Travel Tip - The Mississippi Queen  
Travel Tip - The Mississippi Queen

Have you ever considered steam boating? Truthfully, I had not until my Uncle Bobby talked me into it. Everyone predicted boredom. My Daddy said, ďYouíre going to want to get off at the first stop and return home.Ē I tried to talk friends into sharing my cabin but they wouldnít go. All I can say is that everyone is wrong. The word to describe this cruise is delightful.

For seven days, we are steam boating from New Orleans to Memphis, Tennessee. The Mississippi Queen stops 5 times and offers tours through plantations, swamps, and churches. Today, I toured the Rosedown Plantation and Gardens and Americaís 13th most haunted house, the Myrtles Plantation. There is something to do every minute of every day.

Mornings begin with several choices for where to eat breakfast. You can have a continental breakfast delivered to your room, enjoy a plentiful buffet in the Grand Saloon, or have a made to order breakfast delivered to your table in the dining hall. Shore tours begin at 8:00 AM so donít plan on sleeping late and taking advantage of shore excursions.

The tours get you back to the boat in time for lunch, which also has multiple choices that include hot dogs in the bar, a buffet, or a sit down 4-course meal. If you think Iím talking about food too much, that is because I may be the only person on this cruise not overeating. For those health conscious people out there, Iím pleased to let you know that there are plenty of fruits, vegetables, and healthy foods. For those of you that just want to splurge, you will have come to the right place. My Aunt and Uncle report that the cookies are wonderful!

Cruising in the afternoons offers games, historical and nautical talks, swimming or sunning, working out in the exercise room, enjoying the beauty salon, cocktails and/or TV in the bar, kiting off the back of the boat, arts and crafts, or watching the river go by. Uncle Bobby is content to sit in a chair and watch the boats. Aunt Ka Ka is loving the arts and crafts and music. As for me, Iím enjoying the people. Iíve met fascinating people from all over the world. Who knew there was so much interest in steam boating?

Evenings offer a 4-course formal meal followed by a show and dancing. While I havenít experienced it, Iím told there is a mid-night buffet at 11:00 PM, dancing in the bar, and movies. The food and service is outstanding and better than any cruise Iíve taken. Throughout the ship, staff demonstrating true southern hospitality offer help and go out of their way to make the vacation enjoyable. Since Iím writing, I needed a table in my room. It took two days but they delighted me by finding just the right thing and having it set up when I returned from my tour.

The musical teams are talented and entertaining. We enjoyed the band, the Steamboat Syncopators directed by Bob Glendon and the Mississippi Queen Vocal Ensemble. I particularly enjoyed the mellow clarinet player who seems to be able to play every type of music.

The first night was a tribute to America. God Bless The USA, that brought us to tears as veterans from various armed forces stood. The second show was songs about the river. The harmony of the 4 person vocal ensemble is perfect. This particular tour has Mark Twain traveling with us. In a white suit with snowy white hair, he enchanted us with the humorous stories and facts from his life. There are 2 teams of touring performers, each getting a month of touring duty and a month off. The shows are among the best Iíve seen anywhere.

Built for a cost of $27 million and christened on April 30, 1975, the Mississippi Queen is a true steamboat, propelled by the red paddle wheel. She is a boat and not a ship since ships are ocean going. She is 328 feet long, weights 3,364 tons, and travels at a peak speed of 11 mph. Steam boating actually began in the early 19th century and was an imported technology for America. It is said that you were on time if you arrived within 24 hours of your expected arrival time. To put this in perspective, we get annoyed when flights are fifteen minutes late. The Mississippi Queen has 2 sisters, The American Queen and The Delta Queen. We chose the Mississippi Queen because my Uncle Bobby needed the elevators.

So, if you havenít considered steam boating, look into it. It is charming, fun, educational, and inspiring. Call the Delta Queen Steamboat Company in New Orleans and experience the old south.


Cheryle M. Touchton is the Director of Pocket Full of Change Ministries. For more information or to schedule a speaker for an event, go to or call Cheryle Touchton at 904-614-3585.

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