Most of the 222 rooms onboard American Queen are decorated with a melange of polished wood, colorful Victorian patterns, framed photos that celebrate the steamship era, and Victorian furnishings (antiques and reproductions). These cabins have a lot more personality than those on most other ships on which we've traveled. Beds are superbly comfortable and beautifully dressed in crisp linens. Most cabins have two twin beds that can be converted into a queen.
Cabins range from the four relatively airy luxury suites with shared verandas (338 to 353 square feet of space) and the 25 rooms with private verandas (with about 230 square feet of space) to the eight minuscule inside singles (80 square feet). The fact that there are accommodations for solo travelers (including four single outside rooms with shared verandas) will come as a relief to those who wish to travel so. While the singles are indeed small, they're as beautifully outfitted as other cabins, and they're quite cheerful and cozy.
The rest of the cabins are also small by big-ship standards (but fairly in line with river vessels), from 132 to 140 square feet for the 55 inside cabins, to 140 to 210 square feet for the 90 outside staterooms with verandas. There are 16 suites with shared verandas located on the top deck; though they have a bit more space (230 square feet), the decor is largely identical to that found in other outsides.
There are two types of veranda cabins on American Queen. On Deck 3, 25 rooms (Category AA) have the kinds of private balconies passengers are used to on oceangoing vessels; the majority, however, open to promenade decks. Immediately outside the cabin are two outdoor chairs and a small cocktail table; while not private, these "balconies" are actually quite a nice way to people-watch and socialize.
For those who want a view but don't care so much for an outdoor area, the 20 deluxe outside cabins (190 square feet) are absolutely delightful, with large bay windows (perfect for curling up in to watch the river pass by) instead of outside space.
The suites have more breathing room, of course. The top-of-the-line Owners’ Suites, measuring 348 sq. ft., have soaring 11-foot vaulted ceilings. Recently renovated, they still have the period ambience but furnishings are more contemporary; each is furnished with a sofa bed, easy chair and cocktail table. Ornate antique beds are the rooms' centerpieces, and there are wardrobes for extra storage. All have verandas (some private, others opening out onto the promenade deck). The 690 sq. ft. exclusive verandas are outfitted with tables and chairs (with umbrella) and comfortable wicker furniture.
There are four luxury suites on deck five. Measuring 230 square ft. (they feel much more spacious than that), this category will get a major refurbishment in early 2017 that will incorporate the corridor facing inside cabin as a sitting room. For now, they feature a love seat, armchair, and open out onto the deck five promenade. Two more luxury suites (351 and 352) are located on deck three, hard by the paddlewheel. These will be reclassified in 2017 as paddlewheel suites and passengers should know there is some noise when the wheel’s turning (particularly felt on the balcony). The suites with open verandah category is, as of 2016, identical to the quartet of LS cabins. Bathrooms have shower-tub combinations and are beautiful, with a retro black and white tile scheme. For toiletries, suite guests get Clarins’ beauty products.
In an effort to provide more perks to those who occupy the priciest accommodations, American Queen offers a river butler service to those passengers in suites. The butler delivers afternoon hors d’oeuvres and accommodates requests (we asked for a mini-fridge and diet Cokes and they were both delivered promptly). Other perks include private check-in and pre-boarding privileges, a bottle of wine and fruit basket, preferred dining arrangements and – this was really special – reserved seats in the theater balcony; wine and beer were complimentary during performances.
In all cabins, there's plenty of space under the beds for luggage. All cabins have safes, free bottled water, hair dryers and flat-screen TVs that feature a decent number of basic cable options and, oddly enough, New York City network affiliates. The boat's free Wi-Fi isn't always functional, but when it was, we were able to access it in our cabin. The best location for reception is the Mark Twain Gallery, which has electrical outlets and tables for laptops.
All cabins have bathrooms, some of which are shower-only; suites have separate showers and tubs. Bathrooms are black-and-white-tiled affairs that reminded us of grandma's house, but beware: Though company literature promises all outside cabins have showers and tubs, some have only large walk-in showers. If a tub is important to you, be sure your cabin has one when you book. We loved the big mirror, the stand-alone shelves that could hold way more toiletries than we carried onboard, and the American Queen-branded lotion, soap and shampoo.
We were particularly fond of the self-regulated air-conditioning that was so powerful it kept our bottled water chilled -- a good thing for muggy days on the Big Muddy. Soundproofing is decent, but, if you're a light sleeper, you might want to avoid a cabin near the stern: you'll feel the tug and pull of the steel arms controlling the paddlewheel.
ADA-accessible cabins are available in all categories except singles.