The Biggest Steamboat in the World

The majestic American Queen, the world’s largest steamboat, is a gorgeous and elegant masterpiece of American innovation. The paddle steamer, built in 1995 as the third sister ship to the Mississippi Queen and Delta Queen, is a six-deck reproduction of a classic Mississippi steamboat that the Delta Queen Steamboat Company commissioned McDermott Shipyard to build 

The cost of constructing the American Queen was 80 million dollars. Instead of the conventional champagne bottle, they christened the vessel in New Orleans on June 2, 1995, with a four-foot-tall container of Tabasco sauce. The steamboat is 418 feet long (127 meters) and 89 feet broad (27 meters), with 222 staterooms, a crew of 160, and a capacity of 436 people. 

Although a steam plant powers the American Queen’s stern paddlewheel, the boat’s secondary propulsion comes from a pair of diesel-electric propellers known as Z-drives on either side of the sternwheel. These Z-drivers are used in case of an emergency and for maneuverability around tight and narrow areas where the paddle wheel cannot navigate. 

The History of American Queen

The American Queen Steamboat Company purchased the vessel in April 2011. Until now, it continues to offer paddlewheel trips on the Mississippi, as well as the Ohio and Tennessee rivers.

On November 20, 2008, they transferred the American Queen steamer to the reserve fleet in Violet, Louisiana. Then they returned her to the United States Maritime Administration (MARAD), who retained her $30 million mortgage, due to the downfall of Majestic America Line (her owner). And on January 22, 2009, the US Department of Transportation’s Maritime Administration recorded the ship’s transfer to the Beaumont Reserve Fleet.

Based in New Albany, Indiana, HMS Global Maritime has a $15.5 million contract with American Queen as of April 2011. They sold the ship on August 2, 2009, and left the Beaumont Reserve Fleet for Memphis, Tennessee, according to a US Department of Transportation Maritime Administration inventory from August 2011.

The new owner, the American Queen Steamboat Company, then announced plans to bring the paddle steamer back to Mississippi River service from a port in Memphis, Tennessee. Natchez, Chautauqua Belle, Minne-Ha-Ha, and the Belle of Louisville were among the sternwheeler steamboats she rejoined. 

Interior Design of American Queen

With her brilliant red paddlewheel, tall fluted stacks, and extensive fretwork, the American Queen appears to have sailed straight out of the Victorian era. They enhanced the interior spaces of the paddle steamer with gleaming mahogany woodwork, floral carpets, Tiffany glass, and antiques. Lacy filigree, a steam-powered calliope, and open verandas on the outside trace back to the majestic riverboats that came before her and inspired her design.

As the American Queen Steamboat Company CEO, John Waggoner, said, they like to maintain the vibe and feel of the American Queen like it was in the 1900s. Since history plays a significant role in the American Queen experience, the resident history and culture specialists onboard every cruise to share the legends and lore of the river on which passengers are cruising. Passengers can attend an informative lecture, relive the story from Mark Twain, who was once a passenger of the boat, or listen to the Lewis & Clark Expedition recreation.

American Queen Facilities

The American Queen has several facilities that passengers can enjoy

while onboard. It includes health and wellness amenities such as a spa with masseuses on the main deck, a wellness gym, and a swimming pool on the fifth and sixth decks. 

The J.M. White Dining Room, located on the main deck, offers formal dining, while the Front Porch Cafe, located on Deck 3, offers a casual, 24-hour dining option. During nice weather, you may also dine in the River Grill & Bar, an outdoor bar on Deck 5 that serves cocktails and cookout-style meals. 

The Grand Saloon, a stage theater built after Ford’s Theatre, is one of the many entertainment venues. A movie theater on Deck 3, musical events in the Engine Room Bar on Deck 2, and several card games and reading materials in the Gentlemen’s Card Room, Ladies’ Parlor, Mark Twain Gallery, and Chart Room are among the other entertainment areas in the steamer.

The Routes of American Queen

The American Queen has been sailing along the Mississippi River from its mouth until the north of St. Paul, Minnesota. She’s also gone the length of the Ohio River and the Tennessee River up to Chattanooga, Tennessee, the Cumberland River up to Nashville, Tennessee, and the Illinois River all the way to Ottawa, Illinois. 

The American Queen also visits the Yazoo Diversion Canal in Vicksburg, Mississippi, Lake Ferguson in Greenville, Mississippi, and the Allegheny River in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, in addition to these waterways. The riverboat has also traveled across the Gulf of Mexico, stopping in Morgan City, Louisiana, and Beaumont, Texas, for maintenance and repairs.

This American Queen draws large audiences in every port where she arrives. She glides elegantly along the river, greeting bystanders with the wave of her flags as she goes by in a royalty manner.

Participate and enjoy a river cruise on the American Queen, a magnificent steamboat that shows passengers the great rivers that have sustained communities, wildlife, and all the stories and memories throughout history.