• United States
Atlantic Ocean - Sunrise

Overview

Early explorers and native tribes left their legacy behind in town names here: Joliet. Red Wing. Dubuque. Rolling farmland stretches out to the horizon; barges are measured in acres; man-made lakes and locks channel the river’s flow. What to do on a river day? Grab your binoculars and study a pair of American bald eagles. Wave to the motorboat captains locking through the dam beside you. Study red in ten different shades of fall foliage. Tap into the sense of wonder that caused early pioneers to call the heartland home.   

Destinations handpicked to pique the interest of nature lovers, history buffs and culture enthusiasts let you delve into beauty and adventure on an epic scale. After all, this is America’s Heartland, envisioned by Washington and Jefferson, celebrated by Mark Twain and stitched into the very fabric of a nation. From Chippewa country in the north to the confluence of the Missouri near St. Louis and Ohio Rivers at Cairo, the Upper Mississippi flows through the pages of U.S. history.

Sample Itinerary

Day 1: St. Louis

Arrive in St. Louis & transfer from the airport to your hotel for an evening at your leisure.

Day 2: St. Louis

Embark your ship & check in to your cabin.  As the ship departs St. Louis, gaze up at the Gateway Arch & envision the adventures that lie ahead. The Welcome Aboard Dinner gets your journey off to a festive start.

Day 3: Steamboating - Mississippi River

Settle into a rocking chair and just let the scenery glide by. Or join in the fun of numerous onboard activities. Your full day of leisurely steamboating on the Mississippi River sets the tone for an unforgettable vacation.

Day 4: Hannibal

Board the Twainland Express for a journey enlivened by the spirit of Samuel Clemens, who authored American classics under the pen name of Mark Twain. Stroll through the Museum Complex, explore the famous Cave and watch as your guide points out scenes from famous tales.

Included Tour: This tour is all about exploring the Hannibal of Samuel Clemens, better known as Mark Twain. Begin your journey into the town that inspired the author’s imagination at the Mark Twain Boyhood House & Museum.  See the Justice of Peace, the courtroom setting used for trial in Tom Sawyer’s story. Visit the Becky Thatcher House, home of Tom Sawyer’s first sweetheart. Delight your palates with exclusive wines and free tasting at the Mark Twain Winery.

Then, take a journey to a time where the golden age of railroading and toy trains were part of most everyone’s life at the Big River Train Town Museum. Last but not least, enjoy visiting local Trinity Church and shopping at the Huck Finn Shopping Center.


Day 5: Steamboating - Lake Itasca

The Great Waters of the Mississippi originate in Lake Itasca and roll relentlessly to the Gulf of Mexico. This force of nature is your constant companion during a magical day of uninterrupted cruising.

Day 6: Dubuque

The flags of five nations have flown over a city that lives and breathes river lore. Take in its diverse flavors from Cable Car Square to the Smithsonian-affiliated National Mississippi River Museum and Aquarium.

Included Tour:  Start this amazing tour on board our deluxe Hop On-Hop Off Steamcoach to Dubuque’s Museum of Art. Then, visit the oldest and most "grand" of more than 16 legitimate theaters in the community, the Grand Opera House. While viewing the Shot Tower, you’ll hear about how this structure produced nearly two-thirds of all the lead shot used during the Civil War. The Fenelon Place Elevator sits on the bluff of Dubuque, overlooking downtown and the mighty Mississippi River.

At the Mathias Ham House, you will capture the flavor of life along the Mississippi during the golden era of steamboating. Later, The Old Jail Museum will show you a rare example of Egyptian Revivalist architecture—as well as the dungeon in the basement! 

Lastly, visit The Hotel Julien, which became known as one of the finest hotels in the Midwest and Al Capone’s hiding-out spot in Dubuque.

Day 7: La Crosse

This gem of Victorian and Art Deco architecture with an inviting Riverwalk is your gateway to local culture. Explore Amish Country or enjoy “lefse” and Scandinavian folk tunes with Norwegian descendants.

Included Tour: Board our deluxe Hop On-Hop Off Steamcoaches at the dock and enjoy a narrated tour of charming downtown La Crosse. Enjoy views from Victorian-style Hixon House, a home from the late 1850s. Discover exhibitions with historical and educational art programs at the Swarthout Museum and Pumphouse Regional Arts Center. Other stops include the Chapels of St. Rose and the Riverside Museum with exhibitions from the War Eagle. Learn about the impact of La Crosse’s river growth, and enjoy an appreciation for the diverse cultures that share the earth at the Riverside International Friendship Garden.

Day 8: Red Wing

Red Wing is home to a variety of shops, including arts, antiques, pottery and one-of-a kind boutiques. Red Wing ranks as one of Minnesota's leading manufacturing cities. Historically it is known as home to products including shoes, pottery and linseed oil. Today it also produces safety and robotic products.

Included Tour:  Start your narrated tour at the Visitor Center and Art for some vital information about the city of Red Wing. Discover Minnesota’s favorite destination for antiques, gift shop, eateries and pottery at the Pottery Place District. Then visit the Stoney Ends Harps, who have made handcrafted folk lever harps for 25 years. At the Historic West End, you will find the Native American, Military and Sheldon Performing Arts Theatre. Do some fantastic shopping at Main & Bush Shopping Center, or grab a bite, relax or shop at the luxurious historic St. James Hotel. Don’t miss the spectacular view of bluffs of Minnesota and Wisconsin that await you at Memorial Park.

Day 9: St. Paul

Disembark in the Twin Cities surrounded by skyscrapers, bridges and the first of many Mississippi River locks and dams.