Cruise the mighty Mississippi aboard American Queen
Enjoy an iconic voyage along the Missisippi River on board the world’s largest and only true steamboat in America
Words: Maggy Oehlbeck
Let American Queen take you on a voyage through a land of history and musical culture—from Gone With The Wind-style mansions, to the legend Graceland and the birthplace of jazz and blues.
The world’s largest and only true steamboat in the US, American Queen is wedding-cake white, with balustrades festooned in red, white and blue bunting, her twin stacks stand tall as Abe Lincoln’s stovepipe hats, while at her stern is a bright red paddlewheel.
It’s all aboard for a voyage into America’s heartland tracing the culture and turmoil of the Deep South, starting with Graceland, Elvis’ shrine in Memphis and ending in New Orleans—the Big Easy – a journey that covers Dixieland jazz, ragtime, rock and Delta blues.
The voyage recaptures the grand old days of river travel into America’s Deep South. Dining and entertainment play a vital role with high-voltage shows, top-notch dancers and a 10 piece orchestra of talented jazz musicians who perform nightly in the Grand Saloon re-created in the style of a small-town 19th-century ‘opry-house’.
The boat (it is not called a ship) evokes the ambience of an antebellum mansion. Public rooms feature antiques and fresh flowers, and elegant dining includes Cajun and Creole specialties alongside contemporary favourites in the JM White dining room—a lovely light-filled space, with perfectly dressed tables and gracious service. Breakfast and lunch are served here, or at the Front Porch Café.
By day, folks gather on the Front Porch, swaying to the rhythm of the river in rocking chairs or deck swings. When a bridge looms, watch the stacks lower horizontally so she can pass beneath to the wheezy accompaniment of her calliope.
River cruising on the Lower Mississippi is unlike sailing on Europe’s waterways. This is the rural south, but the historic port towns charm and American Queen’s free, hop-on hop-off buses make regular circuits offering intriguing samplers of southern lifestyles.
For more information about cruising the Mississippi River –
6 unmissable Mississippi River cruise highlights
River cruising on the Lower Mississippi is unlike sailing on Europe’s waterways. This voyage through a land of history and musical culture recaptures the grand old days of river travel into America’s Deep South and has an itinerary worthy of any bucket list
Words: Maggy Oehlbeck
‘Follow the music’ becomes the refrain onboard American Queen’s Mississippi river cruise. The world’s largest and only true steamboat in the US, she’s Wedding-cake white, with balustrades festooned in red, white and blue bunting, her twin stacks stand tall as Abraham Lincoln’s stovepipe hats, while at her stern is a bright red paddlewheel.
Voyaging into America’s heartland, port excursions start with Graceland, Elvis’ shrine in Memphis and end in New Orleans—the Big Easy – a journey that covers Dixieland jazz, ragtime, rock and Delta blues. These six itinerary stops, which trace the culture and turmoil of the Deep South, will make your cruise unforgettable.
- Make the ultimate pilgrimage to the King of Rock ’n’ Roll’s Follow in Elvis’ footsteps on an audio-guided tour featuring his commentary. Tour includes his music room, the famous Jungle Room and the Meditation Garden where Elvis and family members rest in peace.
- American Queen’s exclusive tours of Vicksburg’s Civil War sites attract history buffs the world over. Meanwhile, the Old Court House displays macabre notices of slave sales, but more cheerfully, an original Teddy Bear given by President Teddy Roosevelt. (The Roosevelts were riverboat pioneers.)
- In Natchez, once the richest city in the USA when cotton was king, three beautiful Greek Revival Gone with the Wind-era mansions can be visited: Rosalie, Magnolia Hall and Stanton Hall. Your guides are genteel, crinoline-clad southern belles.
- Deep in Louisiana await Baton Rouge, St Francisville and Nottoway Plantation. All capture aspects of French mystique, murkily beautiful bayous, and haunted mansions along oak alleys cobwebbed with Spanish moss.
- Follow the Blues Trail to Clarksdale, Mississippi, on to Helena, Arkansas, to hear an authentic gospel choir. At Delta Blues Museum are displays of Blues legends WC Handy, Muddy Waters and more. Finish at Morgan Freeman’s juke joint, Ground Zero.
- A New Orleans live jazz brunch is a tradition in a city renowned for its potpourri of culinary flavours, which embrace European, Caribbean and African influences. The Court of the Two Sisters in the heart of the French Quarter delivers the goods.