The 436-passenger American Queen is a faithful recreation of a 19th-century American steamboat, with tall black stacks, gingerbread decoration, a red paddle wheel, and opulent interiors that recall the flamboyant parlors of a robber baron’s mansion. Despite the historic decor, this paddle-wheeler sails with modern comforts such as Wi-Fi and craft cocktails.
What We Love
J.M. White Dining Room: The main dining room soars over two decks, with colorful tapestries and gilded antique mirrors at either end. The highlight? Extraordinary river views through floor-to-ceiling glass windows.
American, Southern, and Cajun Food: The regional, seasonal menus give you an authentic sense of place, with garlic and leek soup, seafood gumbo, fried catfish with wild rice, praline and pecan cheesecake, and sinful Mississippi Mud Pie.
Best Known For
Stops at Welcoming Small Towns: River cities, which owe their origins to the steamboats, put on a genuine welcome down at the landing. Everyone knows you're coming when they hear the old steam calliope blasting out “Cruising Down the River on a Sunday Afternoon.”
Onboard Historian: You will often find the "riverlorian" pointing out the current location on flip charts in the Chart Room, or on deck pointing out navigational dangers and spinning tales gleaned from river pilots.
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Who It's Best For
History Buffs: Civil War history is one of the biggest tourist draws in the U.S., and the American Queen takes you directly to battle sites like Vicksburg, as well as contemporary remainders of the old Cotton South, such as stately antebellum mansions hidden behind the Mississippi River levees.
Don't Say We Didn't Warn You
You'll Visit Pokey Places: Some towns visited are now well past the prime they enjoyed during the heyday of American industrial years. Although the present attractions are minimal, the stories told by the locals can be entertaining and educational.
Theodore W. Scull is a New York-based contributor to ShermansCruise who has written several books on crossings.
American Queen Steamboat Company Videos
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American Queen at a Glance
- Line: American Queen Steamboat Company
- Number of Passengers: 436
- Ship Size: Large
- Launch Date: 1996
- Refurbish Date: 2012