INSIDE THE BOURBON EXPERIENCE – Learn what makes a centuries-old tradition as uniquely American as our river cruises with this rare opportunity to experience an extraordinary journey through America’s heartland and into the roots of Kentucky’s bourbon region. This special themed voyage will take you behind the scenes and into the history books to show you where bourbon comes from, how it is made and the ways to distinguish the unique characteristics of different distilleries. Not only have we arranged for special tastings, treats, and cooking demonstrations, but also we are thrilled to announce an exclusive line-up of special onboard guests. Bill Samuels Jr., son of Maker’s Mark founder, Bill Samuels Sr., will lead a Maker’s Mark presentation and tasting. Also joining Bill Samuels will be Don Flinn of Buffalo Trace whose presentations and tastings have received rave reviews on our past Bourbon cruises. Michael Veach, a bourbon historian and member of the Kentucky Bourbon Hall of Fame, brings an unbiased opinion to any bourbon conversation and will offer tastings of some of the world’s most famous and unique bourbons. Both onboard and ashore, each day presents an eclectic blend of music, creative workshops and a wealth of enrichment that can’t be found anywhere else. This dynamic blend of historic discovery, toe-tapping entertainment and complimentary tours of the finest bourbon distilleries creates a uniquely American river cruise that you simply cannot afford to miss!
Day 1 - Hotel Stay - Memphis, TN
Enjoy your complimentary stay at the historic Peabody Hotel in downtown Memphis. The evening is yours to get self-acquainted with this citys famed eateries, unique shops and lively entertainment. Our Hospitality Desk will be located in the hotel for your convenience between 3:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. It is here that our friendly staff can assist with everything from general questions about your upcoming voyage to reserving Premium Shore Excursions. An American Queen Steamboat Company representative, as well as a local representative, will be readily available to provide you with dining, entertainment, and sight-seeing suggestions so that you may maximize your time in Memphis.
Day 2 - Memphis, TN
Today is the day you have been waiting for! Prepare to embark on an unforgettable journey through history. If you haven’t gotten your full dose of Memphis yet, visit the AQSC Hospitality Desk for ideas about how to spend your day. The official Voyage Check-In will be open from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. During this time, our representatives will arrange for your transfer to the vessel and answer any questions you might have. The process is simple and will have you back to exploring in no time. If you have any additional questions, the Hospitality Desk will be at your service until the complimentary vessel transfers begin at 3:00 p.m.
Day 3 - Leisurely River Cruising
There is always plenty to do between dawn and dusk on the river and today is the perfect day to enjoy the many public spaces and activities that are available to you onboard. Gaze at the beautiful landscapes and small river towns as you mingle with fellow guests and discuss the unique aspects of river life. If you fancy a moment for yourself, retreat to The Lincoln Library adorned with ornate bookcases stocked with an imaginative selection. Take hold of a literary classic, curl up on a plush chair in a cozy corner and relish every moment of serenity. Our fitness facility, business center, movie theater and grand lobby offer a more stimulating day on the river for those who wish to indulge in more energy-infused activity. However you wish to spend your day, make it your own and revel in every moment.
Day 4 - Paducah, KY
Paducah embraces their harmonious history between the European settlers and the Padoucca Indians native to the area. The city is located at the confluence of the Ohio and the Tennessee Rivers and because of this, it is often called the Four-Rivers Area due to the proximity of the Ohio, Cumberland, Tennessee, and Mississippi Rivers. This prime location has played a major role in Paducah’s history, as transportation was easily accessible – the economy was strong and travelers were frequent!
Day 5 - Henderson, KY
Framed by nature, the area comprising Henderson, Kentucky, originally known as the great hunting and fishing mecca of American Indians, was first seen by a group of men including Thomas Walker and Daniel Boone, who found their way into the area through the Cumberland Gap. Henderson’s wooded hills and lush vegetation attracted legendary naturalist, John James Audubon, who operated a mill on the riverfront from 1810 to 1819, just one block from the center of the present business district. Thousands of people annually visit Audubon State Park and Museum, boasting the largest collection of John James Audubon original art and artifacts. A vibrant downtown, river up close, and with nature and history as its backdrop, Henderson is a progressive, small Southern town that also has its heritage deeply embedded within its borders and embraced by its citizens.
Day 6 - Owensboro, KY
The first European descdant to settle in Owensboro was frontiersman William Smeathers or Smothers in 1797, from whom the Riverfront park is named. The settlement was originally known as Yellow Banks from the color of the land beside the Ohio River. The Lewis and Clark Expedition wintered at what is todays Owensboro prior to departing on their famous travels. In 1817, Yellow Banks was formally established under the name Owensborough, named after Col. Abraham Owen. In 1893, the spelling of the name was shortened to its current Owensboro. There have been several distillers, mainly of bourbon whiskey, in and around the city. Owensboro is also home to famous actor Johnny Depp, as he is a member of an old and prodigious Kentucky family.
Day 7 - Brandenburg, KY
Once in Brandenburg and Meade County, enjoy the stunning scenery of a city perfectly situated along the Ohio River. The quiet community features two golf ranges, countless outdoor activities, and hunting and fishing abound. The relaxing nature of Brandenburg has pasted its name onto tourist’s maps as a quiet, rejuvenating vacation destination.
Day 8 - Louisville, KY
From its frontier founding at the time of the American Revolution, to the heyday of Steamboat transport in the early 19th century, through the city’s importance as a Union base during the Civil War, Louisville has always balanced a sense of history with an ability to re-invent itself as the city of originals. As the the largest city in Kentucky and in the top 30 most populated cities in the United States, this large city brings with it an authentic and original culture and diversity that visitors quickly learn to love. Discover the talent and creativity of Louisville locals in a number of art galleries, theatrical performances, and museums. Nearly everyone can find something they love here as we discover Louisville’s treasures!
Day 9 - Louisville, KY
Thank you for cruising with us! We hope that you had a memorable experience and look forward to welcoming you aboard in the future. Enjoy Louisville at your leisure or consider a Post-Cruise Premium Shore Excursion with airport transfer.