The Memphis-based American Queen Steamboat Company re-introduced the 436-passenger American Queen on the Mississippi River in April 2012. The vessel hadn’t operated since the demise of the Majestic America Line in late 2008. American Queen Steamboat revived what was once a robust overnight cruise business on the Mississippi and its tributaries a business that collapsed over the last decade with the back-to-back shutdowns of the Delta Queen Steamboat Company in 2001 and the Majestic America Line in 2008. The American Queen sailed for both lines in an on-again-off-again career on America’s waterways that has seen it laid up as much as it has been in operation. Built in 1995 at a cost of $60 million, the 418-foot-long American Queen is an authentic steamboat propelled by the large red paddle wheel on its back. Billed as the grandest, most opulent riverboat ever built, the American Queen boasts warm, antebellum decor and showboat-style entertainment. Here, the Grand Saloon, the vessel’s main showroom. Inspired by the greatest steamboats of the 19th century, the American Queen’s two-level Grand Saloon offers nightly entertainment that ranges from Broadway musicals to Dixieland Jazz to showboat-style cabaret. The second level of the Grand Saloon has private boxes that are reserved for passengers staying in the American Queen’s biggest suites. The view from one of the Grand Saloon’s private boxes. Public areas on the American Queen have a Victorian flair, as seen here in the ship’s main deck Lounge. A close-up of the Lounge, which leads into the vessel’s J.M. White Dining Room. The J.M. White Dining Room accommodates the ship’s 436 passengers for dinner in two seatings. The ceiling of the American Queen’s J.M. White Dining Room soars two stories in places and has large windows that look out to the rivers on which the American Queen sails. The view from the Purser’s Lobby looking down the grand staircase to the Lounge. The Purser’s Lobby is home to a Purser’s Station and a shore excursion desk. Adorned with rich paneling, crystal chandeliers and period furniture, the Mark Twain Gallery serves as a central gathering point on the American Queen. Victorian furniture including sofas, plush armchairs and side tables fill the Mark Twain Gallery. Cases along the walls of the Mark Twain Gallery hold riverboat memorabilia and other historic objects. A wide view of the Mark Twain Gallery. A highlight of the Mark Twain Gallery is a model of the 1920s era Delta Queen, which sailed alongside the American Queen until 2008. Passengers in the Mark Twain Gallery often are treated to live piano music played on this upright piano. One of the few non-period objects in the Mark Twain Gallery is this self-serve coffee machine. The American Queen also offers a number of smaller lounges, including the Gentleman’s Card Room on the vessel’s second deck. Located across from the Gentleman’s Card Room is the Ladies Parlor. Located at the front of the ship is the Front Porch of America, a sitting area from where passengers can view the great expanse of the rivers on which the American Queen travels. Here, the inside portion of the Front Porch. The Front Porch of America’s inside area offers coffee and tea around the clock. The outside portion of the Front Porch of America features rocking chairs and swings. Located one deck above the Front Porch of America at the front of the ship is the Chart Room, which features nautical charts and also serves as the vessel’s library. Located on one of the top decks at the back of the American Queen is the River Grill, an outdoor bar and food area. The American Queen features a small pool area, a rarity on river vessels. A close-up of the American Queen’s pool, which is located on the Sun Deck, the highest of the vessel’s six decks. The Sun Deck also features seating areas from where passengers can view passing attractions. The American Queen has 233 cabins spread over four decks, and many of the cabins have entrances opening onto promenades encircling the vessel. Each of the American Queen’s cabins is given an individual name. Here, the Tennessee room, billed as a Deluxe Outside Stateroom with Veranda. As with all the cabins on the American Queen, the Tennessee room features period Victorian furnishings mixed with modern amenities such as a flat-screen. Like many of the cabins on the American Queen, the Tennessee room’s bed faces large double doors that open onto a promenade encircling the vessel. The closet area of the Tennessee room is typical of what is found in the Deluxe Outside Stateroom with Veranda category of cabins. Bathrooms in the Deluxe Outside Stateroom with Veranda category boast a period look. Bathrooms in the Deluxe Outside Stateroom with Veranda category offer a combination bathtub and shower. Instead of the built-in desks and storage areas found on many modern river ships, most of the American Queen’s cabins feature free-standing furniture. A view of another Deluxe Outside Statemroom with Veranda, the California room. Cabin decor varies from room to room. The California room’s bathroom is designed for passengers with disabilities. The shower area of the California’s bathroom, which is designed for passengers with disabilities. The interior of the California room’s armoire. Larger than the Deluxe Outside Staterooms are the American Queen’s 16 Superior Outside Staterooms with Verandas. Here, the Betsy Blake room (cabin 522). American Queen cabins feature old-fashioned keys instead of more modern electronic keycards. The American Queen also features 20 suites located on one of the vessel’s highest decks. Here, the Gordon C. Greene Suite (cabin 518), named after the patriarch of the family that founded the Delta Queen Steamboat Company. Another suite on the vessel, the Hernando de Soto (cabin 520). In addition to elevators, a Victorian-style stairway connects the American Queen’s passenger decks. Located at the back of the American Queen, over the engine room, is the Engine Room Bar. Piano music is a staple of the Engine Room Bar, which has portholes looking out over the American Queen’s paddle wheel. The elegant wooden bar at the center of the Engine Room Bar. The Engine Room Bar also offers two outdoor seating areas with views of the American Queen’s paddle wheel. The view of the American Queen’s paddle wheel from one of the Engine Room Bar’s two outdoor seating areas. A traditional steam-powered calliope located on the back of the American Queen is often played by crew members on board, offering a historical touch as the vessel is underway. The American Queen is U.S. flagged and carries a U.S. crew, with many of the ship’s workers coming from the Memphis area. A view of one of the two large smokestacks at the front of the American Queen, which can be temporarily lowered so the vessel can fit under bridges. Like steamboats of old, the front of the American Queen features walkways that are designed for use during stops where a dock is not available. A grand stairway leads up to the main entrance at the front of the American Queen. A close-up view of the doorway at the front of the American Queen. Among the historical items adorning the walls of the American Queen’s interior are flyers from steamboat races that took place decades ago. The vessel’s A.Q. Emporium store sells American Queen memorabilia and clothing. Books about the history of steamboats and America’s waterways are available in the A.Q. Emporium store. Elvis Presley items for sale at the A.Q. Emporium. The American Queen Steamboat Company has partnered with Presley Enterprises to host an Elvis cruise. Spa treatments are offered on the American Queen for an extra charge. Priscilla Presley, former wife of Elvis Presley, re-christened the American Queen on April 27, 2012 in a ceremony along the Memphis waterfront. And this, an American Queen life buoy.