St Louis to Memphis - 10 Days

St. Louis to Memphis Cruise Summary

The waters of the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers are renowned for remaining different colours when they meet at the confluence of these mighty tributaries. During this cruise downstream from St Louis you will have the chance to witness this natural marvel from the comfort of your authentic paddlewheeler, on your way to the artistic city of Paducah in Kentucky, known as the “Quilt Capital of America”.

In Memphis, revisit the stomping grounds of some of the greatest musical legends in history, including the King himself, Elvis Presley.

Discover the attractions of New Madrid and the breathtaking Gateway Arch of St. Louis, which has been towering over America’s hidden gem of a city for more than half a century. Soak up the atmosphere of Cape Girardeau, immortalised by Mark Twain in “Life on the Mississippi”.

 

 

Highlights

  • Follow the underground Chitlin’ Music Circuit to the Hotel Metropolitan in Paducah
  • Included city tours in Memphis, Chester and St. Louis
  • The Civil War history of New Madrid and Cape Girardeau

 

 

2024 All-inclusive fares from £5,559 pp

memphis to st louis - st louis to memphis map

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day-by-day itinerary

 

Day 1: Hotel Stay – St Louis, 

Arrive in St Louis for your 2-night pre-cruise hotel stay.

 

Day 2: Hotel Stay – St Louis

Enjoy your time in St Louis at your own leisure.  An American Queen Voyages 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 maximise your time in St Louis.

 

Day 3: St. Louis

The city is a vibrant destination that also boasts a wide array of museums, music and theatre venues, and is known for its diverse neighbourhoods and the different cultural traditions each one brings forth. Forest Park – almost 50 percent bigger than Central Park – is the crown jewel of St. Louis. offering nearly 1,293 acres of land for biking, walking, golf, tennis, and other sports activities. The park is home to: the St. Louis Art Museum, the St. Louis Zoo, the St. Louis Science Center, the Missouri History Museum, and the Muny amphitheatre.

Included Shore Excursions

St. Louis Hop-On Hop-Off Tour

Old Courthouse / Gateway Arch

Embrace this prime example of mid-19th century federal architecture. The Old Courthouse is known not only for its classic architecture, but also the notable cases presented in the courthouse, such as Dred Scott, who sued for his freedom from slavery. The Gateway Arch is symbolic of St. Louis. This iconic structure was completed in 1965 and has since provided millions of visitors with stunning views of up to 30 miles from east to west.  Please note: Admission inside the Gateway Arch is additional. Suggested Visit: 30 min  –  2 hours

 

 

 

 

Day 4: Grafton, Illinois

Grafton is the oldest city in Jersey County, founded as a river community with an eye on supporting riverboats traveling between Chicago and St. Louis. Boat construction, quarries, and mills were part of the city’s early industrial years. Grafton housed a factory that made boats through the 1960s. The city’s early history is the stuff of legends. Early Grafton was reminiscent of the Wild West. Due to the relatively short distance across the river to Missouri, the city lured outlaws who would hide out in surrounding hollows and caves. Infamous outlaw Jesse James and his gang reportedly spent time at The River House Hotel, or the “Bloody Bucket” as it was later known. Now known as the Great Rivers and Routes region, this is the only place where the Mother Road of Route 66 meets the Great River Road. The convergence of those two iconic roads is also the intersection of fascinating people, places and things that make this region so special.

 

 

 

 

Day 5: St. Louis

The city is a vibrant destination that also boasts a wide array of museums, music and theatre venues, and is known for its diverse neighbourhoods and the different cultural traditions each one brings forth. Forest Park – almost 50 percent bigger than Central Park – is the crown jewel of St. Louis. offering nearly 1,293 acres of land for biking, walking, golf, tennis, and other sports activities. The park is home to: the St. Louis Art Museum, the St. Louis Zoo, the St. Louis Science Center, the Missouri History Museum, and the Muny amphitheatre.

Included Shore Excursions

St. Louis Hop-On Hop-Off Tour

Old Courthouse / Gateway Arch

Embrace this prime example of mid-19th century federal architecture. The Old Courthouse is known not only for its classic architecture, but also the notable cases presented in the courthouse, such as Dred Scott, who sued for his freedom from slavery. The Gateway Arch is symbolic of St. Louis. This iconic structure was completed in 1965 and has since provided millions of visitors with stunning views of up to 30 miles from east to west.  Please note: Admission inside the Gateway Arch is additional. Suggested Visit: 30 min  –  2 hours

 

 

 

 

Day 6: Kimmswick, Missouri

Kimmswick offers a chance to step back into the less hurried days of the 1800s. A look back furnishes us an appreciation for the historical significance. Theodore Kimm, a successful St. Louis dry goods merchant, moved to Jefferson County, Missouri in 1850 and purchased a large tract of land where the Little Rock Creek empties into the Mississippi. Travel to the area in early days was by way of the Mississippi River or by inland trails that first used by the Indians and later by the French and Spanish. The route was called “Rue Royale” by the French and “El Camino Real” by the Spanish. Many goods were hauled over this trail by two-wheeled oxcarts and later by wagons. Early settlements in this area were under French control. But when France lost the French and Indian War, this land west of the Mississippi went to Spain.

 

 

Day 7: Cape Girardeau

Nestled along the western banks of the mighty Mississippi River, you’ll find Cape Girardeau, Missouri – a community rich in history and heritage. For more than 250 years, people have been drawn to Cape Girardeau and the river on which it lies. As you stroll along the riverfront, pause for a moment… you’ll feel the passion that led Mark Twain to write so eloquently about Cape Girardeau in Life on the Mississippi, the inspiration that Gen. Ulysses S. Grant used to lead with firm conviction as he took command of the Union Army in the historic downtown and the warmth and hospitality that community founder Louis Lorimier extended to Meriwether Lewis and William Clark, while on the journey of a lifetime as they set forth to explore the Louisiana Purchase on their Corps of Discovery. Cape Girardeau, which has shown hospitality to the likes of Twain, Lewis and Clark, and General Grant, greets today’s guests in the same vein.

Included Shore Excursions

Cape Girardeau Hop-On Hop-Off Tour

Mississippi River Tales Murals   The Mississippi River Tales Mural is the largest and most dramatic of Cape Girardeau’s murals and is located on a portion of the downtown floodwall. Covering nearly 18,000 square feet, this 1,100-foot-long mural features 24 historically themed panels that vividly portray Cape Girardeau’s rich history and heritage. The Missouri Wall of Fame Mural features 47 individuals who were born in Missouri or achieved fame while living in the state. View this beautiful artwork and be sure to stop at the descriptive markers that provide an explanation of each panel. Suggested Visit: 15 – 30 minutes

Red House Interpretive Center   The Interpretive Center commemorates the life of community founder French-Canadian, Louis Lorimier, as well as the visit of Meriwether Lewis and William Clark in November 1803. It also houses an early 1800s exhibit that reflects the lives of the early settlers of the old Cape Girardeau district. In addition, a rendering of Lorimier’s Trading Post displays authentic items that would have been sold at the turn of the 19th century. The gardens on the north side of the house show the types of garden you might have seen in 1803 with flowers, vegetables, cooking herbs, and medicinal herbs. Suggested Visit: 15 – 30 minutes

Old St. Vincent’s Church   The Renaissance architecture, referred to as English Gothic Revival style, is not only beautiful but also extremely rare, as very few churches of this style exist in America today. Explore the many artifacts preserved in the church as you admire the arches and woodwork lining the interior of the chapel. Discover this fully restored beauty as it transports you back in time. Suggested Visit: 30 minutes

Glenn House   Completed in 1883, the Glenn House is a fully restored historic museum in Cape Girardeau, Missouri. It is a prime example of the Victorian period lifestyle including the architecture, furnishings, clothing, and décor. The Glenn House was built for David A. Glenn, who was an influential figure in the city’s history. He and his family occupied the home until 1915. Before they vacated the home, it was renovated in 1900 to the Queen Anne Style. The house is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Many of the furnishings and features of the home have been restored to their original beauty and have been kept authentic to the Victorian time interior. Suggested Visit: 30 – 45 minutes

Crisp Museum   Located inside Southeast Missouri State University’s River Campus, the Crisp Museum collects in three thematic areas: archaeology, history, and fine art. The archaeology collection has several collections of prehistoric Native American artifacts, which illustrate aspects of the daily and ceremonial lives of the indigenous peoples who lived in southeastern Missouri from 13,500 B.C. to 1400 A.D. The museum’s historical collections cover a wide range of artifacts with strengths in the areas of militaria, firearms and their accessories, clothing, and hand tools. Suggested Visit: 45 minutes – 1 hour

Cape River Heritage Museum   Since its founding in 1981, the Cape River Heritage Museum has focused on the stories of Cape Girardeau while preserving the 1908 building at the corner of Frederick and Independence streets. Located in an old police and fire station, the museum features rotating exhibits depicting the history of the region. Discover the founding of Cape Girardeau, see a gallery of antique typewriters, and a new display of vintage Ford automobiles. Suggested Visit: 30 -45 minutes

Premium Shore Excursions

TRACING THE TRAIL OF TEARS

Embark on an in-depth tour of one of America’s most historic sites. Retrace the route taken by displaced Native Americans at the Trail of Tears State Park. The park’s visitor center tells the tale of heartache that was dubbed the “Trail of Tears.” Throughout your journey in the park, discover the history behind this cultural banishment utilized by the United States Government to free land for settlers. To look back at this heartbreaking tale will remind you of our society’s evolutions that have overcome past mistakes and reflect on issues that may still surround us today.

 

Day 8: Paducah

The town was platted out and named in honuor of the largest nation of Native Americans that ever roamed North America, the Padouca Indians. Lewis and Clark had made acquaintance with many of them on their trek west. Discover how Paducah played a pivotal role in American history from rivers to railroad transportation, the Civil War to civil rights. Museums and riverfront “Wall to Wall” murals by the Dafford Murals Team weave the story of Paducah’s past and guide viewers to experiences and landmarks throughout the town, where historical markers detail the significance and cultural heritage.

Included Shore Excursions

Paducah Hop-On Hop-Off Tour

The National Quilt Museum  Celebrating 30 years in 2021, the National Quilt Museum is the largest of its kind in the world. It is the portal to the contemporary quilt experience, and features exhibits and workshops by renowned quilters who implement creative approaches to fiber art. The museum features over 600 pieces of art highlighting a collection of modern quilts and changing thematic exhibitions that celebrate the talent and diversity of the global quilting community. The National Quilt Museum shares the artistic tradition of quilt making and played an integral role in Paducah’s designation as a UNESCO Creative City in 2013. Visit the Museum Shop & Book Store for Kentucky-crafted items and quilt-related instructional and collector books. Suggested Visit: 30 minutes – 1 hour

 

Premium Shore Excursions

CHECK-IN ALONG THE CHITLIN’ TRAIL

With simple white lettering across the front porch reading “Hotel Metropolitan,” this rustic colonial structure became a safe haven for traveling African American musicians in the early 1900s. As we step off the motorcoach and into the radiating heat of the Kentucky sun, we will meet Miss Maggie, a ball of southern energy and hospitality. As she personally welcomes us inside, time turns back a century. Follow Miss Maggie through the rooms as she shares the rich history that has been stowed in the hotel’s walls. Listen as she gossips about its past boarders, including B.B. King, Billie Holiday, and Ike and Tina Turner, just to name a few in the hotel’s famous guest book.

 

Day 9: New Madrid

New Madrid is famous for being the site of a series of more than 1,000 earthquakes in 1811 and 1812, caused by the New Madrid Seismic Zone. During your visit to this port, explore the history of earthquakes in addition to Native American artefacts and Civil War artefacts. Located on the river in the former Kendall Saloon at the foot of Main Street, the New Madrid Historical Museum reflects the history of the town from the Mississippian period up through the early 20th century. The Native American culture known as The Mississippian rose in the Mississippi Valley around 700 AD and lasted until approximately 1400 AD. The primary site of the Mississippians was near present-day St. Louis. The main settlement in the New Madrid area has come to be known as the Lilburn Fortified Village Site.

Included Shore Excursions

New Madrid Hop-On Hop-Off Tour

New Madrid Historical Museum  Located in the former Kendall Saloon off of Main Street, the New Madrid Historical Museum shares the history of this river town from the Mississippian period through the 20th century. Here, guests can explore the great earthquakes of 1811 and 1812, documented with seismographic recordings, Native American artefacts, Civil War artefacts, early family life in the city of New Madrid during the 19th and 20th centuries, and the gift shop! Suggested Visit: 30 minutes – 1 hour.

 

 

 

Day 10: Memphis, TN

As your American Queen Voyages journey concludes, there are other opportunities for you to take in the town — whether it’s an optional premier post-cruise experience or a quick transfer to the airport for your final trip home — your AQV team can pre-arrange everything for you.

Premium Shore Excursions
Pre-Cruise: The Elvis Experience

Begin your journey along the Mississippi River with a king’s treatment as we depart the hotel and weave our way through the streets of Memphis towards the home of the King himself – Graceland Mansion!

Enter through “The King’s” front door where the presence of Elvis can still be felt within the walls as you walk through the same rooms as he did after a long day’s performance. Custom crafted and state-of-the art iPads will help guide your way through each room, providing thoughtful narration by actor and Elvis enthusiast, John Stamos as well as personal commentary by Elvis’ daughter, Lisa Marie Presley.

At this musical mecca, discover distinctly “Elvis” rooms such as the famous “Jungle Room,” an homage to “The King’s” love for Hawaii, featuring green shagged carpets, exotically carved woodwork, and a Polynesian feel. View “Vernon’s Office,” where Elvis’ father, Vernon Presley, managed his career, as well as the Trophy Building and Racquetball Building, where you will find hundreds of awards and accolades, received throughout his career as well as those awarded posthumously. Just outside the mansion, a short stroll through the Meditation Garden, where “The King’s” final resting place is located alongside other members of his family. Pay your respects to Elvis and his contributions to American music and entertainment, knowing his legacy resonates throughout the world and spans multiple generations.

But the adventure doesn’t end there! This Elvis experience continues with exclusive exhibits including: • Graceland Mansion Audio-Guided Tour with New Orientation Film • Full Access to State-of-the-Art Visitor Entertainment Complex – NEW! • Elvis’ Two Custom Airplanes • Elvis Presley Car Museum – NEW! • Elvis: The Entertainer Career Showcase Museum – NEW! • Elvis Discover Exhibits – NEW!

Before our journey continues enjoy some free time for lunch on your own at one of the many Elvis themed eateries! We then continue with Graceland in our rear-view and Memphis’s heart and soul – Beale Street ahead. Oozing with the gritty feeling of the blues and rock `n’ roll, Beale Street’s musical history is alive in every store front lining the road, street band performing on the corner, and brick paving our way. A larger-than-life iconic brass statue of Elvis marks the starting point of the “Walking in Memphis” portion of this exclusive excursion. Here, we will experience the most famous street in Memphis as our local guide leads us through the vibrant city he calls home. Our personal and exclusive guide shares his infectious enthusiasm and love for this southern city as he narrates stories of his favourite attractions as we walk past. A stroll along Beale Street is littered with music, history, culture and the sweet smell of smoky barbeque wafting through the alleys.

You will not want to miss this exclusive experience through the Music City!

All shore excursions, prices, and information are subject to change without notice.

Transportation: Provided
Duration: 6.5 hours

Soundtrack of Memphis

Today, we embark on a musical tour of Memphis, Tennessee, the “Birthplace of Rock and Roll.” Activities begin in the early afternoon with a relaxing driving tour of Midtown Memphis’s 342-acre Overton Park, where our first stop is the iconic Levitt Shell amphitheatre. Here, we’ll be treated to a musical performance by our tour guide on the stage where Elvis Presley put on his first paid concert in 1954.

Our driving tour continues through Overton Square, a cultural hotspot of the 1970s that has since been revitalized into a thriving, modern entertainment district. We’ll pass Galloway House, the Methodist church where Johnny Cash and the Tennessee Two put on their first performance, and “Soulsville, U.S.A,” where legends like Otis Redding, Booker T. & the MGs, Isaac Hayes, and others got their starts at Stax Records. Other sites include Priscilla Presley’s high school, Church Park, and the W.C. Handy House Museum, the turn-of-the-century log shack that was home to the “father of the blues” himself.

As a brief intermission from our driving tour, we’ll stop off at the Tennessee Welcome Centre. Then, continue past sites that include Court Square, historic Beale Street, and the National Civil Rights Museum, built around the infamous Lorraine Motel where Martin Luther King, Jr. was tragically assassinated in 1968. And no visit to Memphis, “Blues City,” would be complete without seeing the Blues Hall of Fame.

Additional sites that we will see today include the South Main Arts District, the Gibson Guitar Factory, scenic Vance Avenue, Bluff Park, FedExForum, and the WDIA radio station, where soul music first hit the airwaves. We’ll top off our tour with the magnificent Peabody Hotel, the famed Memphis Front Street (also known as “Cotton Row”), and Lauderdale Courts. Time permitting, we’ll see Humes High School –Elvis Presley’s alma mater –and Sun Studio, a rock and roll landmark.

This excursion concludes at the dock of the vessel.

All shore excursions, prices, and information are subject to change without notice.

Transportation: Provided
Duration: 3 hours

always all-inclusive

Return scheduled flights from London

2-night Pre-cruise Hotel Stay+

Premium City Highlights Tour (Embarkation Day)+

Transfers

Unlimited Included Guided Tours

Acclaimed Cuisine in Multiple Venues

In-room Dining Available

Unlimited WiFi

Bicycles* and Hiking Sticks

Live, Daily Onboard
Entertainment & Enrichment

Pre-Paid Gratuities

Open Bars & Lounges

Port Taxes & Fees

Unlimited Beverages

*River Cruises Only

+1-night on Minneapolis -New Orleans and Snake & Columbia itineraries/No City Highlights Tour

 

st. louis to memphis

2024 2025

30 Aug

 

25 May

sailing aboard

Terms and Conditions

Lead in fares shown are to be used as a guide only, based on the lowest cabin category for two people sharing. Pricing may be subject to change based on flight pricing & availability. Other cabin categories are available. Single cabin grades are available on selected vessels and cabins for sole occupancy are available at a single supplement. All itineraries can be tailor-made to your specification with cruise only, additional hotel nights, flight upgrades and UK regional airport departures (subject to availability).  Additional pre-voyage and post-voyage city stay packages (2 nights) may be purchased for an additional charge. Guests are required to present a credit card upon hotel check-in to cover their incidental charges. In lieu of an included pre-voyage hotel night on any voyage, a $50 per person onboard credit is available upon request and dependent upon voyage date. On a back-to-back voyage, two included hotel nights or a combination of one included hotel night plus a $50 per person onboard credit will be granted in lieu of taking a second included hotel night. All fares, itineraries, hotels, entertainment, shore excursions and other voyage attributes are subject to change, and we are not responsible for errors or omissions therein. American Queen Voyages is represented in the UK & Europe by Light Blue Travel (ABTA D6183 & V9324 ATOL 5489). Full Booking Conditions.

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