Choose an Amtrak train to cruise ports in New Orleans for a Mississippi River cruise or head out to the sunny Caribbean.

Queen of the Mississippi Embarkation Day in New Orleans

Note:  Queen of the Mississippi was refurbished and renamed American Heritage in 2022.
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I’m heading north on the Big Muddy aboard American Cruise Line’s Queen of the Mississippi. Our seven-night Mississippi River cruise began in New Orleans with a night of jazz on Bourbon Street. 

It’s an Americana cruise filled history, culture and of course, southern food.

New Orleans Beale Street late afternoon
Taking a pre-dinner walk on Bourbon Street.

Mississippi River Cruise Aboard Queen of the Mississippi

I followed my own advice and arrived the night before my cruise. American Cruise Lines can vary the hotel but for this cruise it was The Whitney Hotel, conveniently located in the heart of downtown New Orleans. With an entire evening to relax, a stroll along New Orlean’s famous Bourbon Street and neighborhood was number one on my list. 

Queen of the Mississippi cruise documents
Very nice presentation of our itinerary and cruise documents.

In an 1880’s converted bank building, The Whitney was charming and the staff and service exceeded my expectations. Breakfast wasn’t so special, but you’re in New Orleans! Hop on the Garden District street car to La Madeleine’s for a local New Orleans full breakfast, under $12.

Queen of the Mississippi river ship at dock in New Orleans
Queen of the Mississippi river ship docked in New Orleans just before boarding.

At 10:30am, the motor coach picked up all 44 of us at the hotel for a short ride to the busy riverfront. As our bus lumbered through the narrow New Orleans roads to the port, I had my first glimpse of the Queen of the Mississippi.

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Welcome aboard Queen of the Mississippi

A bright light blue sky was the perfect backdrop for the ship’s gleaming white hull and candy-apple red paddlewheel. Red, white and blue banners hung from balcony rails.

A member of the ship’s staff boarded our bus, looked at our identification and gathered our boarding passes. That was it. Off the bus and onto the ship. Our staterooms were unlocked and our keys on the bed. Nice.

Queen of the Mississippi stateroom
One of the largest staterooms ever. (The “Before” photo)
American Heritage Stateroom
The “after” photo. This is the new American Heritage stateroom.

Queen of the Mississippi First Impression

The rooms are enormous by almost any standard. Certainly bigger than most mainstream cruise ships. There are plenty of dresser drawers and hangers, too. Bathrooms are large, great lighting and ample-sized, walk-in showers.

Our Mississippi River cruise was underway at 1:30pm. We would have departed New Orleans sooner but we were waiting for a few late arrivals. It’s different on a river cruise. With a maximum of 150 guests, as soon as everyone is onboard, the ship is on the move.

Lunch was followed by a short safety brief and a “meet the staff” introduction. Before we knew it…it was 5:30pm and time for the first of seven complimentary cocktail hours throughout the week.

Queen of the Mississippi waitstaff with appetizer trays
On their way to set up for happy hour.
Queen of the Mississippi dining room.
This is the Queen of the Mississippi Restaurant before the refurbishment in 2022.
American Heritage Restaurant/
American Heritage Restaurant after 2022 refurbishment.

At sunset we docked in front of the impressive oak-lined entrance to Oak Alley Plantation. Tomorrow morning, we would walk along the Live Oak canopied path to the beautifully restored plantation house for a short tour. 

I’ve always had very mixed feelings about glorifying plantations. On one hand, they are landmarks of living history. On the other hand, the ever-present reminder of slavery is a sobering experience. 

Oak Alley Plantation at night

The Week Ahead on the Mississippi River

Our Mississippi River cruise will take us 600 river miles upstream to Memphis. Along the way, we’ll pass smokestacks belching flames and quiet cat-tailed marshes. Pastel-colored plantation homes stand high above the river. Civil War battlefields and quiet downtowns are on our agenda.

It’s going to be a fascinating week on the Mississippi River…especially for this Yankee gal.

READ NEXT:  Complete Mississippi River Cruise From New Orleans to Memphis

Mississippi River cruise aboard Queen of the Mississippi River boat
Mississippi River cruise aboard Queen of the Mississippi River boat

And of course there were plenty of rocking chairs…the best place to watch the scenery as we meandered north. 

Disclaimer: I was a sponsored guest aboard the Queen of the Mississippi. As always, all opinions are my own, as are the photos, unless otherwise given credit.

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  1. Hi José,
    No worries…thank you for reading the article and taking the time to write. I hope to write more Mississippi River articles as soon as it’s safe to travel again.

  2. Hi Sherry again.
    I’m realizing right now that this article is old. I’m sorry. I don’t know why I received an email that redirectioned me to this article.
    I’m sorry about that.
    Please, ignore it.
    Thank you.

  3. Hi Sherry.
    I loved your review on board. Are you going to write some more about this river cruise? An anecdote, what you liked the most about this ship, the menu, … and so on.
    This river cruise is 7 nights long. You should tell us a little bit more, please.
    I believe that many people are looking forward to knowing something more about this amazing river cruise aboard the Queen of the Mississippi
    Thank you anyway.

  4. Hi Greg, Thanks for your comment. I have more parts for the Mississippi River cruise review in the works. Stay tuned…

  5. It’s a shame you never wrote more. This article ranks pretty well for “Mississippi River cruise review” on Google, and if it had another part attached it might move up even higher.

  6. Hi Dale, Thank you for the reminder. I’m working on the rest of the cruise and will upload as soon as possible. Please subscribe (if you’re not already) to my newsletter and it’ll include the trip in its entirety as soon as it’s published. Thanks, again.

  7. Hi, Sherry:

    How can I get the full article about the New Orleans to Memphis Queen of the Mississippi cruise? Is it archived somewhere?

    Dale Blanshan

  8. Hi Vicki,

    It IS a fun cruise. Have a wonderful time and thanks for reading my article.


  9. This sounds like so much fun! History and relaxation, great combo. I’ll send my mother-in-law the link and we’ll start working on our husbands to book a river cruise on the Mississippi!

  10. I’m putting the review together. It’s a terrific ship and I like that it holds only 150 passengers. If you are subscribed to my site, you’ll receive the post as soon as it’s published. Have a wonderful cruise!

  11. Would like to be able to see your review of Queen of the Mississippi as I am soon going on one.

Comments are closed.