American Queen Voyages are always fun and these 74 and 73 year olds traveled from Memphis to New Orleans. We traveled on the Countess on two occasions last year and that ship is nice. The American Queen, however, is a step above. The ship is larger and has more to enjoy than the smaller AQ vessels. We always choose the inside cabin on AQV because it is far less expensive and close to the Front Porch Cafe and area. Basic beverages and alcohol, gratuities, and port fees are included in the price. Sounds good but AQV raised the price of their voyages from 2022 to 2023 to cover for the "freebies". Four bars are available on the ship... The Front Porch bar is open most of the day (until 8:00 pm), the River Grille (no food or grill) opens at 4:00 and closes at 7:00, the Captain's Bar is small and is available at dinner, and the Engine Room Bar is open at 5:00 pm until late. Be certain and watch the many You Tube videos of the American Queen, particularly those by John. This ship has a capacity of approximately 430 passengers and our trip had 200. Most passengers are upper 60's to in their 80's and many have mobility issues which may mean "life in the slow lane", particularly on the bus or getting on and off the ship. Always get off the ship 15-minutes before the buses are scheduled to depart on the excursions. Elevators are present but we never used them. Two complimentary refillable water cooler bottles are provided in each stateroom. Water-filling stations are located throughout the ship. We ate only at the Front Porch and the food if much better than the Countess. Meals are much the same each day with prime rib offered every evening. The soups are delicious. I made this suggestion in 2022 and again in 2023, I wish AQV had hamburgers, pizza, and nachos as options at the Front Porch. We attended no entertainment performances so no suggestions. Everyday there is a hop on-hop off included excursion which is fun. In Vicksburg, Natchez, Houmas, and Nottoway we chose to walk the ho-ho route rather than be on the bus.
Day 1, Memphis: The Peabody Hotel is very nice but expect a view of the roof-top air-conditioners. Check-in is at 4:00 but we were able to get in at 2:00. Auto Zone Park is across the street and we watched the Memphis Redbirds/Durham Bulls baseball game for free by walking around the park to centerfield. Beale Street is two blocks away and expensive. We always go to Coyote Ugly on the east end which has $3 beer. Other places are $8.
Day 2, Memphis and Boarding: Breakfast on the rooftop was excellent. Be sure and walk outside and view Memphis from the 12th floor. Checkout is 11:00 and one cannot go to the ship before 3:00. This means you have four hours to kill plus lunch. We pack sandwiches at breakfast for lunch. Even if you are capable of doing so, you are not allowed to walk to the ship. After a 10-minute drive boarding the AQ is easy. There is a mandatory and waste-of-time "Mustard Drill" at 4:00. Hellooo, all the major cruise lines do this via onboard television. Sailing at 5:00.
Response from BriannaH, Guest Relations @American Queen Voyages
Choose an inside cabin. The open veranda cabins are pricey and not much of a better offer than inside suites. Inside cabins and just a few steps from the Front Porch and they provide the same view as the veranda cabins (private and open). There is no mini-fridge in the inside cabin and I am uncertain if there is in the veranda suites.