Aboard the American Duchess – The mighty Mississippi has a new royal lady traveling along its muddy waters. Launched in August 2017, the new 166-guest American Duchess has already made her beautiful presence felt.
“I think riverboat cruising is more popular than ever,” says American Duchess Riverlorian Steve Spracklen. “It’s a good way for people to see some of these small American towns along the river and to get away from all the noise and news going on in the world.”
Billed as an all-suites vessel, the American Duchess has plenty of places to sit and socialize with others or to find a peaceful getaway to watch the river flow.
The four-deck riverboat has a modern contemporary décor with many windows for an airy look. The American Duchess’s décor is closer to the modern interiors found on many ocean cruise vessels and European river cruise ships than the classic Americana vibe of the American Queen and American Empress, a riverboat that sails in the Pacific Northwest.
Main activity areas are the large Show Lounge, the Grand Lobby and Bar with its 36-foot-high ceilings and the Lincoln Library.
Located on the mezzanine, the Lincoln Library overlooks the Grand Dining Room and river views. The library has walled bookcases filled with books and board games that passengers can enjoy. It is also where games with fun and prizes – such as trivia and bingo – can be played. The American Duchess Show Band provides late night music in the library.
A Business Center on Deck 1 offers computers with internet service, as well as a printer. Also on Deck 1 is a small Gift Shop with logo apparel, sweet treats, jewelry and basic toiletries. Open 24 hours a day, the Fitness Center on Deck 2 has treadmills, elliptical machine, stationary bike, weights, towels and a small fridge with complimentary bottles of water.
On Deck 2, Perks is the place to go for light snacks, ice cream, yogurt, juice, tea and coffee. It’s hard to walk by Perks without stopping when the popcorn machine is sending out its buttery smell.
For dining, the American Duchess offers the single seating Grand Dining Room with its glittering chandeliers, wall of mirrors and dramatic floor-to-ceiling windows that rise two stories letting in light and offering beautiful river scenes. The Grand Dining Room serves breakfast, lunch and dinner.
More casual buffet dining is offered at the River Club & Terrace. Passengers can choose their own food choices from the buffet and eat inside at the River Club or
outside on the Terrace.
Room service also is available. I had room service my second morning for breakfast delivered by my River Butler Gerard and it was far too much food for me to eat. I asked for berries and a charcuterie board – cheese, sliced sausage, smoked meats and ham. Some crackers and bread on the side. What arrived was enough for a family.
I’m not much for sweets at breakfast so I put my leftover charcuteries in my mini-fridge and that’s what I ate for breakfast the next two mornings. After all, lunch would be served in a couple more hours. Then dinner.
Some of the most popular spots seems to be on the front deck of the American Duchess sitting in a wooden rocking chair watching the river flow or standing by the massive red paddlewheel as it churns along at the back of the boat. Never get tired of that.
Photos by Jackie Sheckler Finch