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  #1  
Old June 13th, 2012, 04:24 PM
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Default American Queen review lower Mississippi, New Orleans June 4th to June 9th 2012

This cruise was booked in October of 2011, shortly after they opened the website to do so. My travel agent did not know much about Great American Steamboat Company as it was such a new company; however she was knowable in regards to the previous operator. I took a chance and booked through the website.

The reservation department was very helpful during the process but the booking procedures were being formalized as we were working on the details.

I booked two staterooms one category E outside stateroom for my wife and her Mother, and one for myself, an inside single which was upgraded from an SI, to a category H. Both rooms were located on the Texas deck.

A word about the rooms might be helpful to future passengers, the ladies were in room 301 which was located forward next to the dining venue “Front Porch of America”, and the staff elevator was located on the other side of the cabin. The proximity of these areas presented a high noise factor early in the morning which prevented them from sleeping in.

My room (382) on the other hand was very quiet except that due to its location above the Grand Saloon, I was treated to the noise of the late show every night while I was watching TV. Oh well that’s why the TV has a volume control. Other than these noise issues the rooms were better than the typical cruise ship staterooms we have experienced.

As mentioned before I booked this trip very early and I made it a habit to check the website for changes to the booking procedure. It was a good thing that I was keeping on top of it as a new Guest Information Form appeared on the site which if I had not noticed it could have presented a problem as it states,

All Guests must complete this form, which is used for U.S. Department of Homeland Security and Coast Guard purposes, on or before the final payment due date. Travel documents will not be released unless this form is completed. All information should be exactly as it appears on your government-issued photo identification.”

At the time I noticed the addition of this form I had made the final payment and was awaiting my travel documents.

By the way the travel documents were promised on May 14th 2012, I called the reservation department May 16th to inquire on the documents and was informed that they were “backed-up” and were scheduled to be sent out on the 24th!! That was only one week before the start of the trip.

Needless to say I expressed my concern over this matter and asked for an expedited delivery as perhaps someone might be planning to travel early to New Orleans. The documents were delivered three days later.

To be continued
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  #2  
Old June 13th, 2012, 04:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JEM4205 View Post
This cruise was booked in October of 2011, shortly after they opened the website to do so. My travel agent did not know much about Great American Steamboat Company as it was such a new company; however she was knowable in regards to the previous operator. I took a chance and booked through the website.

The reservation department was very helpful during the process but the booking procedures were being formalized as we were working on the details.

I booked two staterooms one category E outside stateroom for my wife and her Mother, and one for myself, an inside single which was upgraded from an SI, to a category H. Both rooms were located on the Texas deck.

A word about the rooms might be helpful to future passengers, the ladies were in room 301 which was located forward next to the dining venue “Front Porch of America”, and the staff elevator was located on the other side of the cabin. The proximity of these areas presented a high noise factor early in the morning which prevented them from sleeping in.

My room (382) on the other hand was very quiet except that due to its location above the Grand Saloon, I was treated to the noise of the late show every night while I was watching TV. Oh well that’s why the TV has a volume control. Other than these noise issues the rooms were better than the typical cruise ship staterooms we have experienced.

As mentioned before I booked this trip very early and I made it a habit to check the website for changes to the booking procedure. It was a good thing that I was keeping on top of it as a new Guest Information Form appeared on the site which if I had not noticed it could have presented a problem as it states,

All Guests must complete this form, which is used for U.S. Department of Homeland Security and Coast Guard purposes, on or before the final payment due date. Travel documents will not be released unless this form is completed. All information should be exactly as it appears on your government-issued photo identification.”

At the time I noticed the addition of this form I had made the final payment and was awaiting my travel documents.

By the way the travel documents were promised on May 14th 2012, I called the reservation department May 16th to inquire on the documents and was informed that they were “backed-up” and were scheduled to be sent out on the 24th!! That was only one week before the start of the trip.

Needless to say I expressed my concern over this matter and asked for an expedited delivery as perhaps someone might be planning to travel early to New Orleans. The documents were delivered three days later.

To be continued
Excellent beginning....thanks....please continue..
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  #3  
Old June 14th, 2012, 05:00 PM
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Default American Queen Review, lower Mississippi, New Orleans June 4th to June 9th 2012 Part

When the trip was booked GASC included a pre or post cruise hotel stay. I selected a pre cruise stay as I didn’t want an unforeseen travel delay to interfere with the much anticipated cruise.

Documents in hand we boarded the aircraft for New Orleans at 0 dark thirty (real, real, early), on Sunday, June third. I picked an early morning departure to allow time for sightseeing in the French quarter while the day was still young.

On arrival at Louis Armstrong Airport we collected our luggage, (wonder of wonders United didn’t lose any of them), and proceeded to the lower level ground transportation area. The lineup for taxis was longer than expected but it moved quite quickly and soon we were on our way downtown to the Westin Hotel.

Now for a short word about taxi drivers in New Orleans. Having traveled throughout this country during my career I have experienced many different types of cab drivers in many different cities, however perhaps it is my advancing age or sedentary life style I was amazed that our driver could examine his GPS, talk, and text, on his phone, check on the weather forecast, scream and honk at other drivers, keep us informed on the local scenery, all while driving at 80mph on a 60mph interstate 10. Anyway, we survived the trip.

Taxi fare from the airport to the hotel was a flat rate of $14.00 per person for 3 or more passengers. Fares for singles or doubles are $33.00 per person. Other transportation options available include a hotel shuttle which cost, $20.00 (per person, one-way) or $38.00 (per person, round-trip). The problem with the shuttle is that you might have to wait while other passengers are dropped at their hotels before you are dropped off.
The taxi dropped us off at the Westin and we made our way to the elevator, there were no porters or bell boys to assist with our luggage, perhaps it was too early as we arrived around 1:00pm. Strange as it may seem we had to take an elevator up several floors to get to the main lobby to check in.

Check in was accomplished with little difficulty however our rooms were unavailable as housekeeping was still cleaning them. The desk offered to lock up our luggage and take them to our rooms after the rooms were ready and let us know when we could occupy the rooms. We were happy to take them up on their kind offer.

After a walkabout the French Quarter, the obligatory beignets at café Du Monde, followed by a fantastic dinner at Bubba Gump Shrimp Co., we retired to our rooms


Our rooms at the Westin hotel sadly were not up to the standards that I have come to expect from other Westin facility’s. The rooms were in dire need of a spruce-up; don’t get me wrong they were not trashy or decrepit but peeling wall coverings, loose tile in the bath, worn carpet and the like were not what I would expect for a “luxury Hotel”.

To be continued; Next up, check in and sail away
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Old July 16th, 2012, 05:25 PM
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Please more...
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Old July 17th, 2012, 12:10 PM
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Eager for next installment!
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Old July 18th, 2012, 11:59 AM
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What happened to this review JEM4205, you just got us all interested and I don't see anymore????
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Old July 27th, 2012, 10:55 AM
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My husband and I were looking at GASC cruises the other night and now we're completely excited about booking one someday. Please, don't stop now with this review!
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Old August 4th, 2012, 06:11 PM
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We are also considering a GASC cruise. Hopefully, JEM4205 will return and continue with his very informative and helpful review.
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Old August 4th, 2012, 07:52 PM
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Their last post anywhere on Cruise Critic was June 14, almost 2 months ago. The chances of them coming back and finishing the review are slim.
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Last edited by hondorner; August 4th, 2012 at 07:52 PM.
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Old August 8th, 2012, 03:33 PM
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Stuff happens. Perhaps they are off on another vacation or there is an illness in the family.
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Old August 10th, 2012, 05:21 PM
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Hi,

My husband and I were on the same cruise with JEM4205 and his family. I don’t know what happened to him, but I know we both had every intention of doing a review because we would have appreciated help before going. I have had some health problems that held thing up for me.
The American Steamboat Company was having a lot of problems with the first cruises. We were on The Southern Living Cruise leaving June 4th. They had to change printing companies which held up documents being sent out. We were leaving early to spend some time in New Orleans before the trip and got our documents thanks to our persistent booking company the day before we flew out. I was very nervous but I am sure they have worked out their kinks by now. When you book ask when you will receive your packet and keep close touch with your travel company.
They also had food service problems and I heard that changed also before our trip. The people seated with us all felt the food was excellent and plentiful. Complimentary wine was served with the evening meals. You had several choices in appetizers, soup or salad, main course and dessert during the evening meal. There were several areas on the cruise to get food. No one went hungry! Our server was wonderful. She made a couple mistakes like everyone, but she told us if we wanted something special she could get it the next day. My husband and others at our table requested pecan pie they had seen at lunch that day. She had it for them the next night.
If you are worried about dress some people dressed up and others didn’t. No one was running around in swimsuits unless they were headed for the pool. I wore skirts to dinner (I have several I never get to wear) , but others wore slacks or capris. My DH wore khakis and a nice shirt to dinner. I don’t remember seeing shorts there or at the evening programs. It was standard tourist dress off ship and during the day. I never felt I was over or under dressed. Some men wore sport coats, but most did not.
We had a Category D stateroom. 214 was small but comfortable. We chose that deck because your room didn’t open onto the deck. At night you could lie in bed and watch the river go by in privacy. We had done that on a Rhine trip and really enjoyed that. They provided full size bottles of shampoo, rinse, body wash, lotion and hairdryer. They also provided plush robes and slippers. The storage space was limited but we were able to hang what we needed, the rest in drawers, and suitcases under the bed.
Our room service person was extremely helpful and checked the room 2 or 3 times a day. I got to know her pretty well because my health problem needed rest in the PM. She was always asking if I needed something.

They had nightly entertainment in the theater. Our stateroom was directly across from the balcony seats, so it was very convenient. Three nights they had an excellent song and dance group and band. The singing group was wonderful and sang and danced to a musical selection through the generations.
The first night was river songs from Old Man River to Rolling Down the river. The next time they performed it was excellent. They did a Memphis Music Story with Elvis, Dock in the Bay, Soul Man and even had the Funky Chicken for audience participation. I don’t do the Funky Chicken, but several were enjoying it. Their last night they did a medley called Hurray for Hollywood. Another night they had a Mark Twain imitator. I learned to appreciate his humor, but in all honesty a third of the audience fell asleep - even the front row. You get to see everything from the balcony. There was a jug band another evening. My grandfather would have loved it. We happened to be in Natchez that night and chose the casino instead.
There was different forms o entertainment evenings and afternoons on the ship. There were various lectures on river life and the ship. There was a parlor with a piano player. The Engine Room Bar had music dancing nightly. The captain’s bar also had music. They had a movie viewing each afternoon.
We just went on the regular tours because I needed to rest by the afternoon. Oak alley was beautiful and very informative. We skipped Francisville because the river was low and we were scraping the bottom. You could hear it drag. We spent the day cruising on to Natchez. I was content reading, but DH felt like a caged animal. Natchez was a beautiful town with more antebellum plantations. I think I mentioned the casino earlier. To put it nicely it was a bit rustic and had containers for needle disposal in the ladies room. DH insisted on walking me back to the ship when I left earlier than he even though the ship was in sight. I really appreciate him. He returned to his blackjack afterwards.
Services included a spa, self-service laundry, iron and ironing board upon asking, fitness center, and pool.

Donna


Last edited by bushvet; August 10th, 2012 at 05:23 PM.
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  #12  
Old August 10th, 2012, 05:36 PM
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Something I should have mentioned was we were in the 5% under 75 age group. We are close to sixty and although I have many older friends that I enjoy, I and others felt this was geared toward heathy older people. I sat with a lady with a cane and she felt they pretty much ignored her needs when it came to getting off the boat. If you are in a handy cap situation I would ask the American Steamboat Co. questions before going on this trip. I was told younger people usually book shorter cruises by a staff member.
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Old August 10th, 2012, 09:34 PM
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bushvet, thanks for your report. We're now about 10 days away from boarding in Chattanooga, and every report helps.
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Old August 10th, 2012, 10:57 PM
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Thanks Donna for your review
Very informative

Don will be looking forward to your review when you and Betsy return
Enjoy
Lyn
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