More River Cruise Companies Are Setting Sail on the Mississippi
PHOTO: The American Queen. (Photo courtesy American Queen Steamboat Company)
River cruising is a European thing, right? Wrong.
More and more rivers are opening up to river cruising around the world but one of the most possibly overlooked river cruise journeys is right in our own U.S. backyard: The mighty Mississippi.
“When I cruised on the 436-passenger paddle-wheeler American Queen in July, I had tamped down my expectations. How, after all, could St. Louis compare to Paris? How would rows of high corn and lush green tobacco fields measure up to terraced vineyards that produce some of the world's finest wines? Seriously, grits or gougeres?” writes Ellen Uzelac in the Chicago Tribune.
Thankfully, Uzelac was not disappointed.
“By the time American Queen tied up across the street from the Cincinnati Reds stadium, ablaze in neon just before dawn, I got it,” she reported.
It’s no wonder why more and more river cruise companies such as Viking River Cruises and French America Line are launching Mississippi River cruises and American Cruise Line just added a second ship.
"The Mississippi River is where so much of America's history was written," said Gary Seabrook, American Queen Steamboat Company’s senior vice president of operations. "We don't have castles to take you to. Our boat and our itineraries are a little more homespun. But the Mississippi is our Nile, and it runs right down the middle of the country. There's a sense of rediscovering our own antiquity."
Uzelac notes that there is a lot to do on the Mississippi.
READ MORE: Why Natchez? Why Not?
“Remember, too, that the Mississippi River Valley was settled by European immigrants, whose influence is still on display today in everything from cultural traditions to cuisine,” she writes.
So there’s almost no need to travel all the way to Europe, when you can discover a little slice of history right in our own backyard. If you want to know more about this burgeoning market, read about the rest of Uzelac’s experience here.
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