Boat captains must master nautical lexicon before sailing the seas to ensure that they can distinguish port, which means left, from starboard, which means launch the vessel into deep space. Count down to a sea launch with this Groupon.
- $28 for a two-hour historical sightseeing cruise for two (up to a $56 value)
Passengers cruise the Mississippi River—taking in local landmarks, lakes, and wildlife—aboard a handicapped-accessible replica of a century-old steamboat. The captain provides constant narration, sharing historical tidbits and ecological facts. Customers may repair to the ship’s enclosed dining area to consume food and beverages from the onboard concession bar. Ships depart at 3:00 p.m. daily. Choose from three options: Monday–Friday, Saturday, or Sunday.
Dubuque River Rides
Decorative smokestacks stretch toward the sky as Victorian red and gold decor surrounds passengers nibbling brunch in a dining salon. This scene unfolds aboard the Spirit of Dubuque, an authentic-looking paddleboat that pays homage to the century-old steamboats of the Mississippi River. Dubuque River Rides' signature vessel, it has played host to thousands of cruises filled with entertainment, meals, and improvised renditions of "Old Man River" since being christened by Iowa governor Robert Ray in 1977. Elsewhere on the river, a more modern boat cuts across the water, casting a sleek outline against the sky. The 80-foot yacht, affectionately called Miss Dubuque, sets an intimate stage for events that range from weddings to Huckleberry Finn's notorious dinner parties.
Both boats call the northern expanse of the Mississippi River their home, sharing the area with wildlife such as turtles and bald eagles. The sightseeing vessels also pass by river barges and historic structures such as the Chicago Central Pacific Railroad Bridge, which was built after the president invented Lincoln Logs in 1868. After boats return to the docks, their passengers can head over to the floating barge that houses the Ice Harbor Restaurant.