The Ohio River is a key artery for westward expansion. For nearly 1,000 miles, the Ohio drilled its way through the surrounding valley, opening the gates to early explorers and pioneers.
For the modern day explorer, the American Queen Steamboat Company takes travelers along the Ohio River to discover the magic of Central America. There are a number of different options for guests to navigate the Ohio, either alone or in combination with routes that include the Ohio as well as other rivers.
The nine-day cruise from Louisville to Pittsburgh takes place on board the American Countess. Guests can start their journey in either city. For those looking to start in Louisville, Kentucky, the trip begins with a hotel stay while you explore the quirky harbor and enjoy everything from street chalk drawings and street food to old-fashioned cocktails and the 120-foot Louisville Slugger looming over town enthroned.
In Louisville, you can also enjoy the Private Churchill Downs Backstretch Pre-Cruise Experience. The excursion includes a visit to the backstretch of the circuit, a meeting with the riders of Churchill Downs, admission to the Kentucky Derby Museum as well as a tour of Churchill Downs and the encounter with the resident thoroughbred horse.
First port of call is the quaint riverside town of Madison, Indiana, known for its 130-block historic district that displays the arts and crafts of its residents. Visitors can admire antique machinery at Schroeder House, fine craftsmanship at Lanier Mansion State Historic Site, and more.
AQSC offers hop-on hop-off bus tours. (Photo via American Queen Steamboat Company)
In the harbor, guests of the American Queen Steamboat Company can enjoy the Madison Hop-On Hop-Off Tour and learn more about the history of the city and its role as a cultural and industrial city in the Old Northwest Territory.
The Madison Scenic Jet Boat Experience is a premier excursion for guests who can hop aboard a jet boat for a 40-mile scenic ride on the Ohio River, travel to Carrollton, Kentucky, and then cruise up the Kentucky River to historic Lock 1.
In Cincinnati, the next stop for the American Countess, visitors discover the cradle of baseball. You can also 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 faithful replica of the Ark to learn more about Noah and the animals on board.
Cincinnati, Ohio (Photo via American Queen Steamboat Company)
Guests will spend day five in Maysville, Kentucky, enjoying the city’s heightened passion for the variety of arts and live entertainment. Visitors can explore Maysville on an included hop-on hop-off tour that sees scenic Ohio River views, bustling downtown, award-winning theaters, local art galleries, museums, and historical landmarks.
A world class shore excursion is available, Washington, Kentucky: From Slavery to Freedom. This trip takes guests to the city of Washington, Kentucky, with an opportunity to tour the Paxton House and Visitor Center, originally built by emancipationist James Paxton. Visitors also visit the Harriet Beecher Stowe Slavery to Freedom Museum and the National Underground Railroad Museum.
Visitors also stop at Point Pleasant, West Virginia, on the cruise. Here, guests at the Point Pleasant River Museum learn about the rigors of river life, as well as boat building, stern paddle steamers, and the contribution of the local river industry to World War II. Guests can also take a hop-on hop-off tour.
In Marietta, Ohio, guests can tour other museums, take tours, and visit historical sites. Visitors can also take part in the local farmers market and hear ghost stories as they stroll around town. A hop-on hop-off tour is free for passengers and The Wilds: A Safari Experience, an exciting safari in the middle of southeast Ohio, is a premium excursion.
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (Photo via American Queen Steamboat Company)
Day eight of the cruise is a day of sailing the river before ending the trip in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Guests can explore the city at their leisure or take the Post-Cruise Pittsburgh City Tour.
The other route of the American Queen Steamboat Company exclusively on the Ohio River is the trip from Cincinnati to Louisville. This nine-day trip begins in Cincinnati and goes to Madison, Louisville, Brandenburg and Owensboro and ends with three days in Louisville.
Other American Queen Steamboat Company trips that include the Ohio River include a trip from St. Louis to Cincinnati, which crosses both the Mississippi Rivers and the Ohio, and the Cincinnati to Nashville (Clarksville) which crosses the Ohio and Cumberland Rivers drives more.