As the largest steamboat ever built (constructed in 1996, refurbished and relaunched in 2012), the American Queen makes waves as it powers its way along the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers, giving guests a jaw-dropping, unforgettable, ‘uniquely American’ experience. Operated by the renowned American Queen Steamboat Company and chartered by other lines including Avalon Waterways, a river cruise on the American Queen is the perfect way to discover the heartland of the USA, cramming history, cuisine, entertainment and adventure into one show-stopping voyage.
With a combination of modern conveniences, creature comforts, authentic charm and the opulence of the Victorian era, the American Queen steamboat provides guests with a unique voyage along America’s most iconic waterways in true, grandeur and style.
As a steamboat operated by an American line, the American Queen tends to predominantly attract American travellers of a more senior demographic. However, the cruises are being marketed to other countries including the UK and other countries of Europe and Australia, to give others the opportunity to experience old school Americana at its finest. Elevators go to all key decks, which appeals to guests with mobility problems.
Despite the large capacity of the vessel, all 436 guests can enjoy the friendly, attentive service of the 160 all-American staff and crew onboard, who have been professionally trained and know exactly what is required to ensure a guest’s expectations are met and exceeded. All guests can enjoy the daily River Times to see what delights are in store, too.
The American Queen benefits from cuisine designed by notable American chef, Regina Charboneau, so guests onboard will be able to look forward to a mouth-watering feast every day. There are multiple dining areas onboard too, so guests have a choice of venue at no additional charge. The main restaurant is the J M White Dining Room located on the Main Deck, which offers an array of menu options that include traditional favourites and regional, heartland-inspired cuisine. Here, guests can enjoy breakfasts, lunches and five-course dinners on a grand scale. Alternatively, there is the River Grill and Bar on the Promenade Deck, plus the Front Porch Café on the Texas Deck, which serves up classic American dishes 24 hours a day.
Bottled water and soft drinks are complimentary throughout the voyage. Wines and beers are also free-flowing during dinner service.
The dress code both onboard and onshore is casual and comfortable, but guests are encouraged to dress a little smarter for dinner and special events, particularly the Captain’s Welcome and Farewell Receptions in the Mark Twain Gallery. Room service is also available at no extra charge.
Public areas are decorated beautifully, with charming Victorian-esque décor, furniture and antiquities helping to maintain the air of times-past grandeur onboard. There are plenty of areas for guests to utilise across the ship’s six decks, for evening entertainment and daily activities too, including the Engine Room Bar on the Cabin Deck, which has a dancefloor where guests can show off their swing and rock ‘n roll moves, the Main Deck Lounge where a resident pianist tickles the ivories at lively sing-a-long sessions, and the incredible 19th-century-style Grand Saloon theatre spanning two decks.
There’s a nightly entertainment programme onboard, with the Grand Saloon hosting top entertainers every evening, including jazz, blue, ragtime, country and rock ‘n roll performances and cabaret shows that are reminiscent of something you’d see on Broadway.
The onboard Riverlorian is available on every voyage, to educate guests on the history, lore and culture of the rivers. There are often scheduled talks and presentations by guest historians, who will teach you about the heritage of the Heartland and the Deep South.
There are 222 staterooms onboard, spanning a number of different categories of accommodation, from inside cabins (132 sq. ft.) to luxury suites with an open veranda (338 to 353 sq. ft.)
All staterooms are opulently decorated with period details and Victorian charm, with mod cons to keep the river cruise firmly in the 21st century when it comes to comfort. Amenities can include ample storage space, queen size bed (or two singles), fine linens, bathroom with tub/shower combination, flatscreen TV and seating area with sofa.
If choosing an outside stateroom, guests can book a stateroom with a bay window, or an open or private veranda. There are also some single inside cabins, and single outside staterooms with open verandas, which are perfect for solo travellers.
The Sun Deck is home to a pool and a gym, which are great for active types. The gym is fitted with weight and resistance training apparatus, as well as treadmills and a static bike.
For a well-deserved pamper session, check into the AQ Spa by Pevonia onboard, which offers a long list of relaxing treatments including shea butter wraps, indulgent scrubs, firming treatments and massages.
The American Queen operates a number of different cruises that focus on different areas of the Mississippi River, as well as the Ohio River. Travellers can choose from ‘Upper Mississippi Cruises’ which take you through America’s Heartland and the locations loved by literary legend Mark Twain, ‘Lower Mississippi Cruises’ that take you through the historic cities of the region including New Orleans and Memphis, and ‘Ohio and Tennessee River Cruises’ that sail along the Ohio River to take your American adventure that little bit further.
Itineraries available tend to be nine days long, but can be shorter or longer on occasion. Fare prices typically include a pre-cruise hotel stay, transfers, shore excursions, all meals and most drinks.