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American Countess Review July 4, 2021 Memphis to New Orleans


denamo
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Just back from our July 4 Memphis to New Orleans sailing.  We had a great time and would consider doing an American Queen sailing again. It is a very different experience from a large cruise ship. That was the only comparison we had. Honestly, these two experiences couldn't be more different. One bit of advice I would give is not to compare.  Just know it's going to be different.

 

I'm not going to give day by day review, but overall info.  If you have any questions, please ask.

 

Mask /  Covid Testing Policy

Was so happy about the no mask policy.  Only time masks were required were when riding on the buses.  It was pretty lenient and not all always wore one.  It's  a CDC policy, so AQSC followed that.  No Covid test required.

 

Afternoon Check-In

This was held on the second floor in meeting rooms of the Sheraton.  Ran very smoothly.  Received our tickets for our pre-cruise excursion. Also received our card to be used for our room access on board.  They were having some problems with the computer, so we had to have a picture taken and credit card info done later on the boat.

 

Pre-Cruise Hotel & Breakfast

Reading some less than stellar reviews about the Sheraton and needing to arrive on Friday due to flight schedules, we stayed at a Hampton Inn close to Beale St.  We had a great time exploring Beale Street on Friday.  Took a Lyft to the Sheraton on Saturday.  They held our luggage until rooms were ready.  We took the trolley and explored a bit more of Memphis while waiting.  We didn't spend too much time at the Sheraton.  Our room was fine.  The bathroom really needed some work.

The pre-cruise breakfast was very good.  Do get there on time.  Some showed up a minute or two after 9:00, and the breakfast buffet was already being cleared.  You will leave your luggage in your hotel room with the tags attached that were sent pre-cruise.  Yes, our luggage did appear in our cabin on board!

 

Pre-Cruise Excursion

Having never been to Graceland, we knew we needed to make a call on Elvis! 🙂 We were taken to Graceland via the AQSC bus.  There was a guide who gave us some history of Memphis along the way.  We were dropped off and able to see Graceland and have enough time to get some lunch at one of the restaurants on the premises.  We were given a time to be back at the bus.  We then took a riding tour with a couple of photo op stops along the way.  Following the tour, we headed to the boat.  It had a most unusual circular entrance to get to the boat.

 

On Board

We were greeted with a celebratory flute of champagne.  We sat in the Grand Bar area for a bit before going to our cabin. Luggage was in our cabin upon arrival.  The room was very spacious.  We had a balcony which we thoroughly enjoyed.  The bathroom was undoubtedly the largest we've ever seen on a cruise vessel.

 

Meals

Breakfast and Lunch are available at both the River Grill and Main Dining Room.  Breakfast ends at 9:00 and lunch ends at 1:00 P.M. in both venues.  We did arrive after being off the boat when lunch was over a couple of times and ordered room service. 

 

Two times for dinner seating: 5:30 & 8:00.  We were assigned the later time, but by a fluke, we were changed to the earlier time.  While 5:30 is early, we preferred that since seeing the evening show after dinner was more to our liking. The Main Dining room is the only place to get dinner.  Room service can be ordered during dinner hours, and items on the evening dinner menu can also be ordered then.  One couple at our table did that one evening.

 

I've seen quite a discussion here about dress for evening meals in the dining room.  Our cruise was extremely relaxed in the evening for dress.  Saw men in shorts, jeans, and slacks.  Women's ran the gambit of dresses, to slacks, to capris.  I don't recall seeing any woman in shorts.  No one was denied access to the dining room regardless of dress.  Not sure if this is for all cruises, but it's how it was for ours.

 

Entertainment

The entertainment was phenomenal!  There was an ensemble of 3 vocalists and a band of 4.  We were very entertained by this musical group for the evening show time.  One evening we had a magician.  He was amazing. After the evening show, the band would then play in the Grand Bar area.  Warning...if you are a night owl, there won't be much here after 10 P.M.  The bar is located directly below some of the rooms, so it understandable as to why they need to shut down early. 

 

There was a Riverlorian (historian) on board.  Our one disappointment was the times his talks were scheduled. We prefer to get out and get going and his talks would be scheduled in the morning.  We totally enjoyed the ones we could make. Couple of them were in the afternoon.

 

Snacks

There is a small space on the main floor to get popcorn, cookies, soft serve ice cream, coffee, tea, and a variety of juices at any time. 

 

HOHO Buses

These hop on hop off buses had not run since before Covid.  We were happy they were running once again. You can get a ticket to get on at certain times before noon.  Some cruisers were taking afternoon premium excursions, so they needed to be sure and have a spot on the HOHO bus that morning.  There was always plenty of room.  There are several stops at each port.  Some cruisers would ride the bus through all of the stops and decide which places they wanted to get off.  There is a local guide who gives a history of the towns and an overview of each stop.  Since the boat is still on a limited number of cruisers, we never had a problem getting a spot of a morning or getting on at a location.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Thanks for such good info.  This will be our first time on this type of cruise.  We leave 8/1 to 8/8 Memphis to NOLA.   I like your comments on the casual relaxed atmosphere on board.  Our pre hotel is the Graceland Guesthouse.  We arrive a day early and bought tickets for a tour.  We only bought 1 ship excursion for Vicksburg Battlefield.  My husband enjoys history.  Entertainment and food sounds nice.  Thanks for clarity on the HOHO and dress on board for dinner.  Nice casual seems good to make packing easy.

Having done 2 World Cruises in past 4 years and abrupt halt in 2020, very excited to be getting back on board any ship. 😁

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23 hours ago, gardenbunny said:

Thanks for such good info.  This will be our first time on this type of cruise.  We leave 8/1 to 8/8 Memphis to NOLA.   I like your comments on the casual relaxed atmosphere on board.  Our pre hotel is the Graceland Guesthouse.  We arrive a day early and bought tickets for a tour.  We only bought 1 ship excursion for Vicksburg Battlefield.  My husband enjoys history.  Entertainment and food sounds nice.  Thanks for clarity on the HOHO and dress on board for dinner.  Nice casual seems good to make packing easy.

Having done 2 World Cruises in past 4 years and abrupt halt in 2020, very excited to be getting back on board any ship. 😁

You're welcome. I tried to give what I thought I would have like to have known. Wishing you a great cruise!

 

This was a very popular excursion.  It was completely sold out. It's good you already have tickets purchased. 

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  • Host Jazzbeau changed the title to American Countess Review July 4, 2021 Memphis to New Orleans

We had read on an earlier review from May to book that one due to popularity.  Got documents yesterday - impressive package - We also have  the 5:30 dinner - so a good breakfast and a snack in the port cities will suffice!  I did some research on line of all the stops - probably take advantage of the HOHO, ride the loop, and then pick  1 or 2 sites to visit.

Can you tell me about the Terrine Landing??  Not much time there.

Did you do the HOHO in Baton Rouge?  The riverfront seemed nice - and the Capital bldg but  any type of tourist shops nearby to browse? 

Thanks

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On 7/16/2021 at 4:00 PM, gardenbunny said:

We had read on an earlier review from May to book that one due to popularity.  Got documents yesterday - impressive package - We also have  the 5:30 dinner - so a good breakfast and a snack in the port cities will suffice!  I did some research on line of all the stops - probably take advantage of the HOHO, ride the loop, and then pick  1 or 2 sites to visit.

Can you tell me about the Terrine Landing??  Not much time there.

Did you do the HOHO in Baton Rouge?  The riverfront seemed nice - and the Capital bldg but  any type of tourist shops nearby to browse? 

Thanks

The Terrine Landing stop was our first stop.  There was no HOHO for that stop.  The only excursion that day was to the Grammy Museum.  If you wanted to go, you could get a ticket and board the bus for your designated time.  The museum was interesting since there are only two in the US.  This one and one in LA.  If you are an avid music lover, this is a trip down memory lane.  There is so much to read about performers, but if we had chosen to stay on the boat for an easy day, I don't think we would have missed that much.  One cruiser we visited with said they walked across the street to Delta State University. 

 

We did the HOHO in Baton Rouge.  Unfortunately, the Capitol Building was closed that day.  Some construction work was being done.  We went to the Rural Life Museum.  Much of what was there we were already familiar with, so we could have skipped it.  Greatly enjoyed the Capitol Park Museum.  It was very well done, with easy to read displays and an overall history of the state of Louisiana.  We did not do the USS Kidd.  We've toured other naval ships, so didn't feel the need. There was a bar and and a souvenir shop across street from where we docked.  We just went in to look at the bar since it is one of the oldest in the city. Our day in Baton Rouge was a bit rainy.  We decided to skip the LSU Museum so we could grab a bit of lunch on board before serving time was over.  Just did make it! 🙂

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On 7/20/2021 at 5:06 PM, CruiserFromMaine said:

Was there still a big line to get tickets for the included excursions the evening before? It was our cruise in May. Not very satisfying but most of the cruise was great. 

The only tickets available for the next day were for the HOHO bus.  There were usually plenty the next morning for whatever time one wanted to go.  Never a rush.

 

Our cruise was the first time the HOHO buses were running, so those were the included excursions. You could get off at whatever stop you chose. I think this was a different scenario than earlier cruises this year.

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On 7/26/2021 at 8:00 PM, gardenbunny said:

Thanks for answering my questions.  Appreciate the input.

You are most welcome.  Hope you have a great time on your cruise.  We did enjoy it.  After talking to staff, think we'd enjoy trying the American Queen.  It seems to be a much larger boat with more venues.  We found it quite interesting that nothing happened on board after 10 P.M.  Definitely, the streets were rolled up after that time. 😉

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