American Queen Voyages Announces 2023 Kentucky Derby Cruise

Fan of horse racing and cruising are in luck! American Queen Voyages has announced a 2023 Kentucky Derby Cruise on board their new paddlewheel ship American Countess.

The nine-day sailing will include a pre-cruise hotel stay at the Brown Hotel in Louisville and highlights include competing in the annual Great American Steamboat Race, onboard lectures about horse racing, a taste of Kentucky cuisine with Culinary Ambassador Regina Charboneau and there are even a limited number of VIP 2023 Kentucky Derby ticket packages available for guests. 

“The Kentucky Derby Cruise is one of my favorite sailings as it captures the magical energy of Louisville during race week,” explains John Waggoner, founder and chairman of American Queen Voyages. “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.”

Kentucky Derby Cruise Itinerary 

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  watch the race from the deck of the ship as it starts and ends at the Clark Memorial Bridge in Louisville. Other events related to the Kentucky Derby include including firework displays, parades, running races, a hot air balloon event, fashion shows, bed races and concerts.

New for the 2023 Kentucky Derby Cruise, Culinary Ambassador Regina Charboneau will join guests onboard to take part in cooking demonstrations of regional culinary favorites like 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.

Have you cruised with American Queen Voyages or attended the Kentucky Derby? Let us know in the comments!