37 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2015
We took the October 3rd river cruise with American Cruise Lines on the Snake and Columbia Rivers. We paid the cruise company to transfer us and our luggage from the airport to the ship. During the transfer and boarding process, part of ... Read More
We took the October 3rd river cruise with American Cruise Lines on the Snake and Columbia Rivers. We paid the cruise company to transfer us and our luggage from the airport to the ship. During the transfer and boarding process, part of our luggage was lost. The cruise staff told us that they have no idea what happened to our luggage, but that they would reimburse us for emergency purchases.. At the end of the cruise the hotel manager told us that he had been directed to not reimburse us for our purchases and that we would need to contact management at the corporate headquarters. Other than the problems with our luggage, there were many delightful aspects to the trip as well as some significant issues. On the positive side the meals and wine were outstanding and the dining room staff was very friendly. Unfortunately the dining room and kitchen were very understaffed so the service was at times very slow. On a few occasions we had to leave our lunch unfinished in order to get to an afternoon excursion. There was a very nice free cocktail hour every evening before dinner with an excellent selection of wine and liquor. Unfortunately the room was not large enough to accommodate all of the passengers comfortably. On several occasions we got drinks at the bar and went up on the top deck where we could relax and talk with our friends. They offered free wifi onboard the ship. Unfortunately the wifi was only available in the three public rooms (not in the staterooms) and only 10 people could be online in each public room. As a result there were several occasions when we couldn't access the internet. The staterooms were neat and clean and nicely decorated. However our room was very small (among the smallest of any cruise ship we've been on). The best part of the cruise was the fantastic scenery and outstanding excursions. Most of the excursions were complimentary, a real difference from the large cruise ships. There was an expert on board who gave several interesting talks on the expedition of Lewis & Clark. Also our cruise was a billed as a wine cruise with a wine expert on board. We visited several wineries along our route as well as doing wine tasting and wine-food pairings on-board. The other great part of the cruise were the other passengers. Everyone was very friendly and we met several other great couples that we formed friendships with. Our biggest issue remains the management of the company. We have been trying for the past month to talk to them. They have refused to answer our calls or address our lost luggage problem. We will never travel with American Cruise Lines again. It's clear they don't care about their customers once the cruise is done. Read Less
20 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2015
We spent a week on this boat and I can safely say that as a veteran of many European and American River Cruise ships, this is by far the worst I have ever encountered. We had previously traveled with American Queen up the Mississippi and ... Read More
We spent a week on this boat and I can safely say that as a veteran of many European and American River Cruise ships, this is by far the worst I have ever encountered. We had previously traveled with American Queen up the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers and both were excellent. We had heard though that their recently acquired Empress of the West, just did not compare to the American Queen. In looking at the ads for the Queen of the West it appeared from the pictures and the description of the largest cabins in the US that for the same price we get what looked to be something comparable to the American Queen. How wrong we were! First of all the pictures of the cabins must have been taken on some other boat, and if this boat was renovated in 2011, it must have been a total dump to start out with! The cabins were nowhere near what was pictured in their ads. The twin beds were custom made and were 5 inches narrower than a standard twin bed, but that was necessary so they could get a night stand beside the bed and allow a bit of walking room between the beds. We waited 2 days to get a wash cloth. Three pieces of "gunk" were on our cabin floor the entire trip and three times the cabin attendant left our cabin not only unlocked, but wide open with no workers in sight in the halls. The food was pretty bad. We did have a good batch of pancakes one morning and my Oso Bucco on the first night was delicious, but tasted suspiciously like the frozen ones I get at Costco. All seafood was dry. There were only two options each day for lunch and dinner. All salad dressings were Vinaigrette so I stuck to the soups. They were obviously ladled up way in advance and held in a warming oven as each and every time there was a thick "crust" on the top of the cup. Breakfast sausage was often lukewarm and portions of food were quite small. Duck Breast one night consisted of three pieces of duck about as big around as your thumb and forefinger. Strawberry shortcake was so hard it was almost impossible to break into it. I asked for some extra sauce thinking that would help. They brought me a whole cupful of berries and sauce and it was still so dry I could not cut it without a knife. They employ college age kids and it appeared to me that it was on the job training, shadowing someone who had been there for a while. The maximum time they can work the boat is 12 weeks, so the turnover is high. They do try hard but lack of experience is obvious. There are about 30 on the staff and they suggest that tips for a week should be $160.00 per person. That comes out to over $600.00 per steward. From talking to the kids they usually clear about $1200 every 2 weeks, so their base pay must be pretty low. One of their executives was on board for the last two days. I attempted to talk to him and outline problems as I saw them. He conveniently got a phone call that he "had to take" and despite the fact that he saw me at least 10 times after I attempted to talk to him, he never asked if we had finished the conversation or if I needed to talk some more. He simply ignored me. We did have a marvelous Historian on board who gave talks about Lewis & Clark along the way. He was excellent. Probably the best part of the cruise. You will be lucky if you get Ian. Entertainment was 2 nights of a guy with a guitar, and two nights of a duo on piano and bass. They were all pretty good. The final night was a Nez Perce Indian who was geared more towards children than adults. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2013
It rained the first 3 days of the trip which was not the fault of ACL.This meant we could not go to Astoria. They didn't seam to know what to do and we traveled about 35 miles in 3 days. The cabins on this boat are so small that the ... Read More
It rained the first 3 days of the trip which was not the fault of ACL.This meant we could not go to Astoria. They didn't seam to know what to do and we traveled about 35 miles in 3 days. The cabins on this boat are so small that the bed takes up about 75% of the room. The tv is on desk next to the bed with no place to sit to watch it. A lamp next to the bed was connected to an extension that went across the room to a outlet. This was in front of the door that led to the small balcony. If you wanted to sit and read you had to go to the library as there was no room in the cabin. I called ACL twice to find out the cost of excursions and they said you will find out when you board the ship. The booklet said $20 to $90. They charged $40 to $120. The per diem cost of the cruise was more than some luxury cruises we have taken. Some the most scenic parts of this cruise were traveled at night or during a lunch or dinner hour. The food choice was minimal but basically well prepared The kids serving the meals also cleaned the rooms. They were hard working and enjoyable. In summary this the most over priced bare bones cruise we have ever gone on. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2011
A scenic River Cruise sounded great, but, in the end, it was one of the worst experiences of our lives (and definitely the most expensive). The Queen of the West is an old renovated ship and did not have many (or should I say ... Read More
A scenic River Cruise sounded great, but, in the end, it was one of the worst experiences of our lives (and definitely the most expensive). The Queen of the West is an old renovated ship and did not have many (or should I say "any"??)amenities. The "exercise facility" consisted of one stationary bicycle and one elliptical which were found on the top deck in a public seating area. The rooms were TINY and the staff was extremely inexperienced. Staff were all college kids and nice enough, but with very little experience. The cost of the cruise was EXORBITANT. No choices for Shore excursions--You either went or you didn't, with no options. Staying on the boat was not really an option either since there was NOTHING to do--no shops, no cafes, just a makeshift library with one computer (which was never available)and two lounges with chairs and magazines. Shore excursions were pricey and definitely tailored to the elderly. NO active excursion options for kids. Entertainment after dinner consisted of an hour or so of local musicians. By 8:30 PM the entertainment was over and evidently, it was bedtime for all!!! Food was sub-par, but, in all fairness, did get better as the week progressed. I am appalled at how much money I paid for this family vacation. Definitely NOT worth the price. Will NEVER cruise with this company again. Read Less
Queen of the West Ratings
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