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These 9-Day River Cruises in the U.S. Are Under $1000

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The word cruise often paints a picture of vast ocean ships surrounded by endless blue ocean, all-inclusive dining, and endless onboard activities. Often, these cruises come with a hefty price tag. But did you know you can take an extended river cruise in the U.S., with similar amenities and perks, without ever leaving the country?

There are several lesser-known river cruises from American Queen Voyages that offer much of what more traditional ocean cruises do and more. Most importantly, they come at a much more affordable price and have domestic itineraries right in your own backyard, without having to dust off your passport.

American Queen River Boat Cruise SteamBoat

Some popular itineraries were going to cover include a round-trip voyage out of New Orleans, Louisville to St. Louis, and Chicago to St. Louis, but they have dozens more going to every corner of the U.S., including Portland, Seattle, San Diego, New York and more.

The river cruises offer fantastic value and include all kinds of amenities. Included with each 9-Day cruise (8 days for New Orleans) is:

  • a hotel stay the evening before the cruise sets off
  • transport from the hotel to the boat
  • unlimited beverages with open bars
  • unlimited Wi-Fi
  • live onboard entertainment
  • bikes to use at port stops,
  • all meals
  • unlimited guided tours
  • private room and bathroom on board

Below we're going to go over some of American Queen Voyages' cool itineraries in 2022, where they go, and how much they are.

New Orleans Round Trip River Cruise

New Orleans Skyline with river boat

With Interior Staterooms starting at $999.50, guests can climb aboard the American Duchess for an 8-day cruise up and down the Mississippi river. For a more luxurious onboard experience, guests can opt for the Deluxe Suite, offering 3X the space when compared to the Interior Staterooms, plus a private veranda. If you like to enjoy time relaxing in your room or would like the added privacy of your own balcony to take in the sights along the river, the upgrade may be worth the cost.

New Orleans Deluxe Suite
Image Courtesy Of: American Queen Voyages
Stops and Popular Excursions Include:
  • New Orleans, Louisiana – Visit the French Quarter, try authentic beignets, and visit the famous Carousel Bar. There is plenty to do and see in this famous city, and it has something to offer everyone.
  • Nottoway, Louisiana – Visit the estate of Randolph Nottoway and tour the 53,000-square-foot pre-war mansion.
  • Pointe Coupee, Louisiana – Home to many historic estates along the False River, a great place to fish, water ski, and enjoy the natural landscape.
Natchez Mississippi Historical Building
  • Natchez, Mississippi – Over 1,000 buildings on the National Register of Historic Places call Natchez home. Unique shops, historic homes, and museums await those wishing to take in the sights.
  • Vicksburg, Mississippi – Visit the USS Cairo Gunboat and Museum to learn more about the unique history surrounding this town.

For the last day aboard, guests will spend the day cruising back to New Orleans. This is the perfect time to take in the passing scenery and enjoy the many amenities on board on the way back.

Louisville to St. Louis River Cruise

Louisville Skyline with Bridge

Inside Staterooms start at $999 for this popular itinerary. Guests will board the American Queen for a 9-day cruise along the Ohio River and Mississippi Rivers, starting in Louisville, Kentucky, and ending in St. Louis, Missouri. The boat offers an extreme luxury room, the Owner’s Suite, for $4999. The Suite includes a private veranda and even comes with its own butler.

Owners Suite on American Queen
Image Courtesy Of: American Queen Voyages
Stops and Popular Excursions Include:
  • Louisville, Kentucky – A big city that feels more like a small town. Louisville has museums, art galleries, bourbon, and a thriving theatre scene.
  • Brandenburg, Kentucky – A taste of rural Kentucky, Brandenburg is full of natural beauty. Otter Creek Recreation Area offers scenic walking trails and fly-fishing opportunities.
  • Owensboro, Kentucky – Visit the Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame & Museum, showing off the cultural music of Kentucky and its famed proponents.
Audobon Park in Henderson Kentucky
  • Henderson, Kentucky – Included in the cruise price is an on-shore Hop-On Hop-Off tour of this lovely town.
  • Paducah, Kentucky – Another town with an included Hop-On Hop-Off tour. Paducah is home to the National Quilt Museum, has a charming historic downtown, and features beautiful murals along the floodwall near the Ohio River.
  • Cape Girardeau, Missouri – Visit the Mississippi River Tales Murals, a 1,100-foot-long mural that depicts 24 panels with a historical theme.
  • St. Louis, Missouri – Home to the Gateway Arch, this stop includes a bus tour for those wishing to take in more of the city.

Chicago to St. Louis River Cruise

Chicago park and skyline

Guests boarding the American Countess will see Inside Stateroom’s start at $999 for this 9-day cruise along the Mississippi and Illinois Rivers. The cruise starts in Chicago and ends in St. Louis, with exciting stops along the way. For a more premium experience, guests can double their room size for $1799 with the Deluxe Outside Stateroom. Included with the upgrade is a private veranda to enjoy the scenery.

Deluxe Stateroom on American Countess
Image Courtesy Of: American Queen Voyages
Stops and Popular Excursions Include:
  • Ottawa, Illinois – 80 miles outside of Chicago, Ottowa is home to many historic homes, unique mom-and-pop shops, and adventure activities.
  • Peoria, Illinois – One of the most popular attractions in Peoria is the Peoria Riverfront Museum, an art and science museum.
  • Havana, Illinois – A small town of only 3,300 people, Havana is a great place to go boutique shopping and take in the beautiful Riverfront Park.
St. Louis Arch and skyline
  • Hannibal, Missouri – One of Missouri’s more popular tourist destinations. Hannibal is home to the popular Karlock’s Kars & Pop Culture Museum, which houses many historical pop culture artifacts.
  • Grafton, Illinois – Head to one of Grafton’s many wineries, go antiquing, or take a hike in Pere Marquette State Park for some beautiful natural scenery.
  • St. Louis – The final stop for the American Countess. There is no bus tour included with this river cruise, but the city is still brimming with adventure.
American Queen River Boat with trees in background

These cruises certainly offer great value and provide a unique take on a cruise experience without leaving the U.S. Travelers interested in booking a river cruise with American Queen Voyages can head to their website. If booked quickly, travelers can even take advantage of their Independence Day sale, which ends July 14th.

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