American Queen Steamboat Company named among the World’s Best River Cruise Lines

Published 3:12 pm Friday, September 10, 2021

American Queen Steamboat Company, part of the Hornblower Group, was named ‘Best River Cruise’ in “Travel + Leisure’s” 2021 World’s Best Awards for the first time in the cruise line’s 10 year history.

The U.S. flagged cruise line ranked fifth overall in the Top River Cruise Lines category, as announced online today by the publication. Offering itineraries on the Mississippi, Ohio, Tennessee and Cumberland rivers, as well as in the Pacific Northwest on the Snake and Columbia rivers, the American Queen Steamboat Company is the only U.S. river cruise line named to this year’s winners’ group.

“We are incredibly honored to make our debut in the “Travel + Leisure” World’s Best Awards,” said Shawn Bierdz, president of American Queen Steamboat Company. “Thanks to the hard work and dedication of our team, as well as the unwavering support of our loyal guests and partners, we christened and debuted the new American Countess and were able to resume operations across our entire fleet this year. We are grateful to have these efforts and our U.S. cruise experience recognized by such a highly regarded travel authority.”

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“Travel + Leisure’s” annual World’s Best Awards were created in 1995 to give readers the opportunity to cast their votes for the best in travel, tourism and hospitality. With categories ranging from hotels, islands, cities, cruise lines, airlines, spas and more, the 2021 awards were especially important in celebrating travel following a year of unprecedented change. For the cruise awards, readers rated individual cruise ships on a number of touchpoints ranging from facilities and cabins to food and service to itineraries and destinations. Those votes were then combined to generate an assessment for the awards’ five cruise categories, including river cruising.

American Queen Steamboat Company began a phased restart in March 2021 under SafeCruise™ protocols and became the only fully vaccinated U.S. river cruise line for both guests and crew effective July 1. The 100% vaccination policy allows guests the freedom to cruise with confidence in accordance with the most current CDC guidelines. All guests must show proof of COVID-19 vaccination with their vaccination card prior to pre-cruise hotel check-in. SafeCruise policies are subject to municipality and state rules based on current regional conditions and may be modified without advance notice to adhere to local health and safety guidelines.

To view the full list of winners in the 2021 “Travel + Leisure” World’s Best Awards, visit The winners will also be presented in the October print issue of the publication.
For more information on American Queen Steamboat Company or to book a cruise on the American Queen, American Duchess, American Empress and American Countess, please visit, call 888-749-5280 or contact your travel agent.