Day 1: Hotel Stay - Minneapolis, MN
Your journey begins with a deluxe hotel stay near Minneapolis. Tomorrow, you will board the vessel.
Day 2: Red Wing, MN
Departure 5:00 PM
Explore nearby Minneapolis at your leisure or consider a Pre-Cruise Premium Shore Excursion with afternoon transfer to the vessel.
Day 3: Leisurely River Cruising
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 that are available to you onboard. Consider booking an indulgent, stress-relieving massage in the American Queen's spa. Browse The Emporium gift shop for that perfect keepsake or take the time to mingle with fellow guests.
Day 4: Dubuque, IA
Dubuque is Iowa’s oldest city and is among the oldest settlements west of the Mississippi River. The first permanent settler of the area was French-Canadian fur trader Julien Dubuque who arrived in 1785. Dubuque’s location to the Mississippi and its abundant land and resources, attracted large numbers of immigrants, particularly Irish and Germans, from overcrowded cities on the east coast. Dubuque is filled with historic sites, architectural Historic Districts with well-preserved buildings and homes, history and art museums, the great Mississippi River, and a revitalized main street that invites guests with Dubuque’s claim-to-fame as an “All-American City.”
Included Shore Excursions:
St. Luke’s United Methodist Church
Bask in the beauty of light filtered through 101 Tiffany stained glass windows, all of which are original pieces created by Louis Comfort Tiffany (from New York City). They have been fully restored to allow for intense, vibrant colors. This beautiful Romanesque style church is characterized by thick walls, heavy columns and round arches for windows and doors. On foundations 32 inches thick, the walls are built of enduring Bedford limestone from Indiana. Each stone was cut by hand and if one looks carefully, imbedded fossils may be seen. Inside, the original organ from 1897 has been restored and is once again functioning, murals are displayed, and impressive woodwork. The church is most noted for its large collection of Tiffany stained glass windows, which has been called, “one of the five finest Religious Tiffany Collections in the world.” Explore the history and art of the church as an expert guide chauffeurs guests through the expansive church explaining some of the most interesting facts.
Dubuque Museum of Art
Discover the third largest collections of Grant Wood art in Iowa. Its permanent collection concentrates on 20th century American art with an emphasis on American Regionalism. Their priority is to collect works by Regionalist artists and artists connected to the Tri-states region. The permanent collection is composed of more than 2,100 works, primarily paintings and works on paper. The Dubuque Museum of Art is Iowa’s oldest cultural institution, established in 1874. The Museum strives to present current, quality art in a beautiful and inspiring environment. Artist such as Iowa Regionalist Grant Wood and a complete collection of Edward S. Curtis’ The North American Indian, are on display in this facility. Its permanent collection is composed of over 2200 works, primarily paintings and works on paper
The Fenelon Place Elevator
Enjoy a view of the Mississippi River and downtown Dubuque on the Fenelon Place Elevator, also known as the Forth Street Elevator. The funicular railway is claimed to be the shortest and steepest railroad in the world. The Fenelon Place elevator is described as the world's shortest, steepest scenic railway, 296 feet in length, elevating passengers 189 feet from Fourth Street to Fenelon Place. The railway was constructed in 1882 for the private use a wealthy local banker and the former state senator. Where you will see a view of the historic Dubuque business district, the river and three states.
Hotel Julien Dubuque
Experience this remarkable boutique hotel, offering the area's most elegant accommodations and impeccable service. After a $30+ million complete renovation, the Hotel Julien Dubuque is now a true landmark of luxury and sophistication. The hotel's contemporary elegance and sumptuous comfort complement the grandeur of the historic Old Main District The original structure, four stories high, was called the Waples House and was named after its owner, Peter Waples, a wealthy Dubuque merchant. It was the first building visible to the travelers entering Dubuque from across the Mississippi. The Waples House was furnished extravagantly and was known far and wide for its gourmet cuisine. Now 170 years later, after a $33 million interior renovation and exterior restoration, Hotel Julien Dubuque has redefined elegance through the blending of its rich history with modern luxury and style.
Grand Opera House
This impressive opera house was built in 1889 for $65,000. At this time, it was the largest theater ever to be built in the city of Dubuque and over 2,600 live productions were performed at the theater. Dubuque's historic Grand Opera House is the oldest and grandest of more than 16 legitimate theaters which served the community prior to 1900. In 1889 W.L. Bradley, Jr. and other local businessmen invested $100,000 to create this iconic landmark of Dubuque culture. The architect Willoughby Edbrooke selected the Richardsonian Romanesque style and chose red sandstone and Dubuque brick for construction. The 1,100 seat auditorium included two balconies, eight boxes and stalls and a proscenium large enough to host major theatrical productions. Today, the theater is still used by the community and the productions continue to delight the viewers.
The Old Jail Museum & Dubuque County Courthouse
As a prime example of Egyptian Revival style, the Dubuque County Jail is one of three of its kind still standing today. It is famous for having once hosted Butch Cassidy, who was detained here for a mere four hours. The jail was built in 1857 and is a rare example of Egyptian revivalist architecture. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is also an official National Landmark. The Old Jail Museum exhibits some of the Dubuque County Historical Society's most unique and interesting artifacts. It's one-of-a-kind collection pieces include the Julien Dubuque family cradle, a passenger wagon from the Dubuque-based A. A. Cooper Wagon Works company dating back to the 1860s, the ACME Life Saving Device that saved 27 people from the 1946 Hotel Canfield fire, and a Civil War flag. The Old Jail also features a light and sound show, "The Hanging of Patrick O'Connor", which tells the story of how O'Connor was condemned and hanged for the murder just 20-yards from the jail.
Day 5: Prairie du Chien, WI
As the oldest community on the Upper Mississippi, Prairie Du Chien has been a traditional gathering place for centuries. The native people of the area met on the prairie in friendship to exchange goods. In the late 17th century, French fur traders used the prairie as a site of spring and fall rendezvous. It was during these years that the land received its name, which translates as “Prairie of the Dog” in French. When the British took over the fur trade, Prairie Du Chien became of greater importance for whoever controlled the prairie, controlled the entire Upper Mississippi watershed. After years of fighting for control of this land, the British eventually left the fort, leaving the residents of Prairie Du Chien and the Indians. Discover the rich history lining the streets of this historical city as you explore the treasure Prairie du Chien has to offer!
Included Shore Excursions:
Villa Louis Residence and Grounds
Explore this home that has been in the same family for generations dating back to the 1840’s. Spend your time here touring the beautiful home and grounds. This Victorian estate was home to three generations of the Dousman family. The estate was first developed in the 1840’s by fur trader and frontier entrepreneur Hercules Dousman. The prominent mound was first built by Indians and later modified by several military installations. The estate offered an elegant setting, though it was flood-proof and extremely durable. The present residence was built in 1870 by Dousman’s son, H. Louis Dougsman. The family closed the estate in 1913 but returned 20 years later to establish the home as one of the first historic house museums in the Midwest. The property became Wisconsin’s first State Historic Site in 1952. Inside, guests can find original furnishings and fully restored 1890’s elegance. (This guided tour runs every 30 minutes.)
Villa Louis Visitor Center
Explore the history of the city and learn some of the best attractions and dining locations. (Located at the same stop as Villa Louis)
Crawford County Courthouse/1800’s Jail
Learn the history of Prairie Du Chien’s first jail and enjoy the stories of the men that occupied the cells. The courthouse as it stands today was built in several stages. The oldest central section dates back to 1867. An earlier courthouse on this site was built in 1836 when Wisconsin became a territory. The Territorial Prison, referred to as the “Dungeons,” are located in the basement. The jail’s main function was to hold felons for a short time and was constructed in 1843. The jail was operational until the present jail was erected in 1896.
The Fur Trade Museum
Exhibits documenting the fur trade are located in this stone building on the banks of the Mississippi River. Built in the early 1850s by fur trader B.W. Brisbois, the building is a designated National Historic Landmark. The museum is self-guided and visitors may linger over the exhibits that document the scope and influence of the North American fur trade. Blankets, kettles, beads and yard goods are a few of the scores of European-made goods that made up Fur Trade inventories. Then, guests can explore the Fur Trade Museum Store for unique souvenirs and gifts.
Fort Crawford Military Hospital
The Military Hospital is the only remaining structure from the second Fort Crawford. It offered care for sick and wounded soldiers beginning in 1831. Today it features many artifacts, articles, and showcases highlighting medical practices and progresses throughout history in the military.
Fort Crawford Museum
Fort Crawford stood guard over Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin, from 1816 until 1856. Today, the Fort Crawford Museum displays the history of the fort, the city of Prairie Du Chien it resides in, and the many lives that crossed through. Discover the rich history of Fort Crawford, which was built in efforts to project the United States’ presence on the frontier and relocated from an island of Prairie Du Chien to the mainland in 1829 per direction of Colonel Zachary Taylor. The Fort Crawford Museum encompasses three other buildings, the Prairie Du Chien Museum, the Fort Crawford Military Hospital, and the Visitor Center. The Museum of Prairie Du Chien is a modern building with exhibits on the historic development of Prairie du Chien. Here, guests can explore events of this historical town with exhibits such as The Flood of 1965, The War of 1812, Prehistoric Fossil Collection, American Indian Artifacts and spear points, The Arrival of the Railroad, and Clamming on the Mississippi River. Guests can then explore the Visitor Center, which includes information, a museum store and a library with books on medical history. The Fort Crawford Military Hospital remains the only standing structure from the second Fort Crawford. During its operating years beginning in 1831, it offered care for sick and wounded soldiers. Dr. William Beaumont helped found the modern study of medicine when he researched digestion at the fort during the 1830s. Although the fort buildings fell into disrepair in the late nineteenth century, a portion of the hospital building was reconstructed with original materials on its original foundations during the 1930s. The building contains several exhibits, including an 1830s War Room that explains in detail Dr. Beaumont’s experiments, artifacts discovered at the Fort Barracks, The Military History of Fort Crawford, The History of Medical Progress, an antique pharmacy and dentist office, and Swift United States Army General Hospital and the Civil War.
Valley Fish & Cheese
This quirky locally-owned business carries a complete line of hickory-smoked fish, turtle meat, fresh & frozen fish and seafood, a complete line of Wisconsin cheeses, any variety of jerky that can be thought up, and many other “hard-to-find” unique items. Guest will then enjoy a presentation by the owners explaining their business and some tips on how to create jerky, prepare fish, and give a brief netting demonstration.
Day 6: La Crosse, WI
La Crosse, named by explorer Zebulon Pike who saw a group of people playing a game with sticks that looked like a cross, is a popular destination for tourists. Filled with statues, architecture, and an exquisite view of the river, this river city is an artist’s dream. Like much of Wisconsin, La Crosse became heavily involved with the lumber industry in the mid-1800's until the decline of the forests throughout much of Wisconsin took its toll. But in the wake of the vanishing lumber era, La Crosse became a city renowned for its beer making, with around five breweries operating in La Crosse near the turn of the century. Today, make note of lingering pieces of history along the streets of the city, inside local breweries, and within the floorboards of historic homes and businesses.
Included Shore Excursions:
Dahl Auto Museum
View antique cars and learn about the Ford Motor Company and its five generations of history through their automotive journey since 1911. The Dahl Auto Museum celebrates the Dahl family's involvement as automotive dealers spanning over 100 years and 5 generations. It also features the history of the automobile through the eyes of Ford Motor Company, an extensive mascot collection and many beautifully restored classic automobiles from the turn of the century to present. Approximately 20 antique and classic cars are on display to highlight each decade from Dahl Automotive inception in 1911. To incorporate historic La Crosse, the museum also features a re-creation of the Starlite Drive-in Theatre.
Chapels of St. Rose
A beautiful historic Romanesque-style house of worship. It has been open since 1871. The shape of this immense and beautiful chapel symbolizes attributes of God. The high ceilings represent a God who transcends the finite world while the shape of the nave, transepts and sanctuary form a cross, acknowledging an immanent God who has been with humankind even through suffering and death. At the entrance of the chapel, just above the door, a relief of Moses before the burning bush is showcased. Admire bronzed statues, symbolic paintings and sculptures, stained glass windows, and mosaics.
A beautiful look back in time at an authentic Victorian home. Built in 1859, this Italianate house features beautiful woodwork and lavish interior decoration. With approximately 90% of its original furnishings, the Hixon House is a unique historical home truly representative of its era. This beautiful Victorian house is filled with nearly all of the original furnishings, making it stand out from many other historical homes. The construction of the home began in 1859 by lumber baron Gideon Hixon, who featured beautiful woodwork and ornate interior decoration. His wife, Ellen is responsible for the decoration of the home, who chose the Aesthetic fashion style, accenting rooms with “Turkish Nooks.” It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Visit the Riverside Museum to enjoy exhibits that explore the chronological history of La Crosse. Riverside Museum exhibits chronicle the history of La Crosse, concentrating on the Mississippi River and its importance to the area. Exhibits range from prehistoric artifacts to a large collection of birds and fresh water clams. A video of the history of La Crosse is shown and artifacts of the steamboat “The War Eagle” are on display.
Riverside International Friendship Garden
A place of beauty that reflects an appreciation for the diverse cultures that share the earth. Here, you’ll find gardens to represent six different nations from around the world. La Crosse enjoys thriving relationships with sister cities, business partners, students and people from around the world. To celebrate the success of these partnerships, and build a tribute to the culture and traditions, the township decided to create a garden filled with the flowers and decorations closely resembling a garden that could be found in one of these sister cities. The town is currently sister cities with areas in Ireland, Russia, France, Norway, Germany, and China. The township has worked together to create the Riverside International Friendship Gardens in Riverside Park along the banks of the beautiful Mississippi River. (Located inside the same building as the Riverside Museum)
Day 7: Winona, MN
Explore Winona, Minnesota, one of the most beautiful places in the country. The city is referred to as the “Island City” by locals because of the large sand bar it was built upon. Evidence suggests that the land’s history reaches back as early as 9500 B.C., while present-day Winona was founded as the small village of Keoxa in 1851. Nestled between the covered limestone river bluffs of the Mississippi River, this quaint port is full of culture and small town Americana. Enjoy stunning views of the rolling bluffs as they plummet to the mighty Mississippi below in this beautiful and historic city, filled with incredible museums, galleries, and parks.
Included Shore Excursions:
Minnesota Marine Art Museum
On display here guests will find an expansive art gallery from American Folk art to international pieces by Monet, Renoir and Van Gogh. This nonprofit art museum and educational center opened in July of 2006 to help showcase and recognize the Winona area for their culture and art. When they initially opened their doors, the museum featured a collection of traditional marine paintings and folk art. Today, the museum holds pieces of art that travel through the history of America and Europe including styles such as, Impressionism, Luminism, Realism, Modernism, and Contemporary.
Winona County History Center
The country’s largest county historical society. Here, guests can explore a wide variety of exhibits ranging from historical simulated Main Street America to the Time-Line exhibit which encompasses the entire 2,500-square-foot balcony and covers the history of the area from its bedrock foundation to the first human habitation. Explore Winona's rich history and shop for local gifts. The History Center is made up of Winona's 1915 Armory and the award-winning contemporary Laird Norton Addition. Step back to when the bluffs were formed and travel through time when Winona was a booming lumber town to the arts and cultural center it is today. Artifacts on exhibit include a large selection of Native American objects, the ballot box Winonans used for electing Lincoln as president and many other treasures. Three floors of exhibits and a vast research archives hold the area's amazing past. The Museum Shop features many river related, Winona and Minnesota gifts and items created by local artisans.
Watkins Museum and Store
This Winona landmark is clad inside and out with regal finishes, with a marble rotunda, Tiffany-style glass and a freestanding dome covered with 24-karat gold leaf. Watkin’s company began in 1894 selling products such as J.R. Watkins Liniment, which was their very first and most popular. The company was noted as the very first business in America to offer the famous, “money back guarantee” in 1869 as Watkins made most of his sales door-to-door. Explore the Watkins’ museum and store and get a glimpse of the history from the company’s perspective spanning more than 140 years. Walk around and discover photographs, articles, artifacts, and memorabilia before strolling through their gift shop offering more than 350 unique Watkin’s products that have stood the test of time.
Polish Cultural Institute and Museum
This 1890’s, three-story building was originally intended to be a museum storage area but stands today as a museum of Polish immigrant history. This three-story museum was constructed in 1890 and purchased by Reverend Paul J. Breza in 1977, with intentions to begin the Committee for Polish Affairs. After losing their initial parent funding business, the museum renamed itself the Polish Heritage Society and worked diligently to share the stories and history of their Polish culture and community. Explore the collections of rare Polish dolls, antique toys and tools, pictures, and artifacts depicting the history of the Polish culture. Stop in the gift shop and check out the beautiful jewelry, fine china, and books before you continue to your next stop!
Merchants National Bank was originally designed in the Prairie School style architecture in 1912. Admire the beautiful terra cotta and original stained glass featured throughout the structure, then take a look at the impressive murals of farm scenes on the interior. In 1974, the Merchants Bank was added onto the National Register of Historic Places. Today, explore beautiful architecture, discover the history, and then visit the African Safari Museum located comfortably inside.
The Basilica of St. Stanislaus Kostka
Church of St. John Nepomucene: The Basilica of St. Stanislaus Kostka is a historic church in Winona and a prominent fixture in the town’s skyline. The Basilica is listed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places and was designated as a Minor Basilica of the Roman Catholic Church by Pope Benedict XVI.
Day 8: Red Wing, MN
Red Wing, Minnesota was included on National Geographic Traveler’s list of most historic places in the world. Discovered in the early 1850’s, the lands were used mostly for harvesting wheat that would be transported up the river. Later in Red Wing’s history the economy began to flourish due to the thriving pottery industry, which became a main source of income between 1877 and 1967. Today, the city offers endless opportunities to travel back in time and learn about settlers and travelers that occupied the land before today, or to admire the craftsmanship and creativity of local artisans of both the present and the past.
Included Shore Excursions:
Pottery Museum of Red Wing
Explore one of the most important trades in the Red Wing, with history stretching back centuries. Learn about the importance of pottery in the city and see why so many people collect their particular pottery pieces! Pottery was a very historic industry in the city of Red Wing, dating back from 1877 to 1967. This museum opened in 2001 in the former Stoneware Company building, where crocks, jugs, churns, and other stoneware items were made between 1883 and 1930. The original building was 3000 square foot and could hold up to 1200 items. After the museum relocated across the street, they had access to 13,000 square feet which could hold much more. Many beautiful pieces of pottery were donated and displayed in the museum for their grand opening in 2014. View more than 6,000 unique pieces, all with different stories to tell.
Red Wing Pottery Showroom
Watch and interact with potters at work in the pottery studio of the as they wheel-throw and decorate their own pottery.
The country's first city-owned theatre, which showcases the best in arts and entertainment from Minnesota's heartland and beyond. The theater began in the early 20th century after Theodore B. Sheldon loaned an impressive $83,000 in trust to the City of Red Wing, with the hope that they would develop something that the public could benefit positively. When the doors first opened in 1904, the interior showcased beautiful arches, plaster sculptures, decorative paintings, and extreme detail all across. Over the years, through many economic hardships, the theater was slowly stripped of its ornate furnishings and details. Today, the theater has been fully restored to its original elegance.
Bush & Main Street’s Shopping District
Stop for a snack or a souvenir, visit the Native-American Store, UFFDA shop, and more. A must-see at this stop is the St. James Hotel where Clara will greet guests to share a story that can’t be missed.
St. James Hotel
Guests will be greeted by the hotel’s historical “Clara” in the main lobby of the grand hotel. Clara will guide you through the hotel, painting a picture of the history and art within for all guests. Learn her role in the hotel and the impacts she left for years to come. (Tours offered at 1:00 PM, 2:00 PM, and 3:00 PM) The hotel opened on Thanksgiving Day in 1875 and drew many businessmen in that wished for first-class lodging in the wheat-trading center of the world. The four-story Italianate structure was filled with beautiful furnishings, Brussels carpets, English velvet carpets, steam heat, hot and cold running water, gas on every floor, and a state-of-the-art kitchen! Then, hear about the history of Clara Nelson, a waitress hired at the St. James in 1914. It wasn’t long after she was hired that she learned she had much more talent than even she knew, as she slowly began to gain control of the kitchen and claim her position within the hotel and its history.
Red Wing Visitor Center and Art Association
Exhibits local artwork and shops.
Red Wing Marine Museum
This incredibly interesting museum is located in a fully-restored 1883 Red Wing building. The original building was the home of Red Wing Waterworks and fed the Red Wing Fire Department a clean supply of water. After a disastrous fire swept through the Diamond and the Red Wing Flour Mills, the town reassessed the importance of the building. Eventually a grant was given for $80,400 to implement a new water system and gas supply company, leaving the building abandoned until 2011. Now, the building hosts the Marine Museum which showcases the history of engines and boats. Exhibits include Steamboats, Sea Wing, Tug Boats, Riverboat History, Barge Industry, Red Wing Yacht Club History, Thorobred Marine Engines, and much more!
Day 9: Red Wing, MN
Arrival 8:00 AM
Thank you for cruising with us! We hope that you had a memorable experience and look forward to welcoming you aboard in the future. Enjoy nearby Minneapolis at your leisure or consider a Post-Cruise Premium Shore Excursion with airport transfer.