(WMC-TV) – The American Queen Steamboat is on its way to the Bluff City after leaving Vicksburg, MS, Tuesday.
The riverboat will arrive in its home port of Memphis Thursday morning before taking its inaugural cruise up the Mississippi River Friday evening.
She's just over 400 feet long and, on this cruise, carrying 403 passengers and 171 crew members.
The American Queen is a replica of an 1800's steamship that was completed in Morgan City, LA, in 1895.
She has modern diesel engines, with propellers that pivot 360 degrees, and thrusters on the bow, which allow the craft to even go sideways.
John Sutton, of Louisville, is the ship's captain. He's spent most of his 50 years on the river and understands the American Queen's allure.
"It's just a return to yesteryear," he said. "I mean it's a part of Americana history. This boat was built to replicate a 19th Century steamboat, right down to its interior decor. And it certainly gives our passengers a sense of what it used to be like to ride one of these grand steamboats."
The boat takes 43 hours to go from Vicksburg to Memphis.
"The people just love to be on the river," said Passenger and travel agent Phyllis Dale, of Winter Springs, FL.
A 7 day cruise on the American Queen costs $1,995 per passenger. It's a cost the cruise line is betting many people will gladly pay for a nostalgic trip on the Mighty Mississippi.