American Queen--easy on/off at dock?

American Queen Steamboat Company
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#1
13 Posts
Joined Jul 2015
Hi.
I am considering a cruise on the American Queen, Memphis to New Orleans. My husband is having knee surgery, but will be walking by then, though a bit slow. So I don't want to book this if getting on/off the ship is difficult (lots of steps, long walk from ship to port area, etc.) HCan anyone give me some info that could help me decide if this is a good choice for us?? thanks.
#2
Charleston, Charleston Made in Carolina
1,868 Posts
Joined Sep 2001
There will be a ramp when you depart the boat in New Orleans from boat to shore, but how long that ramp will be and if a few number of steps are required depends entirely on the stage of the river at that time. Sometime if the river is low you can just walk across the gang plank to the boat's cabin deck or texas deck. If the river is high you might step right on to or off the main deck over a short ramp to the wharf or the ramp might require a few steps, but there would be nothing onerous. It's the mate's job to make sure that boarding or leaving the vessel is safe for all. For those people going on a city tour, to the airport, or to certain hotels, busses are on the wharf to deliver those leaving the boat to their destination. If using a taxi it is a bit more complicated, but I do know that for one of the boat's frequent passenger a porter was assigned with a wheel chair to take her from the wharf to the taxi stand at the near by Hilton Hotel.

I haven't been at the new boat landing at Memphis since the new landing barge was constructed, so I can not offer any advice or insight to the landing there.

I will say that on the head of the boat there are two electric carts to carry passengers off the boat and to waiting busses or over the levees at certain plantation stops and back to the boat again. They are in constant motion taking four or five passengers at a time to and fro.

My personal opinion is that steamboatin' on the AMERICAN QUEEN would be an ideal vacation for you and your husband. I also will say that there are other sections of the Mississippi River and other rivers offered which are more scenic than the lower Mississippi. Since you haven't booked yet, I would recommend the upper Mississippi between St. Louis and St. Paul. The views there are quite lovely, with locks and dams to go through, friendly little river towns to visit, and hills and bluffs as a back drop. So to the Ohio, Tennessee and Cumberland Rivers all offer a wider range of scenery than the lower Miss.
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"When we presently got under way and went poking down the broad Ohio, I became a new being and the subject of my own admiration. I was a traveler!"
Mark Twain
#3
Seattle
94 Posts
Joined Nov 2010
In my review of the American Duchess I wrote the information that follows. I would assume the same would apply to the America Queen.

Excursions: One of the reasons we chose the AQSC cruise was the opportunity to view the ports via a HOHO bus. Our ages preclude long walks and standing for a long time listening to a tour guide. Instead the HOHO busses that followed the ship allowed one to see each community and get off according to one’s interests. The cruise line had prepaid admission to the key attractions in each community and one could hop off to see anything that appealed and get back on when a later bus arrived. (The busses circulated on a 15 or 20 minute schedule.) There was a guide on each bus who described special features of the port. The evening prior to the port stop, one was provided with the route of the bus with stops indicated. In addition, the map included information about the main attractions like museums, shopping stops, restaurants, restrooms, and almost anything else one might want to know. I should add that there are also premium (extra-cost) excursions which many people selected. Getting to and from the boat was easy as a golf cart would shuttle you up and down the often steep banks of the river.