There’s a new riverboat on the Mississippi River. American Queen Steamboat Company’s American Duchess, christened this August in New Orleans, is the first all-suite U.S. river cruise ship, and the first to have luxe, two-deck high loft suites.
The 166-passenger ship offers a more modern, upscale experience than the line’s previous two ships: Instead of traditional, opulent furnishings inspired by Mark Twain-era steamboats, you’ll find contemporary decor plus high ceilings that make it feel roomier than most.
Even the ship’s smallest suites are big by river ship standards (inside cabins are 180-200 square-feet) with the most space on 550-square-foot owner’s suites that have their own private balcony.
Cruises on the new higher-end ship, however, don’t come cheap. Prices start at $2,999 per guest for an inside cabin on a 6-night cruise from New Orleans and can reach $22,999 in an owner’s suite for a 23-night journey from New Orleans all the way to Minneapolis.
With that high price tag, though, comes a lot of added value, including excursions in every port, an included boutique hotel stay before the trip, plus complimentary wine and beer with dinner.
If you’re worried that the luxe offerings will overshadow the traditional experience, don’t: You’ll still find the line’s signature red paddlewheel and tall smokestacks adorning the exterior, plus great Southern food, classic cabaret, and riverlorians who’ll help you soak up Americana along the way.