These 9-day river cruises in the US are under $1,000

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Word cruise often portrays an image of vast ocean-going ships surrounded by an endless blue ocean, all-inclusive meals, and endless onboard activities. Often these cruises come at a high price. But did you know that you can take a long river cruise in the United States, with similar amenities and benefits, without ever leaving the country?

There are many lesser known river cruises from American Queen Voyages which offer much of what more traditional ocean cruises do and more. More importantly, they come at a much more affordable price and have interior routes right in your own backyard, without having to dust off your passport.

American Queen SteamBoat River Cruise

Some popular routes were going to cover a round trip from New Orleans, Louisville to St. Louis, and Chicago to St. Louis, but they have dozens more across the United States, including Portland , Seattle, San Diego, New York and more.

River cruises offer fantastic value and include all sorts of amenities. Included with every 9 day cruise (8 days for New Orleans) is:

  • a stay at the hotel the day before the departure of the cruise
  • transport from the hotel to the boat
  • unlimited drinks with open bars
  • Unlimited Wi-Fi
  • live entertainment on board
  • bicycles for use at port stops,
  • every meal
  • unlimited guided tours
  • private bedroom and bathroom on board

Below, we’ll go over some of American Queen Voyages’ cool itineraries in 2022, where they go and how much they cost.

New Orleans round-trip river cruise

New Orleans skyline with river boat

With interior cabins from $999.50, guests can board the American Duchess for an 8-day cruise on the Mississippi River. For a more luxurious onboard experience, passengers can upgrade to the Deluxe Suite, offering 3 times the space compared to inside cabins, plus a private verandah. If you like to spend time relaxing in your room or want the privacy of your own balcony to take in the views along the river, the upgrade may be worth it.

Popular stops and excursions include:
  • New Orleans, Louisiana – Visit the French Quarter, try authentic beignets and visit the famous Carousel Bar. There’s plenty to do and see in this famous city, and it has something for everyone.
  • Nottoway, Louisiana – Tour Randolph Nottoway’s estate 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 scenery.
Natchez Mississippi Historic 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 who wish to visit the city.
  • Vicksburg, Mississippi – Visit the USS Cairo Gunboat and Museum to learn about the unique history surrounding this city.

For the last day on board, passengers will spend the day sailing to New Orleans. This is the perfect time to take in the passing scenery and take advantage of the many onboard amenities on the way back.

Louisville River Cruise in St. Louis

Louisville skyline with bridge

Inside cabins start at $999 for this popular route. Guests will board the American Queen for a 9-day cruise along the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers, beginning in Louisville, Kentucky, and ending in St. Louis, Missouri. The boat offers an extremely luxurious room, the Owner’s Suite, for $4,999. The Suite includes a private veranda and even comes with its own butler.

Popular stops and excursions include:
  • Louisville, Kentucky – A big city that feels more like a small town. Louisville has museums, art galleries, bourbon and a thriving theater scene.
  • Brandenburg, Kentucky – A taste of rural Kentucky, Brandenburg is full of natural beauty. The Otter Creek Recreation Area offers scenic hiking trails and fly fishing opportunities.
  • Owensboro, Kentucky – Visit the Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame & Museum, which showcases Kentucky’s cultural music and famous supporters.
Audobon Park in Henderson Kentucky
  • Henderson, Kentucky – The cruise price includes a hop-on hop-off shore tour of this charming town.
  • Paducah, Kentucky – Another city with a hop-on hop-off tour included. Paducah is home to the National Quilt Museum, has a charming historic downtown, and features beautiful murals along the flood wall near the Ohio River.
  • Cape Girardeau, Missouri – Visit the Tales of the Mississippi River Murals, a 1,100-foot-long mural that features 24 panels with a historical theme.
  • St. Louis, Missouri – Home to the Gateway Arch, this stop includes a bus tour for those who want to see more of the city.

Chicago River Cruise in St. Louis

Chicago Park and Skyline

Guests aboard American Countess will see Inside Stateroom pricing starting at $999 for this 9-day cruise along the Mississippi and Illinois rivers. The cruise begins in Chicago and ends in St. Louis, with exciting stops along the way. For a more upscale experience, guests can double the size of their room for $1,799 with the Deluxe Outside Stateroom. Included with the upgrade is a private lanai to enjoy the scenery.

Popular stops and excursions include:
  • Ottawa, Illinois – 80 miles from Chicago, Ottowa is home to many historic homes, unique family shops and adventure activities.
  • Peoria, Illinois – One of Peoria’s most popular attractions is the Peoria Riverfront Museum, an art and science museum.
  • Havana, Illinois – A small city of just 3,300 people, Havana is a great place to shop and admire beautiful Riverfront Park.
Arch and skyline of Saint-Louis
  • Hannibal, Missouri – One of Missouri’s most popular tourist destinations. Hannibal is home to the famous 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 hike in Pere Marquette State Park to admire beautiful natural scenery.
  • St. Louis – The last stop for the American Countess. There’s no bus tour included with this river cruise, but the city is always packed with adventure.
American Queen River Boat with trees in the background

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

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