Why A Pre-Cruise Stay In These American Cities Is A Must
There are many reasons why a pre-cruise stay before your USA river cruise is a great idea, not least to help you recover from a long flight before your sailing. However, the biggest excuse for giving yourself an extra day is to make the most of your time in some of America’s greatest cities.
There is so much to do in these departure points that it’s impossible to cram everything into those few hours you have before you step on board the ship, and doing so is likely to stress you out as you race against time to get to the port. Book a pre (or post) cruise stay in these amazing destinations and you’ll arrive at the ship refreshed and having seen the local highlights at your own pace.
St. Louis, Missouri
Originally owned by the French (hence the name), St. Louis’s many attractions mean that it’s sure to keep you busy, whatever your interests are. Stop by before your Upper Mississippi river cruise and you can immerse yourself in sport, history, culture and sink a couple of pints brewed in some of the famous breweries here.
The Gateway Arch proudly welcomes you, as do the people of a city that’s so intrinsically linked to the Mississippi River. If you want to relax, head to Forest Park or wander up to The Hill for some delicious Italian cuisine. Or, if its adrenaline-filled thrills you’re looking for, both Six Flags St. Louis and Adventure Valley Zipline have you covered.
A pre-cruise stay in Nashville should be music to your ears; it’s the only way you’ll get to see some of the historic sights this melodic city has to offer. So, before you climb aboard your Cumberland River cruise, make time for a tuneful tour of world-renowned institutions like the Grand Ole Opry and The Country Music Hall of Fame.
If the likes of Johnny Cash and Willie Nelson don’t strike the right chord with you, though, there is plenty more to see and do besides country music. A whopping 108 parks give Nashville a green edge and provide a series of great hiking and biking trails, whilst a vibrant mix of neighbourhoods allows you to get your fill of boutique shopping, street art and fresh night spots.
Nashville is not the only music city that you can spend some time in before you set sail, though. Seattle has its own history in this field, having helped launch the careers of Ray Charles, Quincy Jones and many other names that are synonymous with jazz. A few iconic sights may be at the top of your list; the Space Needle and Great Seattle Wheel are key parts of the city’s skyline. And what better way to get between the most notable attractions than via the monorail?
Having been the US’s fastest-growing city on a few occasions recently, Seattle is never standing still. The Science Centre and Boeing factory (which you can tour) are great examples of the innovation that takes place here, something which has created a fantastic range of unique neighbourhoods that boast nature, historic quarters and independent coffee shops that try to rival the big guys – something that’s not easy in the home of Starbucks.
New Orleans, Louisiana
A pre-cruise stay in New Orleans before your Lower Mississippi river cruise is a must for many reasons. If nothing else, your stomach will thank you for more time to enjoy some of the homely comfort food that this part of America is famous for. Creole cuisine has so many influences from around the world, creating a range of dishes that pack so much flavour. One of the best parts of town to start your food tour is the French Quarter, a historic district that includes the iconic neon signs and lively parties of Bourbon Street.
Vintage streetcars and horse and carts provide nostalgic ways of getting around, but the tough decision will be where to go first. Museums, historic homes and jazz clubs all invite you in with a warm welcome and all help to give New Orleans the edgy charm that emanates from every street corner, whether there’s a party happening there or not.
New York, New York
New York is not the most obvious river cruise destination in the USA, but it is the departure point for Hudson River cruises with American Cruise Lines. It’s also one of the best city break destinations in the world and a place where everyone can find something that piques their interest. A sprawling city awaits, full of captivating attractions, artisan food venues, buzzing sports venues, quiet museum corners and glamorous Broadway performances.
Manhattan gets the most coverage but, if you have the time, you’ll get great fulfilment from branching out to the other boroughs to see what you can find. Not only will you escape the core of the crowds but also see a lot more of the real New York.
Sticking with the east coast, Baltimore is another great city to explore, especially before or after you sail Chesapeake Bay or the Inland Passage. Famed for its distinct neighbourhoods, much of life in Baltimore revolves around its beautiful harbour – the perfect spot to try some authentic crab dishes or some exciting outdoor activities.
Charm City, as it’s lovingly known, is full of friendly locals that are proud of the world-class museums on offer and the fact that this is the birthplace of America’s national anthem. They also love their sport; so why not follow a game at Oriole Park with a stroll around Camden Yards to seek out some more of the flavourful food available.
If you would like to learn more about our USA river cruises, the team at GoRiverCruise can help choose the best itinerary for you. Call us on 0800 954 0064, and don’t forget to add your pre or post-cruise stay.