In 1883, Samuel Langhorne Clemens, better known by his penname of Mark Twain, published his classic memoir, Life on the Mississippi, in which he affectionately recounted his time spent as an apprentice steamboat pilot on the great river, as well as his return to it many years later, following the completion of his beloved masterpiece, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer.
Today Twain’s love letter to the river is a key inspiration for our riverboat cruises along the breathtaking twists and turns of the Mississippi River, from New Orleans to Memphis, Red Wing, Nashville and beyond, as well as our Pacific Northwest voyages from Portland to Clarkston, which follow an equally spectacular route filled with unmissable history and enthralling cultural heritage.
But what exactly makes our riverboat cruises so special – and why are we so sure you will be as enchanted by a voyage with us along the Mississippi as Mark Twain was on his own adventures, all those years ago?
Historic style, modern luxury
With their iconic red paddlewheels, antique fixtures and filigree fittings, there’s nothing like the distinctive design and elegance of a 19th century riverboat. Aboard the American Queen, the American Duchess and the American Empress, you will feel yourself drifting back in time, without having to sacrifice anything in the way of creature comforts, as each riverboat effortlessly combines authentic Southern hospitality with luxuriously modern cabins, suites and amenities.
Did you know: the American Queen has over six decks and 218 cabins, making her the largest river boat in the world? Size is always relative however and just as with the American Duchess and the American Empress, the American Queen has all the personal touches that only a river-going vessel can deliver.
Included shore excursions
Our signature Hop-On-Hop-off guided excursions allow you to decide when and where you want to join a range of selected admissions and narrated tours. With visits to historic plantations, restored mansions, local museums and many other fantastic attractions to choose from, there’s nothing to stop you taking advantage of everything available on each excursion, because it’s all included in the price.
Historical and cultural experts are on-board throughout your cruise to provide an invaluable local insight into the destinations you will be visiting. From the story of jazz and blues in New Orleans, to the civil war history of the antebellum South, you can always expect a Riverlorian lecture to be engrossing and illuminating.
Did you know the phrase “blowing your stack” comes from the golden age of river-boating, when steam would be blown through the smokestacks to clear them of soot?
The American Queen has a stunning double height theatre where cabarets and revues are presented, or alternatively, the Engine Room bar is the perfect place to dance the evening away. Enjoy a Broadway-style production in the palatial Auditorium on the American Duchess, or be mesmerised by world-class performers beneath the huge crystal chandeliers of the Show Lounge on the American Empress. Entertainment themes are designed to reflect the destinations on your cruise, so there really is something for everyone.
“…It is not a commonplace river, but on the contrary is in all ways remarkable…” – Mark Twain, Life on the Mississippi