American Queen Steamboat Company (AQSC) announced its 2021 lineup of "Special Edition Voyages" on American Duchess, American Queen and newest paddlewheeler to join the fleet, American Countess.
“Our river cruises do an important job of reflecting the history, culture and traditions of the regions they sail through,” said John Waggoner, AQSC's founder and CEO. AQSC’s themed river cruises feature special entertainment, exclusive events and opportunities that guests would not experience on any other sailing. So, passengers can sip and savor their way through the Bluegrass State with a special bourbon itinerary, learn about the Civil War and explore related historical sites or indulge a personal musical passion during one of three musical-focused itineraries.
Here's a look at some of the options:
Rhythm of the Rivers: "American Music Festival" sailings in 2021 will feature an exclusive concert by singer Lee Greenwood and other special guests. A "Big Band" itinerary, with sailings from New Orleans and Memphis, will offer a musical tributes to such artists as the late Frank Sinatra. In addition, the line will offer "A Music of the '50s and '60s" itinerary from Louisville to Memphis.
Culinary & Cocktails: Guests can sample local cuisine, historical dishes and drinks during AQSC's 2021 "Culinary & Cocktail" itineraries. These include the "Bourbon – An American Spirit" sailing or the "Cajun Creole Culinary Experience" itinerary. For passengers seeking a more traditional culinary experience, the "American Culinary Experience" sailings offer cruisers on American Duchess and American Countess access to signature dishes from local dining venues and special presentations by experts and culinary innovators.
Highlights include a sailing with Kevin Gillespie, a "Top Chef" alumnus and James Beard-nominated chef; he'll join several "American Culinary Experience" itineraries on American Duchess. Gillespie will conduct cooking demonstrations, host Q&A sessions, sign cookbooks provided for guests (compliments of AQSC) and work directly with Paul Wayland Smith, AQSC’s director of culinary operations, to include signature dishes on the dinner menu.
Special Events: The line's "Special Events" collection features everything from a Kentucky Derby cruise to a "Founder's Voyage" with Waggoner on a VIP itinerary. Other special event sailings include the "American River Golf Classic" on American Countess, which offers a golf package option to play four prestigious courses along the Lower Mississippi, sailing from Memphis to New Orleans.
For those desiring to see the fall colors, the "Autumn on the River" itinerary on American Countess sails from Memphis to Chattanooga (or reverse), or from Minneapolis to St. Louis.
Guests who've previously sailed with AQSC can check out the "Past Guest Reunion Cruise," a special itinerary from Memphis to New Orleans onboard American Countess.
AWQSC also offers a range of holiday itineraries for Memorial Day, Fourth of July, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s onboard American Duchess, American Queen or American Countess. Celebratory patriotic cruises include the Fourth of July "Star-Spangled Cruise" and the line's "Salute to Veterans" itineraries. During fall and winter, the line's holiday itinerary options include a traditional Thanksgiving itinerary, a "Home for the Holidays" sailing, "Creole Christmas" or "Country Christmas" voyages and a "New Year’s Celebration" itinerary.
Giving Back: Guests can help AWSC support the American Heart Association’s "Life Is Why We Give" campaign, through a special "Heart of the Mississippi" cruise from Memphis to New Orleans in February on American Duchess. AQSC will donate a portion of the cruise proceeds to this charitable cause, plus guests and crew can raise their own contributions by participating in a morning 5K walk with special entertainment at Nottoway Plantation in Louisiana.
AQSC's "Community Outreach" itinerary will see guests working with people in the communities along the rivers, such as on a sailing from Louisville to St. Louis on American Duchess.
On October 17, 2021, an American Countess cruise from St. Louis to New Orleans will be tapped as a "Breast Cancer Awareness" itinerary to benefit Susan G. Komen. A portion of the line's cruise proceeds, $400 for each cabin booking, will be donated by AQSC to breast cancer research. That plus other AQSC initiatives will result in a minimum $50,000 donation to Komen.
History & Culture: In June and September, "Art of Discovery" cruises on American Duchess will visit Paducah, KY, 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 on American Queen will operate between Memphis and New Orleans during April, May and October, and on American Duchess and American Countess between Memphis and Chattanooga during June, October and November.
AQSC plans to resume operations with new health and safety protocols as well as its ongoing partnership with Ochsner Health and its "Safe to Return" Employer Solutions.