This was my 4th trip on the American Queen this year. Quite frankly, I found the music to be addictive! The whole experience is quite nice, but the music is the biggest draw for me. All the musicians are top notch. I especially enjoy Greg Lupton, who plays piano in the Captain's Bar twice a night. He is so engaging, with his sing-a-longs and warm humor. He's also a very, very talented musician. He makes everyone feel welcome and happy. Also terrific are the twice-nightly staged shows, the blues jam, the afternoon dixieland jazz show, and the late night dance music.
The boat itself is really classy without being snooty. You will feel comfortable in casual clothes. The food is quite good, and quite varied. The staterooms are mostly very nice (though there are a few issues with water and room temperatues that need to be sorted out; I expect that those will have been remedied when the boat comes out of dry dock next season). The stops are very interesting, and some good options for side trips are provided. I especially recommend the BB King Museum!
The ship is large enough that no one will feel claustrophobic, but not so large that it feels impersonal. The crowd tends to be seasoned and relaxed. We may all enjoy some wine with their dinner, and the occasional cocktail, but this is not a ship of drunken fools.
The riverlorian lectures are quite interesting, and other onboard activities are available as well. The staff are friendly and helpful.
Overall, I would highly recommend this boat, assuming they can take care of those few repair glitches. And, as fun as the Memphis to New Orleans route is, I actually prefer the run up to Red Wing (a charming port of call). Whichever route you take, you're bound to have a good time. Don't forget to catch Greg's act!
As noted, there were glitches with room and water temperature, and some other things. I believe there are plans to tackle these issues during the off-season (January). Otherwise, the room was very pleasant. I was particularly pleased that the room had an actual bathtub, and not just a shower (but that's my individual preference; others may feel otherwise).