(1:47 p.m. EST) -- The lineup of 2020 special interest cruises offered by American Queen Steamboat Company has been released. They include sailings focused on the wines of the Pacific Northwest and Kentucky bourbon. There's also an American music cruise featuring country music icon Lee Greenwood, best known for his song "God Bless the USA."
For wine aficionados, two Pacific Northwest Wine Cruises on American Empress focus on the region's winemaking. Wine tastings and pairings onboard will be led by three experts: sommeliers Manny Nieves and Michael Lynch, and wine educator Jim Laughren. The sailings on the Columbia & Snake rivers embark March 15 and 22.
Passengers on soon-to-launch American Countess, as well as American Queen and American Duchess, can indulge in southern BBQ during the line's American River BBQ Challenge cruises on the lower Mississippi. Onboard the paddlewheelers will be three barbeque masters from Missouri and Illinois, competing to be crowned the winner (with cruisers voting). There will also be barbecue-focused experiences in port. The five sailings are between May and October.
Bourbon and Blues are the focus of specialty cruises that explore the history and characteristics of Kentucky bourbon and include tastings, bourbon-inspired menus and cooking demonstrations (special guests to be revealed at a later time). The sailings embark July 5 on American Countess, from Louisville to Memphis, and August 23 on American Duchess, from Memphis to Louisville.
The river line's American Music Festival will take place on a May 3 sailing of American Duchess, from Louisville to Clarksville, Tennessee, and a May 10 sailing of American Countess, from Memphis to New Orleans. Onboard will be Greenwood, performing his chart-topping hits in an exclusive concert for passengers. Other guest performances are also planned but have not yet been announced.