The article was on inspiration, and what inspires people to not just cruise, but to travel in general. Coming from a cruise line with such an iconic ship plying the storied waters of the Mississippi, the blog post got me thinking.
You see, I’ve never been to the Mississippi. In fact, I’ve explored more of Europe than I have of the United States, where my journeys have been limited to the extreme West and East coasts. Perhaps it is because I am Canadian, but there seems to be something uniquely American about the Mississippi and its long steamboat legacy.
Few ships have been as lovingly built and refurbished as the American Queen. From her exterior appearance, you’d be forgiven for thinking she might be older than she really is — her design is that exacting.
Instead, she was originally constructed in 1995 and extensively refurbished last year before entering service in June 2012. Since then, her popularity — and the popularity of river cruising along the Mississippi — has soared.
Why? Part of it has to do with the Mississippi’s legendary heritage, which is every bit as storied and rich as that of her European counterparts.
The Mississippi played a major role in the American Civil War, with control of the river marking a pivotal change in the course of the battle between the Union and the Confederates.
Steamboat traffic was in full-force both prior to and following the war years, and it is this period that was written so evocatively about by author Mark Twain. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is set largely along the river; and Life on the Mississippi, in which Twain recounts his own personal experiences along the waterway.
Even Johnny Cash sang about the river in the song, Big River.
But despite all the history and cultural references to the Mississippi – or perhaps because of them – there still is nothing quite like a sail down this historic river aboard the American Queen.
Here’s what Avid Cruiser Ralph Grizzle discovered on his journey last fall:
More information on the American Queen Steamboat Company can be found by viewing our complete company overview here on River Cruise Advisor.