American Queen Cruise Review by not ncl
- Sail Date: May 2017
- Destination: North America River
Pro - The American Queen is a clean, well groomed boat. Our cabin was on the 5th deck and it was everything you could want on a 7 day cruise. The crew is well trained, attentive to the needs of the passengers and seemed to really enjoy their jobs. I would strongly recommend this cruse for individuals who enjoy a resort environment vacation and have little interest in leaving the boat.
Con - For those individuals who will be using the boat as a moving luxury hotel and enjoy taking shore excursions, you might want to reconsider taking this cruise. We signed up for 8 premium tours, cancelled one and had problems on 3 of the other 7.
1. The King of Memphis Tour - We left the hotel at 10 AM for a boat sponsored Graceland tour. Upon arriving at Graceland our guide told us we were on a tight schedule and needed to back on the bus no later than 1 PM. He also inferred he would leave anyone who was late. (This sounded good to us.) Upon arriving at approximately 1015 AM, we first viewed a short move and then stood in line for approximately 80 minutes before boarding the shuttle to Elvis's house. Upon arriving at the house, we were held on the shuttle for another 20 minutes (1210 PM). Most of us realized we would not be able to visit his house, wait in line for another shuttle and get back to the bus by 1 PM. For this reason we stayed on the shuttle and returned to the bus early (A WASTED DAY) Upon telling an American Queen Excursion member of the problem, it took them 4 days to finally agree to refund our money for the tour. The decision came in the form of a letter from a VP which suggest the individuals on board the boat have little if any authority when making decisions regarding excursions. Suggestion - Arrive a day early in Memphis and book your own VIP tour of Graceland.
2. Redemption and Rehabilitation at Angola Prison - St. Francisvlle, La. When we arrived at St. Francisville the Mississippi River was very high and we were forced to dock on the other side of the river. This should not have created much of a problem for shore excursion since the buses used by them follow the boat from site to site. While the excursion to Angola Prison was interesting and worth taking, the problems occurred upon returning to St. Francisville. Since passengers were being ferried further than normal, there were longer waits between the various on and off sites. Because of this an individual from excursion asked our driver to drive by each of the 8 sites, before returning to the ship. The driver refused her request. For this reason, not wishing to being stranded up to 45 minutes at each drop off site, we decided not to see St. Francisville and to stay on the bus and return to the boat. Again this is an example of how little authority the Excursion Staff has.
3. Grand Southern Plantation Tour - Baton Rouge, La. Our tour arrived at the Houmas House early and we waited 75 minutes for our tour to begin. Since there were 49 of us, we were divided into two groups. After the first group of 25 left, the second group waited over 30 minutes for the next tour to begin (a total of 105 minutes.) By then outside individuals were joining our private group. Since the rooms in Houmas House are small, groups exceeding 40 have difficulties seeing, hearing, etc. While the American Queen Excursion member supervising this tour saw what was happening, nothing was done to correct the problem. Again, it was hard to tell if this was lack of interest or lack of authority.
Upon returning to the boat we were told by a staff member of the American Queen, the excursion staff worked for another company (the American Queen sublet all shore excursion functions to this company.) This is very misleading since shore excursion individuals wear the same uniforms, have a booth on the ship, the buses are decorated with American Cruise ship art, etc.
After this last experience, we begin to realize how important cruises with well run shore excursions are to us. For this reason we cancelled our up coming Columbia/Snake River cruise. This is a real shame since river cruising the USA could be a great vacation experience with opportunities to see various areas not normally visited.
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Port & Shore Excursion Reviews
MemphisWe arrived in Memphis 3 days before the cruise and stayed ath the Sheraton downtown. The first morning we visited the Pro Bass Shop (the large Pyramid building). This is a must for anyone who enjoys the out of doors. We then went to Beale St. and had lunch at BB Kings' (great atmosphere). In the aftenoonwe took the Mojo Music bus and Sun Studio tour (this tour is a must for first time visitors to Memphis) We finished the day by having dinner at Gus's Spicy Fried Chicken.View All 12 Memphis Cruise Port Reviews
On day 2 we took a tour thru Expedia to Tupeol to visit the birth place of Elvis Presley -it was great to get out in the countryside and see rural Mississippi. That evening we had dinner at the Majestic Grill (recommended by locals - a good choice.)
On day 3 we made a mistake and took the cruise sponsered "The King's of Memphis Tour" We would have been much better off taking our own VIP tour and then returning to the Sheraton Downtown for the afternoon bus ride to the boat.
View Cruise Critic's Memphis Cruise Port Review