There are those of us who long for the romance of travel in a bygone era. We were born too late. We search for the opportunity of riding the rails behind a true steam engine in passenger cars from over 100 years ago. And there are those of us who desire traveling the heartland of America's rivers on a steam driven riverboat.
But wait! We were not born too late. Relive the adventure of paddle wheel travel on board the American Queen.
We just finished breakfast on the front porch of this boat, watching it sail from Memphis, TN. We are on our way up the Ohio RIver with Cincinatti as our destination.
Our stateroom has double doors opening up onto the veranda.
To put it mildly, this riverboat is nothing short of being magnificent. Though the American Queen was built in 1995, it radiates everything of a bygone era. The Mark Twain Gallery resembles a grand library with highly polished furniture and plush seating. One deck below is the main dining room that leaves one breathless when one looks up at he fancy scrollwork above dining tables. The tables themselves gleam with gold colored glass chargers.
There is full theater on board that wa built to the style of the Ford Theater where President LIncoln was kiled. (They call the theater a 'Saloon'.) The balcony side room even has a special chair where our president sat. Every evening there is a stage show with different performances every night.
Traveling on roads paralleling the route of our steamboat are three American Queen buses. When the boat docks at various ports, the buses offer free "hop on - hop off" tours of the cities and towns. For example, when we reach Paducah, we will be able to see famous quilt museum as well as a preserved railroad depot.
I hope that you can surmise from my message that I absolutely love this boat. When I was on the Queen for my first trip a couple of years ago, my attention was on where we were going. This time, I admire the attention to detail the owners have made on the boat itself. The American Queen is the last of the true, steam-driven, paddle wheel vessels that travel on our rivers.
Part of the charm is that the boat is only 420 ft. long. That limits the number of passengers the Queen can carry, a delicious difference from ocean going cruisers that carry thousands of people,
Another small note: The crew are most helpful and always have smiles on their faces. The fact that the owners of the American Queen hire only people from the United States tells me that they feel a debt to have our countrymen on board.
I absolutely love this boat and plan on being on board for two more cruises next year.