Saturday, April 29, 2023

Unexpected Ship Day on the America Queen

With the Mississippi River still running low from the lack of rain, we ended up with a day without a port. As much as I wished we hadn’t missed Dubuque, it was nice to have some time to rest and enjoy my American QueenVoyage.

I have always liked small cruises and I think I like them even more now that I travel in a scooter. It doesn’t take long to find your way around and the elevators hardly have a wait.

Lynn and I took our time in the morning with a room service breakfast. It was a day full of exploring what the boat had to offer.

I went around the ship from the outside first. It was interesting to see the calm Mississippi river and its small islands as we went through. A steamboat goes a lot slower than a cruise ship and you get to really take in the scenery.

The weather was about 70 and there was plenty of shade around the boat.   I settled in for awhile in a rocking chair on the Porch of the Riverview Bar and watched the Mississippi go by.

After lunch, I went through the inside of the boat. This is where you can truly see that this is an old-fashioned steamboat. The furnishings in the Ladies Parlor, Mark Twain Gallery, and Gentlemen’s Card Room were antiques, yet comfortable. Had this been a longer cruise with more days at sea, I would have spent more time in them.

I stopped along the way for an ice cream sundae, another of the complimentary offerings available any time. It was at the Front Porch Café. They also had specialty and regular coffees. As well as fresh baked cookies.

After some rest in the room, Lynn and I went to the main dining room for dinner. It was another delicious meal. We started with the Spring Rolls, and had a Seasonal Salad, filled with fruit.

The main course was my favorite dish, Eggplant Parmigiana. It was done a little differently than I’m used to, as a stack rather than casserole, but was fantastic. Dessert was Carrot Cake for me and Chocolate Chip Bread Pudding for Lynn.

The view of Iowa from the boat in the evening was beautiful and I took time to enjoy it before meeting back up with Lynn to see the show.


I had seen this show before with a different actor. One of the wonderful things about it was that each show is different. Peter Lebron did Mark Twain in Hannibal this night, reading from the author’s stories and telling a tale about his life. It was really good and gave a glimpse into Hannibal, which we would be visiting in two days.  

As much as I enjoyed the day on the American Queen, I was ready to get up in the morning and explore Burlington, Iowa.

I was hosted by American Queen on this voyage, but opinions are my own. 

Saturday, April 15, 2023

Discovering La Crosse from the America Queen

Lynn and I woke up to another beautiful day on the Mississippi River. We had lucked out with this late summer weather in the Midwest.

We were ready to explore La Crosse, Wisconsin, after having breakfast and lattes at the Front Porch Café on the American Queen. I loved being on a small boat. There was never a wait for the elevator and we never saw a crowd anywhere. It made traveling in a scooter so much easier.

This was the first time in La Crosse for both of us. We didn’t know much about it, but were ready to learn.

The pier was welcoming, with beautiful sculptures and manicured grass and flowers. We got onto the hop on, hop off tour bus, complimentary to all American Queen guests. The bus guides, including Tour Director Lucy from our ship, told us about La Crosse.

When settlers came over to the U.S., this land was already occupied by Native Americans, specifically the Sioux, Ojibwa, and Ho-Chunk tribes. It became one of Wisconsin’s largest cities by the second half of the 19th century.

La Crosse is a popular tourist and day trip destination these days. It’s actually the owner of a Guiness Book of Records accolade for the most bars on one street, 3rd Street. The town has also had over 20 breweries through the years.

We decided to get off at the International Friendship Garden and it was a good choice. It was made up of many different gardens, each designated to a different country, with plants, flowers, and distinct touches about that country.

The International Garden also leads to the entrance of the Marsh Trails, an extensive development of walking and hiking routes.

I was pretty tired from the sun when we got back on the bus and we decided to stay on and do the tour around La Crosse from there. We passed the La Crosse Heritage Center, which has artifacts and detailed information about the town’s history.  

Another stop was the Dahl Automotive Museum, which houses Ford vehicles from five generations. The passengers who got back on the bus said they really enjoyed it. We also learned that La Crosse has a Children’s Museum and the 4-star Charmant Hotel, which was built in a former candy factory.

We were back on the ship in time for lunch. The food once again didn’t disappoint as I had an unforgettable Mushroom Walnut Veggie burger.

After a nap, shower, and change of clothing, we were back in the dining room again, this time for dinner. Our tablemates enjoyed lobster again (it is available every night on the American Queen).

Lynn and I, who are both allergic, tried not to show our disappointment, but we did have wonderful pasta, with a creative potato pancake appetizer. For dessert, it was a Blueberry Bundt Cake for her and Bananas Foster for me.

After dinner, I took a walk out to the open veranda and watched the sunset on the Mississippi before the evening’s show. We made a brief stop after to the Engine Room bar for Rock Music with Jay and Will.

We got back to our room and decided to put in a room service order for the morning’s breakfast. We had an early start for our day in Dubuque, Iowa. At least that’s what we thought at the time.

I was hosted by American Queen on this voyage, but opinions are my own.