Posted May 31st, 2018, 04:01 PM
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.
"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!"