We sailed on the American Queen from New Orleans to Memphis in March of 2019.
Due to mother nature the river was too high on the river when we sailed. The American Queen had to make a few adjustments from our original itinerary. However, this process seemed to be done very well. We were notified in advance of what would be changing before getting on the boat, and still were able to see everything we were hoping too, which was great!
When we arrived on the American Queen, there were people there to greet us and in good spirits. The atmosphere of the boat is very different from a major cruise line based on the size and the staff. With the boat being a smaller capacity, you can put a name to a face, and it creates a sense of warmth and homeliness, whereas other cruises you do not have the same feeling. We were able to meet a lot of guests from all over the country as well as some in other countries and hear their travel stories. We saw these same people walking throughout the boat, at dinner, the shows, and even on some of our shore excursions. You really get a sense of togetherness.
Daily Ports of Call and Excursions
The Hop on Hop off is a great way to see what you are interested in and take your time. You do not need to be with the whole group, you can do your own thing at your own pace. Some of the museums we spent a long time and we didn’t feel rushed. Our favorite Hop on Hop off port was Vicksburg. The guides on the busses were very informative between each stop, and there is a lot of history in this city!
Although we were not docked at Nottoway Plantation due to the high river, we were still able to take a shuttle to the Nottoway Plantation, and enjoy the in-depth tour of the mansion. The guides in dress helped to set the stage.
For the shore excursions, we were booked on one a day, and in almost every port we were able to do the hop on hop off as well. One of the tours we took was Redemption and Rehabilitation at Angola Prison. We were nervous to go on a tour that takes you inside of a prison. However, once inside the fear seemed to just disappear. Our guide on the motorcoach to the prison, informed us what to expect before we arrived. She was very knowledgeable. Once we got to the prison, we had another guide on the motorcoach who drove us throughout the grounds. She told us stories and was very informative of the history to present day interworking’s of the prison. We were able to meet a few inmates as well and see the program they have in place. This was by far our favorite tour of the entire trip. Partially due to the fact it was something we were not expecting at all and turned out to be outstandingly done.
Throughout the week we had the same drivers for the Hop on hop off and the premium shore excursions. This added to that homeliness feeling. They would get to know our names and we would see them in our adventures. They were all polite and very helpful and made sure the tours departed on time, so we didn’t miss anything.
We chose to eat in the dining room as well as the front porch. Both had the same menus typically, and in the front porch it was more at your convenience, which we liked. Some days it was nice out and we were able to sit on the actual front porch and enjoy the scenery of the river. On the days we could not go outside to eat on the front porch, seating was a little tricky. Where there were empty seats, we were able to find others to sit with, and made new friends for the week. The food itself was outstanding. We were always full and not disappointed with the portions. Having the endless cookies, popcorn, and ice cream available in the front porch, was a great treat.
We would definitely sail again with the American Queen Steamboat Company, and we would like to sail on one of their other river boats, hoping our next one is the American Empress.