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  1. I don’t write many reviews, but we see so little about American river cruising that I thought this on needed a review. Mrs Banjo and I were on the American Queen October 15 from Memphis to New Orleans. Here is the great, the good and the needs improvement. the ship was great, it was clean and in good repair. The captain and crew were pleasant and well trained. We really enjoyed the engine room that was available to tour at any time, it was very interesting. We also enjoyed the captain, who had a great sense of humor and is a really good guitar player! The service staff was always pleasant and helpful and kept our cabin neat and clean. we found the food to be generally very good, but we are not really fussy eaters so we are not hard to please. Food is also very subjective, i’ll Leave it that the food good and plentiful. Wines served at dinner were always good, not fabulous, but good. The wait staff was pleasant, but could have used a bit more training, IMHO. They didn’t seem to know when to replace silverware or what was needed, (always had to ask for a steak knife, etc). The daily HoHo bus was ok, it provided a brief overview and some basic transport, we used it whenever we did not buy a premium tour and were glad it was there. The premium tours were generally very good with the exception of the pre-cruise tour that we thought was managed rather poorly. They had 3 busses of incoming people, (150+/-) all arrive at Graceland , expecting to see the mansion at the same time. Can you say lines and confusion.... did I say I don’t like lines. This particular tour could have been managed much better with very little effort. The pre cruise hotel, well that was a three ring circus. The Sheridan is a convention hotel, with a convention checking out while the cruise people were trying to check in. Here’s how it went; stand in line for 30 minutes, get to the front desk, check in, “sorry sir, your room is not ready, we’ll text you when it is ready, NEXT”. so we go leave our luggage in a ballroom full of other luggage. Ok, so let’s check in with American Queen..... another long line, we leave, go to grab a late lunch could not get service in the hotel restaurant or bar, go back to check in hours later, line is now longer, stand in line for another hour to check in, we get a text that our room is ready, back to the lobby, stand in line for another 15 minutes to get room keys. I think you get the picture, Overall, we did enjoy the cruise, but it did get off to a bad start that I think was not necessary. Hopefully they can make some improvements. Once on the boat it was a real treat.
  2. Hi! I'll be going for the first time - on the American Queen - this November, for my mom's 70th birthday. I was curious about the dress code for dinner? Are Jeans and a Polo ok? Also, I noticed there was a "cinema" on board...which after looking at a picture just looked like a room with a big tv... Do they just show old dvds or what? Are there a DVD players in the rooms? Also...will there be anyone else there that aren't senior citizens? :) One more: Alcohol - is it open bar or is that just during dinner?
  3. Hello, My wife,Melanie and I just signed up for the 7/1/18 cruise leaving Clarkston. Wonder how long till someone else joins and makes this a party of ??????? Later in Life, Mark
  4. I thought about starting a Roll Call for this trip but getting to the river cruise roll calls - especially the US ones - is just more complicated than it ought to be! We’ll be on the American Queen these two weeks, “finishing” the Mississippi. (We traveled down river between the Saints about ten years ago.) Anybody else on one or both of these legs this year?
  5. Hi. I am considering a cruise on the American Queen, Memphis to New Orleans. My husband is having knee surgery, but will be walking by then, though a bit slow. So I don't want to book this if getting on/off the ship is difficult (lots of steps, long walk from ship to port area, etc.) HCan anyone give me some info that could help me decide if this is a good choice for us?? thanks.
  6. Well let's start this forum for the American Queen sailing from New Orleans on April 16th. 2018. We are Neil and Joan from Leeds in the UK and look forward to meeting you all on this thread and in person. We are arriving in New Orleans four days prior to setting sail to give ourselves plenty of time to see the sights.
  7. Hi All, We are planning for a NO to Memphis to St Louis journey on the AQ. We are biased toward the aft cabins (383, 85, 86), but I am concerned about the stern wheel. Specifically, how obstructed is the view (from the stern wheel and the support members), and does the stern wheel throw spray at the cabins? I'll appreciate any info you can send my way. Thanks Ira
  8. We are still savoring our voyage from Pittsburgh to Cincy Landing and an extended stay in northern Kentucky, but also wondering how the rest of July went for AQ, and what the future holds. If you have been steamboatin' since we disembarked in Cincy, please give an update from down river.:D Tease us! We are dying to travel again (at least vicariously).
  9. Boarded American Queen1 hour late yesterday in Nashville. Boat was delayed by a bridge not opening up far enough for the boat to pass. Then they hit a rock and knocked a hole in the rear starboard hull. People worked on the patch all night. Hole is now fixed and Coast Guard is aboard to give clearance to leave. Hope to depart Nashville at 3:00 pm today. Rough start. A port will have to be skipped but no decision on which one yet.
  10. Can anyone that have booked these cabins give me the Pros and Cons about cabins 383,385,& 386 class AQ-A, aboard the American Queen. They are stern private veranda and glass enclosed. Do they have windows that open and do they fog up to make seeing out a problem. Also what is the noise level of the Paddle Wheel. Thanks in advance for your response.
  11. We are Marlys Breckle and Bill Klein from Titusville, FL. This is our first American river cruise. We have done 4 river cruises in Europe and 1 in China. I (Marlys) really wanted to do the Mississippi one so we went for the whole enchilada. As luck would have it, we are scheduled to be in the St Louis area on August 21, the day of the solar eclipse. We would like to find out how to be at the right location to experience totality. Is anyone else interested or have information to help us?
  12. What is the weather like on this cruise from the end of December to the beginning of January?
  13. Does anyone know anything about this cruise line which I believe just started running trips on the Mississippi recently. I am interested in comments on the ship Queen of the Mississippi which just started in August 2012. Thanks!
  14. 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
  15. Hi All, We're back on American Queen for the 4th time for this holiday-themed cruise from New Orleans to New Orleans, sailing in 402. I'll try to report a little from the cruise, and be happy to answer any Questions.
  16. Hi, we arrive in Memphis on 5/29/15 and start our River cruise on 5/30/15. Looking forward to hearing any comments and tips from others that have taken this trip. This will be our first Steamboat river cruise. Has anyone taken any other trips with American Queen Steamboat Company? Thanks, Charliebeth
  17. Some clarification, please. We traveled on the American Queen many years ago when she was new. I seem to remember having doors that opened to a common deck and also that when walking out the door to the hallway, it was not all covered/enclosed. We were in Cabin 419. Could someone tell me if this is the case? Or am I not remembering correctly. Thanks, Mary Lou
  18. I've just posted my review of our recent trip on the Mississippi. Happy to answer questions.
  19. We have taken six trips on the American Queen, and so far have sailed in 4 cabin categories. The first time was a C cabin on Deck 3 – I think it was 317. The cabin was small, had a bath with shower only, but we loved the location in terms on proximity to the Front Porch (especially for our early morning tea in the cabin) and that deck 3 is the middle deck, so going up and down to other decks was not a long haul. Open verandah with people passing by but the verandah is quite wide on this deck. The next time we got a free upgrade to an A cabin on Deck 5 – I think 525. Much larger cabin with a bathtub. Again open verandah but narrower than on Deck 3 – people passing by heading for the River Grill at the stern, but not a whole lot of traffic. Twice we had B cabins – one was 417 which was probably our favorite in terms of all the cabins we have stayed in. One deck up from the Front Porch, towards the bow, good size (as AQ cabins go!) and bath with tub. The other B cabin we had – the first week of the last trip – was 402 which we HATED. Up at the bow with an observation deck in front, and right next to the Chart Room with constant traffic. Twice people tried to enter the cabin not realizing it was a private door. And, folks kept pulling rocking chairs right to our door to get out of the sun, and other times people “stole” our outside chairs. Also, people walking the deck came very close to our door. I would absolutely recommend not choosing this cabin, nor 401 which has the same situation on the other side of the boat. The second week of the last trip we had an AAA cabin – 520. This was an accessible cabin – we did not request it, but it was assigned to us – but really the only difference was a big bathroom and wider doors. In fact, we wondered why an accessible cabin would have a tub instead of just a shower. We liked the extra space, doors both out to the deck and to the inner corridor, and the priority dinner seating but would not pay the extra again when we were just as happy with 417. Next time we have booked 201 which is a C cabin with both a bay window and a deck off to the side. The deck is not private, but 2 chairs are reserved for 201 and there are only a couple of other chairs there. We got to take a look at it and like it a lot. We were told it is the most requested cabin on the boat. We’ll see how it goes.
  20. Are you considering a cruise on American Queen Steamboat Company’s American Queen? Join us as we hop aboard for the line’s annual bourbon themed cruise, which starts in St. Louis and heads to Cincinnati July 10 – 18. Ports of call we’re super excited about include both St. Louis (love the blues there) and Louisville, and of course learning more about bourbon. This is our second cruise on American Queen, the gorgeous paddle wheeler that plies the Mississippi (and tributaries such as the Ohio and Tennessee rivers) from New Orleans to St. Paul. We're happy to answer any questions you may have. And as always, we love hearing from you guys with your advice and/or insights from your own Mississippi River cruises (and bourbon aficionados – we are beginners, so fire away). Specifically: Would love a recommendation for a really good restaurant (dinner) in St. Louis that is a great locals’ haunt! I’ll start my “live from” posting on or around July 10 – feel free to post anytime. I’ll be checking in…. Carolyn Carolyn Spencer Brown Editor in Chief Cruise Critic PS For more details on this particular cruise, click here: http://www.americanqueensteamboatcompany.com/river-cruises/ohio-tennessee-rivers/st-louis-cincinnati-
  21. How is the dance floor situated? Is there room for many or a few? I love to dance but my husband is reluctant...are there bright lights on the floor or is it more subdued? :rolleyes:
  22. Full Steam Ahead - the AMERICAN QUEEN! 226 Photos to accompany this review: After numerous ocean cruises, or "blue water" cruises as they prefer to say on the Mississippi, the opportunity presented itself to ride an authentic paddlewheel steamboat. The AMERICAN QUEEN (AQ) was built in 1995 as the largest and most luxurious overnight steamboat plying America's Ohio and Mississippi Rivers. Originally built by the now defunct Delta Queen Steamboat Company, she was laid up for a few years before being reactivated earlier this year by the American Queen Steamboat Company (AQSC). She is the last of her breed and one of a kind. AQSC spent a good bit bringing her machinery up to speed and also refreshed her passenger spaces. AQ is unique in that she still uses boilers and steam to power her paddlewheel. In addition she employs two Z-drives for added propulsion and maneuverability, as well as two bow thrusters making her quite nimble on the river. If the technical aspects of the boat interest you, once onboard it's no problem to visit the engine room and pilot house. Another interesting technical feature of the AQ is her telescopic stacks and retracting pilot house. The stacks fold down and the pilot house lowers which enable her to pass under low bridges and wires. It's very interesting to watch and quite a production. Oh yes, AQ is called a "boat" and not a "ship". That is something I learned quite quickly although it took a little getting used to. I picked up the boat in Davenport, IA. This was day three of her seven day passage up the Mississippi from St. Louis to St. Paul and I would be onboard for four nights. In actuality passengers were not able to embark in St. Louis due to repair on Lock 25, so embarkation was switched to Hannibal. My stops were Davenport, Dubuque, La Crosse, Red Wing, and St. Paul. Seeing AQ for the first time was quite a treat. She was larger and even more impressive than I had imagined. Her beautiful tiered decks and ornate rails remind one of a wedding cake. I was escorted up to the Purser's Desk to check-in and I was presented a key, yes a real key for entry into my cabin. In addition to the cabin key I was provided a key card such as you find on most cruise ships for charging privileges and to swipe when going "up the hill". That's going ashore to folks like you and I. I was assigned the "Alaska" cabin located on Texas Deck. All cabins on AQ have a name which really adds a unique touch. My cabin was also known as #348. It's currently sold as category A but starting in 2013 it will be classified as category AA. What makes this cabin category unique is that it includes a private veranda similar to what you would find on your average cruise ship. On a riverboat it's not so common. The majority of cabins open to a shared promenade deck, which frankly is just fine if you don't mind the fresh air. If an enclosed corridor is important to you than you might want to consider this cabin type, as most of the cabins that open onto the promenade deck have only one entry and that is from the outside deck. Decor of the cabin along with the rest of the AQ is what you might expect on a traditional riverboat. Antique style furnishings and Victorian details which provide an authentic feel and touch. Don't let the look and feel fool you though, as every modern convenience is provided. A personal safe, robes, slippers, three outlets, flat panel TV, individually controlled a/c and heat, wireless internet, phone, and perhaps the most comfortable bed I've experienced on the water. Crisp white sheets on a supremely supportive mattress, which in my case converted from two single beds to a queen size. There is turndown service each evening where the cabin is refreshed, and the River Times daily program is laid out along with some chocolates. There is adequate storage for clothes in the drawers and closet, plus a wicker chair and ottoman for relaxing. Both the cabin and bathroom were fully wallpapered and sound proofing was good. The bath featured a full size tub, pedestal style sink, a small shelving unit, and a fully tiled floor. Amenities included spa style soap, shampoo, conditioner, bath salts, and lotion. Hot water was strong and plentiful provided by a premium Speakman shower-head. Two french doors in the cabin led to a private veranda which featured two chairs and a table. Surprisingly on a boat of this quality the hand rails on the veranda and on the rest of the boat were unfinished, so you just leaned on the top metal bar of the rail. The only thing in the cabin I would change are the curtains on the french doors. They tie together in the center during the day and the problem is that they block most of your view and don't let in a lot of light. Although they fit the decor, they are not very practical and a different design would be preferable. The AQ has an astonishing amount of public space for a boat this size, and never did I feel crowded or have to wait in any lines. You enter the boat through a lovely foyer with a Gentleman's and Ladies' Parlor just off to your left and right. Believe it or not there were men in the Ladies' Parlor and likewise with the Gentleman's Card Room! My have times changed. Moving aft you enter a truly lovely and popular space called the Mark Twain Gallery. This is the central gathering place on the boat and featured plenty of comfortable seating areas for reading or having a coffee, or just admiring all the art work and various decorative objects. The centerpiece is a beautiful model of the DELTA QUEEN, once a running mate of the AQ and now tied up in Chattanooga as a floating hotel. Coffee, newspapers, and an internet corner with computer are all available in the Mark Twain Gallery. An interesting architectural feature of this space is that it runs directly above the center of the dining room and has windows looking down to both sides of the J.M. White Dining Room below. Heading back we enter the Purser's Lobby which as you guessed contains the Purser's Desk as well as the Shore Excursion Desk and AQ Emporium which is the onboard gift shop. A beautiful staircase and ceiling mural complete the space. Also located on the Main Deck is the Grand Saloon, which is a lovely two level show lounge where most of the entertainment takes place. AQSC likes to tout that it's modeled after the Ford Theater, but personally I think that is a bit of a stretch. None the less it's a beautiful space and includes a balcony and six "boxes" on the Cabin Deck above. I watched all the shows from Box A and enjoyed the vantage point. There is no charge to use the boxes but I do recommend obtaining one early as they seemed quite popular. The spacious J.M. White Dining room is located on Main Deck along with the adjacent Main Deck Lounge and Captain's bar, which are the perfect venues for drinks & music either before or after dinner. A few smaller public venues include the Engine Room Bar which is the late night spot on the AQ. It includes a large bar, a great view of the paddlewheel in action from the large portholes, and a live band. There are two small open porches off the Engine Room Bar if you want some air or a really up-close view of the paddlewheel. Tucked away is a small staircase leading down to the engine room. If it's unlocked you are welcome to walk down and see the Engineers and engines in action. It's very interesting and I highly recommend a visit at least once. The Engineers are very friendly and enjoy talking about their duties and the inner workings of a steam powered engine. It's obvious they are proud to be part of history. They require a steam license to work on the AQ which is not easily obtained these days as it's such a rare breed. Up on Texas Deck there is a small theater for movies and probably my favorite spot on the boat, the Front Porch of America. Here you can find a selection of food 24 hours a day, plus wonderful coffee and hot chocolate and best of all a 24 hour soft serve ice cream machine with all the toppings! Not to be outdone by the food, the view is spectacular as you have an ever changing view of the river and a large outdoor seating area. One deck up on the Observation Deck is the Chart Room which acts as the library of the AQ, and it also includes you guessed it ... charts of the river. This is where the Riverlorian will give talks throughout the journey up or down the river. The River Grill is located aft on Promenade Deck and unfortunately it was never used during my trip. It's supposed to act as an alternative dining venue but considering that it's completely outside it's use will be limited. The Calliope is played from the River Grill, and I was disappointed it was never used during my trip. I heard various reasons as to why but none seemed to add up. Lastly there is a small pool and the AQ Athletic Club which in reality is a small gym but decently equipped for a boat this size. The pool was never filled during my trip as the weather was too cold at least for me, but there may have been some that might have braved it! One of the best aspects of a Mississippi River cruise is the river itself. It's constantly changing and there is always something to see, especially on the Upper Mississippi. The US Army Corps of Engineers maintains and operates a series of locks from St. Louis up to St. Paul. Think of each one as a miniature Panama Canal that raises or lowers the boat about 10-15 feet. There are 29 locks in all and it's fascinating to experience. Many of the locks are located in small towns and have viewing platforms, so the residents of these towns enjoying coming out at all hours to see the AQ. The locks are operated 24 hours a day so the AQ will pass through the locks at all hours of the day and night. I was surprised more than once stepping out on my balcony and being face to face with the local residents on the viewing platform! I learned quickly to be fully dressed or at least look outside the window before stepping out on the veranda. In addition to the locks it's fun to watch other traffic on the river as well as the various towns and often beautiful homes lining the river banks. I enjoyed tying up at each of our stops. First up was Dubuque where I had the pleasure of visiting the riverboat TWILIGHT while she was in dry-dock. Walking underneath a vessel out of the water is truly a unique experience. Special thanks to to my friends Frank and Vic for making this happen. They are true steamboat aficionados and their knowledge and friendship greatly enhanced this trip. They are both members of the Sons and Daughters of Pioneer Rivermen which publishes the S&D Reflector quarterly for those interested in riverboats and river history. I highly recommend joining this organization prior to your trip on the AQ as it will greatly enhance the experience and put you in the right state of mind. Other attractions in Dubuque include the National Mississippi River Museum and the Fenelon Place Elevator. I highly recommend both. This is probably a good time to mention the "Steamcoaches". These are provided by AQSC in each port and are included in your fare. They will be waiting when the boat ties up, and essentially are hop-on, hop-off motor-coach that takes you directly to all the points of interest in each town. The concept is superb and I heard nothing but praise about the service. The are called "Steamcoaches" because they look like a miniature version of the AQ from the outside. Very clever and you can't miss them around town. Great advertising for AQSC as well! I found both La Crosse and Red Wing charming, small-town America at its best. In both towns I casually walked around taking in the sights, took in a little shopping, and marveled at some of the beautiful old homes and architecture. Red Wing was probably my favorite stop, and it reminded me a bit of Alaska in its style and charm. I loved the old railway station and performing theater, and some of the homes just on the outskirt of downtown are stunning. In each town the boat always had a warm welcome of curious local residents and commerce folks, and some would even be in full period costume. It all added to the experience! Back on the boat there was no shortage of activities. The daily River Times was the guide to everything happening on the AQ. Daytime activities would consist of River Chats with the Riverlorian, a movie, wine tastings, pilot house tours, afternoon tea, a casual parlor show, and even bingo. As I mentioned before the best entertainment was just watching the river go by! Evening entertainment consisted of various musical offerings, dancing, and a main event show in the Grand Saloon. Some of the main event shows included Lewis Hankins' Marking Twain which I found quite entertaining; "A Tribute to the Great Ladies of Song" with Laura Sable who was excellent (and also the Cruise Director's wife); and "My Way: A Tribute to Frank Sinatra" performed by Fred Bishop. Many of these entertainers are no strangers to the riverboats, having worked for Delta Queen Steamboat Company and Majestic America after that. I suppose it's the unique way of life that draws them back to the river again and again. One thing nice about being on a small boat such as the AQ is the ability to really chat with the performers and staff on a more personal level. It's something that is not overly common on the mega cruise ships due to their massive size. No trip on the AQ would be complete without mentioning the cuisine and service. Regina Charboneau of Natchez is the Chef de Cuisine for AQSC and she happened to be onboard for this trip. She is a fun and charming lady, but that aside I really enjoyed her creative approach to cuisine. It's a bit more spicy with southern flair than you will find on a typical cruise ship. Personally I loved it. Lunch consisted of a combination of buffet and menu offerings with dessert being buffet style from a separate table. It's a bit of an odd arrangement, and if you prefer strictly waiter service you may be disappointed but I thought it worked ok. Dinner is more formal and everything is ordered off the menu and delivered by the wait staff. Wine and beer are included at dinner and there was no shortage of either, although the wine selection could be better. Three of the four nights had the same red wine offering. The last night was a Captain's Farewell Reception and dinner but it was a bit of a letdown. I had heard about a festive "second line" which is tradition on the riverboats and was looking forward to it, but it never happened. There was no farewell toast or anything that made this last night feel special. I think something a bit more memorable for the final dinner would be appropriate. Thanks to my pals Frank and Vic, we enjoyed various special guests at our table throughout the trip. An entertainer one night, two Engineers, and even Michael Blaser one afternoon for lunch. Michael Blaser is a fantastic painter of the rivers and the boats that ply them. His beautiful artwork can be found throughout the AQ and hopefully there is more to come. I found Michael Blaser to be the river world equivalent of Stephen Card. For those that don't know Captain Card, he a marine artist that specializes in painting ocean liners and his beautiful works can be found on Holland America, Cunard, and some other lines. I feel privileged to have met both these artists, and you can find their work online just by performing an internet search of their names. Overall the service was good, but it generally lacked the polish you might find on blue water vessels. There was no lack of enthusiasm it's just that the training and experience are not quite up to speed yet. It was that little attention to detail and finesse in serving that was lacking. You would often see staff and crew walking around talking or texting on their cell phones, and somehow this detracted from the experience in my opinion. For anyone that has priced out a trip on the AQ you know it's not inexpensive. It's one reason I haven't taken a trip on the river until now. Being onboard and experiencing AQSC first hand I began to understand and appreciate why this product is costly to deliver. The boat requires steam licensed engineers, as well as three pilots (one is a Captain) to operate the vessel. The entire staff and crew is American, so US labor laws such as overtime and a minimum wage apply. I was amazed at how much more difficult it appeared to pilot the AQ compared to a typical ocean going vessel. It's a completely manual process and there is no auto-pilot. Navigating the river and locks day and night requires constant vigilance and the engines are always in use. In addition AQSC is including premium amenities and experiences such as the Steamcoaches, wine & beer with dinner, water & soft drinks, shore excursions, expressos & specialty coffees, 24 hour casual cuisine; and added luxuries such as the bedding and bathroom amenities. When you put it all together the value becomes more clear. This is not a nickel and dime operation, and while it's completely different than a luxury line like Silversea or Seabourn, it is a unique niche experience on a quality boat that you simply can't find anywhere else. I suppose that in itself is priceless! Bravo to AQSC for bringing back overnight riverboat cruising to the Mississippi & Ohio Rivers, and for restoring the authentic steam driven AMERICAN QUEEN! For those that have skipped to the end, here is a quick synopsis of my experience ... What really impressed me: - the river itself including the locks and the overall experience - the entertainment onboard AQ - the cabin facilities and the bedding especially - the cuisine by Regina Charboneau - the Front Porch of America 24 hour concept - the steamcoaches in every town - complimentary wine with dinner and no nickel and diming - no lines or waiting - the enthusiastic crew - the whistle (yes I loved hearing the steam whistle blow when leaving port) Areas of opportunity: - the dining room service needs more polish (training and experience) - drink prices were more expensive than ocean based cruise ships - deck rails are unfinished - the cabin curtains blocked the view even during the day - the staff should refrain from using cell phones in front of passengers - there was no "second line" during the Captain's dinner and a more festive atmosphere should prevail on the last night - some areas of the boat need a little maintenance such as some of the public restrooms - the Calliope was not used the entire trip, and that is part of a river experience Overall I hope you can tell I truly enjoyed my first river experience on the AMERICAN QUEEN. Please enjoy the pictures and if you have any questions don't hesitate to contact me. Ernie
  23. Is anybody out there scheduled to cruise on the American Queen, on March 24? Although I am a veteran cruiser (I have taught arts & crafts on several Princess and Royal Caribbean cruises) and have done three river cruises with Vantage Travel, this will be my first on the American Queen. At 50, I'm sure I will be one of the baby geezers on the ship, but I will also be traveling with my 85 year old mom. We are really looking forward to the cruise and look forward to hearing from anybody who will be on our sailing! :D
  24. Good morning, all. I was out for my morning walk and snapped these pics of the American Queen tied up in downtown PIttsburgh by Heinz Field. Nice looking ship.
  25. My sister and I are looking to maybe take a cruise on the American Queen, IF the ship is mostly accessible. Since we live near Pittsburgh, it would be easy to embark there. I use a mobility scooter full time, due to post polio, so the boat will need to be accessible as far as the dining options and entertainment venues are concerned. I'm not so interested in visiting the inner workings of the boat, so that's not an issue. How is it to get off the boat in the cities? Are stairs involved or is it ramped? Any information will truly be appreciated.