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Seeing the mighty Mississippi has been on our list, if only for the size and its place in history. We travelled from Australia to cruise on the American Queen for a 9 night Lower Mississippi New Orleans to Memphis itinerary. Cruise included a first night stopover in New Orleans at the very convenient Riverfront Hilton, which had a pre-checkin facility, which was easy to do. We did our own exploring rather than used the optional premium tours. First view of the boat tied up was impressive, the Queen is certainly a big boat and certainly looks like a riverboat of bygone days. On boarding day we climbed aboard and went directly to our state room, Dining was a treat, the Dining room was well appointed and we had a set 2 person table for dinner, which was a mixed thing in that we did not mix with other guests much. Staff attention was good and the food very good to excellent, with nicely sized portions. All the bar staff were very good and the River Grill/Calliope Bar on deck 5 became a favourite, where you can view the large river and all on it and the mesmerizing rear paddle wheel. Ensure that you go down to the engine room to actually see the steam engines at work, again the duty staff were just too happy to answer questions. Dining options also include the more casual Front Porch with a nice open air and some inside dining tables which often was the lunch choice, to enjoy the outside weather and views of the river. On our trip we chose only a couple of the option excursions, both of which were quite good, with the Laura Plantation at the Nottoway stop being a standout. The Vicksburg Battlefield tour gave a great overview of the siege of 1863. Included Hop on Hop tours at the ports of call cover the stops quite nicely, but we chose to walk into most ports of call, but caution some of these are some distance so this method is not for everybody. We are a late 50's couple so the demographic of the cruisers on our trip was largely quite senior, which was largely within expectations, met some really nice folks from all over the US, Canada and fellow Antipodeans. Highly recommend the daily Riverlorian talks, Bobby Durham, the Riverlorian on our trip was terrific and very entertaining with his presentations on river history, geographics, commerce and folk lore. The entertainment was not quite our scene but the 4 performers and resident band were able to put on a good show for the presentations we attended, with the timings set so that both dinner sittings could partake if they desired. This type of cruise is a more laid back type, there are vast stretches of river where all you see is riverside forest with occasional industrial works and many, many working barges. The Mississippi is still largely a working river. There are not a lot of riverside towns, What was fascinating to watch the way that the often very large barges and their Tow navigate this winding river. Disembarkation appeared to be quite seamless, we chose the independent option, where our bags were moved to the Memphis terminal, we walked off and picked them up and proceeded off to our hotel, not choosing the post cruise options We feel we would quite possibly travel American Queen Steamboat again. Our expectation was to watch this river go by and get an appreciation for the part the Mississippi played in driving the US expansion and economy in the 1800's and indeed today. That is exactly what the cruise provided. Having a great room, great food and terrific staff was a bonus.

American Queen met and exceeded expectations

American Queen Cruise Review by BravoTango

9 people found this helpful
Trip Details
Seeing the mighty Mississippi has been on our list, if only for the size and its place in history. We travelled from Australia to cruise on the American Queen for a 9 night Lower Mississippi New Orleans to Memphis itinerary. Cruise included a first night stopover in New Orleans at the very convenient Riverfront Hilton, which had a pre-checkin facility, which was easy to do. We did our own exploring rather than used the optional premium tours. First view of the boat tied up was impressive, the Queen is certainly a big boat and certainly looks like a riverboat of bygone days. On boarding day we climbed aboard and went directly to our state room,

Dining was a treat, the Dining room was well appointed and we had a set 2 person table for dinner, which was a mixed thing in that we did not mix with other guests much. Staff attention was good and the food very good to excellent, with nicely sized portions. All the bar staff were very good and the River Grill/Calliope Bar on deck 5 became a favourite, where you can view the large river and all on it and the mesmerizing rear paddle wheel. Ensure that you go down to the engine room to actually see the steam engines at work, again the duty staff were just too happy to answer questions. Dining options also include the more casual Front Porch with a nice open air and some inside dining tables which often was the lunch choice, to enjoy the outside weather and views of the river.

On our trip we chose only a couple of the option excursions, both of which were quite good, with the Laura Plantation at the Nottoway stop being a standout. The Vicksburg Battlefield tour gave a great overview of the siege of 1863. Included Hop on Hop tours at the ports of call cover the stops quite nicely, but we chose to walk into most ports of call, but caution some of these are some distance so this method is not for everybody.

We are a late 50's couple so the demographic of the cruisers on our trip was largely quite senior, which was largely within expectations, met some really nice folks from all over the US, Canada and fellow Antipodeans. Highly recommend the daily Riverlorian talks, Bobby Durham, the Riverlorian on our trip was terrific and very entertaining with his presentations on river history, geographics, commerce and folk lore. The entertainment was not quite our scene but the 4 performers and resident band were able to put on a good show for the presentations we attended, with the timings set so that both dinner sittings could partake if they desired.

This type of cruise is a more laid back type, there are vast stretches of river where all you see is riverside forest with occasional industrial works and many, many working barges. The Mississippi is still largely a working river. There are not a lot of riverside towns, What was fascinating to watch the way that the often very large barges and their Tow navigate this winding river.

Disembarkation appeared to be quite seamless, we chose the independent option, where our bags were moved to the Memphis terminal, we walked off and picked them up and proceeded off to our hotel, not choosing the post cruise options

We feel we would quite possibly travel American Queen Steamboat again.

Our expectation was to watch this river go by and get an appreciation for the part the Mississippi played in driving the US expansion and economy in the 1800's and indeed today. That is exactly what the cruise provided.

Having a great room, great food and terrific staff was a bonus.
Guest Experience Manager, Guest Relations Manager has responded
Dear BravoTango, Thank you for the 5 star review! We are thrilled to hear that you had such a great time! Our on-board staff work very hard and I will pass on your compliments to them! The Riverlorian is very knowledgeable and we are pleased to learn that you were able to enjoy his river chats! Again, thank you for the compliments and we hope we have the opportunity to welcome you back on-board in the very near future!
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of The Independent Traveler, Inc.
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Cabin Review

Cabin 525
AA class cabin on deck 5. We found it a 2 single bed layout, which was quite ok, but the very efficient and wonderul room attendant advised it could be changed if we desired.
The room appeared very well appointed with TV, 2 armchairs, drawers with a spacy bathroom, with full bath/shower over bath and enough storage space. The AA also has a hanging space and small vanity desk type arrangement. The doors open directly onto the deck which was no problems for our cruise weather wise, but water can pool on the deck after rain, the the crew are quite diligent with removing this when practical.