The problem was, when I looked it up on the Agencies website, the itinerary was pretty much what we had done just the previous month - even though the cruise followed a different route. However, with a bit of Googling around, I soon found the website of the cruise line and found that they did a bunch of cruises on the inland waterways, including one that goes from New York to Chicago, via the Hudson River, Erie, Oswego and Welland Canals, 37 locks, and Lakes Ontario, Erie, Huron and Michigan - in other words a substantial part of the Great Loop and much of it we would have travelled on in Loopy Kiwi.
I won't go on about the cruise line, Blount Small Ship Adventures, because it is all on their website at https://www.blountsmallshipadventures.com/ so you can look it up. We were looking at the "Great American Waterways" cruise. It so happened that our friends, Dennis and Kathy, had seen the same advert in the paper, so when I told them about the NY - Chicago cruise they decided they would like to join us. Since there was a special discount for bringing a friend (which they got too!), and another for booking before the end of August, we decided to go for it and chose the one leaving NY on June 10th.
It was then a matter of arranging flights to suit and, sure enough a month or so later, Air NZ came out with some specials to the USA. We booked to fly to Houston and spend a couple of days, then on to New York for four days of sightseeing before catching the cruise. I still wanted to do some of the mid-west, so we decided to fly to Denver from Chicago at the end of the cruise, pick up a rental car and drive around Colorado (CO), Wyoming (WY), Montana (MT) and Sth Dakota (SD) looking at the sights, before flying to LA and home.
Here's a close up of the road trip, with the major sights numbered, ie
1. Plains Interpretive Centre, Casper WY (something like the one we visited in Utah a couple of years ago.)
2. Cody WY. Where Buffalo Bill came from. Has a night rodeo that we intend to go to.
3. Yellowstone National Park, WY. That says it all
4. Little Big Horn N.P, MT - where Custer tossed in his chips
5. Devils Tower N.P, WY. Made famous by "Close encounters of he third kind"
6. Deadwood, SD. Old famous cowboy town.
7. Keystone SD. Mt Rushmore with sculpted Presidents
8. Crazy Horse Monument. A bit like Mt Rushmore, but bigger and not finished yet.
9. Bear Tooth Pass, WY. This was added late as a detour to our original route, recommended by a fellow boatie. It is an alternative exit road from Yellowstone N.P and climbs to almost 12000ft. It is supposed to be the most spectacular scenic road in the USA.
We will also visit Molly Brown's Museum in Denver and I will probably go to Wings over the Rockies museum there as well.
Blount also do a cruise up the ICW from Savannah (where we shipped Loopy Kiwi to New Zealand from) to Baltimore (almost New York). If this cruise goes well, we will look at doing that segment next year - which means I will have (almost) completed the entire Loop - although not in sequence!