Mississippi River Cruises

Just received a flyer for Mississippi river cruises. Just wondering if anyone has been on them. Is it a Smooth ride, or lots of boat noise from the paddle wheel?

3 Answers

We went from Memphis to New Orleans beginning April ninth in 2001. We were on it for seven days, great cruise and it was on the Mississippi Queen, an authentic real steam powered paddle wheel river boat (not a fake paddle wheel). 382 feet long, 208 staterooms and 422 guests on five decks with two elevators. It was the Delta Queen Steamboat Co. which operated the Delta Queen, Mississippi Queen and the American Queen. One of the most unique cruises we were ever on and consequently one of the best. The noise level was quiet, probably because after dark they would slow down, turn around and kill time then turn around again and reach the point of the first turn around and then begin a new stretch of river at the crack of dawn. I recall the meals to be okay to good, but the appetizers were exceptional. Shore excursions were top notch. The Delta Queen itself is the smallest of the three, but a historical legend, it has a special waiver from the U.S. Congress to operate.

Unfortunately, that trip was in the spring of 2001 and you know what happened in September. At the time, the Delta Queen Steamboat Co. had become part of an amalgamation of three different cruise lines, this one plus the Hawaiian ships and a new start up for which two new large ocean going cruise ships were presently being made in U.S. Shipyards which would be used for cruising the Canadian northeast, the US northeast and all along the US east coast. After the 9/11 economic collapse many cruise lines were in trouble, this company went under, big time.

It is my understanding that neither that Mississippi Queen nor the American Queen ever operated again. However, there are river boats using those names, I think. I'm not certain about the original Delta Queen. I heard it was laid up and then I heard it was going to operate. It is also my understanding that the company(s) selling Mississippi River cruises today are not using vessels powered exclusively by paddle wheels but have more conventional propulsion. Although they do have paddle wheels and small steam engines which turn the paddle wheels but just for show.

A few years ago, an old friend of mine and his wife took one of those cruises. After, he was all upset as the paddle wheel was a "fake". Now none of this means that there is anything negative with those vessels or a cruise on them, they are just more modern than the days of yore. My friend? Well, don't go by his opinion. A few years before that his wife got him on a regular ocean cruise ship, HAL, around the west coast of South American. He hated it. Why? They wouldn't let him go down into the engine room and stick his nose into everything. Ha! In summary, I say go for it.

Thanks for sharing.

Now, that sounds like fun. I have looked into doing something like that on a few occasions. I think it would be great if there was a cruise that was a "retro" type cruise. Where everyone can dress in period costumes and gamble just like the old days. I would be great to hear about something like that.

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