American Queen Review

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Lynnwood, Washington
160 Posts
Joined Jan 2006
I have been enjoying this blog after seeing a link on the steamboats message board.

Very well writen - an I loved all the pictures.
I has been a great way to get ready for my cruise next week.
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American Queen 7-2007
Carnival Glory 1-2007
Bowie, Maryland (suburb of Washington, DC)
5,922 Posts
Joined Jun 2006
I felt like I was right there with you and I expecially liked seeing the pictures and the food descriptions. We are leaving Sunday for a week on the Oregon Coast/Crater Lake and then on the Queen of the West for the July 21, 2007 Three Rivers Cruise on MAL. Hope our cruise is as interesting as you described. Thanks for posting.
74 Posts
Joined Dec 2002
We took this cruise in May, and absolutley loved it. The staff were wonderful, entertainment fun (no big production shows of course), food was excellent, and the ports were great - some small town America, some full of tourist opportunities
It's quite a different experience from the big cruise ships of course, but that's part of what makes it so wonderful. Much more intimate and evocative of our American past.
We highly recommend the american Queen on the Mississippi!!!
It's such a shame the Delta Queen is going out of service!!!
2 Posts
Joined Feb 2008
The American Queen is the largest paddle wheel steamship ever built. At 418 feet in length and 90 feet in width, she is a wonderful size for cruising. She was purpose built as a themed floating resort and she accomplishes the task quite well. You can get more and more information about American Queen
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Interactive hotels of hank freid and their luxury experiences.
Charleston, Charleston Made in Carolina
1,805 Posts
Joined Sep 2001
Originally posted by john_meri
The American Queen is the largest paddle wheel steamship ever built. At 418 feet in length and 90 feet in width, she is a wonderful size for cruising. She was purpose built as a themed floating resort and she accomplishes the task quite well. You can get more and more information about American Queen

I'm sorry, but your statement is plain old wrong. The AMERICAN QUEEN's size is paled by Isambard Kingdom Brunel's 22,500 ton GREAT EASTERN. She was built and launched in Great Britain in 1859 to run in the England to America transatlantic trade. Like the AMERICAN QUEEN the GREAT EASTERN also was equipt with a propellor which delivered greater horsepower than the paddlewheels.

Yes, the AMERICAN QUEEN was designed as you said as a themed floating resort. Al Luthmers, then The Delta Queen Steamboat Company's Senior Vice President of Development stated in the 1993 annual stockholders' report for The Delta Queen Steamboat Co. stated so, "Figuratively speaking the AMERICAN QUEEN is a thematic resort hotel driven by a paddlewheel." Unfortunately, that management of The Delta Queen Steamboat Co. is no more; their vision of surrounding the passenger in a Victorian experience is gone. American steamboats of the Victorian era were not painted blue, in fact American steamboat owners considered it very bad luck to paint their boats blue. Much of the AMERICAN QUEEN is now painted blue. Cheap TV screens have now been placed in the staterooms, further detracting from the one time Victorian feel.

Majestic American Line provides a cheapened product with a much higher per diem price attached. No longer are crawfish boils offered, the six piece floor band has been replaced by a four piece band to front the shows. Certain instruments are prerecorded and mixed into the evening shows now, so there is nor live brass for Dixieland. That's certainly not what I grew to appreciate and expect on a steamboat. Four singers/entertainers have been cut down to two, so no longer is there the staff to offer the numerous daytime diversions that were once there. The popular pastime of kiteflying over the rolling red wheel is a thing of the past along with the Mike Fink Seafood Party with its "Floozie Parade." Not the entertainment that I expect when I pay a premium fare.

Most days now are spent tied up in a town. The days of being out on the river steamboatin' are over. Of course this is my opinion, but just spending a whole day watching the ever changing shoreline go by was magical to me. This is not what is being offered now. The current management might be offering a product that some might enjoy, but it's not on the biggest steamboat ever built. It's also not on the Victorian fantasy that was originally operated, and that is truly too bad.
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"When we presently got under way and went poking down the broad Ohio, I became a new being and the subject of my own admiration. I was a traveler!"
Mark Twain
4 Posts
Joined Mar 2007
I understand that loyal passengers can feel differently about these things but as a many times past passenger with Delta Queen, I have a slightly different view of the American Queen in her present condition than Calliope does.

While a steamboat with blue highlights (the boat is not blue!) may not be historically accurate, I doubt 98% of the passengers onboard care or notice. The fact is that the boat still turns heads wherever she goes, which I take as a good sign. Few people stop to stare and wave at an Airbus or Amtrak train.

Similarly, the complaint about 'cheap TV screens' is not fair since many passengers LIKE the option of catching the news, or watching a movie in their room. A complaint before was the boat was 'boring' and for some people, this does provide another option for the evening. It is not mandatory to watch it.

I was on the AQ in August and far from a cheapened product, I found it a considerably improved product from a few years earlier with generally superb meals served by a caring and attentive crew. I found both the quality and breadth of the menu far superior to a year or two earlier and most of my fellow passengers did. I do agree on the current entertainment choices which are reduced, in my view, but the Engine Room Bar was packed nightly by many folks who found it a fun spot each evening.

I have the current brochure in front of me and many days are spend cruising on the river, not all tied up in a town. Here too, I would suggest the companmy is trying to find a balance between a more sedentary holiday that some people prefer and a bit more active one. I see no harm in this.

I do not work for Majestic but wanted to make clear, based on my trip last July, where virtually everyone onboard, including first-time travelers were firm in saying this was one of their best vacations ever, that there is more than one way of looking at this.
13,198 Posts
Joined Oct 2004
Calliope and shipguyCA,

Calliope, john_meri quoted out of the 2005 review he also linked to. And you know we agree with you that the AQ is not a "true" steamboat with her Z-drives.

I also agree with you regarding the blue paint two decks high in the dining room area. It´s simply ugly and you can´t even read the boats name out of the distance. At least the paddlewheel is opposing to the marron which is more or less gone. I think the trims are looking nice in that blue/marron but of course both are no typical steamboat colors.

shipguyCA, yes the food did improve very much compared to the previous years. Service in the dining room was good and they were still working on training new crew. It´ll take some time to get all the crew up to the new standards in the dining room. Anyway I´m missing the Southern touch of the waiters. At least they changed the menue throughout the season 2007 and brought back a lot of the old stuff (including the daily bread pudding).

I never tried out the TV in our cabin and I don´t need it. I think our DD (7y then) turned it on once just for a try. She was so busy strolling around that she never needed a DVD movie for entertainment. I appreciated the WiFi connection (o.k., sometimes you couldn´t call it "connection" at all). It helped to keep up with problems at home which occured right during our cruise. BTW I did not understand why they were still showing movies in the movie theater. I think it´ll be easier to use the cabin TV system for that. And I missed the historic steamboat videos.

Yes, the entertainment was cut down. Not only the evening entertainment but also the onboard entertainment throughout the day. The solo shows and the Lewis Hankins as Mark Twain were great. The two singers gave a perfect show but I didn´t like the shows except for one. You were able to see that they are fleet wide productions where everyone can be replaced easily. And in some shows I wasn´t able to see a "red line" guiding me through the show. It was more like adding one song to another. The four singers and their shows were much better.

By the beginning of the 2007 season there have been lots of complaints about the onboard entertainment and they changed some things back. Anyway there are no Mike Fink parties, no Floozies, no arts&crafts stuff (o.k. a napkin folding, but there used to be papers, scissors, glue and more out for everyone to make a hat or door decoration). There are still talks of the onboard historian (former riverlorian) but most of them where at lunch time. I thought those breakfast time talks (have been on the MQ) were great. There were also guest speakers. But: unfortunately those talks weren´t attended very much. Why: The talks were scheduled during the port time, mainly by the end of the port time. Therefore lots of passengers weren´t aboard yet. Sure the speaker has to leave the boat again.

They put back the repeat passenger party. And I´m quite sure that the pins and giveaways will be back in 2008 too.

Regarding the port times: shipguyCA, Calliope is correct. Have a look on the schedule. There aren´t many cruises left including at least one steamboating day. And most of the port stops on our Ohio river cruise last year were 8-17 / all day stops. So there isn´t much steamboating left during daylight. And spending a whole day in Wheeling might be nice but a whole day instead of a half day in Marietta would be much nicer. I don´t have my schedule at hand (and I do have a day by day schedule including the port times) but for the AQ I think it´s only the St. Louis - St. Paul cruise which has a whole steamboating day (not the opposite cruise, that one has a port stop every day).