1. Home
  2. Cruise Reviews
  3. American Queen
We did the 7 night New Orleans to Memphis cruise. After cancelling a Mediterranean cruise due to the terrorist activity in Europe, we looked into a river cruise on the American Queen. We did a river cruise on the Mosel and Rhine Rivers back in 2011, and really enjoyed that, so we figured, "why not"! I was skeptical, however, as these cruises are extremely expensive. This particular cruise we ended up booking was about $3,000 more than the one we cancelled, which was on Celebrity, Concierge class, 10 nights versus 7 on this cruise, unlimited Premium Drink Package, $300 on board credit, pre-paid gratuities and free Wi-Fi! But, when the wife says she won't go to Europe, this looked to be a decent, albeit expensive, option. And I was concerned about the ports, as most didn't seem real exciting! The bookend ports of New Orleans and Memphis, however, seemed like they would be fun, and we'd never been to either. And Vicksburg had the big Civil War National Historic Military Park as well, so that had appeal to the history buff in both of us. So, the pros and cons: Cons first: In reading the reviews, they describe the fellow passengers as "Mature"..., well, that they are, and then some! We are 59 and 63 respectively, and there were maybe 5 people that were younger than us! I'd guess the average age was 75 or so. Now, there is nothing wrong with this, it just was not expected, especially in the large amount, i.e. 99%, that we experienced. So, just be aware if you do book. Many had mobility issues, so getting up and down stairs, or on and off the buses, can take some patience when you are behind them. I asked about this demographic anomaly of the Cruise Director and the Future Cruise Salesperson, and they both said this was fairly typical, but it does tend to be a slightly younger crowd on the sailings out of Nashville with the popularity of Country Music, and the Columbia/Snake River sailings, as they offer shore excursions with zip lining and kayaking. So, something to keep in mind when selecting a sailing. Ports of Call. Little Southern towns are quaint, but once you've seen one..., well, you can only look at so many Southern Mansions, if you know what I mean! Most were a bit on the boring side, but as mentioned above, the bookend cities of New Orleans and Memphis, and the Vicksburg Civil War Battlefields, were excellent. I guess you can't compare 300 years of our history to 1500 years of European History. We did the Premium Shore Excursion in Vicksburg, and that was great. For all others, we did the Hop On-Hop Off bus tours they offered. These were quite good and is a very good concept for shore excursions. Most stops allowed you to get off at one, then walk to most of the other stops, making your way to the last stop to get back tothe boat. It really wasn't necessary to constantly get on and off, as the towns are all very small. Scenery while cruising..., well, there isn't any! 7 days of nothing! Heavily forested river banks and barges and other commercial ships. And the water is brown. Now, I've been told the Columbia/Snake River Cruises, and the Upper Mississippi Cruises, are much more scenic, but this one is not! However, it is very peaceful, and we still enjoyed it. Pros: The boat is absolutely beautiful! Very roomy and easy to get around, and immaculately maintained. The crew was constantly cleaning and polishing just about everything. Watching the paddle wheel turn is mesmerizing, and the facilities inside and out are first rate. The service was genuinely fantastic. EVERYONE on board has a smile on their face, and you are tended to with great pride and care. The food was amazing! They have an alternate dining venue called The Front Porch, and it had just as good (some nights even better) food as the Main Dining Room. And, you could go any time you wanted from 5:30 to 8:00. And you could go in shorts and flip flops if you wanted, and enjoy your dinner outside on the front deck. They were also open for breakfast and lunch, all three meals buffet style, with one entrée being prepared fresh (such as omelets in the morning, tacos/burritos at lunch, and BBQ Baby Back Ribs for dinner). Plus, you had all the other choices in the buffet line as well! We only ate one night in the Main Dining Room, and that was Lobster Night! Note that if you want to stick with the Main Dining Room, they only have two seatings, one at 5:15 (too early), the other at 8:00 (too late). So the Front Porch allowed much more flexibility. They had fantastic Entertainment. Each night they had a variety show of sorts, all performed by their onboard cast. These shows were held in the Grand Saloon, a larger theater modeled after Ford Theater in Washington. Plus there was piano bar entertainment in the Captain's Bar, music duos in the Engine Room Bar, and many other activities (Bingo, Trivia, etc) throughout the day. All in all, we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. I don't see us ever doing another one, as it now falls into the "been there, done that" category. We absolutely LOVED our European River Cruise, but for the same reason, i.e., "been there, done that", it is doubtful we would repeat that. I just mention this as it is not due to any negative experience at all, in fact, it was really great. It is just not something we'd spend this amount of money on to do again. Also, I would NOT recommend this for children, as they would be bored out of their minds! There is nothing for kids to do, except a very small pool, with no slides or diving boards!

Cruising SLOWLY up the Mississippi

American Queen Cruise Review by KailuaAl

27 people found this helpful
Trip Details
We did the 7 night New Orleans to Memphis cruise.

After cancelling a Mediterranean cruise due to the terrorist activity in Europe, we looked into a river cruise on the American Queen. We did a river cruise on the Mosel and Rhine Rivers back in 2011, and really enjoyed that, so we figured, "why not"! I was skeptical, however, as these cruises are extremely expensive. This particular cruise we ended up booking was about $3,000 more than the one we cancelled, which was on Celebrity, Concierge class, 10 nights versus 7 on this cruise, unlimited Premium Drink Package, $300 on board credit, pre-paid gratuities and free Wi-Fi! But, when the wife says she won't go to Europe, this looked to be a decent, albeit expensive, option. And I was concerned about the ports, as most didn't seem real exciting! The bookend ports of New Orleans and Memphis, however, seemed like they would be fun, and we'd never been to either. And Vicksburg had the big Civil War National Historic Military Park as well, so that had appeal to the history buff in both of us.

So, the pros and cons:

Cons first: In reading the reviews, they describe the fellow passengers as "Mature"..., well, that they are, and then some! We are 59 and 63 respectively, and there were maybe 5 people that were younger than us! I'd guess the average age was 75 or so. Now, there is nothing wrong with this, it just was not expected, especially in the large amount, i.e. 99%, that we experienced. So, just be aware if you do book. Many had mobility issues, so getting up and down stairs, or on and off the buses, can take some patience when you are behind them. I asked about this demographic anomaly of the Cruise Director and the Future Cruise Salesperson, and they both said this was fairly typical, but it does tend to be a slightly younger crowd on the sailings out of Nashville with the popularity of Country Music, and the Columbia/Snake River sailings, as they offer shore excursions with zip lining and kayaking. So, something to keep in mind when selecting a sailing.

Ports of Call. Little Southern towns are quaint, but once you've seen one..., well, you can only look at so many Southern Mansions, if you know what I mean! Most were a bit on the boring side, but as mentioned above, the bookend cities of New Orleans and Memphis, and the Vicksburg Civil War Battlefields, were excellent. I guess you can't compare 300 years of our history to 1500 years of European History. We did the Premium Shore Excursion in Vicksburg, and that was great. For all others, we did the Hop On-Hop Off bus tours they offered. These were quite good and is a very good concept for shore excursions. Most stops allowed you to get off at one, then walk to most of the other stops, making your way to the last stop to get back tothe boat. It really wasn't necessary to constantly get on and off, as the towns are all very small.

Scenery while cruising..., well, there isn't any! 7 days of nothing! Heavily forested river banks and barges and other commercial ships. And the water is brown. Now, I've been told the Columbia/Snake River Cruises, and the Upper Mississippi Cruises, are much more scenic, but this one is not! However, it is very peaceful, and we still enjoyed it.

Pros: The boat is absolutely beautiful! Very roomy and easy to get around, and immaculately maintained. The crew was constantly cleaning and polishing just about everything. Watching the paddle wheel turn is mesmerizing, and the facilities inside and out are first rate.

The service was genuinely fantastic. EVERYONE on board has a smile on their face, and you are tended to with great pride and care.

The food was amazing! They have an alternate dining venue called The Front Porch, and it had just as good (some nights even better) food as the Main Dining Room. And, you could go any time you wanted from 5:30 to 8:00. And you could go in shorts and flip flops if you wanted, and enjoy your dinner outside on the front deck. They were also open for breakfast and lunch, all three meals buffet style, with one entrée being prepared fresh (such as omelets in the morning, tacos/burritos at lunch, and BBQ Baby Back Ribs for dinner). Plus, you had all the other choices in the buffet line as well! We only ate one night in the Main Dining Room, and that was Lobster Night! Note that if you want to stick with the Main Dining Room, they only have two seatings, one at 5:15 (too early), the other at 8:00 (too late). So the Front Porch allowed much more flexibility.

They had fantastic Entertainment. Each night they had a variety show of sorts, all performed by their onboard cast. These shows were held in the Grand Saloon, a larger theater modeled after Ford Theater in Washington. Plus there was piano bar entertainment in the Captain's Bar, music duos in the Engine Room Bar, and many other activities (Bingo, Trivia, etc) throughout the day.

All in all, we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. I don't see us ever doing another one, as it now falls into the "been there, done that" category. We absolutely LOVED our European River Cruise, but for the same reason, i.e., "been there, done that", it is doubtful we would repeat that. I just mention this as it is not due to any negative experience at all, in fact, it was really great. It is just not something we'd spend this amount of money on to do again. Also, I would NOT recommend this for children, as they would be bored out of their minds! There is nothing for kids to do, except a very small pool, with no slides or diving boards!
KailuaAl’s Full Rating Summary
Enrichment Activities
Value For Money
Embarkation
Dining
Public Rooms
Entertainment
Cabin
Fitness & Recreation
Shore Excursions
Service
Free Price Drop Alerts
Get American Queen price drops
250,000+ people have entered their email
By proceeding, you agree to Cruise Critic’s Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.

Cabin Review

Cabin 424
Our cabin was wonderful. Middle of deck 4, port side. Very easy to get anywhere on the ship in just a minute or two! The cabin itself was spacious and very logically laid out. It had the biggest bathroom we've ever had on a cruise ship, with a full bathtub! The cabin service was great as well. The "common" balcony was actually really nice. The deck area out front of the "patio door" was very roomy, and we had our own chairs and a small table. And it was quite nice saying hi to fellow passengers as they walked past. I never once wished we had a private balcony. Also, the port side has two entry doors, one from the hallway, the other from the deck side. At least on our deck, the starboard cabins that had the common balcony, backed up to the inside cabins, which only had hallway access. They are set up, however, to allow them to be connected, so you could book two cabins and essentially have two bedroom, two bathroom combo cabin.