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October 15, 2018 on American Queen

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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.


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I recall on one of our AQ trips - I think it was out of Cincinnati - the line for the boat check-in was unpleasantly long, but on the other trips it went pretty fast. As for the hotel check in, it has not been a problem for us so far.  Next June we will be sailing out of New Orleans and the Hilton Riverside is a huge hotel so maybe check in will take a long time. We'll be arriving a day early so I hope that will help!

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Enjoy the trip.  If you check in early, I’m sure it will help.  Mrs Banjo and I arrived a few days earlier and stayed downtown, where we could walk to almost all of the highlights.  Glad we did, because if we stayed at the Sheridan we would not have been happy.  The Hilton in New Orleans is in a goo location, so you should have a great visit.  Enjoy!

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