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.
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.