The original American Queen Steamboat
We overheard something recently, in a conversation about American river cruises, that resonated with us. ‘If you’re going to go on an American river cruise, you’re going to need a paddle!’. And this got us thinking about the importance to so many of our guests each year of cruising the Mississippi on a genuine, steam-powered, paddlewheel.
The Mississippi River cruise is a classical bucket-list travel experience that is growing exponentially for UK guests. But to do the experience justice, you have to do it the way you imagine it to be, on a paddlewheel steamboat!
The American Queen is a true steamboat, powered by twin, vintage steam engines
The American Paddlewheel is an historic part of the evolution of boats, water transportation and American history itself. These vessels were vital in the development of trade on the Mississippi River and have become a familiar icon of the country and an important aid to tourism too.
There are two types of paddlewheel steamers in America. the sternwheeler with a single paddle wheel on the rear, such as our very own American Queen, and sidewheelers that have a wheel on each side.
For many of our guests and prospective American river cruisers, the single most important part of the experience is knowing that you are on a traditional and authentic, steam-powered and paddlewheel maneuvered boat. And this is perhaps why our unique style of cruising on the Mississippi is proving so desirable, as the American Queen is in fact the only operating cruise ship that qualifies in this category. And nobody knows the famed curves of the Mississippi better than her Captain of course.
Only an authentic Paddle-wheeler will do on the Mississippi
Nicholas Roosevelt first introduced the steamboat to the Mississippi River in 1811 and Mark Twain later chronicled his Life on the Mississippi memoir, covering his four years of steamboat piloting before the Civil War. This has meant that for Centuries, the steamboats have been as historically important as the river itself, immortalised by Twain and his writings. And this is often why the first stop on our historically and culturally rich cruises may well be a tour of the engine room, steeped in its very own American history and serving as a destination in its own right.
The functionality of the paddlewheel should not be underestimated when planning your American river cruise and is certainly a key factor in choosing your boat, especially for the passionate cruiser who is looking for the full and authentic experience of the Mississippi River.
Our most popular cruise currently is the Mighty Mississippi, which offers the incredible opportunity of traversing the entire Mississippi River, from Minneapolis to New Orleans, onboard American Queen.