Autumn steamboating on the Upper Mississippi River is a magical time as the leaves change color and the evening air begins to cool. Beginning Sept. 2012, the American Queen steamboat will embark on her first journeys along this fabled stretch of the Mississippi River since 2008, stopping at many historic river towns including Mark Twain’s Hannibal, Mo., the inspirational home of classic characters Huckleberry Finn and Tom Sawyer. Steamboat and fall-foliage aficionados can still take advantage of limited availability on these popular voyages showcasing the stretch of river between St. Louis and St. Paul, Minn.
“Our inaugural season has been enthusiastically received by guests, many of whom marked the return of steamboating by re-reading their favorite piece of Mark Twain literature,” explains American Queen Steamboat Company CEO Jeffrey D. Krida. “We look forward to our steamboat returning to this magical section of the river once again.”
· The St. Louis seven-night Fall Colors departures to St. Paul, Minn., are Sept. 14, 28, Oct. 12 and 29 visiting Hannibal, Mo.; Dubuque, Iowa; LaCrosse, Minn.; and Red Wing, Minn.
· Voyages embarking from St. Paul, Minn. to St. Louis are Sept. 21, Oct. 5, 22 and Nov. 5 calling at Red Wing, Minn.; La Crosse, Minn.; Dubuque, Iowa; Davenport, Iowa; Burlington, Iowa; and Hannibal, Mo.
While in Hannibal, Mo., guests will explore in the spirit of Samuel Clemens, who authored American classics under the pen name of Mark Twain through an inclusive shore excursion. The tour will begin at the Mark Twain Boyhood House & Museum followed by a visit to the courtroom used in Tom Sawyer’s story and finally the home of the character’s sweetheart, Becky Thatcher. American Queen guests will then enjoy a free tasting at the Mark Twain Winery and learn about the golden age of railroading and toy trains at the Big River Train Town Museum.
Up river in Red Wing, Minn., steamboaters will begin a tour at the Visitor Center and stroll the Pottery Place District for antiques, crafts and sweet treats. Then a visit to handcrafted folk lever harp maker Stoney Ends Harps and the Native American, Military and Sheldon Performing Arts Theatre is in store. A visit to the historic St. James Hotel is a must, followed by soaking in spectacular views of the bluffs of Minnesota and Wisconsin at Memorial Park.
Offering the most inclusive river cruise experience in North America, each holiday fare begins at $1,995 per person based on double occupancy, and includes a one-night pre-voyage hotel stay, all shore tours onboard deluxe SteamcoachesSM in all ports, complimentary wine and beer with dinner and a host of other amenities.
A special three-night St. Paul, Minn. roundtrip voyage is available October 19 with stops in Red Wing, Minn. and Lake Pepin, Minn. Fares begin at $995 per person based on double occupancy. Single cabin fares are available on all itineraries.
Consumers can also take advantage of special Free Airfare and Back-to-Back voyage savings on select departures.