Queen boat

American Queen: River Cruise Ship Review

Posted September 8th, 2015

Recognisable by her twin black smokestacks and pillar-box-red paddlewheel, the world’s largest river steamboat is something of a moveable icon. American Queen is one of the most popular river cruising vessels in the world. Check out our in-depth review on this North American lady.

The Ship

American Queen, owned by American Queen Steamboat Company, launched in 1995 with 222 cabins and capacity for 436 passengers. She emulates a classic Mississippi riverboat and is the world’s largest steamboat.

Effectively replicating an historic vessel, plying a river that shaped much of North America’s history and encapsulating a slice of American culture, she offers a unique travel experience.


Sociable showboat, with yesteryear charm and modern comforts. Instantly recognisable by her twin black smokestacks and bright red paddlewheel at the stern, this moveable landmark attracts attention both on the river and from the shore.

On board, there’s ample outside space and seating, including rocking chairs, for soaking up the river views. Ambience is ‘country-club casual’; the friendly crew is all-American. Two lifts serve all decks except the sun deck.

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In terms of wallpaper and carpet design, light fittings and furniture decor echoes the past, but staterooms have all mod cons and comforts, too. The 12 stateroom categories include, unusually for a river cruise vessel, 54 inside cabins and 12 singles.

All except inside staterooms have bathtubs with over-bath showers. The majority of suites and outside staterooms have open verandas, meaning doors open directly on to the deck, so outside space is shared with neighbours and passers-by.

It’s a friendly and sociable set-up, with each accommodation having its own small table and chairs. Only Superior-category staterooms have private verandas. The lower deck’s outside staterooms have a large bay window instead, and are light filled.

Food & Drink

Five-course dinner is served in the grand JM White Dining Room. Cuisine features local flavours and is well-presented. Wine and beer are complimentary with dinner.

An abundant breakfast buffet plus cooked-to-order menu options are also served here; a more informal breakfast buffet in the much smaller Front Porch Cafe. Lunch is offered in both. Weather permitting, the River Grill & Bar also serves meals.

At Your Leisure

The period-style Mark Twain Gallery is inviting – but could be improved with better lighting. The smaller Ladies Parlor and Gentlemen’s Card Room are brighter and very appealing.

The sun deck has a small pool and a gym. Boutique Q is worth browsing for books and souvenirs.

Talks and Broadway-style evening shows are staged in the Grand Saloon; there’s also live music – and, often, dancing – there and in the bars.

On-Board Enrichment & Excursions

Top on-board enrichment: American Queen’s resident ‘riverlorians’. There’s one on every cruise, with a wealth of river knowledge and tales to share. When not giving a talk or commentary, he’s usually available to chat in the Chart Room.

Ashore, there’s a complimentary hop-on hop-off bus tour in every port, plus a range of rewarding excursions to purchase.

The Details

American Queen cruises on the Lower and Upper Mississippi and its tributaries.

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This article was written by Pat Richardson from The Daily Telegraph and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

The Daily Telegraph

The Daily Telegraph is a daily morning UK English language broadsheet newspaper, published in London by Telegraph Media Group and distributed throughout the United Kingdom and internationally.

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