Baltic cruise aboard Windstar Cruises’ Wind Surf: departing Copenhagen

ONBOARD WINDSURF-Reflecting recently on the nearly 50 cruises I’ve logged during a 36- year career as a freelance travel journalist, it occurred to me that, while I’ve sailed the world’s five oceans and most of its seven seas, there’s one major cruising destination I’d missed.  The Baltic. I’ve traveled extensively in Scandinavia and Northern Europe, visiting many of the countries bordering this 145,500-square-mile brackish inland sea ­ the largest body of brackish water in the world ­ …

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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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Queen of the Mississippi Cruise, Day 8 From St. Paul, MN

ABOARD QUEEN OF THE MISSISSIPPI-What a great day we had in St. Paul, to conclude our Upper Mississippi voyage onboard Queen of the Mississippi! Mel and I feel sorry for passengers who rushed to fly out Saturday morning without paying a visit to Minnesota’s capital city. After ditching our bags at the downtown Doubletree by Hilton hotel, we made a beeline to the St. Paul Farmers’ Market. Founded in 1853 and featuring more than 300 vendors, it’s …

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Onboard Queen of the Mississippi: Day 7 Red Wing, MN

ABOARD QUEEN OF THE MISSISSIPPI-Red Wing is a good candidate for “the little town that could” title. With a miniscule population of 16,000, it has a huge reputation for its resourcefulness and productivity. Settled by Scandinavian immigrants in the 1840s, it soon became the primary wheat market in the world. It was here that Alexander P. Anderson invented puffed wheat and puffed rice. Red Wing shoes and boots have been made there for nearly a century – …

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Onboard Queen of the Mississippi Day 6 – La Crosse, WI

La Crosse gets our nod as the most attractive and inviting town or city we’ve visited so far on our voyage up the Mississippi. The place is just plain pretty, and it possesses the sort of friendly, wholesome all-American atmosphere that makes you feel like you’d enjoy living there. The Queen docked at lovely, leafy Riverside Park – the city’s showpiece riverfront park – and a picture-perfect setting on this brisk October morning with the fall colors …

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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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Intro to American Cruise Line upper Mississippi cruise aboard the Queen of the Mississippi

Twice in recent years I’ve joined paddlewheeler cruises from New Orleans to St. Louis and thoroughly enjoyed those slow-paced voyages along the lower reaches of America’s mother of all rivers. So now it’s time to see the rest of Big Muddy, from St. Louis to St. Paul. My vessel of choice for this 7-day voyage, October 10-17, is American Cruise Line’s (ACL) Queen of the Mississippi, a gleaming white, five-deck 150-passenger replica of the 19th century steamboats …

Read moreIntro to American Cruise Line upper Mississippi cruise aboard the Queen of the Mississippi

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