Experiencing the Mississippi River on a steam boat brings you back in time. Although, there might be a few paddlewheel steamboats cruising on the Mississippi, the American Queen Steamboat is the only authentic one that has multiple-day, overnight itineraries.
The paddlewheeler made its debut in 1995 under the ownership of Delta Queen Steamboat Company. It was modeled after a classic Mississippi river boat giving it a historical edge.
How significant is its part in U.S. history? Enough to make its mark. The American Queen Steamboat became a member of the Historic Hotels of America on July 15, 2013.
American Queen Steam Boat on the Mississippi River
Photo Courtesy of American Queen Steamboat Company
The American Queen is much larger than river boats in Europe but comparable in size to cruise ships on the Yangtze River in China. The steam boat is 418 feet long and 89 feet wide with 6 decks! This large ship carries up to 432 passengers and 160 crew members.
In April 2012 the American Queen began sailing under new ownership. The American Queen Steamboat Company acquired the vessel and added it to its Mississippi River cruises.
History, culture and cuisine are certain to be the highlight of your cruise. Onboard the American Queen Steamboat you’ll hear the sounds of calliope music and be able to enjoy the 2-deck Grand Saloon.
Entertainment features big band, swing and Dixieland Jazz (Lower Mississippi cruises), which might not appeal to younger crowds. During the summer months, however, the American Queen tends to draw a younger crowd for their Upper Mississippi River cruises.
Complimentary shore excursions are included in your package. For each destination or port-of-call, you’ll be given a local map that has a gold star next to each attraction that is free to you as an American Queen passenger. What if you want to visit a site that’ is not included? Check the map for discount coupons. You’re bound to find some!
You’ll find itineraries on the Lower Mississippi River from February through the following January and from July through October on the Upper Mississippi. So, there are only about 3-4 weeks each year that the American Queen is not cruising.
This historic river boat travels along the Mississippi, Ohio, Cumberland and Tennessee Rivers. You might cruise along a few other waterways on your journey. Cincinnati and Pittsburgh are on the Ohio River, Nashville is on the Cumberland River, and Chattanooga is on the Tennessee River.
Some of the destinations you’ll find along the Lower Mississippi River, include Memphis, New Orleans and Baton Rouge, Louisiana and Natchez and Vicksburg, Mississippi.
You’ll be taken back into the rich history and charm of the Old South with many of its old buildings and plantation homes still intact. And you’ll have a chance to enjoy some authentic southern cuisine!
If you like to travel during the holidays, you can plan your next trip on one of the American Queens’s winter itineraries. They feature holiday-themed packages from November through early January.
Some of the destinations you might visit on an Upper Mississippi River cruise are located on the Ohio, Cumberland or Tennessee River.
Popular cities along the Mississippi River include Minneapolis/St. Paul, Memphis, and St. Louis, Hannibal, MO.
And popular cities along the Ohio River include Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, and Louisville, KY.
Mark Twain Boyhood Home and Museum in Hannibal, Missouri
A National Historic Landmark
By Jonathunder (Own work) [GFDL 1.2 (http://www.gnu.org/licenses/old-licenses/fdl-1.2.html)], via Wikimedia Commons
The American Queen Steam Boat cruises the Upper Mississippi from July through October. The “Good Old Summertime” sailings are during July and August followed by a few music-themed itineraries and a “Baseball Legends” sailing toward the end of August.
The autumn months are particularly colorful with the change of seasons.
“Fall Colors” is a 9-day trip between St. Louis and Minneapolis/St. Paul. And before the American Queen Steamboat returns to the Lower Mississippi for the remainder of the season, the last “Fall Colors” sailing takes place from St. Louis to Jeffersonville, IN.
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Lauri Wakefield is a travel writer who specializes in river cruises in Europe and the U.S. Connect with her on Twitter and Google+.
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