The American Queen Steamboat Company has chosen Ottawa as a land-based tour destination on Sept. 27 for its newest paddle wheeler, the American Countess Monday.
Three years ago, both the American Queen and the American Duchess brought visitors from around the world to experience Ottawa.
Passengers have the choice to “hop on and hop off” throughout the downtown area to experience local shopping, dining and sightseeing. Local guides with knowledge of the region will show points of interest while providing facts and engaging stories on board the American Sightseeing Deluxe River Coaches.
With four decks and 123 luxurious staterooms, the American Countess has 110 crew members and accommodates up to 245 passengers. Once a casino boat, the Countess was stripped to her shell, cut in half and lengthened by 60 feet. Becoming a world class vessel, she now offers panoramic views of the Illinois River from the sundeck, cuisine in the Grand Dining Room and entertainment in the theater. Amenities such as the grand lobby add to the intrigue and adventure aboard the Countess.
The American Countess offers numerous river cruises. Passengers in Ottawa are either departing or arriving. Passengers cruising from Memphis to Chicago end the nine-day cruise in Ottawa, while passengers cruising from Chicago to Memphis are just beginning their nine-day cruise. Ports of interest include Memphis, Tennessee; Columbus, Kentucky; Chester, Illinois, Grafton, Illinois, Havana, Illinois, Peoria, Illinois, and Ottawa. Havana, Peoria and Ottawa can be explored along the Illinois River Road National Scenic Byway.
Grafton also is a port on the Great River Road National Scenic Byway of Illinois. Chester is a city located on the bluffs of the Mississippi River Valley. Both the first governor of Illinois and Illinois’ first secretary of state are buried in a local cemetery. Chester is the boyhood home of Elzie Crisler Segar, popular cartoonist. Segar created “Popeye the Sailor Man” for his Thimble Theater cartoon strip. Popeye fans travel from all over the U.S. and the world to experience the character trail containing more than a dozen original characters.