American Queen Steamboat Company has announced its 2021 lineup of Special Edition Voyages. With thoughtfully planned itineraries featuring exceptional voyage programming aboard the American Duchess, American Queen and newest paddlewheeler to join the fleet, the American Countess, guests can experience time-honored American traditions while creating new memories as they sail along the country’s most historic rivers.
“Our river cruises do an important job of reflecting the history, culture and traditions of the regions they sail through,” shared John Waggoner, Founder and CEO of American Queen Steamboat Company. “The special edition voyages for 2021 are a wonderful selection of what our cruises offer for guests seeking a wide variety of experiences. There’s something for every type of traveler to enjoy aboard an AQSC paddlewheeler this upcoming year.”
AQSC’s uniquely themed river cruises feature special entertainment, exclusive events and opportunities that guests would not experience on any other sailing. Whether guests want to sip and savor their way through the Bluegrass State with a special bourbon itinerary, learn about the Civil War in a journey through history or feel the rhythms of the river with one of three music-focused itineraries– there’s a specialty cruise for everyone.
The 2021 Special Edition Voyages include:
Rhythm of the Rivers
Guests are invited to explore the rhythms of the rivers with a range of musically themed itineraries in 2021. American Music Festival sailings feature an exclusive concert by national icon, Lee Greenwood along with several other special guests. The ‘Big Band’ itinerary, with sailings from the cities of New Orleans and Memphis, iconic musical tributes made popular by artists such as Frank Sinatra. Rounding things off, a Music of the 50’s and 60’s itinerary from Louisville to Memphis will transport guests back in time to one of America’s most iconic periods of rock ‘n’ roll.
Culinary & Cocktails
The rivers are home to centuries of diverse culinary traditions with each region contributing new flavors, recipes and experiences to a rich food culture. Guests will find an expansive sampling of local and historical dishes and drinks to choose from along their trip with the ‘Culinary & Cocktail’ collection of itineraries. With a variety of offerings, including the ‘Bourbon – An American Spirit’ sailing or the ‘Cajun Creole Culinary Experience’ itinerary, AQSC offers something for every taste. For those seeking a more traditional culinary experience, the ‘American Culinary Experience’ sailing offers cruisers aboard the American Duchess and American Countess access to signature dishes from local dining venues and special presentations by experts and innovators from the culinary industry. Highlights include Top Chef alumni and James Beard nominated chef, Kevin Gillespie, who will join several American Culinary Experience itineraries on board the American Duchess and conduct cooking demonstrations, host Q&A sessions, sign cookbooks provided compliments of AQSC and work directly with AQSC’s Director of Culinary Operations, Paul Wayland Smith, to include signature dishes on the dinner menu.
From the thrills of pounding hoofbeats at the Kentucky Derby™ to traveling with founder and CEO of American Queen Steamboat Company, John Waggoner, on a VIP itinerary, AQSC is excited to present its ‘Special Events’ itinerary collection for 2021. In addition to the ‘The Kentucky Derby™’ itinerary and the ‘Founders Cruise,’ other special event sailings include the ‘American River Golf Classic’, a unique cruise aboard the American Countess offering a golf package option to play four prestigious courses along the Lower Mississippi, sailing from Memphis to New Orleans. For those seeking a view of the beautiful colors of fall, the ‘Autumn on the River’ itinerary aboard the American Countess, Duchess and Queen offers the best in autumn river cruising with scenic vistas along the route from Memphis to Chattanooga (or reverse), or from Minneapolis to St. Louis. Previous guests who have sailed with AQSC in the past will love the ‘Past Guest Reunion Cruise’, a special itinerary sailing from Memphis to New Orleans aboard the American Countess where past guests can mingle and network with old friends and new as they celebrate the loyalty of AQSC family passengers.
With itineraries for Memorial Day, July Fourth, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s aboard the American Duchess, American Queen and newest paddlewheeler to join the fleet, the American Countess, guests can experience time-honored Southern traditions while creating new memories as they sail on America’s most storied rivers. The July Fourth ‘Star-Spangled Cruise’ and the ‘Salute to Veterans’ itineraries offer the perfect way to celebrate our great nation. For the fall and winter, guests can choose to spend their holiday season with the American Queen Steamboat Company family with a range of itinerary options, including a traditional ‘Thanksgiving’ itinerary, a ‘Home for the Holidays’ sailing, a ‘Creole Christmas’ or a ‘Country Christmas’ and a special ‘New Year’s Celebration’ itinerary.
Guests can help American Queen Steamboat Company support the American Heart Association’s ‘Life Is Why We Give’ campaign, through a special cruise from Memphis to New Orleans in February aboard the American Duchess paddlewheeler. Not only will AQSC donate a portion of the proceeds from the ‘Heart of the Mississippi’ cruise to this special charitable cause, guests and crew will be able to raise their own contributions by participating in an exciting morning 5k walk at Nottoway with special entertainment. Keeping in line with the 2021 seasonal trend of giving, the ‘Community Outreach’ itinerary will see guests working with the incredible communities, visited by AQSC cruises, to engage with unique charities and volunteer opportunities as they cruise from Louisville to St. Louis aboard the American Duchess. In observance and support of breast cancer survivors and researchers, AQSC will offer the ‘Breast Cancer Awareness’ itinerary to benefit Susan G. Komen® aboard the American Countess from St. Louis to New Orleans, with a portion of booking proceeds going to breast cancer research. Embarking October 17, 2021, the cruise also features a minimum donation from AQSC, where the cruise line will donate $400 for each cabin booking on the American Countess. Together with other program initiatives, American Queen Steamboat Company will donate an aggregate guaranteed minimum of $50,000 to Komen.
History & Culture
The Mississippi River has a great many stories to share, and through AQSC cruises, guests will experience the scenic landscapes, vibrant cultures and experiences of a new chapter around every bend. Specially tailored ‘History & Culture’ itineraries offer a glimpse back into the beginnings of river cruising and its glorious past. Sailing aboard the American Duchess, the ‘Art of Discovery’ cruise offers nine-day itineraries in June and September featuring a visit to Paducah, Kentucky – one of nine UNESCO Creative Cities in the United States and only one of two recognized for Crafts and Folk Art. ‘Civil War’ themed cruises bring guests on an insightful journey through our nation’s most divided moments, discovering along the way the history, culture and stories which have survived. The American Queen paddlewheeler will sail this route from Memphis to New Orleans during the months of April, May and October, as well as aboard the American Duchess and Countess from Memphis to Chattanooga in June, October and November.
Keeping the wellbeing and safety of guests, crew and partners above all else, AQSC will resume operations with new health and safety protocols as well as its ongoing partnership with Ochsner Health and its ‘Safe to Return’ Employer Solutions. Offering immersive itineraries on small boats which never lose sight of the land, award-winning onshore excursions on modified, company operated coach buses and a crew trained in maintaining the highest level of health and safety protocols, AQSC offers guests unforgettable, worry-free river cruise experiences.