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American Queen Review

American Queen
American Queen - Deluxe Balcony Cabin American Queen - J.M. White Dining Room American Queen - Grand Staircase American Queen - Ladies Parlor
69% of cruisers loved it
81 reviews | Write a Review
  • Pro: Small ship with big-ship amenities like spa services, a pool and main theater entertainment
  • Con: Culinary options for picky eaters or cruisers with special dietary needs are limited
  • Bottom Line: The perfect Mississippi cruise option for active travelers who appreciate dining and entertainment choices

American Queen Overview

By Carolyn Spencer Brown, Editor in Chief, Updated by Dori Saltzman, Editor
Editor Rating

Originally built in 1996 for the defunct Delta Queen Steamboat Company, the 436-passenger American Queen sat dormant between 2008 and 2012, after its owner went bust. But you just can't keep the world's largest steamboat down, particularly since this classic form of transportation on the Mighty Mississippi and its tributaries is seeing a continual rise in popularity.

Before relaunching in April 2012, American Queen received a $6.5 million spruce-up to make the Victorian decor -- chandeliers, upholstery, polished wood -- pop. Cabins got new bedding and flat-screen TVs, and a top-deck bar/snack venue (River Grill) was added. Six decks swathed in swirly white gingerbread trim received a fresh coat of paint. The result? The steamboat is delightful and feels much more like a small and historic boutique hotel than a riverboat.

These days, there's not much that can obscure the ship's status as a true American original that celebrates the nation's river history, lore, traditions, music and food. Whether it's tying up in a little town like Madison, Indiana, navigating a river lock, or docking in New Orleans, it makes quite an impression. And where else in the States can you watch a boat lower its ornate black funnels so it can go under a bridge?

River cruisers will note that prices for this boat are higher than they are for mainstream ocean cruises. Keep in mind that rates on American Queen include a pre-cruise hotel stay; transfer to the boat; soft drinks, coffee and tea all day; beer and wine with dinner; a complimentary set of shore excursions; and use of bicycles during port calls. The line also pays American wages and offers benefits to its crew.

American Queen cruises the upper and lower Mississippi, as well as the Ohio and Tennessee rivers on five- to 14-night theme cruises. Cruises depart from New Orleans, Memphis, St. Louis, St. Paul and Cincinnati.

American Queen Fellow Passengers

American Queen passengers tend to be mature, and many have already experienced Mississippi River cruising in the past, as well as ocean cruises. Add in the fact that the boat is more lace-and-doily than neon-and-glitter and not geared in any way toward families, and its older demographic becomes clear. This is a particularly good cruise option for passengers with disabilities as, unlike those on many European riverboats, elevators go to all key decks.

Having said that, younger, more active travelers will find a lot to like about American Queen. It's a great option for a relaxing vacation. While Americans are the predominant audience, the cruise line is expanding its outreach to appeal to European, U.K. and Australian travelers who want to experience Americana.

American Queen Dress Code

Casual, comfortable attire is encouraged both onboard and ashore. Shorts and T-shirts are discouraged during dinner in the J.M. White Dining Room, and passengers generally comply. Many exhibit a laidback elegance, with casual dresses and khakis prevalent in the evening. Comfortable walking shoes are a must for time off the boat and for merely strolling around the decks. At the captain's welcome and farewell receptions in the Mark Twain Gallery, blazers with collared shirts and nice dresses are common.

American Queen Gratuity

Tips are not included in the cruise fare; gratuities of $16.50 per person, per day, are added daily into onboard accounts. In addition, a 15 percent service charge is automatically added to all alcoholic drinks purchased onboard. Passengers are encouraged to tip guides on the Premium Choice Tours, but that is left to their discretion.

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American Queen Member Reviews

If your looking for a very laid back cruise with amazing food and outstanding service check out the American Queen. We went from New Orleans to Memphis. I hear running the river down stream gives you a little more time at the history filled ports. ... Read more
When we booked this American Queen Steamboat cruise as a bucket list/88th birthday trip for my Mother-in-law we were somewhat worried how it would go since she isn't very mobile (on a walker) and can be very anxious when not in her usual routine. ... Read more
We went from St. Louis to St. Paul up the Mississippi River. This was a new area for us to see...and we had a great time. It was fall foliage..but the leaves had not changed yet. We really enjoyed visiting the towns along the river. We liked ... Read more
1 - 3 of 81 Reviews

American Queen Ratings

Editor Rating 4.5 Member Rating
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Spa & Fitness
Family & Children
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United States
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