Hi, Stephanie - Although we haven't been on the American Queen we've been on both her sisters and can guarantee you'll love it.. The lower Mississippi isn't particularly scenic but the shore excursion are good. Your TA is right, the documents, including shore trip options will arrive about 2-3 weeks prior. Their website, www.deltaqueen.com
has a ports of call button and when you click on that there is a map. Click on the proper river and section and then you should be able to click on the towns along the way to show the possible shore excursions. I'm having trouble getting them to come up so they may be adjusting them. I do know they've changed some of the options as questionnaire suggestions come in. You'll purchase these after you board. On both our trips there was a general get together the first morning when they'd be discussed but if you know ahead of time you can buy them from the shore tour director at any time. Ask him or her how many towns provide a shuttle - it's a good buy and you can use it whenever available. if you decide not to do a guided tour. You'll probably want to see Oak Alley (it's as pretty as the pictures), the Cajun experience in Baton Rouge was fun. We skipped the swamp tour at Oak Alley and heard people say it was a longish bus trip for what they saw. There are some beautiful homes in Natchez but don't know how many will be open to the public. You may want to just take the shuttle through town and decide on a carriage ride on your own or a little walking tour. One of the shuttle stops is the welcome center with lots of choices.
Much as I love jeans myself, I didn't wear them in the evening at dinner. A pair of black slacks with different tops worked very well. Will admit though there were a few who did.wear jeans but it's an elegant boat with an elegant dining room, and I felt it deserved a little nicer outfit.
What a great way to celebrate your anniversary. Have a wonderful time and if you have any more questions just ask here or email me. Part of the fun of traveling is the planning and anticipation. Another part is reliving it as I'm doing right now!!