What better way to explore the history and landscapes surrounding one of the world’s most renowned rivers than aboard an iconic steamboat?

These vessels are a unique tribute to the early 1900s along Mark Twain’s Mississippi River, offering overnight cruising on-board boutique steamboats.

The history of the steamboat

American Steamboat on the Mississippi

Scottish inventor, James Watt developed the steam engine in 1769, spurring the Industrial Revolution and revolutionising trade and travel across the globe. Some years later, John Fitch was the first inventor to build a steamboat in the U.S., which sailed along the Delaware River for its maiden voyage.

These steamboats have then revolutionised travel and commercial trade across New Orleans and beyond, contributing to the agricultural and industrial economy. The steamboats featured in the American Steamboat Company (ASC) fleet are paddlewheelers, each with an iconic red paddlewheel at the rear.

More recently in 2011, ASC acquired the 1995-built American Queen, which now serves as an elegant river cruising time machine for the 1900s, offering you the perfect opportunity to explore the Mississippi River in style.

Life on-board the American Steamboats

American Queen steamboat

Michael Hicks / Flickr.com, CC BY 2.0

Prepare to travel back in time along the mighty Mississippi aboard one of the ASC fleet, experiencing an era of romance and leisure as you visit storybook-style American towns amongst peaceful panoramas.

Enjoy five- to 23-day voyages when sailing with ASC and experience all of this within your cruise fare:

  • One-night hotel stay with breakfast, taxes, porterage and transfers
  • Signature hop-on hop-off shore excursions in each port of call
  • Exclusive city tours
  • Broadway-style entertainment
  • All on-board meals with wine and beer at dinner
  • Soft drinks, coffees, teas and bottled water throughout your voyage
  • Wi-Fi
  • Daily lectures by the resident history and culture expert
  • Themed voyage entertainment and events
  • 24-hour room service


Dining venues aboard ASC feature award-winning culinary teams offering a diverse range of fresh, local ingredients to create exquisite dishes.

American Queen’s two-deck J.M. White Dining Room venue offers a nightly five-course dinner, while American Empress features a lavish Astoria Dining Room which pays homage to the Pacific Northwest with gilded columns, marble and crystal chandeliers.

The custom Italian fabrics and rich accents of the American Duchess’ Grand Dining Room also offers a lavish dining experience, with sweeping windows and river views.


Music is a large influence on steamboat history and there is plenty to enjoy while aboard. American Queen’s Grand Saloon mirrors the opera houses of the 19th century and offers high-energy cabaret each evening. Jazz, blues, ragtime and bluegrass can also be enjoyed in the Engine Room bar as you sip a nightly tipple.

American Empress provides the perfect venue for entertainment in the Show Lounge, with an elevated ceiling and grand chandeliers. Enjoy a more intimate affair in the Paddewheel Lounge, where solo performances and soft piano music shapes a cosy afternoon well-spent.

American Duchess also features a Show Lounge where dancing, drinking and entertainment are welcomed. This venue offers single-seating shows, live musical performances and distinguished historical dialogue for you to enjoy.

American Steamboat - Mississippi river

Cultural enrichment

One of the main attractions of sailing aboard the ASC is the award-winning shore excursions, optimised for guests to enjoy plenty of activities and endless enjoyment. ASC has a large fleet of deluxe motorcoaches with talented drivers and staff, taking you to a breadth of tours in each port of call.

Included shore excursions cover a range of hop-on hop-off excursions, hassle-free access to many historic and cultural attractions, narrated city tours and guided walking tours.

Immersive itineraries

The itineraries themselves are just as enjoyable, visiting some of the most popular ports of call along the Mississippi River and allowing you the opportunity to experience the deep south like never before.

Antebellum South – New Orleans to Memphis

This itinerary cruises along the Lower Mississippi River, exploring the authentic Southern culture and journeying through living history as you experience the romantic spirit of the Antebellum Era. Prepare to be transported back in time as you pass fertile cotton fields, sugar cane plantations, pillared mansions and Civil War battlefields.

New Orleans - Plantation house - Mississippi River

Mark Twain’s Mississippi – St. Louis to Minneapolis

Follow the trail of Samuel Clemens’ Mark Twain along the Upper Mississippi River as you explore his childhood hometown of Hannibal which inspired works including The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.

The Enduring Legacy of the Civil War – Memphis to Chattanooga

The Mississippi River and its many tributaries all offered great strategic value during the Civil War. Set sail along that very same river and encounter the living history and legacy that has been left behind. Enjoy distinguished guest speakers on-board such as Gene Salecker who will discuss the tragedy of the SS Sultana sinking; tribute artist, George Buss who brings President Abraham Lincolm to life in his act; the song and stories of Bobby Horton as he revisits the Civil War; and both Dave Para and Cathy Barton who perform on various stringed instruments.

The American Queen celebrates her 25th anniversary

American Queen - American Steamboat

The American Queen steamboat turns 25 in 2020! With a celebration so huge, the line are offering cruisers the chance to commemorate the occasion. Throughout 2020, American Queen Steamboat Company will offer:

  • Special guests and experiences
  • Unique amenities and gifts as keepsakes for your trip
  • Enhanced cruises designed to bring back the past alongside the present to offer one fun-filled experience

Call our Cruise Concierge if you would like to know more about this remarkable celebration and a chance to sail on-board American Queen.

Enjoy a river cruise with the American Steamboat Company

Each sailing with the American Steamboat Company offers a unique on-the-river perspective, with luxuriously appointed staterooms and suites and sumptuous dining venues boasting interiors inspired by history and menus inspired by nearby regions, as well as plenty cultural enrichment to deliver a truly unforgettable river cruising experience.

Whether you sail aboard American Duchess, Empress or Queen, each vessel is uniquely American and provides unforgettable experiences along the iconic Mississippi River.

Find out more about the Mississippi River and what cruises are available by calling our Cruise Concierge team on 0800 197 0854. They can offer expert help and assistance with any questions you may have.

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About Emma Smith

Emma has more than six years' experience as a writer and has been in the travel industry for over two years. She loves learning of new places and cruise ships coming to market, as well as discovering fun and exciting activities to do while you sail. She has cruised with Royal Caribbean and is looking to get something in diary for 2021! Her favourite things to see on a ship include excellent entertainment, a delicious cocktail menu and extraordinary dining venues.

6 Responses to “Sail along the Mississippi River with the American Steamboat Company”

  1. gravatar
    Robert White

    can you please tell me how much a trip down the mississipi, flights from uk, thankyou, ps looking to go March 2019

    • gravatar
      Emma Smith

      Hi Robert, of course. A member of our Cruise Concierge team will be in touch! Thanks, Emma.

  2. gravatar
    Peter Hales

    Need 2 single outside. 1 double inside….March or May 2020 Fly from Heathrow.

    • gravatar
      Emma Smith

      Hello Peter, thank you for your enquiry. I’ve passed your details on to our Cruise Concierge team, who will be in touch with further information. Thanks, Emma.

  3. gravatar
    Greta & Colin Potter

    Would be very interested to doing one of these Cruises!!
    We would like an outside cabin for two people
    We are in NewZealand at the Moment but from the UK
    Could you please send us all details Thank You Greta & Colin Potter

    • gravatar
      Emma Smith

      Hi Greta & Colin, I’ve passed your details on to our Cruise Concierge team who will be in touch with further details. I hope you’re having a great time in New Zealand! Many thanks, Emma.


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