River cruising on the US inland rivers started, when Greene Line bought the historic Delta Queen in 1945, brought her from California to the Mississippi River system with service starting in 1948. For a long time she was the only river cruise ship in the US.
Today, there are plenty of river cruise ships on the Mississippi River system as well as on the Columbia, Willamette and Snake Rivers in the Pacific Northwest. Cruise lines actively operating ships on the US rivers are American Queen Steamboat Company and American Cruise Lines, while Delta Queen Steamboat Company has announced to bring back the Delta Queen some time soon and Viking plans to start in August 2020.
This is an overview of existing cruise ships, whether they operate with paddle-wheels or do have other propulsion.
American Queen Steamboat Company
cruise line: American Queen Steamboat Company
American Queen – passengers: 417
American Countess – passengers: 245
American Duchess – passengers: 166
American Empress (Columbia & Snake Rivers) – passengers: 223
American Cruise Lines
cruise line: American Cruise Lines
Queen of the Mississippi – passengers: 150
America – passengers: 185
American Harmony (switching to Columbia & Snake Rivers in 2021) – passengers: 190
American Jazz (announced for September 2020) – passengers: 190
American Pride (Columbia & Snake Rivers) – passengers: 150
American Song (Columbia & Snake Rivers) – passengers: 184
Queen of the West (Columbia & Snake Rivers) – passengers: 100
American Melody (announced for summer 2021)- passengers: 190
Delta Queen Steamboat Company
cruise line: Delta Queen Steamboat Company
Delta Queen (not operating yet)
cruise line: Viking