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  #1  
Old May 28th, 2012, 08:41 AM
TexasHorseLady TexasHorseLady is offline
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Default Dear Great American Steamboat Company:

I think it's wonderful that you people running the American Queen are not only checking these forums but are also replying and addressing concerns. That is a nice and welcome change. I suspect most companies read our messages but you seldom see anybody actually respond and address the issues the way you did. A big THANK YOU for that.

My husband and I are seasoned travelers, and we have done all the other types of luxury cruises around the world, including European river cruises. This idea of discovering America by river was to be a new phase for us, and we had planned to do a lot of it in the future. We pored over your brochures and decided that the Epic Civil War in August will be our first one. We also decided that we'll just have to go again and again since they all sounded so appealing! Our travel agent is standing by waiting for us to just say "go" on the August trip.

But I have to admit, all these complaints I am reading are making me scared to death about booking with you. Now I am not a newbie to travel forums, and I am not gullible or easily influenced by one or two people who write negative things. There is always someone unhappy about something. But these complaints are big, and serious. They are not just about little annoyances or personal preferences...they are about the entire experience onboard. It would be so disappointing to find out that the brochures we pored over were not, in fact, realistic. Now, I don't care if the cabins look bigger in the pictures or if someone thought a speaker was boring. But for the food to be anything less than divine and perfectly executed on a southern luxury cruise is TOTALLY UNFORGIVEABLE. The way I understand it, you had a super master chef create a wonderful menu but there was nobody in the kitchen capable of making sure it was done just as she wrote it? Come on! Why not? The dining experience should be flawless, with food so good and service so outstanding that we will rave about it for years. A server who doesn't remember that someone drinks red wine or pours a wrong wine on top of what someone was drinking, or a waiter who doesn't even know to ask if a person wants fresh ground pepper? Not OK. For the bus tour guides to have nothing to say on an excursion. Nothing to say? Why not? Give them a script for goodness sakes! People want to learn about the area, why do you think they took the excursion? And for a cabin to be unclean? Well, that's enough to make a person never book that second trip.

But I am eagerly watching these forums with an open mind, hoping to see someone say they took a trip and things are all better now. I really hope so, because I sure would love to explore America by river with your company.
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  #2  
Old May 28th, 2012, 02:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TexasHorseLady View Post
I think it's wonderful that you people running the American Queen are not only checking these forums but are also replying and addressing concerns. That is a nice and welcome change. I suspect most companies read our messages but you seldom see anybody actually respond and address the issues the way you did. A big THANK YOU for that.

My husband and I are seasoned travelers, and we have done all the other types of luxury cruises around the world, including European river cruises. This idea of discovering America by river was to be a new phase for us, and we had planned to do a lot of it in the future. We pored over your brochures and decided that the Epic Civil War in August will be our first one. We also decided that we'll just have to go again and again since they all sounded so appealing! Our travel agent is standing by waiting for us to just say "go" on the August trip.

But I have to admit, all these complaints I am reading are making me scared to death about booking with you. Now I am not a newbie to travel forums, and I am not gullible or easily influenced by one or two people who write negative things. There is always someone unhappy about something. But these complaints are big, and serious. They are not just about little annoyances or personal preferences...they are about the entire experience onboard. It would be so disappointing to find out that the brochures we pored over were not, in fact, realistic. Now, I don't care if the cabins look bigger in the pictures or if someone thought a speaker was boring. But for the food to be anything less than divine and perfectly executed on a southern luxury cruise is TOTALLY UNFORGIVEABLE. The way I understand it, you had a super master chef create a wonderful menu but there was nobody in the kitchen capable of making sure it was done just as she wrote it? Come on! Why not? The dining experience should be flawless, with food so good and service so outstanding that we will rave about it for years. A server who doesn't remember that someone drinks red wine or pours a wrong wine on top of what someone was drinking, or a waiter who doesn't even know to ask if a person wants fresh ground pepper? Not OK. For the bus tour guides to have nothing to say on an excursion. Nothing to say? Why not? Give them a script for goodness sakes! People want to learn about the area, why do you think they took the excursion? And for a cabin to be unclean? Well, that's enough to make a person never book that second trip.

But I am eagerly watching these forums with an open mind, hoping to see someone say they took a trip and things are all better now. I really hope so, because I sure would love to explore America by river with your company.
A really well constructed post...

We have been booked for some time now, fully paid, on the Aug 9 Epic Civil War cruise. Public Television's hosting led us to this particular one.

http://www.greatamericansteamboatcom...pic-civil-war/

We did book a B category...looks good in the brochure...

We hope all the things you spoke about have been corrected to an acceptable level by the time we sail.

The fare is not cheap, but we do get some no charge extras just on our sailing....

Hotel both before and after the cruise...Well after we booked and made air arrangements, the site now offers the pre-hotel choice in Jackson, Ms as well as New Orleans. We would have chosen this as the ride to the ship is a few hours less than from New Orleans.
We get both wine and alcohol any time...not just at dinner.

I hope the results mirror the promises..
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  #3  
Old May 28th, 2012, 05:16 PM
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I too wish to echo TexasHorseLady's sentiments although I am currently booked on a trip next month and in October. By this time next month several posters here will have been on the AMERICAN QUEEN and will hopefully have glowing rerports about their recent experiences. I certainly look forward to having that opportunity after my return.

The company has set the bar pretty high for themselves, and it seems as if they have had a difficult time delivering what they promise. Granted they were and continue to be faced with the problems that face any start up business, but with nearly two months of operations now, hopefully the wrinkles will be ironed out. (Literraly in the case of dining room tableclothes.) Also labor will be difficult to find and keep at the begining. Rumors are that many of the new hires from Memphis left the boat when she arrived in that port for the first time earlier this month. Working twelve or more hours a day for seven days in a row is not the romantic cruise ship life many new employees envision. Soon though those that it is a life that they are suited for will increase and turnover will lessen.

The AMRICAN QUEEN is a fabulous boat. She was designed from the start to provide a luxury cruise experience on the Mississippi River System. I know that if properly managed she can do just that, and if not properly managed the whole experience can be very sad. I've seen it both ways too. I am greatly heartened that current management has admitted their shortfalls, and is hopefully learning from those problems. This is certainly something that the previous operators could not or would not do.

I understand why some folks are hesitant to book such an expensive trip. I want to give the new company a chance to prove that they can do it, and to support them with my patronage. Honestly, I can't wait to return to overnight steamboating which is something I have not been able to do since my last trip on the DELTA QUEEN during 2008. If they fail, I will be canceling my October trip and spending the monies on a different cruiseline. I wish GASC the best of luck and I hope that after my voyage next month, I feel as if I can't wait to return again in the Fall.
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  #4  
Old May 28th, 2012, 05:36 PM
GASCMemphis GASCMemphis is offline
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Dear Texas Horse Lady,

thanks for your questions and I hope I can assuage some of your angst. The first few voyages did experience some shortfalls, most notably in the areas of dining and housekeeping and we have made many, in some cases, sweeping, changes.

We brought in a new General Manager, a new Executive Chef and new Chief Housekeeper. We also retained The Apollo Group to oversee all areas of Food, Beverage and Housekeeping, get it up to the standard expected and continue enhancing the on board experience.

I am pleased to say we have made great progress in the past month and guests are now lauding the dining experience, have given housekeeping high marks and they also get better and more efficient every day.

We are now focused on what we call the "Three C's" - Consistency, Consistency, and Consistency.

We are not only training the crew to do their job well, but to do it consistently well. It is all about tending to a thousand details, big and small, every day. It is what you, our guests expect and demand.

So, scores in the areas of dining and housekeeping have improved dramatically and that is important as the scores come from you, our guests.

I am at a bit of a loss in regards to any criticism of the shore excursions and guides as they have consistently ranked 99-101 in the scoring and have been the absolute #1 area of praise - consistently. But we are also realistic and know that not everyone will find them perfect, but I have not spoken to anyone who hasn't loved them or seen a comment card come across the desk with a negative.

But I can tell you that an IMMENSE amount of planning and detail is being put into the Epic Civil War trips and you will not be disappointed.

I hope this answers most of your questions and addresses your concerns. I will even be happy to put you in touch with some of our more recent guests.

All the best,

Tim Rubacky
Senior Vice President
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  #5  
Old May 28th, 2012, 10:55 PM
TexasHorseLady TexasHorseLady is offline
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Originally Posted by GASCMemphis View Post
Dear Texas Horse Lady,

thanks for your questions and I hope I can assuage some of your angst. The first few voyages did experience some shortfalls, most notably in the areas of dining and housekeeping and we have made many, in some cases, sweeping, changes.

We brought in a new General Manager, a new Executive Chef and new Chief Housekeeper. We also retained The Apollo Group to oversee all areas of Food, Beverage and Housekeeping, get it up to the standard expected and continue enhancing the on board experience.

I am pleased to say we have made great progress in the past month and guests are now lauding the dining experience, have given housekeeping high marks and they also get better and more efficient every day.

We are now focused on what we call the "Three C's" - Consistency, Consistency, and Consistency.

We are not only training the crew to do their job well, but to do it consistently well. It is all about tending to a thousand details, big and small, every day. It is what you, our guests expect and demand.

So, scores in the areas of dining and housekeeping have improved dramatically and that is important as the scores come from you, our guests.

I am at a bit of a loss in regards to any criticism of the shore excursions and guides as they have consistently ranked 99-101 in the scoring and have been the absolute #1 area of praise - consistently. But we are also realistic and know that not everyone will find them perfect, but I have not spoken to anyone who hasn't loved them or seen a comment card come across the desk with a negative.

But I can tell you that an IMMENSE amount of planning and detail is being put into the Epic Civil War trips and you will not be disappointed.

I hope this answers most of your questions and addresses your concerns. I will even be happy to put you in touch with some of our more recent guests.

All the best,

Tim Rubacky
Senior Vice President
Thank you, Mr. Rubacky. I really appreciate your fast feedback and detailed explanations.

I don't know about the rest of you, but I have a good feeling about this. Just the fact that he is here in the "line of fire" addressing our concerns and explaining the problems and fixes makes me feel good about this company.

I will find out for myself first hand, because we just booked a very nice cabin on what I think sounds like the most wonderful trip - the Epic Civil War Aug 9th - 21st. I am excited!

"Responder", it sounds like we'll be on the same trip. Maybe we should start a roll call.



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  #6  
Old May 29th, 2012, 05:21 PM
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I a happy to see Tim Rubacky post here. I am waiting for things to get better before I book.
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  #7  
Old May 29th, 2012, 07:43 PM
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We will be on the ship next week and you may rest assured that on returning I will let you know how everything turns out.
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we can now see the deer moving around in our backyard. It must be time to plan our next cruise..
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Old May 29th, 2012, 07:49 PM
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We will be on the ship next week and you may rest assured that on returning I will let you know how everything turns out.
Oh good, I can't wait to hear your report. Will you pls come back to this post and tell us here?
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Old May 30th, 2012, 10:18 AM
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You bet. I will also post in the river cruise review section. only 3 days and counting. I am expecting to enjoy leisurely days away from the ordinary cruise experience, free from the constant sales pitches for spa services, slot machine tournaments, drink of the day specials, teeth whitening, treatments, colon cleansing, and the like
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we can now see the deer moving around in our backyard. It must be time to plan our next cruise..

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Old May 31st, 2012, 09:00 AM
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You bet. I will also post in the river cruise review section. only 3 days and counting. I am expecting to enjoy leisurely days away from the ordinary cruise experience, free from the constant sales pitches for spa services, slot machine tournaments, drink of the day specials, teeth whitening, treatments, colon cleansing, and the like
Thank you in advance for agreeing to come back here and let us know about your cruise experience. My husband and I sailed on both the Delta and Mississippi Queen on several occassions and are thrilled to have the chance to sail on the American Queen. We are bringing my 85 year old mother and she does not tolerate fools lightly, so I have my fingers crossed that all service issues are resolved by out July 5th sailing.
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Old June 17th, 2012, 05:49 PM
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june 6-16 2012
Just back from our first river cruise on the Great American Steamboat American Queen.One of the best cruises we have taken.We stayed at the Hilton pre cruise. Nice hotel with breakfast included. Took a bus for little tour of the French Quarter. Visited a museum. Had a po boy sandwich (shrimp) Took a walk on the River walk looked in all the shops. Bought a stain glass Fleur dela for my window. Nice remembrance of New Orleans. Boarded the ship around 2:30 to Dixieland Music.Took pictures of our room. Nice fluffy robes and slippers in the closet for our use. Nice size room even the inside cabins I was told were good size. Walked around the whole ship taking pictures. Had safety drill Then back to room to get ready for dinner around 5:15. Piano music and drinks before dinner. Dinner first night was buffet .Prime rib.quail and fish. Wonderful array of salad fixings. Beautiful table of desserts. The show in the Grand Salon theater was Mark Twain then off to bed my husband and I went .There was more late night stuff. Dancing and Music. Then the rain came. Was beautiful to hear the rain and occasional thunder and lighting as we fell asleep.Off to Oak Alley while we slept.
More if you want..........Linda

Last edited by 60ANDREADY2CRUISE; June 17th, 2012 at 05:51 PM. Reason: add date
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Old June 17th, 2012, 06:39 PM
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Originally Posted by 60ANDREADY2CRUISE View Post
june 6-16 2012
Just back from our first river cruise on the Great American Steamboat American Queen.One of the best cruises we have taken.We stayed at the Hilton pre cruise. Nice hotel with breakfast included. Took a bus for little tour of the French Quarter. Visited a museum. Had a po boy sandwich (shrimp) Took a walk on the River walk looked in all the shops. Bought a stain glass Fleur dela for my window. Nice remembrance of New Orleans. Boarded the ship around 2:30 to Dixieland Music.Took pictures of our room. Nice fluffy robes and slippers in the closet for our use. Nice size room even the inside cabins I was told were good size. Walked around the whole ship taking pictures. Had safety drill Then back to room to get ready for dinner around 5:15. Piano music and drinks before dinner. Dinner first night was buffet .Prime rib.quail and fish. Wonderful array of salad fixings. Beautiful table of desserts. The show in the Grand Salon theater was Mark Twain then off to bed my husband and I went .There was more late night stuff. Dancing and Music. Then the rain came. Was beautiful to hear the rain and occasional thunder and lighting as we fell asleep.Off to Oak Alley while we slept.
More if you want..........Linda
Don't stop now....please..

thanks
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Old June 17th, 2012, 08:21 PM
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Woke-up in Oak Alley.Raining.... Off to breakfast in the Dinning room. Breakfast you can order off the menu or go to the buffet in the dining room. After breakfast we were off to the Oak Alley Plantation.Rain was not going to stop us.They provided large umbrellas.So glad we braved the rain it was so beautiful. We hardly melted.The Oak trees are incredible the house and furnishings so lovely.Just the way you dream life would be on a plantation.Back on board lots to do if that's your thing.There are talks about life on the river by the Riverlorians, reading or visiting in any one of the beautiful rooms. Sit outside and watch the river go by.It rained on and off all day .Because of the rain. We couldn't go to Laura : A Grand Creole Plantation but we went later on in the week.We left Oak Alley around 1:00. If your in the back by the engine bar you will hear the Calliope play as we leave. Any where else you are you hear the horn blow to let others on the river know we are coming. Later we had lunch in the Dining room.Wonderful Buffet lunch.Really good soup.There is also lunch on the front porch.Hot dogs available all the time. Ice cream, popcorn, good coffee. Walked around, read, then took a nap.There is afternoon teatime at 4:00.Welcome aboard Champagne reception just before first seating,on the first night.There is a Cocktails of the Day but no pushing you to order. Martini and Mississippi Breeze was today.Went to dinner in the dinning room this is when we had assigned seating.We were seated with two wonderful ladies,who made dinners something to look forward to each night. Dinner was very good.I tried the duck and loved it.I took a picture of the menu( if you tell me how to post I will)I have so many pictures.They don't over fill the plates but with free wine and desserts you are not hungry.There was a show in the theater it was Mark Twain a little dry for me.There was music and dancing until 11:00............more to come tomorrow or after I have dinner.....Linda
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Old June 17th, 2012, 10:16 PM
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Before we went to bed last night we knew we would have have to skip Francesville because of the low Mississippi River.But like the river we go with the flow...So we are on are way to Natchez......Woke up on are way to Natchez,Mississippi. But we had to pull over the coast guard had closed all traffic up and down from where we are, due to a large barge blocking the whole river they had been working all night to clear this up . So we are pulled over... We get up-dates all day...so like the Mississippi we just keep rolling a long....Went to Brunch in Dinning room at 10:30 very nice.strolled the deck, read, talked with people , took pictures of where we were pulled over.Saw an alligator come out of the water to get something and go back in the water.Oh! by the way bring binoculars, nice to have once in a while. Still being kept informed.Enjoyed the beautiful day, read for a while. There was Bingo .They opened the Engine room bar for free drinks for 2 hrs. Cocktails of the Day Margarita and Natchez Sunset.... Took a nap. Had dinner with our new found friends.Went to show in the theater USO Big Band Show.We arrived in Natchez around 8:30 pm. There was a casino there not much of a place but we wanted to get off for a couple of hrs. Beautiful night.So we walked on over..Stayed a few hrs when we came out was pouring down rain , I mean buckets.We laughed all the way back about a 2 block walk.We looked like drown rats.Oh well should have brought a umbrella what were we thinking.Time to go to bed.......Tomorrow Natchez for real.... Old man river......
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Old June 17th, 2012, 11:48 PM
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Great reports, and what a fantastic attitude! Rain, missed ports, low water, river closed, and you laugh it all off! This is how everyone should be; I can tell you're going to have a great time no mater what!

Roll with the river...
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Old June 17th, 2012, 11:58 PM
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Natchez.....Woke-up to rain again well at least the rain is keeping the heat down....Went to nice breakfast in the Main Dining room .It is so beautiful I feel special when we eat there. There was a hop on hop off bus but we took a Premium tour Music,Mistress and Marriage Toured the Magnolia House nice southern house but no picture taking.. boo...But they let us in all wet ...that was nice.Went to Frogmore a cotton Plantation and saw a new and hightec cotton operation. Then we toured a small church on the property like the slave would have used there was some singing of songs they would have sung and a reenactment of a slave wedding..We toured the slave quarters really small houses sad but also part of history.The Mistress or Lady of the plantation talked about the slaves and there life on a plantation. Bought a book called " Praying to Be Set Free" very interesting reading. It rained on and off had a good day.Cocktails of the day Pilot House and Americano.Came back had lunch...........watched the river roll by..Read. .Listen to Dixieland Jazz took alot of pictures.There are many of other things to do but this is what we did. Talked with fellow passengers.Had a really nice dinner with the sweet ladies.They were not from England but when I think of them I think of " Rosemary and Thyme" a series on TV.My table mates were so interesting. They love to garden and we talked about that.And the goings on in the world.We really hit it off. Beautiful sunsets( I have pictures but need help posting them)Then there was Showtime in the theater.Songs of Sinatra. Music and dancing till 11:00. Well goodnight........ off to Vicksburg tonight will be there in the morning....................Linda
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Old June 18th, 2012, 12:02 AM
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Great reports, and what a fantastic attitude! Rain, missed ports, low water, river closed, and you laugh it all off! This is how everyone should be; I can tell you're going to have a great time no mater what!

Roll with the river...
Thank you glad you like it.What can you do....... rolling on the river
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Old June 18th, 2012, 11:47 PM
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OH NO !!! Had a Senior moment........Not arriving in Vicksburg stayed in Natchez but we were bused to Vicksburg in the morning due to the river being so low. This time accompanied with our new friends, Rosemary and Thyme.My secret name for them. Had a really nice day.The weather in fact it was starting to get hot. Went to Vicksburg Waterfront and saw the levee. Its really high wall to keep back the Mississippi from the town Took pictures of the markings on the levee .There were beautiful murals painted on one the side if the levee depicting different scenes of life and times in Vicksburg. On the other side showed the Flood Marks . They passed out boxed lunch's. Not impressed but it was nourishment. Sandwich, chips and piece of fruit and a cookie water..If you wanted you could to eat at a park they would drop you off to eat or you could eat on the bus. We went into town got off the bus walked around went to see the place were they first bottled Coca-Cola and a doll museum and antique shops and such. Then on to Vicksburg where the Confederate Army surrendered to the north. Saw memorial to the men from the different states who fought there. Went into the museum.Shown a reenactment to the battle of Vicksburg. Then back to ship had a good day. Rested and read .Got ready for a lovely dinner with the Ladies. And of course the night time entertainment in the Theater. Hooray for Hollywood. And the usual nighttime fun.And of course more rain. But our day was done. More wonderful pictures.On to Baton Rouge......rolling rolling rolling on the river.
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Old June 23rd, 2012, 11:49 AM
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Originally Posted by 60ANDREADY2CRUISE View Post
.....was pouring down rain , I mean buckets.We laughed all the way back about a 2 block walk.We looked like drown rats.Oh well should have brought a umbrella what were we thinking.Time to go to bed.......Tomorrow Natchez for real.... Old man river......
WONDERFUL review!! I love reading your impressions, I almost feel as if I am onboard with you! I also admire your great attitude. That rain didn't slow you down one bit, did it?

I am really looking forward to our August cruise now. I hope you get your picture posting figured out, as I would really like to see them, especially some scenes from on the ship. Or is it boat? Do they call a steamboat a ship?

What were some of the meals like? How about the scenery as you sailed along?
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Old June 23rd, 2012, 12:04 PM
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we will be on the ship next week and you may rest assured that on returning i will let you know how everything turns out.
welll ??
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