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  #1  
Old April 29th, 2012, 02:25 PM
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Default American Queen: 'Substantial changes' being made.

I have been following with great interest, many different sites, in regards to the American Queen’s return to Mississippi river cruising, especially as we are looking forward to our first cruise on her in June.
Some of the comments/complaints made by a few of the guests on the first cruises have made me somewhat concerned if the actual experience would live up to the advertising.
This link from Marjie Lambert a travel blogger from the Miami Herald, who is onboard the Queen have given me hope that things are changing, and that by the time my cruise starts some of the bugs will be worked out.
http://miamiherald.*******.com/roadtripping/2012/04/priscilla-presley-broke-a-bottle-of-champagne-on-the-bow-of-the-american-queen-in-memphis-friday-afternoon-and-the-newly-chr.html

A new a new executive chef, Eric Aldis, from the Ritz-Carlton in Houston, and a new hotel manager, Malcolm Chapple, from the Seabourn luxury cruise line, are a few of the changes being made. Also early guests are being offered a 50% discount on another cruise.
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Old April 29th, 2012, 05:42 PM
corycruiser corycruiser is offline
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For some reason this site will not link to the blog - Google Marjie Lambert + American Queen to get to her blog posts.

We were on this same cruise, and for the most part I agree with Ms. Lamberts critique of the cruise, although she was more diplomatic than I probably am.

Management will only have so long to use the "new" hires excuse for very poor service. Further, they did not hire the Apollo team after this cruise. The Apollo team had already been hired and were on-board this cruise, as well as the 1st. In fact I was told by an Apollo team member that they have been working with the company for well over a month - so this is NOT in response to resent customer complaints. I personally talked to two of these Apollo team members, who took notes, but we never saw any improvement in service.

I have posted much information about the boat and service here. Including links to menus and a few pictues.

Last edited by corycruiser; April 29th, 2012 at 05:48 PM. Reason: link not working
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Old April 30th, 2012, 01:31 PM
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JEM4205, unfortunately your link is a dud - won't go through.
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Old April 30th, 2012, 02:09 PM
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Google Miami Herald American Queen blog and you will get the links.
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Old April 30th, 2012, 03:13 PM
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Sorry folks, somehow part of the url gets cut off when I try to add it to the message. like others have suggested you can Google it.
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Old April 30th, 2012, 04:10 PM
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When you go to the newspaper website search for "roadtripping" you will see the articles there on the left
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Old April 30th, 2012, 05:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LHT28 View Post
When you go to the newspaper website search for "roadtripping" you will see the articles there on the left
American Queen: 'Substantial changes' being made

[IMG]http://miamiherald.*******.com/.a/6a00d83451b26169e20168ead511dc970c-800wi[/IMG]
(Guests gather on the decks of the American Queen for its christening ceremony Friday afternoon in Memphis.)

[IMG]http://miamiherald.*******.com/.a/6a00d83451b26169e2016765d28c84970b-320wi[/IMG]Priscilla Presley broke a bottle of champagne on the bow of the American Queen in Memphis Friday afternoon, and the newly christened steamboat sailed up the Mississippi River, its calliope wailing in farewell.
On board were a new executive chef and a hotel manager and a new contract for a team from the Apollo Group to oversee and train dining and housekeeping staff, a hurriedly arranged response to complaints by guests on two pre-christening cruises about poor dining room service and other issues.
Christopher Kyte, president of Great American Steamboat Co., announced the "substantial changes ... that I believe will greatly elevate the onboard experience" in a letter to guests who disembarked from a New Orleans-to-Memphis cruise Friday morning. "We are grateful to all of you for your patience and good cheer on this, since this crew is trying terribly hard to do their best," Kyte wrote in the letter, which also offered guests a 50 percent discount on another 2012 cruise.
Great American Steamboat had hired about 200 new crew members, many of whom had little or no experience in the jobs they were hired for. Instead, Kyte and CEO Jeff Krida said, they were hired for their friendliness and helpful attitudes.
While many guests praised the staff for exactly those qualities -- in comments to the cruise line as well as to The Miami Herald -- they also complained about slow and haphazard food service and the quality of some food.
"It takes a long period of time for any new crew to gel and work together well," Kyte told the Herald. "The best restaurants tend to have staffs that have been there for years, they can work together almost without words. I think it will take another month before we get to that stage. I don't know how to leapfrog to that point."
Kyte and Krida hope the hiring of Apollo, which provides dining services to two small but high-end cruise cruise lines, Regent Seven Seas and Oceania Cruises, will speed the process.
They also noted the hiring of a new executive chef, Eric Aldis, from the Ritz-Carlton in Houston, and a new hotel manager, Malcolm Chapple, from the Seabourn luxury cruise line.
Kyte said Aldis will complement Regina Charboneau, the ship's chef de cuisine. Charboneau, cookbook author and former San Francisco restaurateur, created Southern-themed menus and recipes for the ship but doesn't run the kitchen.
[IMG]http://miamiherald.*******.com/.a/6a00d83451b26169e20168ead51428970c-320wi[/IMG]
(At left, in her home in Natchez, Miss., Regina Charboneau talks to American Queen guests about entertaining and preparing food.)
Some of those dishes were not well-executed -- beignets with a cream crawfish sauce were served at room temperature instead of hot, some salads were made with wilted lettuce, pompano baked with julienned vegetables lacked seasoning.
"That is unacceptable. If you have a great recipe, you don't tamper with it," Kyte said. "We have hired a new executive chef who will execute Regina's menu."
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