River cruising has been very popular in Europe and Asia for many years. It was also one of the popular ways to take a vacation in the US, but that changed when the largest, the America Steamboat Company closed down. The good news is they are back in business and once again we have a way to cruise the major rivers in our country.
Cruising our major rivers is an ideal way to see the towns and cities along their banks, visit the beautiful Antebellum houses filled with history and sometimes a ghost or two; spend time in one of the museums with historic displays; and sample the culture, food and drinks of the region. This year the American Queen Steamboat will again ply the Mississippi, Ohio, and Tennessee Rivers to visit the ‘heartland of America’ in such historic ports as New Orleans, Natchez, Hannibal, Chattanooga and Pittsburgh.
While on board passengers will find accommodations comparable to those on an ocean going cruise ship, from inside cabins with no windows, to cabins with bay windows or verandas, to suites with Victorian antiques. Of course they all have modern amenities and private bathrooms
When it comes to dining the options are varied, starting with the centerpiece, the opulent ‘J.M. White Dining Saloon’, to the ‘Front Porch of America’ with it’s classic american favorites, to the ‘Calliope Grill’ with spectacular views and alfresco dining in the evening, and in the wee hours of the night the ‘Moonlight Supper’ in the engine room bar has midnight delights. There is 24-hour dining, afternoon ice-cream and cookies and elegant southern tea, and everything is included in the fare.
Being entertained is part of cruising and the 2-decks tall ‘Grand Saloon’ takes care of some of that. Each evening there is a different selection of American music – Broadway hits, Dixieland jazz, blue grass, ragtime, and rock-and-roll, add to that the Cabaret acts and old-fashioned radio shows. Passengers will have a hard time getting them all in on a seven day cruise, one of the reasons to opt for a longer time on-board.
During the year there are many different ‘theme cruises’ that appeal to a particular segment of passengers, such as the Big Band cruises, Dixie Fest and Southern Culture and Spring Pilgrimage, to get more information and plan your own river cruise visit here.
A different option for cruising on America’s rivers is the “Blount small ship adventures” who have been cruising since 1966. Their ships take you were big ocean liners cannot go, under low bridges, into narrow locks, along the Erie canal, to the islands of New England, along the Florida Coast, and into the Michigan and Superior Lakes.
This is a different type of river cruising, there is no formal attire; staterooms come in four categories, on three decks, each with individual air-conditioning, private shower and washrooms and comfortable beds; dining is open seating for breakfast, lunch and dinner, with refreshments and snacks available 24 hours in the lounge.
Check out the Q&A section for answers about the three ships and what to expect while cruising with them, and the special offers available.