The American Queen is one of the paddlewheel steamships that sailed US rivers in the 1980s and 1990s. At that time there were six or eight options for river cruises. That company (and another which had one ship) went out of business and the options dropped to none. In 2012 the American Queen Steamboat Company refurbished the American Queen and re-established the American river cruise.
The experience - the idea is to relive the heyday of steamship traffic on the nations rivers. While the ship maintains modern safety standards, she is an authentic reproduction of the ships that delivered passengers and cargo throughout the heartland in the 19th century. The itineraries are designed to introduce the guest to the history, heritage, and culture of the charming towns and vibrant Mississippi river cities.
Life on board - the dining room features outstanding regional American food. Complementary wine and beer are served with dinner. All standard shore excursions are included in the cruise price. First class entertainment is included - oldies groups like Gary Puckett and the Union Gap, the Platters, and Paul Revere: Big Band sound from Glenn Miller and Harry James bands: and many others. Many cruises are designated Theme Cruises. Examples are Fall Foliage, Walk in Elvis's Steps, Old Fashioned Holidays, Southern Culture, and many more.
Accommodations - all cabins are nicely decorated with period furniture. The inside cabins and the lower level of outside cabins are a little smaller than those on a standard large ship (about 140 sq ft). Deluxe outside cabins (with a bay window) are a comfortable 190 sq ft as are most of the outside with verandah. Many of the verandah staterooms open onto the deck (no private space). The top three categories include 210 sq ft staterooms with private verandahs up to 500 sq ft suites.
Cruise fares - most all itineraries include one free hotel night either before or after the cruise. Standard mid level cabins will be $450 to $500 per person per night. Lower levels can be as low as $350 pp pn and the suites will approach $1000 pp pn.
Sample itineraries - are listed below.