at the corner of Frederick and Independence streets. Located in an old fire house, the museum offers events, tours, and exhibits on steamboats, education, commerce, the Missouri mule, the state flag, the Show-Me slogan, Native American culture, and fire and police memorabilia. Snap a picture of yourself in the model steamboat or in the cab of a tall-ladder fire truck from the 1950’s!
VisitCape Visitors Center
Stop by the visitor’s center to learn more about Cape Girardeau. Browse the gift shop or use the restrooms while discovering this river town.
Day 4: Paducah, KY
Paducah embraces their harmonious history between the European settlers and the Padoucca Indians native to the area. The city is located at the confluence of the Ohio and the Tennessee Rivers and because of this, it is often called the Four-Rivers Area due to the proximity of the Ohio, Cumberland, Tennessee, and Mississippi Rivers. This prime location has played a major role in Paducah’s history, as transportation was easily accessible – the economy was strong and travelers were frequent!
National Quilt Museum
25 years in the making- the National Quilt Museum supports quilters and aims to advance the art of quilting by displaying exceptional quilt and fiber art exhibits. This museum celebrates the work of today’s quilters and offers a variety of unique exhibits that change throughout the year. Forget what you think quilting is—the National Quilt Museum isn’t full of dated simple block quilting, but exhibits works of art with a quilt as a canvas. Be certain to stop by, this museum is a must see! Celebrating 25 years in 2016, The National Quilt Museum is the largest of its kind in the world. It is the portal to the contemporary quilt experience - exhibits and workshops by renowned quilters who are implementing creative approaches to fiber art. The 27,000-square-foot contemporary structure features three galleries highlighting a collection of contemporary quilts and changing thematic exhibitions that celebrate the talent and diversity of the global quilting community. Workshops taught by world-class fiber art instructors are offered year-round. The Museum Shop & Book Store offers Kentucky Crafted items and quilt-related instructional and collector books.
Lowertown Arts District
Paducah’s oldest neighborhood is famous for the award-winning Artist Relocation Program that prompted its colorful revitalization which continues today with the expansion of the Paducah School of Art & Design campus. The Arts District is populated with working artists, students and artists-in-residence who add to the City’s vibrant artistic landscape.
The Lloyd Tilghman House & Civil War Museum
Prepare to be amazed at the significant influence Paducah had on the outcome of the Civil War. Generals U.S. Grant, Nathan Bedford Forrest, and others made their astounding contributions to history here. Hear this untold story inside the 1852 Greek revival home of Confederate General Lloyd Tilghman. This historic Greek revival house was built in 1852 for Lloyd Tilghman, a new member of Paducah’s community at the time. After the house was completed, Tilghman did not purchase the property, instead, the builder, Robert Woolfolk became the sole owner of the house and grounds. Tilghman, his wife, their seven children, and five slaves resided in the home until 1861. It was then that Woolfolk and his family moved into the home. They family was pro-South and proudly flew a Confederate flag causing many uproars over the community and with the Federal Troops who located their headquarters just across the street from the home. Eventually Woolfolk and his family were banished from Paducah and the United States, forced to live in Canada on August 1, 1864.
The Paducah Railroad Museum
A project of the Paducah Chapter of the National Railway Historical Society showcases equipment and memorabilia from the romantic past of America’s railroads. New simulator gives the sensation of riding a locomotive cab. The original Freight House (Across the parking lot from the Museum) was built in 1925 by the Nashville, Chattanooga, and St. Louis Railway. In 1996, the freight house was sold and the Museum moved to a building one-half block away. Here, learn the history of the railroad and those who used it, explore the authentic train models, and enjoy the memorabilia showcased for guests.
River Discovery Center
Celebrate Paducah’s maritime legacy and lore with interactive, water-filled exhibits, including a working model of a lock and dam. Captain a towboat, pleasure watercraft or Coast Guard buoy tender through various scenarios in the new pilothouse simulator. Take a turn behind the pilot wheel to experience river traffic at the Port of Paducah. In 1988 Mayor Gerry Montgomery and his committee pursued the development of a museum to showcase the Four Rivers Region maritime heritage. The River Heritage Center was planned in 1992 as the very beginning stages of the mayor’s dream. Years later the museum was located by Seamen’s Church Institute of New York and renamed the River Heritage Museum before finally receiving its’ current name, the River Discovery Center in 2008. Here explore artifacts, exhibits, and interactive displays that share the history of marine life and the history of the river.
Day 5: Dover, TN
Stewart County is a small county enriched with history, picture-perfect scenery, and welcoming citizens. Guests are greeted with nature's beauty and wildlife surrounding the city. Located at the county's heart is Dover, its county seat and the home of Fort Donelson National Park. This peaceful, picturesque town is the location of one of the most historic battles of the Civil War - a battle that changed the direction of the war for the North. Today, bald eagles call this park their home as and soar through the skies; a true symbol of freedom. Although small and rural, Dover has much to offer her visitors who can enjoy a delicious meal at one of the many local restaurants or take in the comforting hometown charm found throughout the city. Dover and Stewart County are the perfect gateway to a simple, cozy, quiet, country experience.
Explore the battlefield where Union and Confederate soldiers fought in February of 1862. Discover the history of the past displayed inside the Visitor Center or scattered across the battlefield, where monuments, plaques, and canyons portray the battle that ultimately ended with the Union forces capturing Fort Donelson. The construction of the Fort Donelson started in the year 1861 by Daniel S. Donelson and was named after him. During the Civil War of the 1860s, the Union forces were heading south to fight the Confederacy. Fort Donelson was key because of its location on the Cumberland River. When Fort Donelson was captured by the Union in February 1862, it was their first major victory for the Civil War. With the fort under Union control, they now had the door open to the Confederacy, ensuring that Kentucky would stay in the Union and opening up Tennessee for a Northern advance along the Tennessee and Cumberland Rivers. At Fort Donelson, visitors can learn about the battle, view the earthworks and cannons, and take a walk through the area on one of two trails. There also are areas for picnics, parking, and strolls along the Cumberland River, as well as a Visitor Center, where guests can learn the history of the war leading up to this battle and the events that occurred after it was finished.
Fort Donelson National Cemetery
The Fort Donelson National Cemetery in Dover, Tennessee was established in 1867 as a burial ground for Union soldiers killed in a significant early Civil War battle. Today, the cemetery contains the graves of veterans representing the Spanish-American War, World Wars I and II, and the wars in Korea and Vietnam. Fort Donelson National Cemetery is one of 14 national cemeteries managed by the National Park Service and is a part of the Fort Donelson National Battlefield. In July 1862, Congress passed legislation giving the President of the United States the authority to purchase land for the establishment of cemeteries “for soldiers who shall die in the service of their country.” The legislation effectively began the National Cemetery System. In 1863, the Union Army abandoned the Confederate works and constructed a new fortification on the ground that became the cemetery site. A freedmen's community developed around the new Union fort. Four years later, this same site was selected for the establishment of the Fort Donelson National Cemetery and 670 Union soldiers were reinterred here. These soldiers (including 512 unknowns) had been buried on the battlefield, in local cemeteries, in hospital cemeteries, and in nearby towns. These totals include five known and nine unknown soldiers from the United States Colored Troops. In 1867, Fort Donelson Cemetery was established as the final resting for Union soldiers and sailors initially buried in the Fort Donelson area. Today the national cemetery contains both Civil War veterans and veterans who have served the United States since that time.
The Surrender House/Dover Hotel
This 1850s building was originally the Dover Hotel and was a popular stop for travelers of the time. During the Battle at Fort Donelson, General Buckner and his staff used the hotel as their headquarters during the battle. It also served as a Union hospital after the surrender. After Buckner accepted Grant's surrender terms, the two generals met here to work out the details. Today, the building is restored and showcases historical artifacts and galleries. Built between 1851 and 1853, the Dover Hotel accommodated riverboat travelers before and after the Civil War. The Dover Hotel was the site of the "unconditional surrender" of General Buckner to General Grant, on February 16, 1862. Grant's terms of "unconditional and immediate surrender" were described by Buckner as "ungenerous and unchivalrous.” This was the Union Army's first major victory of the Civil War, setting the stage for invasion of the south and eventual capture of the Mississippi River Valley. The structure was originally built in 1851, and still stands in the heart of Dover. The structure had served as General Buckner's headquarters during the battle. The Fort Donelson House Historical Association and the National Park Service restored the house in the 1970s, and today the exterior looks much as it did at the time of the surrender.
Stewart County Visitor Center
Explore the Stewart County Visitor Center to learn about the history and future of the city of Dover. Walk through the Gallery located inside to get a visual representation of the city’s culture and history or talk to a resident at the Visitor Information Desk to hear their own piece of Dover history! Stewart County proudly opened its Visitor Center in October 2010. It has been a beautiful addition to the county and serves the community on multiple facets. The Center includes a Visitor Information Desk, where guests can discover the history of the county, hear about how the city is changing and improving through future plans, and even get tips on the best local eateries and stores. Take a tour through the Gallery, where the history and culture of Stewart County is highlighted through interesting articles, incredible art pieces, and rare artifacts, and then relax in the comfort of the fireplace.
Stewart County Historical Society Museum
This historical building showcases the history, culture, and customs of the city of Dover. Guests can explore many displays of local art, artifacts, and photographs as local experts recount the stories of this historical county. The Stewart County Tennessee Historical Society Museum is in the heart of Dover, TN. The museum houses an abundant collection of rich information on the county’s history, culture, and customs. While visiting the Historical Society Museum, guests have the opportunity to explore the county’s one-room schoolhouse and the history found inside, the beautiful Stewart County quilt showcased for all to see, and many more displays that demonstrate the local history. The building is also used to host many local events from charity dinners and dancing nights to educational seminars and talent shows, the Stewart County Historical Society Museum works hard to bring the community together.
Day 6: New Madrid, MO
New Madrid was founded in 1776 by Spanish Governor Esteban Rodríguez Miró who welcomed Anglo-Saxon settlers but required them to become citizens of Spain and live under the guidance of his appointed impresario, Revolutionary War veteran, Colonel William Morgan of New Jersey. Some 2,000 settled in the region. In 1800, Spain traded the territory to France in the Third Treaty of San Ildefonso, who promptly sold it to the United States in the Louisiana Purchase. The city is remembered as being the nearby location for the Mississippi River military engagement, the Battle of Island Number Ten, during the Civil War. The city is famous for being the site of a series of over 1,000 earthquakes in 1811 and 1812, caused by what is called the New Madrid Seismic Zone. Today, explore this quaint river town that will surely steal the hearts of all guests.
New Madrid Observation Deck
Stroll off the American Queen and over to the New Madrid Observation Deck. Jutting out across the Mighty Mississippi, guests can get a picture-perfect view of the river.
New Madrid Historical Museum
Located on the Mississippi River in the building that was once the Kendall Saloon, the New Madrid Historical Museum reflects the history of New Madrid from as far back as the Native Americans to present-day. Learn about the active New Madrid fault and how it has made an impact on this river town and shop the gift shop for unique treasures to remind you of your trip to New Madrid. Located in the former Kendall Saloon off of Main Street, the New Madrid Historical Museum shares the history of this river town from the Mississippian period through the 20th century. Here, guests can explore the great earthquakes of 1811 and 1812, documented with seismographic recordings, Native American artifacts, Civil War artifacts, early family life in the city of New Madrid during the 19th and 20th centuries, and the gift shop!
Hunter-Dawson State Historic Site
The Hunter-Dawson State Historic Site was created to preserve a time of the past. Guests can explore the Bootheel Mansion and learn about the history of the era. Tour this 15-room estate turned museum built in 1860 by William and Amanda Hunter, local store owners. Guests can view the entire historic home and enjoy the beauty of a time gone by. With most of the original furniture still intact this location is a uniquely preserved relic from the late 1880s. Hunter-Dawson State Historic Site preserves a now-vanished part of Missouri: The stately Bootheel mansion. Filled with original pieces and furnished in the style it was in during its heydays of the 1860s-1880s, the ornate mansion provides a history lesson in every corner. Most of the original furnishing purchased by Amanda Hunter, the house's first owner (with her husband William) are still in the house.
This one room school house provides guests with a glimpse into the life of a student attending this historic school. Guests can learn about this 1948 school house and how its practices proved to be essential cornerstones of America’s early 19th century education system. Restored to the one-room school that operated at Higgerson Landing in 1948, the Higgerson School is a window to the educational practices that shaped and served rural America from the early 19th century. Experience the typical school day of children attending all eight grades in one room with one teacher. Relive the days of playing "Wolf Over and River" and “Caterpillars," a trip to the outdoor facility and crossing the fence on the stile. Visit Higgerson Landing Gift Shop before heading to your next stop.
Hart-Stepp House Art Gallery
Stop here to tour the oldest house in New Madrid. Currently owned by the New Madrid Historical Museum, the house was built by Abraham Augustine and moved to its current location in an effort to escape the rising rivers of the Mississippi. Today, the Hart-Stepp House is home to an extensive photography and painting collection. The oldest house in New Madrid, owned by the New Madrid Historical Museum, was built by Abraham Augustine and moved to its present location in order to escape the encroaching waters of the Mississippi River is now home to the newest attraction to the community, the Hart-Stepp House Art Gallery. The house is used often as a place to offer workshops and classes. Plans for the future include a photo studio and the establishment of a photography club for area school students.
Day 7: Ashport Landing, TN
Fort Pillow, now a National Historic Landmark, was the site of a brutal massacre of Union troops by Major General Nathan Bedford Forrest. Here you will learn the important role Fort Pillow played in securing the Mississippi River as a prized passage throughout the Civil War.
Located on the western edge of Tennessee, approximately 40 miles north of Memphis, Fort Pillow State Historic Park is rich in historic and archaeological significance. Steep bluffs overlooking the Mississippi River made this area a strategic location during the Civil War. The fort was originally built by Confederate troops in 1861 and named after General Gideon J. Pillow of Maury County. It was abandoned in 1862 due to the Union Navy’s advancement along the Mississippi River. The area became a state park in 1971.
The 1,642 acre Fort Pillow is known for its well-preserved breastworks and reconstructed inner fort. The park’s museum offers Civil War artifacts including a canon and interpretive displays relating to the history of Fort Pillow.
Day 8: Memphis, TN
Arrival 8:00 AM
Disembark in Memphis and begin your journey home or consider extending your stay with our three day, two night American Music City Stay package.