Queen of the Mississippi Upper Mississippi cruise-final thoughts

I’ve had my say during the past week about the pleasures of cruising the upper Mississippi – a journey I found far more engaging than my two previous cruises on the lower river between New Orleans and St. Louis. I’m certainly not the first nor the finest writer to make that observation…but here’s what the man who was – Mark Twain — had to say on the subject in the Chicago Tribune, July 9, 1886: “It is …

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Onboard Queen of the Mississippi Day 5 – Dubuque, IA

ABOARD QUEEN OF THE MISSISSIPPI-Great weather continues to follow us up the Mississippi – although it turned a bit chilly for our morning arrival in Dubuque. We warmed quickly to the city, however, with its revitalized riverfront that features a spectacular glass and stone events center, a four-star resort hotel and waterpark – and the huge and handsome National Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium – which was our objective for an ACL-included self-guided tour. A Smithsonian affiliate, …

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Onboard Queen of the Mississippi Day 4, Davenport, IA

ABOARD QUEEN OF THE MISSISSIPPI-Sunny skies and near 70-degree temperatures greeted Queen of the Mississippi’s arrival in Davenport, IA, where passengers could choose from two included tours – a visit to the John Deere Pavilion or the John Hauberg Indian Museum. As I mentioned in the introduction to my blog, I have fond childhood memories of climbing around on my grandpa’s John Deere tractor during visits to the family farm in Illinois, so I was at the …

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Onboard Queen of the Mississippi In Hannibal, MO

ABOARD QUEEN OF THE MISSISSIPPI-Historically linked to the Mississippi River as the town that most inspired America’s greatest author and humorist, Mark Twain, Hannibal proved the perfect first port of call on our voyage to St. Paul. Twain spent his boyhood years in Hannibal – a young rascal then known as Samuel Clemens – where childhood experiences sparked his huge imagination, leading to some of the world’s most widely read novels. Naturally the town is all about …

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Onboard Queen of the Mississippi, departing St. Louis,

ABOARD QUEEN OF THE MISSISSIPPI-Long famous as the Gateway to the West, St. Louis is today serving as Gateway to the North for about 145 Queen of the Mississippi passengers — bound up-river on a 7-day voyage to St. Paul. As mentioned in my pre-cruise post, I was joined in St. Louis Thursday evening by my lady friend and assistant Melinda Renner — allowing us the full day on Friday to explore some of the city’ visitor …

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Maine Cruise: Final day

ONBOARD INDEPENDENCE-As our whirlwind week of cruising along the Maine coast nears an end, I want to take a moment before reporting on day 6 activities to tell you some things about our little ship – American Cruise Lines’ Independence – her officers and crew and the services they’ve provided during our all too brief voyage. Built in 2010 by ACL-affiliated Chesapeake Shipbuilding Corp. in Salisbury, MD, the 194-foot, 104-passenger Independence (one of a 6-vessel ACL fleet) …

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Maine Cruise: Boothbay Harbor, ME

ONBOARD INDEPENDENCE-Boothbay Harbor goes by the slogan “Boating Capital of New England,” and the sprawling harbor does indeed bustle with fishing vessels and pleasure craft alike. But the town is also becoming known as home to New England’s finest botanical gardens. Some experts name it one of the nation’s best. We visited Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens on an ACL tour (a $45 option) with no idea of what to expect. After all, we’re in Maine – which …

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Maine Cruise: Days 4-5 – Camden and Rockland, ME

ONBOARD INDEPENDENCE- Known by its slogan “Where the Mountains Meet the Sea,” Camden is yet another quintessentially pretty New England village. Set against the backdrop of the Camden Hills, the town’s busy harbor is well-known as home to a fleet of tall-masted windjammers that ply Penobscot Bay for both day-trips and extended excursions. A large group of passengers chose to join a narrated bus tour (a $55 option) featuring a visit to Camden Hills State Park where …

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Maine Cruise: The towns of Castine and Belfast

ONBOARD THE INDEPENDENCE –– Castine (pop. 1,400) is today a serene little village, shaded by leafy elms and lined with lovely old buildings, but it has a long and tumultuous past. Owing to its location at the tip of a cape, surrounded on three sides by water – including the entrance to the Penobscot River – it was a strategic defense point and thus the object of geopolitical squabbles among several nations, including France, Britain and Holland …

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Maine coast cruise: Bar Harbor & Acadia National Park

ONBOARD THE INDEPENDENCE — Clearing weather and the excitement of our first day ashore for tours brought out nearly all of the ship’s 90+ passengers to join a two-bus convoy in Bar Harbor for a morning spin around Acadia National Park. Our driver/guide, Roger Keene, is a jovial, highly energized fifth-generation resident of Bar Harbor – or, as he phrases it in the local dialect, “Bah Hahba” – who has been leading tours of Acadia for 40 …

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