Ohio River is a key artery for westward expansion. Coursing nearly 1,000 miles, the Ohio forged through the surrounding valley opening the gates to early explorers and pioneers.
For modern-day explorers, American Queen Steamboat Company takes travelers along the Ohio River to discover the magic of middle America. There are a number of different opportunities for guests to sail the Ohio, either on its own or paired with itineraries that include the Ohio as well as other rivers.
The nine-day Louisville to Pittsburgh sailing takes place onboard the American Countess. Guests can begin their journey in either city. For those choosing to start in Louisville, Kentucky, the trip begins with a hotel stay while exploring the quirky port and enjoying everything from sidewalk chalk drawings and street fare to old-fashioned cocktails and the 120-foot Louisville Slugger that towers over the city.
Guests can also enjoy the Private Churchill Downs Backstretch Pre-Cruise Experience while in Louisville. The excursion includes a visit to the “backstretch” of the racetrack, a meet and greet with Churchill Downs equestrians, admission to the Kentucky Derby Museum, as well as a walking tour of Churchill Downs and meeting the resident Thoroughbred horse.
The first port on the journey is the quaint river town of Madison, Indiana, known for its 130-block historic district that showcases the artistry and craftsmanship of its residents. Visitors can admire antique machinery at the Schroeder House, the fine craftsmanship at the Lanier Mansion State Historic Site and more.
While in port, American Queen Steamboat Company guests can enjoy the Madison Hop-On Hop-Off Tour and learn about the town’s history and the role it played as a cultural and industrial town in the Old Northwest Territory.
The Madison Scenic Jet Boat Experience is a premium excursion available to guests who can board a jet boat for a 40-mile scenic ride on the Ohio River, traveling to Carrollton, Kentucky, and then heading up the Kentucky River to the historic Lock 1.
In Cincinnati, the next stop for the American Countess, visitors discover the birthplace of baseball. They can also choose to visit the Ark Encounter: A Journey of Biblical Proportions as an optional premium shore excursion. Kentucky’s Ark Encounter offers the chance to visit a full-scale ark replica to learn about Noah and the animals on board.
Guests spend day five in Maysville, Kentucky, where they will enjoy the town’s heightened passion for diversity of art and live entertainment. Visitors can get around Maysville on an included hop-on, hop-off tour, on which they will see the picturesque views of the Ohio River, the bustling downtown district, award-winning theaters, local art galleries, museums and historical landmarks.
A premium shore excursion is available, Washington, Kentucky: From Slavery to Freedom. This trip takes guests to the town of Washington, Kentucky, and offers the chance to tour through the Paxton House and Visitors Center, originally built by emancipationist, James Paxton. Visitors also stop in at the Harriet Beecher Stowe Slavery to Freedom Museum, and the National Underground Railroad Museum.
Also on the cruise, visitors call in Point Pleasant, West Virginia. Here, guests learn about the hardships of river life as well as boat construction, sternwheel steamers and the local river industry’s contribution to World War II at the Point Pleasant River Museum. Guests can also take advantage of a hop-on, hop-off tour.
In Marietta, Ohio, guests can see more museums and take advantage of walking tours and visit historic sites. Visitors can also take part in the local farmers market and hear ghost stories as they wander through town. A hop-on, hop-off tour is complimentary for passengers, and The Wilds: A Safari Experience, an exciting Safari right in southeastern Ohio, is a premium excursion.
Day eight of the cruise is a day of sailing the river before winding down the journey in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Guests can enjoy the city at their leisure or take the Post-Cruise Pittsburgh City Tour.
American Queen Steamboat Company’s other itinerary exclusively on the Ohio River is the Cincinnati to Louisville sailing. This nine-day journey starts in Cincinnati and travels to Madison, Louisville, Brandenburg and Owensboro and finishes with three days in Louisville.
Other American Queen Steamboat Company sailings that include the Ohio River include a St. Louis to Cincinnati voyage that sails both the Mississippi River and the Ohio and the Cincinnati to Nashville (Clarksville) that sails the Ohio and Cumberland rivers and more.