American Duchess Cruise: ‘Steamcoaches’ add to riverboat shore excursions

ABOARD THE AMERICAN DUCHESS – Here comes the American Duchess Steamcoach rolling down the road. The road? Yep, the popular riverboat has personalized steamcoaches decorated to look like their namesake. And they sure are getting second looks whenever they pass by. The colorful motor coaches are painted to closely resemble the exterior of the American Queen – big sister to the American Duchess – complete with the big red paddlewheel and “passengers” waving from the decks. People …

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American Duchess Cruise: Riverlorian Steve Spracklen shares amazing river tales

“I loved that profession (riverboat pilot) far better than any I’ve followed since … I hoped to follow the river the rest of my days and die at the wheel when my mission was ended.” Mark Twain ABOARD THE AMERICAN DUCHESS – Growing up in Joplin, Steve Spracklen thought he’d like to be a musician. He also was a great fan of a fellow Missourian named Samuel Langhorne Clemens, better known as legendary writer Mark Twain. “I …

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American Duchess Cruise: Admiring my Loft Suite and meeting my River Butler

His name is W. Gerard Williams. He is my River Butler and he seems to be everywhere. When I checked into my Loft Suite aboard the American Duchess, Gerard was there to show me the cabin’s light switches, in-room safe, mini-fridge stocked with complimentary water and sodas, Keurig coffee maker with eight one-cup coffee pods, TV controls, two telephones (one upstairs and one downstairs), balcony door lock, thermostat and other grand features of my amazing stateroom. On …

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American Duchess Cruise: New Orleans hurricane exhibit packs powerful punch

Scrawled on well-worn blue jeans are a man’s name, social security number, blood type, wife’s name, hotel where she was evacuated for safety and the hotel phone number. Claudio Hemb wanted to ensure that his body would be identified and his family notified if he perished in Hurricane Katrina’s floodwaters. “Seeing all these things is horrifying,” says Margaret Thompson of Atlanta. “I saw it on the news but this museum just touches my heart and soul.” The …

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American Duchess Cruise: New Orleans museum honors World War II heroes

When Navy corpsman Leo H. Sheer’s landing craft was sunk on its way to Omaha Beach on D-Day, the young sailor was forced to swim ashore amid heavy gunfire. Arriving safely on the beach, Sheer began collecting first-aid pouches from the bodies of dead soldiers to help save the wounded. He hung six of the dead men’s pouches on his equipment belt. Today, Sheer’s blood-stained web belt is displayed at the National World War II Museum in …

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American Duchess Cruise: Preparing for my cruise from Natchez to Memphis

The first cruise I ever took was on the beautiful Mississippi Queen. I was immediately hooked. There is something so luxurious and peaceful traveling on America’s rivers aboard one of these floating palaces. My Mississippi Queen cruise was during her inaugural year in 1976, timed to celebrate America’s bicentennial. At the time, the Mississippi Queen was the largest steamboat ever built with a capacity of 412 guests and 157 crew members. Her paddlewheel bar and 44-whistle steam calliope …

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Construction has begun on the 2nd modern riverboat in the American Cruise Lines’ series

American Cruise Lines has announced that construction has begun on the second modern riverboat in the series of five. The second riverboat is the sister-ship to state-of-the-art American Song, the first modern riverboat available in the U.S., which will make its inaugural cruise on the Mississippi River this October. The Line’s commitment to building only new ships has given it a decided advantage in the U.S. market, where most other companies refurbish older ships which do not …

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Viking Sky: Owner Torstein Hagen reflects on 20 years of Viking

ABOARD THE VIKING SKY – One aspect about sailing with Viking is that itineraries tend to be very heavy on time in port with most sailing done at night. This is convenient in some ways but it does tend to short-change you on time to appreciate the ship actually being on the water. Our last two days on board provided us an opportunity to enjoy being at sea. As we sailed from Boston toward New York at …

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UnCruise Adventures’ Rivers of Wine Cruise: Day 6 aboard the SS Legacy

We wake up where we began in Portland then hop on buses to Oregon’s heavily vined Willamette Valley, known for its excellent pinot noirs. Our first stop is at 28-year-old Archer Vineyard, the creation of original owner Don Archer, current owner African-born architect Saj Jivanjee and winemaker Jim Sander, who specialize in pinots noir and gris. Enthusiasm for quality and conviviality are their hallmarks with pinot noirs worth laying down for future greatness and weekly Friday sunset …

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Viking Sky: A look at this cruise company that is winning accolades…and why

ABOARD THE VIKING SKY — Let’s talk again about this company, Viking Ocean Cruises. This new cruise line…brought to you by the folks who run Viking River Cruises…began sailing in April of 2015 and has been receiving rave reviews since. Most notably Viking was named the #1 Ocean Cruise Line (mid-size ships) by Travel & Leisure readers in its 2016 and 2017 World’s Best Awards, knocking out luxury-line Crystal Cruises from its 20-year run in that position. …

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