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4. Luxury Mississippi steamboat

Sailing up the wide, muddy Mississippi surrounded by the Victorian-Western décor of American Queen, the grandest paddle steamer of them all, is like no other river cruise – except perhaps one on board new, smaller sister ship, American Empress, sailing on the Columbia River, between the mountains of Washington State and Oregon, from April. American Queen, carrying 436 passengers, is packed with Southern style – rocking chairs on deck, a dining room fit for Gone With The Wind, an ornate cowboy bar – and the hypnotic sight and sound of the massive wheel thrashing through the water.

An eight-day American Queen voyage from Light Blue Travel costs from £2,295pp and includes wine with dinner, excursions, flights and a pre-cruise night in Memphis (01223 568904; lightbluetravel.co.uk).

Read our cruise review on the American Queen