American Queen Voyages™, part of the Hornblower® Group, announced details for their 2023 Kentucky Derby Cruise, a highlight of the Ohio River season.
Aboard the newest paddlewheeler in the riverboat fleet, American Countess, the nine-day voyage will begin with a pre-cruise hotel at Louisville’s fabled Brown Hotel on Monday, May 1.
Itinerary highlights include competing in the annual Great American Steamboat Race while onboard, lectures by horse racing historians, and a new celebration of Kentucky cuisine with Culinary Ambassador Regina Charboneau.
A limited number of escorted VIP 2023 Kentucky Derby ticket packages are available for additional purchase.
John Waggoner, founder and chairman of American Queen Voyages explains that the Kentucky Derby Cruise is one of his favourite sailings as it captures the magical energy of Louisville during race week.
“Last year’s special cruise conflicted with my obligations at the launch of our new Alaska expedition ship Ocean Victory but I look forward for 2023, cheering on the American Countess in the Great American Steamboat Race and celebrating all the festivities," Waggoner said.
American Queen Voyages' newest paddlewheeler, the 245-guest American Countess, will sail the Ohio River from Louisville to Cincinnati with stops in Madison, Brandenburg, and Augusta.
The first shipboard highlight of the itinerary will be the Great American Steamboat Race in downtown Louisville as the American Countess joins the Belle of Louisville and Belle of Cincinnati on Wednesday, May 3.
Guests sailing during the Derby Cruise can sip Kentucky bourbon from the ship’s decks as thousands of people line the riverbanks to watch the race that starts and ends at the Clark Memorial Bridge in Louisville.
The Great Steamboat Race is just one of the events in the Kentucky Derby Festival with other events including firework displays, parades, running races, a hot air balloon event, fashion shows, bed races, and concerts.
Often called “the most exciting two minutes in sports,” the Kentucky Derby race itself, held annually on the first Saturday of May since 1875, will be on May 6, 2023.
American Queen Voyages says the Derby is the longest continually held sporting event in America and is one of the most prestigious horse races in the world.
Guests will be able to purchase an escorted VIP race package that includes deluxe transfers, fast pass access to the Churchill Downs racecourse, premium seating, plus lounge, food, and an open bar.
At the races, guests will witness the sights, sounds, colors, and traditions of the Derby while trying a mint julep, the quintessential bourbon-based cocktail of the annual race.
New for the 2023 Kentucky Derby Cruise, Culinary Ambassador Regina Charboneau will join onboard to take part in a culinary celebration of the Ohio River as she conducts cooking demonstrations of regional culinary favorites along the river.
Guests can look forward to enjoying the Louisville Hot Brown, Cincinnati Skyline Chili and Pittsburgh pierogies. Food pairings with Kentucky bourbon and a special dinner featuring Chef Regina’s favorite dishes will be a highlight.
“Much of my travels in 2022 have focused on the Ohio River region and the 2023 Kentucky Derby Cruise is the pinnacle of voyages to showcase and share all I have discovered about the region,” shares Culinary Ambassador Regina Charboneau. “This sailing promises to feature bountiful cuisine, plenty of storytelling and refreshing mint juleps along the way.”
Per guest fares for the Kentucky Derby Cruise sailing are $2,999 and escorted VIP Kentucky Derby Ticket Packages are $1,999. For more information, visit here.