Mississippi River Cruise:
I sailed with American Cruise Lines on their newest ship, American Melody, in mid-October and it turned out to be the perfect time to do a cruise on the upper Mississippi river! I got to see some spectacular fall colors in the trees during the most northern part of the cruise.
The cruise began in St Louis, Missouri, and sailed all the way up the Mississippi River to Red Wing, Minnesota. In the southernmost part of the itinerary, the leaves on the trees were all green. The ship sailed a little further north each day, and by the second or third day, I saw a tree here or there with a little color in it. By the time we made it all the way up to Red Wing at the end of the cruise, the colors were just spectacular!
The cruise ship pier in Red Wing, Minnesota
Trees turning red for Fall wasn't the only spectacular sight that mother nature had waiting for us in Red Wing. There was also an incredibly beautiful sunset on the very last night of our cruise...
One other notable photo that I shot on this cruise was during an excursion in Winona, Minnesota. This excursion was on a small boat that went in to an area known for large numbers of bald eagles. I took my best camera and put my largest lens on it, to give me a chance at getting a good shot of a bald eagle. I definitely succeeded!
One thing that made this cruise very unusual compared to all the other cruises I've been on (this was my 54th cruise!) was that this was the very first one that my wife, Kellyn, was not able to come along for. She elected to stay home to care for our new Cocker Spaniel puppy, Carli.
This would normally be a fairly expensive cruise, but I was very fortunate to be sailing as a guest of American Cruise Lines, at their expense. This included the air travel, and a night at the Four Seasons hotel the night before the cruise! The reason that I was cruising for free was that the cruise line wanted me to shoot some photos and videos of their newest ship in action. This was the second time that they've invited me onboard one of their ships at their expense, and I sure hope there will be a third!
One of the main things that the cruise line was hoping I could get for them was some good aerial photos and videos of the ship. I have a pretty good track record of getting aerial photos and videos of cruise ships along the Columbia River, where I live. So, I was their go-to guy when they wanted aerial photos and video of their new ship on the Mississippi.
Things got off to a VERY rocky start when I managed to crash and break my drone on the very first day of the cruise! I broke it (beyond repair) while attempting to land it on the moving cruise ship... a very tricky task. This was especially unfortunate because, with the drone broken and unusable, I wouldn't be able to get the aerial photos and videos that they had brought me such a long distance to get.
Well, it turns out they REALLY wanted me to get those aerial photos and videos! They purchased a new drone from Best Buy and had it waiting for me to pick up in the Best Buy store in Dubuque, Iowa... one of the places we'd be stopping along the way. So, in spite of crashing and breaking my drone, I still managed to get some good aerial photos and videos for them... after our ship stopped in Dubuque!
If you have time to sit down and watch a 35-minute video, I think you'd enjoy seeing this video I made about my cruise on the Mississippi on American Melody. I like to say that if I had a show on the travel channel, this is the kind of show I would make:
To start the video playing, click the triangle in the middle of the video screen
To make the video fill the screen (recommended) click the little symbol in the lower right corner of the video player
Notice that there's aerial video from the beginning of the cruise in Alton, Illinois... and then for the next few stops there is no aerial video shown until the ship is in Dubuque!
Need A Travel Agent?
Booking a cruise can be confusing, especially if you haven't been on many cruises before. There are lots of first-time cruiser mistakes that a travel agent can keep you from making. Also, the call centers of some of the big cruise lines are severely understaffed these days... creating extremely long wait times to talk to a customer service representative. When you book a cruise through a travel agent, you'll never have to get stuck on hold with the cruise line... your travel agent does all that kind of stuff for you.
If you're interested in booking a cruise with any cruise line... please feel free to use the services of my travel agent, Caitlin Gallagher. She's extremely pleasant to deal with, easy to talk to since she lives in the United States and speaks without any kind of an accent, and quite experienced and knowledgeable about different types of cruising. Caitlin is the owner of Ambren Travel. Visit her web site, check out the Ambren Travel Facebook page, or contact her using the information below.
The Cruise Ships We've Been On
If you've enjoyed this page, you would probably also enjoy reading my web pages about:
My first river cruise: American Harmony
July 2021 Iceland Cruise on Viking Sky
January 2020 Carnival Panorama
December 2019 cruise in The Haven on Norwegian Joy
May 2019 Carnival Horizon cruise
April 2019 Norwegian Breakaway cruise
January 2019 Caribbean cruise on the Viking Sea
December 2018 country music cruise on the Norwegian Getaway
May 2018 Panama Canal cruise on the Norwegian Bliss
January 2018 cruise on MSC Seaside in a suite with a private Jacuzzi
September 2017 Carnival Vista cruise in a Havana Suite
October 2017 Norwegian Sky cruise in the owner's suite
The $1600 per night owners suite: January 2017 Norwegian Pearl
An Un-crowded Small Ship Experience: Viking Star
One Of The Best Waterslides At Sea: Liberty Of The Seas
Quite Possibly The Best Cruise Ship In The World: Anthem Of The Seas
January 2017 Allure Of The Seas
One of the best cruise ships we've ever experienced: The Norwegian Escape
2015 Carnival Breeze back-to-back cruises
Back-to-back cruises on Independence Of The Seas
World's largest cruise ship: Allure Of The Seas
2015 Carnival Freedom repositioning cruise
Our first VIP cruise in The Haven: The Norwegian Getaway
Our June 2014 Alaska cruisetour with Princess
Our first cruise with Princess! January 2014 Sapphire Princess
2014 back-to-back eastern/western Caribbean cruises on the Carnival Glory
The completely refurbished Carnival Sunshine
One of Carnival's best ships, the Carnival Breeze
A sister ship to the Breeze, the Carnival Magic
Our 2013 cruise on the Carnival Conquest
One of the oldest ships in the fleet, the Carnival Inspiration
Our first Caribbean cruise: the Carnival Glory
Our many cruises on the Carnival Spirit
Our February 2010 cruise on the Carnival Splendor
Our January 2008 cruise on the Carnival Elation
Our April 2008 cruise on the Norwegian Star
Our first cruise! 1996 on Carnival Cruise Line's MS Holiday
Click here to see the complete chronology of all the cruises we've ever taken.
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