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Everything posted by Buck1949

  1. We recently booked with AQSC for April 2022 and we took advantage of the $600 discount offered by paying in full. This discount applied to the ‘Veranda’ cabins while the $3000 discount was for the most expensive suites on aboard. Before we actually booked (directly through the cruiseline) we made sure that our travel insurance company included Financial bankruptcy or interruption/cancellation due to financial issues in our coverage. One stipulation for the travel insurance company was that we buy the insurance within 15 days of paying for the cruise. (This also got us the pre existing condition coverage). Also there was a stipulation that if the cruise was booked via a 3rd party (a travel agent/agency) then the financial coverage would not apply. I was told that this was apparently due to the travel insurance company not wanting to deal with them for financial claims also. We have used this same Travel Insurance company for the majority of the 15 or so cruises we have taken and been very satisfied with a couple of claims we have had to make. So I am just saying to make sure that however you book your River cruise you check out those coverages...( have them in writing ). I checked another large cruise insurance company and they do not cover the financial insolvancy parts at all. Take care, and hope all can cruise again soon !
  2. Sure wish it would have worked out that we could have coordinated a mutual date to do the Memphis to NO river cruise. Think we would have had a great time. On top of that what is a dance duo of Bop and Buck without one or the other being there. 😀 Will be following your roll call for your cruise in hopes of getting a few tips for our anticipated 2021 same cruise. And you are right meeting good friends on these roll calls and cruises are pretty darn nice. Will be keeping in touch. Take care
  3. Ah.... ok.... in both places we elected to tour the entire area (as much as possible) so the ground level by itself, was never considered. Good luck, hope you get it figured out.
  4. Sorry I do not have any recent information....and I am not quite sure what you mean by ground level tour of the Coloseum or Vatican, however I do seem to recall that we were advised (and had one) that a Vatican tour had to be guided. I would be surprised if Fabrizio (owner) would do anything or suggest anything that was not on the up and up....as he was and seems to still be one of the most honest people we have had the pleasure to deal with. From recent comments on here I assume that to still be true. Maybe there are some miscommunications as to what exactly you are wanting to do. We were able to roam the outside grounds freely after our guided tour of the Vatican as I recall....but not inside. I can not recall what we did exactly at the Coloseum but seem to recall we elected to have an escort there also. (don't quote me on that one....) Sorry I can not be of a lot of help..... Good luck, and enjoy your stay in Rome..... Fabrizio and staff will surely give you a memorable tour once you figure out what is to be done.
  5. I can relate for sure.... .Heck next month will be our 52nd Anniversary..... And it seems like what we used to do.... instead of coming home from a trip, unpacking, sorting dirty clothes, starting the wash, looking at photos, and literature we have amassed..... it now is...... coming home from the trip.... putting the suitcases in the bedroom, and unlocking them... hoping to get to unpacking the next day (maybe - with laundry starting sometime that day) and heck looking at the photos/literature is something I hope to get to within the next week or so. 👨‍🦳 but we still enjoy ourselves, none the less........ and we hope to do the traveling for a while longer, but maybe just not quite as much. Take care,
  6. You have 5 more cruises in the works? If so....that doesn’t sound like slowing down 😳!
  7. I totally understand your reasoning and being choosier as you mature (grin). We did Europe early on knowing that later it would be tougher on us physically. We have been to Alaska 3 times but find that every time we go that there are different things that we have not seen before, or has changed a lot, or maybe we missed it completely so we keep going back. In fact we are booked for another cruise to Alaska for next August. We thoroughly enjoyed the Empress cruise and already have mentioned it to friends. Sure do thank you for your comments, and insight from your experiences before we did our cruise. Who knows maybe we will cross paths in the future...you just never know. Take care and best to you in your future travels.
  8. I'm also messing with the photos now.... but have a ways to go. That is a problem when I used a iPhone, Ipad, Canon Camera and my wife also took some photos...… putting them in some form of order. Jim..... beginning to wonder if we need to get an "agent" to handle the potential calls and bookings that might come if our entertainment is seen by others and the requests begin pouring in? Know any good ones? I really think that we will be looking at doing the Memphis to New Orleans cruise in 2021.....since we have a cruise booked with our Daughter in Law and Granddaughter next year. I guess the ports and the Queen ship is worth the trip overall from what I have been told. We had been doing 2 cruises a year, but think we want to cut back a little and spend more time in the cooler mountains of Arizona during the summer, so we only have one cruise planned next year. Sure hope you guys give some consideration to doing the Memphis cruise also. I have finally gotten over the sinus infection that got hold of me the last day of the cruise. Those things last about 2 weeks....even with the meds that I take. I don't think it helped that I sat outside the Jet Boat on the Snake River tour...with the wind and occasional splashing water getting to me. Anyway.... I am a bit sad to see this cruise/thread come to an end..... I do hope that if any of the posters here have more information or plan a cruise with AQSC in the future that they will put out the information so that I could follow along to see how that goes. Take care all !!
  9. @califsealion Thanks for that information ! I copied it to refer to later should we decide to do the Memphis/New Orleans cruise. Thanks again !
  10. Sure sounds like you had a great time on your cruise. While on the Empress the head of housekeeping, and the bartender at the River Grill, both mentioned having worked/sailed on the American Queen ship and both suggested going southbound from Memphis to New Orleans. It was mentioned that the river and a number of ports are very industrialized, and they thought the timed itinerary lent itself to better sightseeing going in that direction. I did not ask specifics about their comments and I have not yet compared itineraries for going either direction. I’m sure that AQSC offers comparable trips both ways and Southbound was just their favorite. It was also mentioned that they thought the American Queen ship was very interestingly decorated and was their favorite. I saw information that it was the biggest in the fleet. I think the Queen has a capacity of over 400 passengers. Isn’t it ironic what a small world it seems sometimes. You having met the same bus drivers on two different cruises in your case. Since our cruise, myself and and an old work buddy who also was on the Empress cruise with a friend, were at our former employer recently for a planned photo session. Ironically the photographer who happens to be from a company outside of Arizona noticed my buddy was wearing an American Queen Steamboat Company polo shirt and commented that she formerly worked on the Duchess ship and one other one along the Mississippi River. She also said that she had vacationed/cruised on the Empress ship. You just never know who or when you might run across situations like that. BTW did you find anything in particular that you liked or disliked about your cruise from New Orleans? Any sightseeing tips? Also did you do any extended tours while in New Orleans or Memphis? While we may not be able to go until 2021, I would be interested in your opinion. Take care.......also hope you are not affected by those California wildfires.
  11. .....sent this twice but did not publish....... In our case we have discussed the Memphis to New Orleans cruise on the American Queen. The direction and ship were recommended to us by several employees on the Empress. Unfortunately we have a cruise already booked for 2020 along with some other plans so it looks like the earliest we could go would be in 2021 sometime. What say others here.....anyone booked or thinking of doing the American Queen cruise?
  12. A couple of the stops were specific to shopping, and a couple mentioned in their downtown stop that shopping was available. Astoria had a street fair during our stop. Let’s just say that none except Astoria were the type of shopping my wife was interested in - and she is a marathon type shopper. (Guess that was a benefit for me and our credit card though - 😂)
  13. We had a very good cruise - especially after we were at 1st told we would not go to/through The Bonneville Locks nor to Astoria as the locks were not fully repaired. The night before our cruise to Stevenson where we were to spend 2 plus days we were given the good news that the locks had opened and our trip would be completed as planned. We were somewhat fortunate in that the premium tour to Multnomah Falls and the Vista house had been canceled initially, but once the locks reopened American Queen company decided to make the Falls a bus type excursion at NO cost and credited us for our Premium tour monies. They could not do the Vista house however due to scheduling issues at that point. As to the ship itself - we liked the layout, the rooms were a bit small but very comfortable and the veranda had plenty of space. The public areas were clean and we were impressed with the ‘on your honor’ gift shop and availability of assistance at the Pursers Office. We dined every evening in the Astoria dining room except for Friday when we had made reservations at the River Grill. It was our lucky night as it was also lobster night in the grill. Meal variety in the Astoria dining room was very good and we were pleased with everything offered. We utilized the River Grill and Astoria dining room for both breakfast and lunch depending on our mood and time available. We were greeted everywhere on board by a friendly face and pleasant attitude. Everyone seemed to ‘have’ a minute to answer a question or to say hi or to ask how we were doing. The entertainment was unbelievably good and while the Empress Quartet did a great job - we really liked Anna Carroll as well as Greg and Lindy who were our favorite singers. We went to the Paddlewheel lounge every evening to hear Frank Chase the piano player/comedian - and felt he was one of the best we had ever seen. As far as the Hop On Hop off buses - they did a great job, were on time and very accommodating, especially with those that required a little more time or assistance due to mobility issues. The itinerary at each port was very good and interesting Except the ‘shopping’ stops in all the ports except Astoria left a lot to be desired. For example in Richland, Wa. the shopping stop included 2 small restaurants (yes we ate at Porters BBQ (of Diners Drive In and Dives fame). There was a Small 2nd hand women’s clothes boutique, a bakery, a furniture store, a couple of insurance offices, a tattoo shop, and several empty or under construction buildings. The weather was perfect all along the way until the Stevenson area and remainder of the cruise. The weather turned very cool, a little rainy, and windy until we were on tour in Portland when it was milder. Overall we we truly were happy that we did this trip, and were impressed enough that we are now talking of doing the Memphis to New Orleans cruise on the American Queen - as also several staff said it was a bigger and very elegant vessel and great cruise. I did meet meet up with @Bop (Jim) his wife and friends and even at one point we were both the ‘Stars’ on stage in the Show lounge together. I won’t go into details here though 😜😂. Jim is a great guy and would hope we meet again in the future for a cruise maybe. I think I covered most everything of importance that I could remember. If there is a specific question, just ask. Take care all !
  14. Well I will try to drag myself out of bed to see the sunrise along with Bop/Jim ....... (I am normally an early riser - normally I say ! - the wife not so much) But on a cruise it may be more likely that I will see the sunset than the sunRise !!! GRIN.... Thanks again for the information.... Sounds like a good cruise overall ! Take care,
  15. @DiamondDiva and @LEAFEATER Quick question: Did you find any need for bug / mosquito spray? Just curious !
  16. @DiamondDiva Thanks for the good thoughts. We are anxious to do this particular cruise and hopeful that it is what we like so that we can consider doing some river cruises along the Mississippi etc. I can no longer fly long distances (4 hours is about my limit) thus no more cruises in Europe 😩. We had done many along the west coast - closest to us (Panama, Mexico, Alaska 3 times, Hawaii from San Diego, and Pacific Coastal a few times so we are hoping this is a viable change of pace. Weren’t you recently on the Millenium? How did you like that cruise? Take care, and thanks once again !
  17. That is great to hear ! Thanks again for your insight !
  18. Funny....I had a few minutes this morning to review this thread. Ironically, after checking all the posts...I realize that only @Bop, myself, and one other person @craftygrandma, (not including any unknown lurkers) are really the only ones going or listed as going on this particular cruise. All of the other posters were those that have already been....or a few that were going on other dates. I for one really appreciated the information, photos, and reviews posted by previous cruisers as it really helped clear up some questions I had. Thank you so much for helping. My wife and I are looking forward to this cruise, and meeting Bop, his wife and traveling friends and others as yet unknown to me. Only 10 days left !
  19. As long as we don’t start answering ourselves huh?
  20. Jim, sure hope that the hurricane passes you by without much impact. We go back to our Phoenix home next Thursday and begin the ‘task’ of what to wear/pack also. I too will have a bigger camera, but may only have one (well maybe 2) lens with me. I’m sure my wife will be bringing her LUMIX point and shoot camera with her also as it has WiFi and she can sync up photos to her iPhone to send back to the family. My Camera will also sync up with my iPhone/iPad which is nice to be able to send off a photo or 2. As to (am I still here?) - look back a few postings as I was afraid I might be talking to myself 😜 these last couple of days. Take care,
  21. Thanks for checking back Califsealion. I just noted this happening off the coast of Oregon yesterday. Did not see much about it so assume it was not a major problem anywhere even tho it appears to be a major quake overall ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ A 6.3-magnitude earthquake was recorded Thursday morning in the Pacific Ocean near Oregon, the US Geological Survey reported . The quake happened around 11:07 a.m. EST about 175 miles west-northwest of the coastal city of Bandon, Oregon, the USGS reported. There were no immediate reports of damage or injuries. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 3 weeks and 1 day away for us !!!!
  22. Yea !! we have our cruise docs!. (Well our neighbor who is watching our place) has them for us. We have also booked 4 premium excursion tours and contemplating a couple of others. I was told that we could in most cases do a HoHo tour and a Premium tour on same day. So depending on how tired we may be will help us decide on any additional Premium tours if they are still available while on board. Getting interesting, and hoping we really like this cruise - as we might like to try cruising along the Mississippi also !
  23. Oh no !!!! Was so hoping to see you in a dinner Tux Jim !!! Ha ha. I live casual !! Thus the reason we travel on NCL as much as we can. As to cameras - I was carrying a Canon T5i with a Sigma 100/400mm lens which I shot the Moose and babies with in Alaska. (Sold the lens tho as I just was not 100% pleased with it) But now in addition I have a full frame Canon 6D Mark 2 Camera with 28/300mm Tamron and a 100/600mm lens. (I’m still learning this Camera). Unfortunately the 600mm lens is very heavy and is almost too big for my backpack. I’m trying to decide if I want to keep the T5i Camera now also. You don't happen to have a Tamron 100/400mm lens floating around do you? 😳.😀. That would be the perfect carry lens for my new camera I think. I’ll figure out what Camera stuff to lug around by the time we leave, as I just like fiddling with the gear anyway. I have a light weather type rain jacket I will carry along with a windbreaker I pack also. I am a very hot natured person, so many times when my wife is in a sweater and jacket I’m simply in a long sleeved shirt. I’ll be checking the weather to try and pack accordingly up until we leave. Take care.
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