We arrived in Memphis a day before the boat was to depart and stayed at the Riverboat Company hotel, the downtown Sheraton. In spite of having read a few negative reviews, we were well pleased with the hospitality shown us by the staff from our first greeting by the bellmen, front desk staff, early check in provided, service in the restaurant for dinner (on our own), and the comfort of the room. We had no issues with noise in our 5th floor, king bedded room. We were on our own for the day and for dinner that night. Tours were offered but we were already familiar with Memphis, so we opted out of the tours.
Registration was easy at the hotel. We received our 3:00 boarding passes in the evening for the next day’s sailing. Luggage is picked up between 8 & 9 a.m. from your room.
Response from BriannaH, Guest Relations @American Queen Voyages
(# 348) We purchased a cabin with a private veranda for our first US River boat cruise and we are glad we did. As mentioned elsewhere, the cabins are quite small. Being able to open the louvered French doors onto the veranda gave us more space to enjoy the scenery and fresh air. Above the French doors is a screened transom that can be opened for fresh air when the doors are closed. Note that there are limited rooms with private verandas. Also note that the verandas are not entirely private: there is a louvered partition between each veranda which is hinged for opening between two or more cabins, so friends and family can share the space if their cabins adjoin. The is a nice benefit for folks traveling together. Otherwise, it is much like on other cruise ships where conversations flow from one veranda to the next. There is NO smoking allowed from the verandas, so we were grateful our neighbors complied with that.
We were told by the steward that all Private Veranda Cabins are identically furnished. Our queen bed had lights directly above it for reading. One side had a small nightstand with a drawer (maybe 20" between the bed and wall). There were two smallish Victorian style chairs and a tiny (less than 12" wide) table along one wall. The other wall held a reproduction piece with a small desk and drawers (see pictures). Directly inside the cabin door was a narrow set of 4 drawers below a mirror (see pictures). The closet was open with hangers and a safe. With a little arranging, we were able to stow everything we had in spaces provided along with suitcases under the bed.
Note: There are only 2 electrical outlets in the main part of the cabin and they are both on exterior walls—one being hidden by the furniture. An extension cord could be handy. There is no clock or night light in the room. There is no mini-fridge in the room.
Easily larger than a standard cruise ship bathroom, there is a full-sized tub with grab bars and shower, a full-size sink and standard toilet. A two-tiered glass shelf is available for stowing toiletries along with a glass shelf above the sink. Hairdryer and toiletries are supplied. There is a standard outlet in the bathroom rather than the usual shaver-only outlet. Water was plenty hot but the tub frequently drained extremely slow, leaving one standing in a bathtub full of water while showering.