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Sail Date: June 2019
We chose this cruise to get a lifetime experience on the Mississippi River. The advertising of the cruise was very effusive about the standard of the service and the experiences that were to be enjoyed. But, let me tell you what really was ... Read More
We chose this cruise to get a lifetime experience on the Mississippi River. The advertising of the cruise was very effusive about the standard of the service and the experiences that were to be enjoyed. But, let me tell you what really was experienced. Meals: The restaurant setting is comfortable but crowded. The furniture needs a good clean. The meals were presented in a haphazard style with little appeal to the presented food, it was just placed on the plate. The menu selection on some of the days was appalling. Rooms: Our room was comfortable but included basic furniture. The bed was too short ( I am 179 cm or 5'11") and my feet hung over the end of the bed. The linen was a good quality. Entertainment: This was the highlight of the cruise. Variety and energy were the keys to keeping us entertained. Very good standard of delivery was held throughout the cruise. Gym: A very basic and barely adequate gym and pool is on board. Service: This was the most disappointing aspect of the cruise. After paying $AUS1,000+ per day for a cabin leading onto the veranda, service delivery was very poor. We had to continually request shampoo, soap and other bathroom amenities be maintained. The service in the dining room was appalling. Food was plonked on the table without any of the normal etiquette processes, wine was sloshed into glasses, orders were forgotten, explanation of selections was very poor and there was no continual supervision of the table. Excursions: The complementary shuttle bus service was very welcome and appreciated. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
Cruised before on the American Queen. Loved the service and staff. 5 stars. Thought the Empress might be similar and it was just as good, maybe considering the scenery, better. First, the cabin. Knowing that the cabins on these boats ... Read More
Cruised before on the American Queen. Loved the service and staff. 5 stars. Thought the Empress might be similar and it was just as good, maybe considering the scenery, better. First, the cabin. Knowing that the cabins on these boats tend toward being a bit smaller and knowing that the weather would be cold and rainey, we opted for one of the biggest cabins onboard, 704. Cabin was large and comfortable, well decorated, lots of storage. Yes, you've heard that the bathrooms are small - they are, but certainly not the big deal that some reviewers thought. Not an issue for us in the least. Yes, the walls are thin and you can hear next door's TV and the toilets flush. Again, not a biggie, and not bothersome for us. You know these things going into this cruise and if you think it is a problem (it is not), well it just comes with the territory. Some of the TV bleed through could be avioded if the speakers were not inside the TV cabinet, against the wall where they would use the wall as a sounding board. But again, it did not impact upon this 5-star cruise. Food was mostly excellant. Never had a meal that was less than a 9+, and most were a "10." Had lobster 3 nights (two in the River Grill). Steaks were supurb. Wines were very good, although I thought the house red could have been better. That said, we had the drink package and had the upgraded wine list to choose from. I'm nit picking here, but if you were on the drink package and wanted the better wines, it took the staff forever to get it to our table. Again, this is nit picking. Service: It simply does not get any better. We have been on 40+ cruises, mostly on upscale lines, and American Queen and Empress are the best. Never saw anything but smiles, and they were real. Staff seemed to enjoy themselves as much as the guests. Their simply was nothing that they could not do to make your cruise even better. As an example, American Airlines as usual lost our luggage for a couple of days. The hotel manager (purser's office) actually drove back from Clarkston to Spokane in the middle of the night (a four-hour round trip) to retrieve our luggage. We actually had a similar experience on the "Queen" several years back that sold us on this company. On board entertainment was certainly not Broadway (you will need RCCL large ships for that), but considering the venue, the singers and band - supurb. If you like 50s, 60s, and 70s music, this is for you. Throughly enjoyed every evening's entertainment. Tours: First, the scenery is absolutely spectacular throughout the entire trip. Jet boat to Hell's Canyon had great staff, lovely scenery and commentary, but I though it was an hour or so too long. Still, well worth while. The trip to the nuclear plant was again great, although the guides explanation was a bit too technical for me, and I was a physics major, The lunch boxes are made in China would you believe. The Falls: again some of the most beautiful scenery I've ever viewed. Well worth while. The HOHO bus tours: The first couple of towns were really small, not much for us to see and do. Astoria, however, was well worth walking the downtown area. I've given Fitness and recreation only one star, but that really is not fair, as I knew going into this that there was not gym (thankfully). It is really as "n/a." Would I do this again? In a heartbeat! Thank you AQSSC. Frank. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2019
Entire boat was reserved for Road Scholar members for this cruise. Instead of the standard one day stay in New Orleans with tours, Road Scholar had two before boarding. The food and service was outstanding, either in the Main Dining ... Read More
Entire boat was reserved for Road Scholar members for this cruise. Instead of the standard one day stay in New Orleans with tours, Road Scholar had two before boarding. The food and service was outstanding, either in the Main Dining Room with a very good selections or in the Grill Room/Terrace buffet. Most of us chose the Main Dining Room for dinner, wine and beer is included with dinner. and the Grill Room for breakfast and lunch. Weather was good enough for enjoying the meals on the open terrace. Cabins are very comfortable and there are suites with separate sitting area, even two story suites with seating below and sleeping area up the stairs. Lectures and tours are included, with experienced and enthusiastic guides. Free Hop on/off busses are at every port. There was good entertainment with a four piece band and three singers performing every night. Music in the Lounge during the cocktail hour and after the show. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
This cruise was chosen by a neighbor in my community, Sun City Palm Desert California, who organizes group trips. I was fortunate to be invited to join the group, and because I was cruising without my husband (who stayed at home with our ... Read More
This cruise was chosen by a neighbor in my community, Sun City Palm Desert California, who organizes group trips. I was fortunate to be invited to join the group, and because I was cruising without my husband (who stayed at home with our dog), I was paired with a roommate who is also a neighbor in our community. There were 34 people in our group. The cruise we were on is the Lower Mississippi departing from Memphis and terminating in New Orleans with stops in Helena, Arkansas; Vicksburg, and Natchez, Mississippi; Baton Rouge, St. Francisville, and Nottoway Plantation, Louisiana. However, because the Mississippi is flooding at this time, our itinerary was altered extensively. There were no complaints about this that I heard, and myself and everyone I talked to enjoyed every day. We spent the first night in Memphis at the Peabody Hotel; this overnight is part of the cruise package. The hotel is old, charming, and delightful especially if you are able to see the ducks paraded through the lobby and into the fountain. They stay all day and then are paraded back to their quarters on the roof of the hotel in the evening. The next morning, we were bused to Graceland for the Elvis Experience. This is an additional “Premium Tour” offered by the American Queen Steamboat Company. I highly recommend doing this tour; it is a must for anyone who ever enjoyed an Elvis song. Due to the flooding, our boat could not dock and depart from Memphis, so we were bused to Greenville, Mississippi, for our departure. This was about a two-hour bus ride. That evening, we boarded our boat, American Duchesse, and enjoyed dinner in the main dining room. The menu there is extensive, dining is leisurely and the food is delicious. Alternatives to the main dining room are a buffet for breakfast and lunch serviced in a bar called the River Club at the rear of the boat, and snacks and beverages available 24/7 in a little room called Perks at the front of the boat. Room service is also offered, but I didn’t have a need for it. The buffet meals in the River Club are outstanding and are perfect when you want a quick meal. Also, you can eat outside on the rear deck if you eat at the River Club. Fruit, soft serve ice cream, popcorn, sandwiches, cookies, pastries and all kinds of beverages are offered in Perks. You literally cannot go hungry on this boat, and the food is wonderful. Actually, we spent two nights in Greenville, then Vicksburg, Mississippi; Vidalia, Baton Rouge, New Roads, Louisiana; and the last day of our cruise was spent cruising the Mississippi between Baton Rouge and New Orleans. Buses meet the boat at every stop offering what is called Hop On Hop Off tours of that particular area’s highlights. This service is included in the cost of the cruise. There are Premium Tours offered at every stop that seemed to range between $79-$129. These are exceptional tours and well worth the additional cost. Some are half-day and some are full-day. My roommate and I had a veranda room which I took full advantage of. Nothing beats sitting on the veranda and watching the world go by. There are areas for doing this all over the boat in the front, in the back and on the very top of the boat called the sun roof. Highlights of this cruise for me were the meals, the historian who offered talks everyday about the Mississippi, the Mark Twain impersonator who performed twice, the visit to Graceland, the visit to BB King’s Museum and Bar, many beautiful sights offered by the Hop On Hop Off buses tours, and especially the Premium Tour to Angola Louisiana State Penitentiary. This last item may sound strange, but be assured it is an uplifting and eye-opening experience. Most of all, though, I enjoyed just being on the boat. The cruise staff are friendly, helpful, outgoing and accommodating. That includes the Captain, officers, pursers, performers, tour guides, bus drivers, dining staff and cleaning staff. We all got to be family for the brief week that we were together. You could do this cruise all by yourself and not be alone, or you can have all the privacy you want. The bottom line, I guess, is would I do this or any cruise on the American Queen Steamboat again; you bet I would. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2018
AQSC has river cruising figured out. The Duchess is an awesome vessel and continues the tradition of first class river cruising started by her mother, the American Queen. Our cruise from Nashville to Chattanooga on the Cumberland and ... Read More
AQSC has river cruising figured out. The Duchess is an awesome vessel and continues the tradition of first class river cruising started by her mother, the American Queen. Our cruise from Nashville to Chattanooga on the Cumberland and Tennessee Rivers was very relaxing and historical and the scenery was beautiful. Even though the Duchess is not nearly as big as the Queen, she is very elegant and well laid out. Large cabins, sufficient public spaces, excellent dining, impeccable service and excellent entertainment are some of the attributes that make this a nearly perfect vessel to explore America's great rivers. Entertainment trio of Dustin, Courtney and Jeff did a fantastic job each night and are some of the hardest working entertainers we have witnessed. We appreciated that they performed music from the 50's and 60's. The riverlorian, Mike, gave daily informative, interesting and entertaining talks about the river history, lore, navigation and other subjects. Teresa did an awesome job with our daily shore excursions and hop on hop off itinerary. We love AQSC and always look forward to our next cruise on America's rivers on either the Queen, the Duchess and hopefully, the Empress. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
We had driven through the Columbia Gorge, but wanted to see it up close at a gentle pace. Our trip started in Spokane. One night at the Historic Davenport Hotel was included in the trip. We opted for an extra night and were glad about ... Read More
We had driven through the Columbia Gorge, but wanted to see it up close at a gentle pace. Our trip started in Spokane. One night at the Historic Davenport Hotel was included in the trip. We opted for an extra night and were glad about that. The Historic Davenport Hotel is a destination in its own right. Registration was at the hotel. The next day we went by bus to Clarkston, where we boarded the Empress. We had a "deluxe veranda stateroom" which was cozy but efficient. The dining was very good to excellent. This website's review expressed disappointment that regional wines were not served with dinner. Clearly, the parent company heard that, because we had wines from a different regional winery every night. The entertainment exceeded our expectations. On a ship this size the music team has to be small (seven in all, I think), but they did a great job. The "Rock and Roll Dance Party" on the next to last night sounded corny, but it was a blast. Many crew members joined passengers on the dance floor. The Hop-on Hop-off buses worked very well. We took three premium tours, which delivered what they promised. I must comment on the friendly staff. Everyone on the ship worked hard to make our trip memorable. We were taken by how many staffers learned and remembered our names. The entertainers were friendly and approachable. The Riverlorian's lectures were always interesting. After this trip, ask me anything about Lewis and Clark! (Honestly, if you aren't interested in learning about Lewis and Clark, take a different cruise. That expedition's history permeates every port of call.) Definitely not a cruise for children, unless they were teens who are fascinated by history. The WiFi was mostly a bust. After a bit, we decided that this would be a great week to drop out of the daily news cycle anyway. Would we go again? Yes. We could do all the same day trips and take in different sites everywhere. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
Although we are listing a bunch of issues that we encountered, we had a great time on our Memphis to New Orleans cruise. The cabin, dining, staff, hop on-off and premium excursions met and/or exceeded our expectations. The Peabody and ... Read More
Although we are listing a bunch of issues that we encountered, we had a great time on our Memphis to New Orleans cruise. The cabin, dining, staff, hop on-off and premium excursions met and/or exceeded our expectations. The Peabody and Intercontinental hotel selections were excellent choices. But, as a passenger with mobility issues, the following items are presented and if remedied would make the Duchess an ideal selection for those with physical impairments. American Duchess embark process was cumbersome - lengthy lines and 2 different stations to get through. We were on the 3rd deck and got a notice in the a.m. that balconies would be washed between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. - open balcony curtain at 8 a.m. and the crew was already washing our balcony. In the afternoon we went to stern, 2nd deck, to find that the dirt from the 3rd deck was washed onto 2nd deck rockers and chairs making them unusable. The rockers were never cleaned. The bow stacks, which are for decoration only, were up and down as required for clearance. The stern stacks were stuck in a down position which, when engines engaged, blew carbon flakes on our balcony (and us, when we were sitting there). Most of the guests were senior citizens like us and a few, including me, had mobility issues. The bow elevator was closed for maintenance during the entire cruise leaving guests to walk to middle of the boat to access the only working elevators. The rug on the sun deck had significant bumpy areas which present a dangerous trip hazard even during the daylight hours. The cabin maintenance staff left their vacuum cords unsecured when vacuums were in the hallway aisles. It was a pretty common experience where we had to step over these cords. When we were still in port in Memphis the Duchess was experiencing power issues - lights flickering, etc. A beaker finally blew when we ported in Natchez, requiring us to stay in port there for an extra day, missing out on our Baton Rouge stop. While the captain and cruise crew made the extra day as comfortable as possible we did miss on of our most-looked-for destinations and our all day Cajun experience. The open bar and adding a Natchez excursion helped but we were very disappointed in missing Baton Rouge. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
I am working for two ladies in their late 80's as their caregiver on board the ship, but one of them is my employer. I work for her as an all around helper ,cook,driver and maintenance man. But before that i took care of her husband ... Read More
I am working for two ladies in their late 80's as their caregiver on board the ship, but one of them is my employer. I work for her as an all around helper ,cook,driver and maintenance man. But before that i took care of her husband for 4 years until he passed away. Fortunately she kept me on and I still work for her. Once a year she and her sister in law go on vacation for a week and take me with them as a helper. They got me my own stateroom on the boat. It's a very wonderful experience for me and hoping one day I can do it again with my wife. The crews are excellent and the boat is nice and clean. All the hop on hop off buses were so convenient and always on time. Even the tour guides at each location are locals, so they are very knowledgeable about the area. Unfortunately , I had one bad experience from other co-passengers. For I am a man with two senior ladies and some of them gave me the eye and a few questioned me about my relationship with the ladies. But on the final days of the cruise ,they seemed to understand the situation and complimented me with some nice words. All I can say that this cruise is highly recommended for more mature people and who love to learn about the past. Thanks for the excellent job ! and to Captain Ron Gray for choosing us to be invited to have dinner with him.That was very special. Keep up the good work and I will surely try other rivercruises of your company in the future. May Godbless you all ! And I want to share with you some great photos of mine on the cruise. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
We had dreamed for sometime of cruising the Mississippi and in August after 40 some cruises on the Ocean Ships we lived our dream. ASQC used the beautiful Sheraton Downtown Memphis for our pre cruise stay. Loved the city ! Rode the ... Read More
We had dreamed for sometime of cruising the Mississippi and in August after 40 some cruises on the Ocean Ships we lived our dream. ASQC used the beautiful Sheraton Downtown Memphis for our pre cruise stay. Loved the city ! Rode the Trolleys and had great ribs ant Central BBQ. When we first laid eyes on American Queen she was tied to a tree at Mud Landing (choking the stump) we later learned. Hey, where is the long line to board ? There wasn't any. We walked off the beautiful bus, down the hill and boarded. We walked up the red carpeted stairs and into a world we never expected. She was magnificent !. A Men's Card Room and Ladies Parlor , beautiful comfortable furniture. We headed for our cabin, 412, on deck 4. Another surprise. The cabin was beautiful and comfortable with French Doors that opened to our deck. We had a small table and two chairs which afforded us a chance to say good morning to the walkers. How they fit so much storage space in a small cabin remains a mystery. The food in the J.M. White ding room was excellent although we expected a little more Cajun/Creole flavors. If you did not like what was on the menu you could walk up to the buffet and serve yourself. The dining room staff was great. The other dining venue was the Front Porch which was buffet and you could sit outside and watch the river. Our ports of call were interesting. We rode the beautiful Hop on Hop Off busses doing the complete loop then getting off at points of interest. All our small town ports, Hickman KY Paducah KY, Cape Girardeau KY, Chester ILL were interesting and the people welcomed us and thanked us for visiting. St Louis was something special. We docked by the Arch and had a tour that would have been at least $79 on the big boats. We disembarked in Alton ILL early the next morning. A brief thought about the Entertainment. Broadway on a small stage. Excellent performers and an excellent piano player in the evening. The Engine Room Bar was the "hot" spot at night. Everything was free. Ice Cream , Pop Corn, Cookies Hot Dogs, all tours (except premium ones) and free bottled water delivered to your cabin each morning. The entire staff was friendly and always available to help. The star of the show was the magnificent Mississippi River. We spent hours sitting outside our cabins hypnotized bt the scenery and hundreds of barges passing by. We were not sure what to expect but Ole Man River and the AQSC delivered us memories that will last forever. We look forward to returning soon. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
My wife and I were thrilled with our trip from Clarkston to Vancouver on the Empress. Starting with our included pre-cruise stay at the incredibly restored, beautiful Historic Davenport Hotel in Spokane, WA. You can fly into Spokane and ... Read More
My wife and I were thrilled with our trip from Clarkston to Vancouver on the Empress. Starting with our included pre-cruise stay at the incredibly restored, beautiful Historic Davenport Hotel in Spokane, WA. You can fly into Spokane and arrange for a shuttle to the hotel through the Davenport. The staffs from the Captain down through all the others that operate and maintain the boat and its facilities were all extremely knowledgeable, friendly and helpful at all times. The food was incredibly well prepared and served with such grace. Our cabin and all other facilities, along with nightly entertainment, was top notch. We lucked out with perfect weather for the entire trip which made for beautiful scenery watching as we moved gently down the rivers. The Hop-on-Hop-off bus excursions are convenient and well run, all though, pretty basic. This is a must for those interested in an elegant cruise on the Snake and Columbia rivers. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2018
there was a credit of $800.00 from a previous sailing with the American Queen Steamboat company. We wanted to try the American Queen - the biggest of the 3 ships in the American Steamboat co. We were waiting for the last minute deal ... Read More
there was a credit of $800.00 from a previous sailing with the American Queen Steamboat company. We wanted to try the American Queen - the biggest of the 3 ships in the American Steamboat co. We were waiting for the last minute deal , we found this cruise in a very short notice of departure. the ship was built in 1995 - a paddle wheeler, the steamboat built back to the Victorian history of the 1900 -including the furniture in the cabin, the theatre, dining room, lounges. entertainment -done by the ship's own members -dancers & singers, world-class musicians - organized by the Steamboat Syncopators -playing trumpet ,bass, drums ,.piano,saxophone,clarinet , flute & trombone. and also outside guests performance - Dante Vaudeville -magic show,Lainie Gulliksen -Siren Songs celebrating the Sirens of Broadway,Pop, & Opera , also the ship's own musician entertainers During the day there were River Chat ,Movie Matinee ,Bingo dinner - on the J.M. White Dining Room -we were on the 5.15pm early seating food was good service were great there was a land tour -on the ship's Hop on Hop Off busesto visit many Plantation , resorts ,museum churches. there was hardly any children Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2018
we cruise in the Mississippi River starting from New Orleans Louisiana to Memphis TN withthe American Queen .Every day we stopped in 1 town, Nottoway Plantation in Nottoway,visting -the White castle completed in 1859 -64 rooms, then St. ... Read More
we cruise in the Mississippi River starting from New Orleans Louisiana to Memphis TN withthe American Queen .Every day we stopped in 1 town, Nottoway Plantation in Nottoway,visting -the White castle completed in 1859 -64 rooms, then St. Francisville ,St. Louisana-the plethora of beautiful & charming antebellum period homes & architecture.then Natchez,Mississippi -charming river town first inhibited by Natchez Indians & French explorers,Vicksburg,Mississippi -Jesse Brent Lower Mississippi River Museum,Greenville-HistoricDowntown Greenville Mississippi -Greenville History Museum, Hebrew Union Temple Museum,lastly in Memphis- Graceland-visiting Elvis Presley Mansion , airplane , gift shops& various museum - mostly using The American Queen Hop On & Hop Off buses. In the boat there is a life show every evening - musical band with the American Queen steamboat company, Steamboat Syncoptors -celebration of 50's - 80's pop music in a variety of styles,Memphis Soul & Blue Singer -Queen Ann Hines, Alaskan Boy -Alex Bernhardt sings his favourite songs, Southern Style starring Bobby DurhamDante -sleightof hand magic show, Lainie Gulliksen -Siren Songs -of broadway Pop & Opera etc.The food -lots of variety including Lobster tail - 7 ozs. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2018
This was probably the best cruise experience my wife and I ever had in over 16 years of cruising on a variety of cruise lines. The all-American crew provided first class service and did put some meaning to the idea of joining the AQSC ... Read More
This was probably the best cruise experience my wife and I ever had in over 16 years of cruising on a variety of cruise lines. The all-American crew provided first class service and did put some meaning to the idea of joining the AQSC family. American Queen was a true elegant Southern Belle affording us an experience closeted in sophisticated Southern Charm with true superior service. The entertainment was far better than we ever imagined with some class acts worthy of a place on Broadway. From the time of joining this steamboat at the included first night in the Hilton at the Ballpark in St. Louis until departure from the Premier Excursion at Minneapolis Airport, we never lacked the attention of the crew. Obtaining our boarding tickets for the included Hop-on / Hop-off tour busses was an easy nightly task that ensured we knew when we had to be at the gangway. Food was of the best and copious glasses of wine at dinner added to a very convivial atmosphere. We just cannot wait for the next publication of itineraries to select our 2020 return trip up the Ohio and Tennessee rivers on this beauty of a steamboat (or a sister). The only Premier excursions we purchased were the tours on Joining and departing the ship (with Airport Drop-off). All guides whether on the Hop-on / Hop-off or Premier excursions were of the highest calibre. Well done AQSC you have spoilt me, and now you've got me for life. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2018
The trip was recommended to us by a longtime friend and we wanted a paddle boat experience. The trip was was a very enjoyable experience. The evening shows were super with some very talented performers. The food was above our general ... Read More
The trip was recommended to us by a longtime friend and we wanted a paddle boat experience. The trip was was a very enjoyable experience. The evening shows were super with some very talented performers. The food was above our general expectations. We have sailed many times on river boats and ocean liners and this was an easy match to our other cruises. There were very interesting and informative lectures throughout the trip. The entire staff was friendly and helpful, they made the trip special. We will be going on other cruises with American Queen Cruise Line in the future. The American Queen is a beautiful ship and well kept. It is very comfortable The officers of the American Queen are very friendly and managed the ship very well., But the exception is that this trip is not for everyone if you want Diamond International and a ship that contains a casino this is not a cruise line for you. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2018
We chose the American Duchess as it was mainly suites and fewer quests. We went from Memphis to New Orleans, The cabin was very comfortable and not confining. There was a house band that was good would have liked more variety. Local ... Read More
We chose the American Duchess as it was mainly suites and fewer quests. We went from Memphis to New Orleans, The cabin was very comfortable and not confining. There was a house band that was good would have liked more variety. Local music would have been my choice (blues band, jazz band, Country band, riverboat music ). We had reservations the same time each evening with the same couple we met on the first day aboard. This riverboat had its own buses that were available at each stop for free hop on/hop off stops in each stop. They were free and worked for us. There were premium excursions $$ which we didn't try. Our dinner waiter took good care of us, however, breakfast and lunch in the main dinning room was sometimes spotty. There were other areas of buffet style food available. In addition free ice cream was available all day. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2018
My wife and I booked a great 23 day Cruise up the Mississippi River. Teri Robbins the agent I purchased the cruise from at American Queen Steamboat Company Office, was AWESOME ! Every time I called or e-mailed her in the months leading up ... Read More
My wife and I booked a great 23 day Cruise up the Mississippi River. Teri Robbins the agent I purchased the cruise from at American Queen Steamboat Company Office, was AWESOME ! Every time I called or e-mailed her in the months leading up to the cruise, Teri always returned my calls or e-mails within a few minutes. I have never had a more honest, organized, and sincere agent, that I had with Teri. The Cruise on the American Duchess was very good, as we moved up the river day after day taking the Hop On-Hop Off, American Queen Buses for tours of the cities. The Drivers Karen, Tami, & Mark were so professional, funny, and had a great personality. They were so fun to be with. Angie the Golf Cart driver who drove Handicap people from the docked Duchess, up the ramps when getting off the boat, was very nice. In side the boat, our stateroom was cleaned very nicely everyday by Cleon & Francis. The American Duchess also provided us with outstanding one day complementary laundry service, once a week. Michael the bar tender in the Grand Lobby Bar was so good, as he visited with guests, and mixed great drinks everyday. In the Main Dinning Room Jeremy the Maitre d, and servers Kenneth, Sidney, and Soufian were very nice and professional. Gerald the Butler, who did a little of everything on the boat, was very funny, and worked hard pleasing everyone. At the front desk Purser Shayna Tatz was so nice and worked a lot of hours with a Big smile on her face. Teresa Marcou the Shore Excursion Specalist was such a hard worker, making sure all of the Shore Excursions, and Hop On-Hop Off buses were working on time. The Riverlorian/Stage Manager Mike Chapman was very knowledgeable, interesting, and entertaining, as he gave his daily lectures on the history of the Mississippi River. The Entertainment on the American Duchess was OUTSTANDING ! Lead by the Cruise Director, Lead Singer, and Entertainer Dustin Cunningham, his wife Courtney Cunningham, & Jeff Hudson who were also Asst. Cruise Directors/Entertainers. Their Singing and Stage performing was outstanding. The four man American Duchess Band was so good, and was lead by Band Leader/Drummer David O'Connell, Bass Player Will Wagner, Pianist, Adam Marchand, and Sax/Reed Player Ike Spivak. There were also 9 different entertainers who came on the American Duchess to entertain us. My favorite walk on shows were the comedian and magician " Dante," and the Different Instrument playing and singers Dave Para and Cathy Barton, who were so different and entertaining. One of the major highlights of our 23 day cruise was attending a special educational lecture in the Pilot House by Aaron Sidora the American Duchess Chief Mate. Later that night we also had a private dinner with Aaron for 2 hours. Aaron was so nice, very smart, and answered all of the questions we had during our dinner. That was very special. My wife and I had a great relaxing time on this 23 day cruise, as we learned a lot of History about the Mississippi River and cities around it, and we met some great people. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2018
We both wanted to see a part of the United States that we hadn't seen before and a steamboat tour seemed the best idea. Although we knew that the weather would be hot and humid, it wasn't that terrible and most of the places were ... Read More
We both wanted to see a part of the United States that we hadn't seen before and a steamboat tour seemed the best idea. Although we knew that the weather would be hot and humid, it wasn't that terrible and most of the places were air conditioned. We spent an additional night in Memphis at the start of the cruise. Embarkation was smooth because of early check in the day before. We went on this cruise with long time friends who also thought this was one of the best cruises they had been on too. While the cabins are small, there is so much to do that you don't spend much time in your cabin. I can't say enough about the entertainment, especially the Ensemble. We went to see them each time and loved the way their voices blended together and they were in sync with their choreography. They seemed to really enjoy each other and what they were doing. Especially enjoyed watching Hannah interact with passengers. Liz in the dining room made the meals for us. She was so personable and remembered everything we told her about ourselves. We enjoyed all of our meals on the boat. While some of the ports seemed depressed, the sites that we saw on our hop on hop off buses were great. We went on the post cruise too in New Orleans and found it was well worth the money. We especially liked the World War II museum. I had not initially been planning on going there but was so glad I did. I think everyone should see this museum. Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2018
My wife and I, along with four other couples, sailed the American Empress from Spokane to Portland on May 20, 2018. This was our third cruise with American Queen Steamboat Company. We had previously done the Upper Mississippi and Nashville ... Read More
My wife and I, along with four other couples, sailed the American Empress from Spokane to Portland on May 20, 2018. This was our third cruise with American Queen Steamboat Company. We had previously done the Upper Mississippi and Nashville to Memphis on the American Queen. DAY 1: American Queen provides your first night stay at the historic Davenport Hotel. The hotel shuttle which we had reserved thru the hotel ($25 per room) was waiting for us and quickly delivered us to the hotel. The hotel is beautiful and we enjoyed lunch in the Grill. The prime rib French dip sandwich was melt-in-your-mouth delicious. We completed our ship check-in, enjoyed dinner and walked a few blocks to see Spokane Falls. DAY 2: The next morning, following a buffet breakfast provided by American Queen, we took the Spokane City Tour Premium Excursion. We returned to the hotel around noon which gave us time to check out and eat lunch before boarding the bus for the two hour drive to Clarkston. If you choose not to take the extra-cost city tour, the morning is yours until it is time to board the bus to Clarkston. After boarding the boat, one member of our group went to make reservations for the River Grill “specialty” dining and another member went to the dining room to request a table for ten for the entire cruise. During dinner we had a short cruise on the river before returning to the dock. DAY 3: Still in Clarkston, following breakfast we did the hop-on, hop-off bus before returning for lunch on our veranda. Our group had four adjacent cabins on the Vista Deck. Outside each cabin were two chairs and a small table. A low railing separated the veranda from the walking deck and there was a metal partition between each veranda. At our request, the deck crew removed the metal partitions between our cabins so the area was open and we could all sit out and talk to each other. We went thru our first lock this afternoon which lowered us 100 feet. Following dinner we enjoyed the evening show and spent about 45 minutes chatting with the performers after the show. It’s great being on a small ship where the crew and entertainers know your names after the first day. The weather has been perfect although it’s been warmer than we expected. DAY 4: When we arrived in Richland, WA we weren’t able to dock due to the high water level of the river because of early snow melt run-off. The boat was positioned perpendicular to the shore and the bow gangway dropped. The premium excursions and hop-on, hop-off ran as usual. We left at 4:30 pm and were told that we were sailing to Umatilla, OR so the boat could take on water and fuel. We enjoyed another wonderful dinner and show. DAY 5: The regular dock in Umatilla was flooded so we’ve docked at an industrial dock. Unfortunately we spent most of the day here and the stink of diesel fuel was horrible. We should have spent the day cruising. This was the low point of the cruise. About 5 pm we reached the John Day Dam lock. Enjoyed another wonderful show this evening. DAY 6: Arrived in Stevenson, WA for an overnight stay. The weather and scenery has really changed. Much cooler, windy and forested. Beautiful scenery. We visited the Western Antique Aeroplane and Automobile Museum this morning, enjoyed dinner and the show. DAY 7: Visited Multnomah Falls, Vista House and Latourell Falls. Another delicious dinner followed by a great show. After the show we enjoyed a rock & roll dance party. DAY 8: Arrived in Astoria, OR to a beautiful sunny day. Everyone is telling us that this weather is unusually good for Astoria which is normally overcast and cloudy. We did the hop-on, hop-off bus this morning and following lunch we took the Lewis and Clark excursion. Enjoyed our last dinner and show and packed for the trip home. DINING We had requested and received early dining but a specific table is not assigned until you arrive for dinner. The dining room manager had us at two tables (6 and 4) the first night, but the rest of the cruise we had a table for ten with the same servers each night. The River Grill and Bar becomes a “specialty” dining venue with a fixed menu with several choices. Five or six seatings are offered each night. There is no extra cost to eat there but each guest is limited to two dinners per cruise. We had made reservations for two nights but after our first meal we cancelled our second reservation. We were not impressed. Several in our group had the steak and lobster and by the time the server got around to removing the lobster from the shell, it was cold and the steak for several people was cold upon arrival. The food was no better than that served in the dining room nor was the ambiance. For breakfast and lunch the River Grill has buffet offerings as well as cooked to order items such as eggs, hamburgers, etc. The soft serve ice cream machine and assorted toppings are located here. Several days later we were talking to the Dining Room Manager about our experience and how we felt it would be better to following the example of the American Queen and have the River Grill serve buffet style in the evening for those guests who would prefer a quicker, casual meal. He said that would be his preference also since he really doesn’t have the staff to do a proper job in the present set-up. The Dining Room offered varied menu items for breakfast and lunch, although we always ate breakfast and lunch in the River Grill. Dinner in the Dining Room offered a changing menu consisting of three starters, six soup/salads, eight entrees, several side items and five desert choices. There were several times when we ordered multiple entrees or extra servings which were happily provided. Overall the food was very good except for the pastry items which left much to be desired. They need a new pastry chef. ENTERTAINMENT The shipboard entertainment was excellent. Singers/dancers Sammi Sadicario and Daniel Lopez were both outstanding performers. Greg Pendzick sang and acted as the master of ceremonies and his wife Lindy Penzick sang and was the ship’s officer in charge of hospitality. Frank Chase played piano in the Paddlewheel Lounge. Kevin Neil captured the spirit of the wild west through his cowboy poetry and songs one evening. STAFF The staff was excellent. Everyone was extremely friendly and helpful. Our cabin attendant Olivia kept our cabin spotless and was a joy to work with. Dining room manager Baja arranged a special table for ten for our group and our servers Delonte and Lulu performed their duties in an excellent manner while making sure we had fun at dinner. A special thanks to Greg and Lindy Pendzick who handled their roles as entertainers and ship officers in a wonderful manner. They knew everyone’s name after the first day and went above and beyond to ensure that our cruise was wonderful. We never encountered a crew member who wasn’t helpful and more than willing to go out of their way to make our stay more comfortable. HOP-ON, HOP-OFF American Queen has their own fleet of four buses that follow the boat from stop to stop. At each town they provide a free hop-on, hop-off bus tour staffed by local historians that explain what you’re seeing and what’s at the different stops. The buses run in a continuous loop so you see what you want at your own pace. It’s a great system. In Clarkston we visited the Nez Perce National Historical Park and the Bridablik/Schroeder House. The House is a don’t miss attraction. It is a privately-owned residence that has been restored and filled with antiques. It is only open to American Empress guests and the owners take you on a wonderful tour followed by refreshments. Unfortunately they don’t allow any photography inside the house. In Astoria we visited Flavel House, a restored antique-filled house and the Astoria Column. PREMIUM SHORE EXCURSIONS We did several premium excursions which we felt were excellent and reasonably priced. The Spokane City Tour included Bing Crosby’s home, Manito Park and a ride on the historic 1909 Looff Carrousel. This tour fills your morning before being driven to the boat in Clarkston. Two members of our group went on the Hells Canyon Scenic Jet Boat Experience and enjoyed it. They said it was a smooth scenic ride. The High Octane Antiques: The Western Aeroplane and Automobile was wonderful. Over 325 airplanes, automobiles, motorcycles, jeeps and tractors are displayed. The Multnomah Falls & Vista House excursion included Multnomah Falls, Vista House and Latourell Falls, all beautiful locations. The Lewis and Clark Experience was very good. The Portland “The Rose City” Tour was also very good and delivered us to the Portland Airport by noon. Overall we had a wonderful cruise thru beautiful scenery. When comparing this cruise with our two previous trips on the American Queen, we preferred the American Queen. It is a larger ship which seemed to have more amenities. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2018
We chose this cruise because it was on my “bucket list,” and the safety of the United States. The boat is beautiful, but could use some maintenance, as far as paint, etc. We were in the Owner’s Suite with ample room, elevated ... Read More
We chose this cruise because it was on my “bucket list,” and the safety of the United States. The boat is beautiful, but could use some maintenance, as far as paint, etc. We were in the Owner’s Suite with ample room, elevated amenities, private veranda, special balcony seating during entertainment in theater. The mattress on the double bed was not comfortable. The butler was very attentive, personable, and efficient. Dining was good but not exceptional. Breakfast and lunch options were buffet or from menu in the main dining room. The dinners were top-notch. Buffet dining was always available at another venue. The bars were tended by very good mixologists. Entertainment was good, considering the size of the boat. Lectures and other activities, such as bingo, were interesting and enjoyable. Service was probably the best part, though some dining staff had some attitude problem. A statement in its brochure said that the boat had an all American staff, and that was a bit of a stretch. The staff was very personable and warm, for the most part. The stops at Nottoway Plantation, Natchez, and Vicksburg were very nice and interesting, but the lower Mississippi doesn’t offer a lot of choices. Perhaps Baton Rogue should be considered. The boat glides smoothly along, pushed by its paddle wheel. It’s very relaxing and calming. Would we do it again? Absolutely, but with lower expectations and a mid range cabin. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2018
I am in my 70s, an Australian solo traveller, love seeing new places and love cruising. I enjoyed an upper Mississippi cruise on the American Queen a couple of years ago and, as I had never been to the Pacific Northwest before, knew that ... Read More
I am in my 70s, an Australian solo traveller, love seeing new places and love cruising. I enjoyed an upper Mississippi cruise on the American Queen a couple of years ago and, as I had never been to the Pacific Northwest before, knew that a paddle boat cruise would be a great way to go. I was not disappointed - the accommodation was VERY comfortable, food was delicious, all of the crew from the Captain down were so helpful, and very approachable. I was so impressed with the standard of entertainment, particularly for such a small boat - all were excellent. Lindy, the Hotel Manager, ran a "tight ship", with everything running smoothly on board, and external problems (eg. a dodgy lock, which wouldn't fill) were handled efficiently. Love the Hop On Hop Off buses, painted to look like riverboats, which took us around each of the towns we docked at, and on the premium excursions. My favourite was Zip-lining, which I hadn't tried before, and the jet boat cruise up the Snake River. I met lots of lovely people, so had plenty of good company when I wanted it. Thoroughly enjoyed the cruise, and wouldn't hesitate to recommend it to others. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2018
Beautiful Location, short trip, excellent small boat with personal service and great entertainment. Food selections were varied and fresh. Unfortunately our trip included several wet and misty days, but knowing this ahead of time, we ... Read More
Beautiful Location, short trip, excellent small boat with personal service and great entertainment. Food selections were varied and fresh. Unfortunately our trip included several wet and misty days, but knowing this ahead of time, we dressed appropriately. The well appointed rooms on the boat are very comfortable and the boat includes 2 dining rooms and 2 lounges. We had plenty of time to get outdoors and exercise our legs, but the well organized hop off, hop on buses were a great alternative. Local Guides were well informed. I Would recommend to elderly, couples or families, although no young children. Each port of call had interesting museums, river walks and information about the local area. Shopping wasnt as good as I expected. A cruise like this is a great getaway to spoil yourself, get refreshed and learn about another part of the country. We look forward to booking a Missippi River cruise in a couple of years. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2018
I have long wanted to travel the Mississippi river and finally did it. Picked the American Queen steamboat which is a real steam powered riverboat. Passenger capacity is 450, on this trip there were 358 passengers. Crew was 175. Staff ... Read More
I have long wanted to travel the Mississippi river and finally did it. Picked the American Queen steamboat which is a real steam powered riverboat. Passenger capacity is 450, on this trip there were 358 passengers. Crew was 175. Staff was excellent. They made every effort to make you happy. My table waiters were absolute professionals and accommodated any variation of the dinner meal that was possible. All of the staff were cheerful, pleasant, happy people to be around. My cabin was a luxury cabin that included two writing desks, closet, a couch, arm chair, glass table with 3 chairs, large screen TV and all the drawer space that could possibly be used by two people. The on board entertainment was well worth watching as well as live music in several of the bars on board. Food was good to great with an informal buffet area called the Front Porch open if you didn't wish to go to the main dinning area. The menu was somewhat different between the main dinning area and the Front Porch increasing the food options. The Front Porch had a different version prime rib every night along with chicken or fish. Wine or beer is included with the dinner meal. The boat was clean and well maintained with elevators for those that didn't want to use the stairs to move between decks. There were open seating areas at both the front and rear of the boat for watching the river and boat traffic. On this trip it was cool most days so a light jacket was needed. I spent a lot of time on the observation deck watching the river. The main froward observation area was just out side the Front Porch so you could duck in and get hot coffee, fresh cookies, tea etc, at any time. There was an observation area with bar at the rear of the boat with shade and sun tables, free hot dogs and a great view of the river. There is a small heated pool and an exercise equipment room. And of course the boat has a steam calliope that was played each time we left a dock. The shore activities included extra cost tours that were well received by those the took them according to the folks I talked to. I did not take any of those because the boat had a free sightseeing tour bus at each stop. This was a new arrangement to me called Hop on, Hop off. The buses had a circular route with 4 to 6 stops at various sights. The bus would stop and allow passengers to get off and go see the sight or just wander around town. The next bus would be by in 15 to 20 minutes and you could get back on and go back to the boat or to which ever stop you wanted to visit next. These buses ran continuously for the duration of the stop. I found this a great idea that allowed me to visit those things I wanted and get off the beaten path when I wanted to walk around and explore. Due to the high river levels some of the scheduled stops were changed or shortened. The on board activities included presentations by the "Riverlorian". He spoke about the history of the river, the towns that we were stopping at, stories of life on the river etc. I found those presentations well worth the time and a very interesting. Those were always well attended. Another interesting thing about the boat was the observation are down in the engine room. You could go down there any time of day or night and watch the 1932 steam engines and talk to the one of the watch staff about any of the technical sides of the boat. There were two shows every evening in the Grand Saloon. That provided an opportunity for each of the two dinner seatings to catch the show each night. I enjoyed all the shows I attended. The age group was mostly retired people. I saw one child on the boat who was with his grandparents. He had picked this trip out of several offered by his grandparents. The passengers were a friendly group that seemed to be interested in meeting new people. It was always easy to find a good conversation. Getting on and off the boat was well handled and as painless as is possible. The trip included an overnight stay at the Hilton Riverside. Your bags were picked up from your room and deliver to your stateroom by the time you boarded the boat. A similar system was used on disembarkation day. You placed your bags outside your stateroom the night before and they were on the shore close to your preferred method of transportation as you got off the boat. All in all I rate the experience as very good. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2018
This was our 4th river cruise on the American Queen. Each one was a very special treat and we love the experience. However, on this trip, we noticed more superior level of crew friendliness, service and attitude. Our compliments to John ... Read More
This was our 4th river cruise on the American Queen. Each one was a very special treat and we love the experience. However, on this trip, we noticed more superior level of crew friendliness, service and attitude. Our compliments to John Waggoner and his staff for hiring, training and maintaining a fantastic crew. We actually felt like we interacted more with the crew than with fellow passengers. That is a great compliment to your fine cruise experience. Although there are many crew that we really enjoyed, we'd especially like to thank Jessie, cabin steward; waiters Burnel & Nick; maitre'd Joe & Oscar; pilot Lucas who we met several years prior when he was a cadet; watchman Kelso, front porchers Kim & Shanay and finally, the great entertainment staff including riverlorian, Bobby. This is a cruise if you want to relax, if you want to stay extremely busy, if you enjoy American history, if you enjoy a wonderful selection of great food, if you like fantastic entertainment, if you like great personal and friendly service, if you want to stay in and see America and if you want what could be the best cruise experience you could find. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2018
8 night 'big band' round trip from New Orleans to Vicksburg.Feb March 2018. If you like nostalgia and an unusual cruise, this is great. American Queen is quite new, so good plumbing, but all her features are 19th Century style. ... Read More
8 night 'big band' round trip from New Orleans to Vicksburg.Feb March 2018. If you like nostalgia and an unusual cruise, this is great. American Queen is quite new, so good plumbing, but all her features are 19th Century style. You can watch the river go by in peace and enjoy quality evening meals in the main restaurant. Not quite top menus. I find Southern Creole not to my taste. But there were other choices and the fish was always beautiful. Our dinner service was not great, otherwise 5*. Hop on-hop off bus was excellent and the planning was first class. Maps provided the night before and entrance fees included to a range of historical sites. Not world class sites but well delivered with lots of local enthusiasm. Very hospitable and English language (almost). A lot of 'antebellum' mansions to visit, so worth an evening prepping the US civil war. Little walking needed as the town was usually alongside-Baton Rouge, Natchez, Oak Alley Plantation, or the bus took you the short distance-St Francisville.. Entertainment was varied and good quality. The theatre is a joy, as are the lounges , with antiques (and wifi). I found a book autographed by Mark Twain on the shelves. We particularly liked the 'riverlorian' who gave daily talks on the river and its history. Other cruises go further north so you might get Memphis/Elvis if you wish. We would go again, probably further north next time. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2018
Liked the idea of a jazz cruise. Ballroom dancing and historic ports on the river. Our RIVERLAURIEN was a great source of information. The food was superb and the service amazing. We will never go on another huge ocean liner. ... Read More
Liked the idea of a jazz cruise. Ballroom dancing and historic ports on the river. Our RIVERLAURIEN was a great source of information. The food was superb and the service amazing. We will never go on another huge ocean liner. The American Queen has spoiled us for anything else but river cruising. Our stateroom was decorated in period style. Bay window was useful for watching the night lights as we traveled. Passing barges and towns provided an amazing light show. The other public rooms were equally lovely. The Replica of Fords Theater was great and so was the Mark Twain lounge. The cookies were my nemesis! We were lucky to have flood stage on the river so it was amazing to get into ports rather easily right on the levees. A bit of added adventure. Our entertainment every evening was tops! We will be doing another trip on this boat ....perhaps the upper Mississippi next time. Read Less
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