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6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2017
On September 10th my wife and I and 34 neighbors from our Del Webb community took the American Empress riverboat from Clarkston Washington to Vancouver Washington (not Canada). The costs were $9189 not including flights, gratuities or ... Read More
On September 10th my wife and I and 34 neighbors from our Del Webb community took the American Empress riverboat from Clarkston Washington to Vancouver Washington (not Canada). The costs were $9189 not including flights, gratuities or transfers. Although everyone had a great time as we were all friends prior to this trip, we were very disappointed that we completely missed the major scenic portions of the river due to the Oregon fire and the Native American salmon fishing rights which prevented our docking at The Dalles. Due to the fire, we completely missed the Columbia gorge (passed thru after midnight), Mt. Hood, Multnomah Falls, The Old Scenic Highway, Bonneville Dam, and Timberline Lodge. We felt American Queen Steamship Company let us down, when they decided to compensate us with a day in Vancouver Washington with an included 15 minute hop on-hop off bus trip, and an additional day in Astoria Oregon with an included shopping trip to Cannon Beach and Seaside beach (local beaches). We asked them to provide a trip to Mt. St. Helens as they had done on the previous trip, but they refused. After returning home we requested our travel agent to ask them for compensation but AQSC did not respond. The bottom line is the fire and the blockage of The Dalles port were completely out of American Queens control, however their replacement options simply fell way short of the missed experiences to say nothing of the $1000+ a day cost. By the way they continue to advertise the same experiences we missed, even though the State of Oregon indicates those experiences may be closed for up to 2 years as a result of the fire. Although we all had fun on the river boat, we all felt that AQSC fell short in substituting for the missed experiences. We are aware that their contract says they can make any changes they want, including doing nothing. As a group we had a great time, but probably would not travel with AQSC in the future. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2017
WE spent 7 wonderful days and nights on the America. We enjoyed learning and seeing more about the MS River, including the 24 locks and their operation, everchanging scenery and wildlife, especially the high bluffs in Minnesota and the ... Read More
WE spent 7 wonderful days and nights on the America. We enjoyed learning and seeing more about the MS River, including the 24 locks and their operation, everchanging scenery and wildlife, especially the high bluffs in Minnesota and the bald eagles there. We started in St Louis, Missouri and finished in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Trip included a precruise night at the Drury Plaza Hotel, located right at the St Louis Arch which made touring the day before very easy and interesting. We went on a Mark Twain themed cruise so we had the pleasure of 2 nights of entertainment by Richard Garey as Mark Twain plus a walking tour in Hannibal Missouri. River experts were on board with us to point out interesting places as we went up the River. They also had several interesting presentations about the" Great River" and life and industries along it. Towns along the way that we visited included Davenport Iowa, Dubuque, Iowa, Red Wing, Minnesota and La Crosse, Wisconsin. Onboard food was superb and was served by a young,enthusiastic and very personable staff. Other shipboard personnel and managemenet were terrific, too. Staterooms are spacious and well appointed and the bathroom is roomy. Great cruise! Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2017
Not our favorite cruise, yet, this week's expedition offered rest and beautiful country in Washington, Idaho, and Oregon. The staff bombarded us with picky details and scheduling, more than was necessary. The boat was noisy and the ... Read More
Not our favorite cruise, yet, this week's expedition offered rest and beautiful country in Washington, Idaho, and Oregon. The staff bombarded us with picky details and scheduling, more than was necessary. The boat was noisy and the companionways too chilly. Not many places to retreat and read. Too small for lounge chairs. Food was well prepared—caesar salad, fruit compote, pork roast, burgers, cheesecake—except for the clam chowder, which was malodorous. The riverlorian, Laurence Cotton, gave excellent guidance to Lewis and Clark history and to the background of significant figures. He also answered difficult questions about major events and post-expedition influence. Library contained quality choices of biographical, native American, and pleasure reading. Bar service was friendly and prompt with afternoon snacks—cookies, popcorn, guacamole, chips and dip—but pianist was a self-important clown who drowned out conversation with his "improvisations." Nighttime shows destroyed the serenity. Bus tours offered some excellent commentary and some pointless chatter, occasionally inaccurate. The cruise line does not compare with Voyages to Antiquity. An appealing evening entertainment would take passengers to a casino. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2017
We have not done cruised this river before. It is not offered that often and we just wanted to see some of the cities and sites on the itinerary. We had a hotel included for the night before we boarded the ship, the Queen of the ... Read More
We have not done cruised this river before. It is not offered that often and we just wanted to see some of the cities and sites on the itinerary. We had a hotel included for the night before we boarded the ship, the Queen of the Mississippi Paddle-Wheeler, in St. Louis and traveled to Pittsburgh. The embarkation was handled smoothly and so was the disembarking. If you have never gone through the locks on a large river, it is an interesting experience. We toured the Trail of Tears Museum in Cape Giradeau, MO. Very well done. The highlight for us was to tour Churchill Downs in Louisville, KY. There were 2 tours offered in Cincinnati and both were interesting. The service on the ship was excellent. Food is very good and one has the option to choose 1/2 portion of each meal. Be warned,,,desserts are outstanding! Each of the lounges has coffee, tea, juices, sodas, water and snacks available at all times. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2016
To be able to say that our New Orleans to New Orleans was a really great cruise when I came home with a sinus infection and my wife with Type A flu and bronchitis says something about the crew and the service that we received. I wish that ... Read More
To be able to say that our New Orleans to New Orleans was a really great cruise when I came home with a sinus infection and my wife with Type A flu and bronchitis says something about the crew and the service that we received. I wish that I could mention everyone that touched our lives in a positive manner, but that probably would be the whole crew list! The weather sucked, our health sucked and we still had a great time. The embarkation and disembarkation was smooth and carefree. Happy Hour was served with premium liquors and the hor d'oeuvers were some of the best we have ever had. The lounges were spacious, clean and well furnished with coffee, tea, and soft drinks available 24 hours a day. Our cabin was clean and well appointed; our cabin steward kept it that way. Our dining server was one of the best, if not the best, we have ever had and the meals he brought were first-rate. Our historian provided us with narratives about the history of the Mississippi River that were captivating and spot on. His wife, accompanied by him on the piano, entertained us during Happy Hour throughout the cruise and she had several solo sets that were extremely professional. On three nights, they had on-board special entertainment that was 5 star. We have sailed American Cruise Line twice and their other line, Pearl once and never have been disappointed. As of now, we have booked two in 2017 and 2018. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2016
Loved the music. The musicians performed almost all the time. Riverlorian spoke daily about the Mississippi River, its depth, vessels, floods, accidents. Food was good, menus could be improved. Breakfast and lunch buffets were well ... Read More
Loved the music. The musicians performed almost all the time. Riverlorian spoke daily about the Mississippi River, its depth, vessels, floods, accidents. Food was good, menus could be improved. Breakfast and lunch buffets were well done. Hop on off bus gave lots of options to visit without worrying about entrance fees. Select a cabin away from the paddle wheel or you will lose sleep: it shook the cabin when the boat was at full speed.Cabin was smaller than Celebrity or Princess of similar category. Port stops were short as the boat was going up river and there was a lot of barge traffic that got the right away. If you took a premium excursion there was little or no time to tour the port. Select the Memphis to New Orleans route. Cruise director was good. his voice is amazing. Purser's station acted immediately. Many cabins had doors opening to the outside walkway Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2016
We did not want to leave the country.. Everything was great. Attention to details was superb The crew was very attentive and service oriented. The food was wonderful with plenty of good choices. Special requests regarding diets were ... Read More
We did not want to leave the country.. Everything was great. Attention to details was superb The crew was very attentive and service oriented. The food was wonderful with plenty of good choices. Special requests regarding diets were honored Afternoon lectures were enjoyable and diverse. We learned alot about the history of the Mississippi River, the Civil War and the famous and infamous people who shaped the area.The cocktail hour and the hor duerves were great. A good way to meet new friends.. Evening entertainment was varied and very good. Shore excursions were very informative. Enjoyed the Frogmore Cotton gin and Oak Alley Plantation, The city tour of New Orleans was wonderful thanks to our tour director Marty. We enjoyed ourselves so much that we signed on for another American Cruise Lines for next year. We would not hesitate to recommend this cruise line to anyone who is contemplating a cruise. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2016
This was our second cruise on the American Queen and based on our previous cruise had high expectations. A pre-cruise one night hotel stay is included in the cruise. We stayed at the Airport Marriott and it was very nice. The next morning ... Read More
This was our second cruise on the American Queen and based on our previous cruise had high expectations. A pre-cruise one night hotel stay is included in the cruise. We stayed at the Airport Marriott and it was very nice. The next morning included a buffet breakfast and the ship check-in was done at the hotel prior to being taken to the ship. Check-in was very organized and smooth. This cruise was from Nashville to Memphis on the Cumberland, Tennessee, Ohio and Mississippi rivers. The river scenery was prettiest along the Tennessee, otherwise, nothing special. The towns that we stopped at were not that memorable. American Queen does an excellent job with their hop-on, hop-off tours in each town. The food was excellent. The ship staff is excellent and always willing to help. Our cabin steward did a great job. Our only complaint was poor service from our two dining room dinner servers. Our servers on our previous cruise were excellent. The shipboard entertainment was excellent. The shipboard internet could not be accessed inside or outside our cabin. The only good reception was in the public room where the ship computers were located. American Queen should upgrade their system so that internet is available in every cabin. There were a number of passengers using canes, walkers and wheel chairs. The crew made every accommodation to ensure they enjoyed their cruise and land tours. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2016
I was a passenger on the inaugural trip of the Louisiane, and while there were some hiccups--as can be expected on a shakedown cruise--the food was incredible, the lectures fun and informative, and the excursions, well researched and ... Read More
I was a passenger on the inaugural trip of the Louisiane, and while there were some hiccups--as can be expected on a shakedown cruise--the food was incredible, the lectures fun and informative, and the excursions, well researched and coordinated. The most important element was that the French America Line management recognized the flaws, and since the cruise was not up to their standards, they--through Roads Scholar--refunded the cost of the cruise in full. It's really hard to grow angry at any elements in a trip, when the owners of the cruise line give my money back in full. As one of the owners noted in the very beginning, it was a shakedown cruise. Phones and Cable TV did not work on the first day, but they were up and running by the second night. As far as I could see by the last evening, the Louisiane and her crew had achieved exactly the quality of travel that one expects from a "Four Star" Rivercruise line. And, that does not even note the incredible four bands that were aboard, from a French Jazz Quartette to a New York Classic Crooner balladeer and her band to an authentic Cajun Family of singers to a Southern Gospel performer. All of the alcohol and amenities were included, and the excursions--particularly in Natchez--were as excellent as I have ever encountered. And, I must say that while some had some hot water problems on the first day, I did not, and never lacked for a hot shower in my second floor cabin. And, I must emphasize again. Ultimately, I got my money back in full for the cruise. Any cruise line that will pay me back after the cruise is over, just because not everything on the maiden voyage was not perfect-- is one upon which I wish to travel again. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2016
The cruise was supposed to go from St. Paul, Minnesota to New Orleans, Louisiana but high waters in Minnesota required last minute changes in plans. American Cruise Lines (ACL) rescheduled us to start in Nashville instead which required ... Read More
The cruise was supposed to go from St. Paul, Minnesota to New Orleans, Louisiana but high waters in Minnesota required last minute changes in plans. American Cruise Lines (ACL) rescheduled us to start in Nashville instead which required all passengers to change flight plans a few days before the start date, but ACL did reimburse us for the extra charges involved. We feel that ACL did a good job with the rescheduling. The only down side to the cruise was Kevin, the Cruise Director. He was young, brash, not very helpful, and often just a jerk. We hope that we will not meet up with him again. The rest of the staff was outstanding, friendly, and very helpful. Shore excursions were well planned out, very interesting, and first rate. The river experts were very knowledgeable and fun to be with. Steve and JoAnn were great with the local knowledge and are outstanding entertainers. This was our third cruise with ACL, and we have scheduled another for next year which also attests to our satisfaction. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2016
American Star, Fall Foliage tour. Unfortunately, the leaves were not turning so everything was green. My wife and I accompanied her parents for their anniversary. My wife was one of the youngest at 57; the average age is 80+, not a ... Read More
American Star, Fall Foliage tour. Unfortunately, the leaves were not turning so everything was green. My wife and I accompanied her parents for their anniversary. My wife was one of the youngest at 57; the average age is 80+, not a bad thing but not a party boat, which was fine with me. The boarding was good as was the room; plenty large with nice bathroom. We were on the second level and had a balcony. The part that makes the trip are the staff; mostly young men and women in their 20s who have signed up for a 16 week tour. They do the waiting on tables, they clean the rooms and the do the general cleaning. All were great with a positive attitude in a job that required them to work 12-14 hours a day. They received an hour or two break. Food was good. Typically three choices for dinner with appetizers and of course wine or beer. Lunches and breakfast were typical fare. Always a good desert or ice cream. One thing to know is if you want two entrees, ask for them, they are fine with it. It's not an either or choice, do both, you're paying for it. Happy hour was from 5:30-6:30 and had a full bar and great appetizers. Tours, unless you're on your fourth trip, you pay around $50 person; the several ports we visited were fair but West Point was great. Sandy our tour guide was very knowledgeable and fun to talk with. Over all, trip was good, but expensive. Expect to be pampered. Shout out to: Josh, Sandy, Val, Amanda, Cori, D'lynn, Regan, Nick, Trevon, Nathan, Sophie and all the others. Captain Dennis was very personable; do the bridge tour (captain's bridge). Read Less
12 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2016
My husband and I wanted a quiet river cruise, and, thought the website for this Mississippi River cruise made the Steamboat cruise sound ideal for us. We also wanted to tie the cruise in with visits to both Memphis and Nashville. We ... Read More
My husband and I wanted a quiet river cruise, and, thought the website for this Mississippi River cruise made the Steamboat cruise sound ideal for us. We also wanted to tie the cruise in with visits to both Memphis and Nashville. We liked the idea of chugging down the mighty Mississippi and learning all about the American Civil War, which, as British travellers, we knew very little about. So...firstly the good points. The boat is beautiful, especially the dining room. It is really elegant and the food served is of a very high standard. The towns we stopped at were very pretty and very quaint and were so, so interesting. Also, the crew of the AMERICAN QUEEN made booking the tours exceptionally easy, and were extremely efficient if we had any problems. Help was always available for those passengers with mobility problems, and at every stop Hop-on-Hop -Off buses were available at regular intervals (all with knowledgable guides) , making it impossible to miss out on anything you want to see. Another plus was the entertainment. Mostly excellent.....with a couple of small exceptions!!! Our fellow passengers were, like us, mostly older holiday makers, and we found them to be extremely friendly.....so this is definitely not a trip that would appeal to young party-goers!! Bad points now!! When we first boarded the American Queen, our first impression was that this boat had so much character and was totally different to any other cruise boat we had been on before. Then we arrived at our cabin! Oh dear. The cruise company call it "cosy". We think it was "poky". Hardly any drawer-space, and just a fitted clothes-rail. The door of our cabin opened up onto the deck (which we liked, as we could sit outside our room and watch the world go by), but that also meant that the room felt damp from the humidity outside. And the beds were tiny. I would recommend anyone thinking of booking this cruise to upgrade to a bigger cabin. A larger cabin would have cost about $250 and would have been worth every dollar. But our biggest grouse about this otherwise delightful cruise was the disappointing standard of some of the waitresses/ waiters/catering staff. We put in a couple of complaints whilst we were on the cruise, as did several other passengers, and have followed this up by contacting The American Steamboat Company. We hope to hear from them soon. Nearly all the dining staff were terrific, but unfortunately the two serving our table were VERY short of the mark. Thankfully the boat's manager organised for replacement waitresses, and they proved to be first class. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2016
My grandparents wanted to go on a cruise up the Mississippi and I had always wanted to see New Orleans so I came with. I was not aware that there would be absoloutely no one my age (21) on the ship, which made it less enjoyable. Obviously, ... Read More
My grandparents wanted to go on a cruise up the Mississippi and I had always wanted to see New Orleans so I came with. I was not aware that there would be absoloutely no one my age (21) on the ship, which made it less enjoyable. Obviously, since this a cruise geared towards the older crowd, many of the activities weren't as interesting to me as they were to them. If there had just been a few things that were available to me, and others my age, I thought it would've been a much more enjoyable experience for myself. That being said, the staff was very friendly, and professional. Something that I appreciate. Additionally, the food was delicious and the staff was very accomodating of special requests. The rooms were nicely maintained, although small. The entertainment crew did a good job, although, I again thought they could've done more stuff for someone my age. Overall, a well done cruise. Read Less
22 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2016
This is second trip on Empress. We were doing it to relive route of Lewis and Clark. Our previous trip on the boat had been very nice. So we did it from the opposite direction. Some of crew was the same and others we had met on American ... Read More
This is second trip on Empress. We were doing it to relive route of Lewis and Clark. Our previous trip on the boat had been very nice. So we did it from the opposite direction. Some of crew was the same and others we had met on American Queen. I cannot say enough good things about the Boat the Hop on Hop off tours but mostly the friendliness and professionalism of the crew. The young entertainers are great, the Dining room staff superb. The food variety and quality was wonderful. The Riverlorian who lectures on the boats theme does a great job. You cannot be bored on this Boat. Something to do from breakfast till late night. The Band four man combo is as professional as they get had a great evening jam session after normal show. Late night dancing in the Paddlewheel lounge great fun a great Pianist entertainer. On a scale of 10 this crew and boat are a fifteen. The Boat accommodations are wonderful. Rooms are quite generous in size. Appointments enhance it. On this Boat you always have interesting scenery in view as you cruise on the Columbia and Snake rivers so if you just want to relax on your porch you have something to enjoy. I can not emphasize enough though how many great activities are available. If you like Broadway shows the two young entertainers put on will surprise you how talented they are. It does not matter which of the two sets they have they are both great as we have had the opportunity to watch both.. Read Less
24 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2016
American Queen Steamboat Company (AQSC) Best For: • Guests who enjoy a first-rate, relaxed river cruise experience. • Couples, family & friends traveling together, and parents traveling with adult children. • The ... Read More
American Queen Steamboat Company (AQSC) Best For: • Guests who enjoy a first-rate, relaxed river cruise experience. • Couples, family & friends traveling together, and parents traveling with adult children. • The overall demographic is primarily 60-plus age range. As a FAM cruise, this lowered the overall age range. • Well-traveled history buffs looking for a luxury river cruise. • Domestic travelers, there are a very small percentage of international travelers. • Guests who have traveled on AQSC sister ship, the American Queen. • Cruisers who prefer to relax and enjoy the unfolding river views. • Guests who have motion sensitivity, as the river cruising is very calm. Itinerary/Port Experience: Saturday April 2nd: Pre-Hotel Stay – Portland Hotel Stay Guests of AQSC received a complimentary, one night deluxe hotel stay in Vancouver, Washington (Portland Airport-PDX-is the nearest airport). For this 2016 Launch season for the Columbia and Snake River Cruise, AQSC used the Hilton Vancouver Washington. This package included breakfast, taxes, porterage and transfers. The ship is close to the Vancouver Farmer’s market, the number one visitor attraction and home to over 200 vendors. Guest staying at this hotel received a morning overview of the American Empress, priority specialty dining reservations at the River Bar and Grill, and pre-cruise check-in. For FAM guests, the hotel is not complimentary. I opted to stay at Hotel Rose in Portland, Oregon. The hotel is pet friendly. This hotel lured me with it complimentary pineapple cupcakes, and coffee daily in the lobby. The hotel is approximately 25 minutes from PDX and equal distance to the dock in Vancouver, WA. Conveniently located walking distance to Portland’s famous Saturday Market, and the ooey gooey goodness of Voodoo Donuts. Hotel Rose provided complimentary bicycles, helmets and locks for guests to mix in with the local biking culture. I recommend including a few landmarks which are a short distance by bike: Powell’s Books (largest bookstore on the planet), St. Mary’s Cathedral, and Waterfront Park Trail along the Willamette River. Using transportation there are some great stops while in the city: International Rose Test Gardens, Portland Japanese Gardens, and The Grotto – National Sanctuary. Note: Portland is for foodies and has a very casual feel. “Keep Portland Weird” is the city’s motto. Save some time for people watching it is truly fascinating. There is a bounty of stellar food venues; many have got their start from the unending lines of food trucks adorning the city streets. I decided on cuisine from Kathmandu, Nepal, which was a solid choice. Portland is a utopia for vegans. I had my first, unbelievably good, burger made with beets and cashew cheese. The curry ketchup with home style fries was excellent. If you only have time to make one food stop, I highly recommend The Salt and Straw. Best fresh made ice cream (gelato included), I’ve ever experienced. The ice cream is made with all locally grown ingredients, and Zagat-rated. The 30 minute line was well worth it! I sampled the strawberry honey balsamic with black pepper; the honey lavender; and Arbequina olive oil. I landed on a scoop of the Arbequina olive oil. They do offer ice cream by mail. Sunday, April 3rd, Day 1: Vancouver, WA The ship departure at 6 p.m. allowed for some pre-cruise premium shore excursions (additional charge): Mount St. Helens Tour including Portland City Tour; and Portland City Tour – “The Rose City”. Both excursions included pick up at the Hilton in Vancouver and transfer to the ship. I arrived shortly before the 3 p.m. embarkation which allowed me to meet guests, which later turn out to be phenomenal new friends who I shared the journey with. Guests were greeted at embarkation with jazz music from the Empress Quartet and small treat from the dessert tray. My luggage was delivered within ten minutes of arriving in my stateroom. AQSC is touted as the largest, most elegant riverboat in the Pacific Northwest. AQSC has a dedicated fleet of motor coaches, which includes a fully narrated hop-on, hop-off (ho-ho) tours for each port town. The morning typically has three departure times from the boat (AQSC uses the term boat, not ship). Maps are provided every night in the staterooms outlining the various stops along the ho-ho route. Motor coaches pick up are every 15 minutes in the morning, and every hour in the afternoon for most days. The boat visits small towns so the ho-ho provides time to explore the local shops and museums. Some guests took the ho-ho tour for an overview of the town. Most full circuits requiring about 45 minutes. Most admission fees to museums and attractions are part of the tour, though you will still want to bring some spending monies as most have gift shops. AQSC started the journey with full-color, double-sided maps outlining our journey staterooms. Lewis and Clark’s expedition was the opposite direction of our itinerary. According to Laurence Cotton, our Riverlorian, traveling the same direction as the expedition, East to West, provides more daytime travel. The rivers passes through 7 ecosystems in 7 days! The West is close to a rainforest, receiving up to 80 or more inches of rainfall a year. The East is has desert conditions receiving less than 15 inches or less of rainfall a year. Monday, April 4th, Day 2: Astoria, OR This is the oldest American Settlement west of the Rocky Mountains. This area was inhabited by the Clatsop Indians for thousands of years. In 1805, Lewis and Clark’s expedition arrived here where they wintered at Fort Clatsop.   The battle of the premium shore excursions was shared by many guests. The tough decision between The Lewis & Clark Experience and Zip Lining Adventure ensued with much thought. The winner was the Zip Lining Adventure, which allowed me to face my fear of heights, head on. The day was a double victory as our small entourage of three guests zip lining was enhanced when our tour guide offered to take us through a fast-forward tour of the Lewis and Clark National Historical Park at Fort Clatsop. High Life Adventures provided a progressive series of an 8-course zip line. What a tremendous pleasure to share in the bucket-list-item for an 82 year-old from our ship as part of our zipping team. The afternoon of adrenalin culminated with The Zwing Extreme Zip Swing (additional charge, highly recommend). A surprise visit from Yeti at the end of one of the zip courses, added to the fear factor as he jumped from behind the trees. Note: Guests on The Lewis & Clark Experience received a complimentary book, In the Wake of Lewis and Clark: From the Mountains to the Sea by C. Mark Smith. Though I did not purchase this excursion, I did order my copy on Amazon and enjoyed the easy read. Bonus, C. Mark Smith was one of the tour guides on the ho-ho. Tuesday, April 5th, Day 3: The Dalles, OR The terrane has changed significantly from the lushness of Oregon’s west coast to the desert-like conditions of The Dalles of Oregon. There were no premium shore excursions in this area, though interestingly enough, our Lounge Entertainer, Ted Horwitz, hails from this small town. He entertained us each afternoon and evening in the Paddlewheel Lounge. The Dalles has many high tech companies residing there due to tax breaks, enhanced with the Columbia River Gorge Technology Alliance. Google invested 1.2 billion dollars in its data center. Apple and Amazon are investing in communities in Oregon, as well. Quite a few guests participated in the on shore hike emulating the Corps of Discovery on an easy ½ mile hike lead by Laurence to Lewis and Clark’s Rock Fort Camp. The crew and Riverlorian offered numerous on shore hikes ranging from ½ miles to 2 miles most days. The American Empress left port at 3 a.m. on day Day 3. New friends from aboard the boat came together after a yummy dinner to walk to a local karaoke dive. What fun times were had singing “We are Family” with some friendly folks from The Dalles! Wednesday, April 6th, Day 4: Stevenson, WA I choose the popular Multnomah Falls and Vista House premium excursion. This tour began on the Old Scenic Highway offering breathtaking views along America’s most scenic landscape. There were many vantage points and photo opportunities along the way: The Columbia River Gorge, Crown Point, Vista House, Multnomah Falls (Oregon’s highest waterfall), and much more. When I arrived back in my stateroom, AQSC surprised me with a picture memento of our day’s journey on the premium shore excursion. What a stellar gesture! Thursday, April 7th, Day 5: Cruising The Columbia River & Tri-Cities (Richland), WA (overnight) It was a relaxing morning paddling down The Columbia River with many onboard activities to choose from: Zumba Gold, Read Our Mind Game Show, Trivia, Riverlorian Presentation, Bridge Players Meet, Future Cruise Talk, and Disembarkation Talk. We arrived in Richland at 2 p.m. and the Ho-Ho ran every 30 minutes. Friday, April 8th, Day 6: Tri-Cities (Richland), WA My journey down The Columbia River to The Snake River was highlighted with the premium shore excursion Hells Canyon Scenic Jet Boat Experience. Hells Canyon is North America’s deepest gorge. The jet boats were very comfortable and covered. The bench seat in the back was even more exciting as daring guests were drenched with a combination of mist and waves. The views along the banks offered tremendous view. Our tour guide mentioned sometimes there are sighting of bear, Big Horn sheep, deer, and other native wildlife can be spotted. I spotted cattle, horses, deer, bald eagle, and various birds. At the farthest East end of the river, we stopped at the Idaho Garden Creek Preserve and enjoyed beverages and cookies. The views were gorgeous from the of river, orchard, and nature’s landscape. Note: The Jet boats were enclosed and contain onboard bathroom facilities. This was a scenic jet boat experience; there were no white water rapids. A week after I arrived home, my latest issue of Backpacking magazine featured an article boasting best views in America’s National Parks, and featuring Hells Canyon. What a fun way to showcase the end of my journey aboard AQSC! I did see many hikers along the river enjoying the gorgeous 80-degree weather and views. Highlights: What made AQSC memorable is the outstanding crew and friendliest guests on any cruise line I have journeyed! The overall feel of the ship was jovial, fun, and lasting friendships were forged. • The maîtres’ in each dining room decorated the dining table for a friend’s birthday. In the Astoria Dining Room, Carmen, head maîtres, gave her a small gift. I have never witnessed such a remarkable experience on any premium or luxury cruise line. On the last night of the cruise, Carmen gave everyone at our table a beautiful picture of Mount Hood, signed “We will miss you”! • The Riverlorian, Laurence Cotton was the most knowledgeable, engaging, and enjoyable lecturer I have had the pleasure of listening to. He is a true gem for AQSC! He gave daily lectures with a broad range: The Columbia River, “Our Journey Through Time and Place” introduction to the region and its history; “The Lewis & Clark and the Corps of Discovery: Onwards to the Pacific and Homeward Bound”; Kennewick Man and the Hanford Nuclear Site, “Frederick Law Olmsted: Designing America (his film produced for public TV); “Oregon Trail: In Their Own Words”; and Chief Joseph and the Nez Perce War (his own film). • I thoroughly enjoyed the Broadway style nightly entertainment in The Show Lounge. Each evening featured a fresh vibe, engaging audience interactions: Music of the Silver Screen, greatest pop & rock from 50’s-70’s, love songs, and Broadway songs. • Locks and Lox were featured in the River Grill as American Empress traveled through the Bonneville Dam, the first of many locks on the river journey. This was coupled with the $5 Bloody Mary or Mimosa bar with all the fixings, offered most mornings. Laurence indicated the eastbound itinerary featured more daytime cruising through the locks than the westbound itinerary. • Enrichment Presentation featuring the gifted guest speaker, storyteller, and Native American Tribal Member, J. R. Spencer sharing tales about the Nez Perce Indians. • Maryhill Wine Tasting with special guest presenter Rich Washburn for a complimentary tasting of local favorites. • “Dare to Dream” featured the history of steamboating in an interesting video showcasing the origins of the American Queen. • The good and the sad…welcome aboard and the Farewell Champagne reception. Stateroom Experience: My floating home away from home was a category C deluxe verandah stateroom #226 on the Frontier Deck. This was an ideal location being one door away from the stairwell and elevators. I enjoyed the view from the port side of the boat across the river as the boat headed eastbound. The stateroom was just down the corridor from the Paddlewheel Lounge where most activities were held. I could hear the music from my stateroom at night which was welcomed. AQSC was completely refurbished in spring 2014. Staterooms were stunning in the Victorian era with ornate furniture and elegant wallpaper. Many of the staterooms are configured for two twins with limited queen configurations. The AE-C categories are 180 sq. ft. with one picture window, and one door with window. There was ample storage in the two armoires. The stateroom was well accommodated with a flat screen TV, alarm clock, mini refrigerator, safe, Keurig coffee brewer, and binoculars. The bathroom was small though had a good design. The bath shower stall was quite small. There was a hairdryer, bathrobes, and slippers in the stateroom. Other features were an antique writing desk with chair, which I rotated for views from the picture window. There were two antique style chairs and fine artwork from the regions American Empress travels. Every evening, the River Times was left in each stateroom and offered a map of the ho-ho destinations, and newsletter for the follow day’s adventures. Note: The staterooms and on the Vista View Deck have the walking track surrounding them. There is a small railing, see below.  Dining Experience: • The cuisine above represents some of the regional Pacific Northwest cuisine, using locally sourced, fresh ingredients with a contemporary vibe. I highly recommend the grilled lobster, and espresso-rubbed tenderloin. • An all-American staff provided gracious service and warm hospitality. This was the friendliest service I have ever experienced. The head chef visited our table most every night. He even surprised our table with a specially made dessert. • The ship had a country club casual ambiance, no formal wear was required. • The Astoria Dining Room had fine the same fine service breakfast, lunch, and dinner. • The catch of the day was featured each evening in the Astoria Dining Room. • The drinks were overflowing with regional wines and beer in both dining venues during dinner. • The River Grill and Bar offered morning made-to-order omelet station, alternative grill options for lunch; including hamburgers, roast beef sandwiches, fajitas, and much more. Both breakfast and lunch buffet had varied daily options offering many choices of cold, hot, and dessert options. Afternoons you could find fruit and cookies to snack on. The drinks were self-service. There was alfresco dining or you could take in the rays from the floor to ceiling windows indoors. • Complimentary cappuccino, espresso, bottled water and soft drinks were available in The River Grill & Bar anytime. • Late afternoon snacks were offered in the Paddlewheel Lounge with a wide daily range: huge shrimp & cocktail sauce, cheese & crackers, veggies & dips, and so much more. The antique popcorn popper allowed for a salty and buttery option at any time. For my sweet tooth, I frequented the platter of different types of homemade cookies. • Room service was available with a special menu and I am told you could have cuisine from the dining room’s menu in your stateroom or for a romantic dinner on your verandah. Activities/Entertainment: • Happy hour in the Paddlewheel Lounge allowed guests to try the featured drink of the day, while tapping their feet to the sweet beat of Ted Horwitz, entertainer and pianist. Ted covered many decades and music varieties from American Folk Music; tunes from the Rat Pack; smooth sounds; to hosting a Rock ‘n Roll Dance Party. His friendly and fun banter with guests, kept the crowd engaged. After dinner, the Paddlewheel Lounge was filled with guests taking in a night cap or dancing to their favorite requests. • The Empress Quartet featured jazz some evenings. They were a talented group on guys from different parts of Missouri (shout out to where I grew up). • The gift shop was open when the boat was in port, which was handy. • A self-guided art tour was offered by way of a brochure in each stateroom/suite. The American Empress showcased fine historical artifacts and artwork of the Native Alaska, Russian, and Gold Rush throughout the corridors. • Onboard activities offered something for everyone: line dancing lessons, trivia, Independent Travelers Meet & Greet, Bingo, Veterans Meet & Greet, Bridge Players & Game Players, movie matinee, Blackjack Tournament, Pilot House tour, Engine Room Tour, crafts, Read Our Minds classic TV gameshow and The Match Game, and Liar’s Club Game. Insider’s Tips: • Complimentary bicycles were offered to guests on a first come, first serve basis to explore destinations on their own. • Be first to attend select lectures by Laurence the Riverlorian as he handed out full-size maps. The maps reflected in detail Lewis & Clarks’ expeditions, featuring the Columbia River and points of interest. • Take time slow down and take in the view. The rocking chairs on the public deck outside the River Grill & Bar invited a laid-back vibe, whilst overlooking the wake views and paddlewheel. • I recommend waiting to sign up for the optional tour once onboard, instead of advance for some special travel agent rates. • Before the cruise, sign up for some Premium Experience Excursions for a more in-depth and active options while in port. The pricing is nominal and money well spent! Read Less
13 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2016
So delighted with our experience here on the American Queen that I am writing from our cabin before we disembark in a few hours! Really so much to say about this experience that words cannot measure up to our week spent on the American ... Read More
So delighted with our experience here on the American Queen that I am writing from our cabin before we disembark in a few hours! Really so much to say about this experience that words cannot measure up to our week spent on the American Queen. The history and scenes of some of the ports were fascinating and handled smoothly by the excursions staff. St Francisville could use a few more points of interest, but that is my only suggestion. Dining options are varied, but the JM White is where you must dine if you cruise here. The menu service along with buffet for lunch and breakfast make it a "can't miss" experience. Dinner is served expertly by a team of enthusiastic servers who ensure a proper experience. Activities were scattered throughout afternoons, but we didn't attend any because of their timing while we were on shore excursions. Gym and fitness options could vary more to include group recreation like line dancing or Richard Simmons style cardio activity. Pool is small and never saw anyone use it. It is clean though. Entertainment is what everyone raves about as repeat passengers and they were right. Even tonight's show in the main theater featured the four star theater performers in a fun popular hits type of show. They are all so very talented and all very versatile. One man sings as pure as gold and the other also sings and has spectacular dance moves and plays piano to boot! Two beautiful girls compliment the men... Both powerful voices... One does a solo jazz show that is unbelievable and the other is tall and did the most incredible Barbara Streisand rendition I've ever heard. There is a large band that plays for these shows and sounds like a Broadway orchestra. The lounge performers are also very good. The main lounge features sing a longs and Frank Sinatra type music, while the bar act is rock and soul and dance music. Even big ships don't offer the diversity this line does. All in all it was a great experience... We were treated so kindly by everyone we encountered and felt very comfortable early on knowing this was a week in which we would truly enjoy ourselves. Somethings I shared might be nitpicking but it shows that there is so much good happening on the vessel. Hope to try the Empress soon. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2016
New Orleans and the Mississippi was our dream holiday and this cruise ticked all the boxes. We explored the town for 3 days using the sightseeing bus which stopped outside our hotel,the superb Hyatt Regency. We transfered with ease and ... Read More
New Orleans and the Mississippi was our dream holiday and this cruise ticked all the boxes. We explored the town for 3 days using the sightseeing bus which stopped outside our hotel,the superb Hyatt Regency. We transfered with ease and were transported back in time to luxury travel on the beautiful steamboat, the American Queen.We were treated so well by all members of staff and the food was amazing, such variety. Travel on the river was so relaxing and peaceful. The excursions were well organised and we experienced Oak Alley Plantation,a swamp visit, Frogmore Plantation, Vicksburg and Gospel and Blues.We were very impressed with the Hop On Hop Off buses available at each port of call. Our trip to Gracelands was amazing and changed our perception of Elvis for the better. Months on and we are still talking about our trip thanks to American Steamboat Company. Read Less
37 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2015
Here's a rundown of the passengers! About 15% of the passengers on the Columbia/Snake River Cruise departing from Portland, Oct 10th, had significant physical disabilities, such as walking with a cane, walker or needing the ... Read More
Here's a rundown of the passengers! About 15% of the passengers on the Columbia/Snake River Cruise departing from Portland, Oct 10th, had significant physical disabilities, such as walking with a cane, walker or needing the supportive assistance of a spouse or adult child. About 50 % of the passengers, myself included were not physically fit enough to walk comfortably more than 2 miles on a flat surface, or less than 2 miles on an incline. Average age estimated to be about 73. For persons living an active lifestyle such as biking or vigorous hiking the activity level of the cruise will not be challenging enough in my opinion. I arrived at the boat in Portland by cab. The young man taking my bags at the pier did not welcome me onboard. He was sullen. When I got inside the boat, Jessica did welcome me but did not have a name tag for me. She said someone else had gotten it by mistake. The boat while charming on the exterior is actually run down and somewhat depressing on the interior. My cabin while it was clean enough was pretty pitiful considering what I paid for a single person. I have traveled with ACL to the Puget Sound & my cabin on that trip was considerably better. On this cruise I had a single bed which looked smaller than most single beds. More like a youth bed. The comforter was worn and limp and did not provide enough warmth. I had to pile some of my sweaters on the bed to sleep. The pillows were embarrassing. Maybe 2 inches thick and ready for the rag pile. Other passengers experienced similar pillows. It was great to have the little balcony however. Bring bug spray because you will need it for mosquitoes. The walls are so thin between cabins that just about everything is heard on the other side-coughing, conversations, nose blowing. Passengers are very considerate of each other in this regard. I did not feel that the crew addressed safety issues while the ship was in port. While in the port of Stevenson, an older passenger fell while negotiating her way into town from the dock by herself. But walking alone is not the only issue. There are 3 train tracks between the dock and the boat that must be crossed. Trains barrel around the bend very frequently and heaven forbid one of the passengers fell on these tracks and could not get up when a train is coming. Considering the frail nature of some of the passengers and that they may be hard of hearing it is a real possibility. It would be very helpful for the crew to have an informational talk regarding safety while in port. Passengers should travel together in groups at the very least. There were train tracks to be crossed also in the Dalles if one wanted to venture into town. Ian was on board, an Australian expert in all things Louis and Clark. He gave a couple of excellent talks about the Corps of Discovery. But the first afternoon out of Portland, Ian got on the microphone and was giving a blow by blow description of everything we passed by and such info as how to pronounce the town name of Kalama. Passengers in their individual cabins could not turn the sound down and some of us were very aggravated. Sometimes you just want to quietly meditate & watch the scenery go by without someone yelling incessantly. The first few days of the trip were beautiful while the last couple of days closer to Clarkston were not pleasant. In short, it stunk to high heavens! It was hard to figure out what smelled so bad but someone said it was a paper factory. However, the ship also began to smell like sewage in certain areas too. When I settled my account and left a generous tip, I was not even thanked. Great way to treat a passenger. I had also requested information on the Ohio River cruise-twice and never got it. I think an element of burnout was taking over with a couple of the staff. I fit right in with most of the passengers-age wise, interest wise, activity level. I feel comfortable at meals conversing with the other passengers. I enjoyed the excursions. But I will really weigh my options before going on another ACL trip. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2015
This was my fourth cruise on American Queen in 15 months, all different itineraries. I am usually an Ocean and Expedition cruiser, but I have totally fallen in love with American Queen. Unlike most river cruise ships, that have the charm ... Read More
This was my fourth cruise on American Queen in 15 months, all different itineraries. I am usually an Ocean and Expedition cruiser, but I have totally fallen in love with American Queen. Unlike most river cruise ships, that have the charm of airport hotels, AQ is the real McCoy. It's a total immersion experience in River and Southern culture. As you board, you are welcomed with a Dixieland Jazz band playing on the front porch. You walk up a red carpet to the library, where you are offered an array of amazing hors d'oeuvres. The decor is incredible. It's like you walked into a plantation home. Wonderful antiques are everywhere. The staff at the Reception Desk welcome you and actually try to help you, whatever you need. After all the snubs you get on big cruise ships, this is so refreshing. Genuine Southern Hospitality rules the day. As a repeater, the hugs with crew members remembering me started at the check-in at the hotel and continued on board. You are one of the family. The cabins are great. They are decorated with period decor. Mine had a genuine dresser from a plantation home and a Tiffany style lamp. The beds are so comfortable, you sleep so well. The bathrooms are huge and also well appointed. The boat doesn't rock, you're on the river. The food is the best on any ship afloat, anywhere,any place. I've taken 76 cruises and I can't rave more about it. They feature southern and creole food, along with down home American favorites. You know you are in trouble when the first morning's special is Bananas Foster French Toast stuffed with cream cheese. Look for the Jambalaya, Maryland crab cakes, slow cooked brisket, short ribs and the desserts. The carrot cake with cream cheese frosting and white chocolate is incredible, but the bread pudding of the day, with a different liquor sauce every day, will have yours eyes rolling back in your head! The dining room is so elegant, with twin domed wings. I hardy ever went to the Front Porch Cafe, as the temptation is too great! The entertainment is fantastic too. I especially liked the local musicians, who came on for a show. The band is terrific. One night they had a 50s 60s sock hop and the crowd kept cheering for them to continue. The reviews were great too, with a cast of four singer/dancers. They did everything from Jazz to Blues to Pop to Broadway. On off nights, they came and sang at the piano bar, which is so popular, they drag chairs over from the dining room for everyone to enjoy. An informative Riverlorian has lectures to educate you on the history of the river. The company has a fleet of luxury motor coaches. Every day, they pull up to give included hop on hop off tours. They make multiple stops and include museums, historic homes and all kinds of fun places of interest, real Americana. I was worried I might be bored, but I find that I am scrambling to squeeze everything in. Hannibal is known for its Mark Twain sites, but the shopping was great too. The Native American store had wonderful belts and hand made sterling silver buckles. In Clinton, we went across to Fulton, to a windmill brought from Holland, and toured an amazing museum featuring models of every kind of windmill around. The town dressed in Dutch outfits to welcome us. From Red Wing, I took a premium tour to get face to beak with Bald Eagles. I didn't take the premium tour to "The Field of Dreams" and am sorry I didn't. They took you to the actual cornfield, talked with the Ghost Players from the movie, then people played baseball. Several 70+ year old ladies told me they went 2 for 4! The premium tours are inexpensive, compared to major ocean cruise lines, and are great value. They really think of everything on AQ. You never have anything to complain about. They don't skimp or cut back on food and service, as is common on big ships. How refreshing! They just ooze with Southern hospitality, great food and fun. I can't wait to return! Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2015
We like wine and we like history, so the wine-themed cruise "Ameritage! Four Rivers of Wine & History" aboard the SS Legacy seemed a perfect choice for us, especially because we'd never taken a river cruise so knew it ... Read More
We like wine and we like history, so the wine-themed cruise "Ameritage! Four Rivers of Wine & History" aboard the SS Legacy seemed a perfect choice for us, especially because we'd never taken a river cruise so knew it would be entirely different from the four Alaska cruises we've already enjoyed on Un-Cruise Adventures small ships. Kristina welcomed us to the gathering space in the Portland, OR, World Trade Center, helped us with our bags, and at our request recommended a nearby cozy restaurant where we could have lunch. We had driven 200 miles and were able to long-term park at a decent rate only two blocks away from the site. A very tempting and generous presentation of fruit and pastries along with coffee and water was available to the guests at the WTC with restrooms conveniently located nearby. The SS Legacy was moored across the street a short walk away, and a luxury travel bus was available to those who could not or did not want to walk. The crew lined up to greet us as we boarded the ship and showed us to our individual rooms. From their enthusiasm you'd never guess that they had bid goodbye just hours earlier to the previous week's guests. After a brief safety talk in the beautifully appointed lounge and some time to familiarize ourselves with the boat, we filtered into the large dining room where every seat is a view seat and enjoyed Portland's beauty as we cruised along the Willamette River on our way to the Columbia. But this was a wine cruise! As such, an Un-Cruise steward who is also a professional sommelier enlightened us about the wines he'd chosen to complement our meals, regardless of whether it was the seafood, meat, or vegetarian entrée. Un-Cruise had even invited an independent wine blogger, Jameson Fink, whose blog Wine Without Worry is a delightful read full of his wine experiences, recommendations and recipes, to travel with us and introduce us to his personally-selected variety of wines over the course of the week. Jameson knows his stuff and shared it (and his humor!) with us each evening at the "5 o'clock cocktail hour and wine presentation." Two luxury buses ferried us to each day's destinations in total comfort, each bus hosted by Un-Cruise Heritage leaders Julie or Kenne, who presented the history of the region in an entertaining and educational manner. They also treated us to anecdotal information that was so much fun to learn. Now we know how the term "What in the Sam Hill" originated! (We were on Julie's bus and she is absolutely hilarious!) Somewhere along the line we discovered that Captain Dano had won liar's and storytelling contests, so we asked if he could tell some stories. Of course this was already planned on the weekly "Open Mike" night when crew and willing guests alike entertained us in the lounge after dinner. It was a packed house and everyone loved it! Julie, whose background is in theater, lowered the bar (she said) by telling some "sophisticated" jokes that made my cheeks hurt from laughter. From then it was game on! Wearing a pink cowboy hat, my husband told the story about the time he rented a pig and took it to a party, along with other tales from his Air Force career. The ship features an additional self-serve bar, the Pesky Barnacle, where guests can choose from several whiskeys, wines, and beer on tap at any time day or night. The bridge is open for guests to enjoy the view and the crew. In addition to exercise equipment located under cover on the top deck, there is yoga each morning, a private massage offered to each passenger in the wellness room, and a hot tub. Table settings in the dining room are representative of a fine dining establishment with the napkins are folded differently at each meal. No buffets here, by the way! There were several older guests who had mobility challenges so the SS Legacy's elevator made it easier for them to get around, and the crew was always ready with a helping hand any time it was needed. So many things stand out for this cruise (and Un-Cruise Adventures in general from our experience), including the warmth and personalities of various crew members, their remarkable knowledge through which we lifelong Washington State residents learned so much about our own state, their commitment to their guests, the great food and drink, the entertainment, and the spectacular beauty of the region. Would we recommend this and do it again? Yes we would! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2015
I sailed on the first Mark Twain theme cruise on the American Queen August 23rd. I suffer from vertigo which becomes massively worse if I lie down and turn my head. This means that I must sleep sitting up, usually in a recliner. I had ... Read More
I sailed on the first Mark Twain theme cruise on the American Queen August 23rd. I suffer from vertigo which becomes massively worse if I lie down and turn my head. This means that I must sleep sitting up, usually in a recliner. I had requested this, but was very nervous that the company might not have chair that worked well for me. When I boarded the boat and the staff came with a recliner for me, I was thrilled and happy. I was also very impressed with kind and attentive care the staff gave to the few passengers with severe disabilities. As a single woman, I did not feel like an odd duck on this cruise. I was once married and went on cruises with my husband. I noticed then that traveling as a single woman on many cruises is not a very good situation. This Riverboat cruise has an atmosphere that stresses the values I believe are important—-namely, American traditions and culture, an appreciation of the heartland with its' river system and diversity in the passengers. Read Less
29 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2015
My wife and I sailed on the August 9 departure of the American Empress, a 7-night journey that began in Vancouver WA (across the river from Portland OR) and ended in Clarkston WA, about 2 hours south of Spokane. The cruise exceeded my ... Read More
My wife and I sailed on the August 9 departure of the American Empress, a 7-night journey that began in Vancouver WA (across the river from Portland OR) and ended in Clarkston WA, about 2 hours south of Spokane. The cruise exceeded my expectations and would be enjoyed by just about anyone above age 60 or perhaps younger people traveling with their family. For the record, we are a 65-year old retired couple from California. The ship carries about 200 passengers, most in cabins with a balcony. One quirk is that the more expensive cabins/suites are on deck 4, the promenade deck. These cabins have an outside seating area with a short "fence" cordoning it off from the promenade walkway so there is less privacy in these cabins. Those in window cabins can still enjoy the river views and there are several comfortable outdoor seating venues on different decks. Our category C balcony cabin on deck 2 was a bit small but completely adequate and comfortable. It included a refrigerator, flat screen TV and a safe. Wi-Fi generally worked well in our cabin. The speed was about what you would expect on an ocean cruise, faster than dial-up but far slower than on your home cable modem. The dining experience was very good to excellent. For breakfast and lunch there are two venues, a sit-down meal in the main dining room and a buffet on the top deck. In both cases the offerings were not as numerous as you would find on a sea cruise but there was enough variety to please me. We ate all of our breakfasts at the buffet; I was very impressed with the summertime fruit selection. A 'made to order' omelet station was also available. We ate most lunches in the sit-down venue. There were a few choices from a 2-course menu with optional dessert. Service was prompt. The buffet lunch also featured a grill offering hamburgers and hot dogs. For dinner the buffet area was converted to an alternative restaurant with tablecloths; advance reservations are required with a limit of 2 visits per voyage. The River Grill featured a fixed menu that included entrees like lamb chops, filet, and lobster. Service was attentive. Tables for 2 are very small so it is useful to share a table with others. Dinner in the main dining room offered open seating at two times, 5:30 and 7:45. The menu generally consisted of a choice of 2 appetizers, a soup, a salad and a choice of about 4 or 5 entrees, one being vegetarian. Wine is offered each evening with dinner, one white and one red. The reds were generally pretty good or better. However on two evenings the white wine offered was off-dry to sweet, not a good choice for dinner. Wine service was very attentive with generous pours. Many evenings I requested a final glass of wine to take to the show. I was pleasantly surprised by the on-board entertainment. Each evening there was a 45-minute show in the show lounge featuring a 4-piece band. The cruise directors, a husband and wife team, provided excellent singing and dancing most evenings. A guest banjo/guitarist, Will Kiefer, gave excellent performances on two evenings. The shows were augmented with a humorous piano-bar entertainer in the main bar. My only criticism of the entertainment was that the song selection was a bit stodgy, more "Lawrence Welk" than 'Woodstock". As I pointed out in my on-board ship review, those of us that are now 65 are part of the "Woodstock Generation" and we will begin to represent a greater portion of their passenger demographic. Another key aspect of the entertainment was a series of talks provided by the Riverlorian, Lawrence Cotton for this voyage. A highlight was his two-part depiction of the Lewis and Clark journey from the early 1800s. He managed to bring this adventure to life. He was also frequently on deck chatting with passengers. On occasion he would take to the PA system to narrate scenery or lock transits. Shore excursions were very well designed and executed. Each port featured a no-cost "Hop-on Hop-off" bus service that visited several attractions. A good map with the bus timetable was provided for each port. Generally you could also purchase a premium excursion for more in-depth exploration. The optional shore excursions were priced similar to sea cruise excursions. The full-day Columbia Gorge excursion was a highlight. We also very much enjoyed the half-day wine excursion. Of the Ho-Ho trips, we enjoyed Astoria the most. Suggestions: --Cruise direction of travel: I recommend the westbound itinerary for a few reasons. Eastern Washington is dry and dusty. I would have preferred to end the trip with the more lush scenery of the Columbia Gorge and western Oregon. Flights out of Spokane are more limited than from Portland; it is good to get the more difficult flight out of the way initially by flying into Spokane. --the no cost Ho-Ho bus tickets are required for the first few departures. This is to avoid crowding. The tickets and map are available the evening before; it is prudent to get them early so that you can secure your desired departure time. --Make reservations for the River Grill dinner shortly after embarking the boat. Try to pick evenings where the ship is traveling rather than docked; this provides better views while dining. And generally you can secure a third night if you also ask for dinner the night of boarding; this doesn't count against your two-night quota. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2015
We arrived late in the day at the Doubletree Hotel in St Paul and the AQ Desk was closed. We went up to our room which was more than adequate for an overnight stop and then went into the restaurant for a meal. I use the word restaurant ... Read More
We arrived late in the day at the Doubletree Hotel in St Paul and the AQ Desk was closed. We went up to our room which was more than adequate for an overnight stop and then went into the restaurant for a meal. I use the word restaurant with reservations. It was noisy with 'locals' performing Karaoke and we were surrounded by arcade games, definitely not the sort of place we would normally frequent, or expect to find in a hotel. Sunday was a farce because unless you chose to pay to go on the excursion around St Paul you were left to hang around the hotel for hours waiting for 3pm when we were to board the boat. The hotel reception and all other available seating which was a bit sparse looked like the waiting room of a hospital outpatients. After having to trundle our carry on luggage down a steep slope to the boat we were ushered into the lifts to our deck where upon we found our lovely stateroom, immaculately clean and very well appointed although on first sight it doesn't look that way. As our stay in America was to be much longer than the cruise we had quite a bit more luggage than we would have had for just the cruise but we found ample space for its storage (all out of the cases) and with space to spare. The bathroom was small (well what do you expect on such a vessel) but very well appointed and with nice toiletries and two lovely dressing gowns. There were double doors which opened directly onto the deck and a table and couple of chairs to sit out at our leisure. After unpacking we went of to explore the boat and get our bearings. What a magnificent and opulent boat she is. So 1800s and beautifully maintained and spotless. The JM Dining room was equally opulent and the food served exceptional and we were waited on by the most delectable young lady who attended to our every need. The entertainment was a disappointment since this was supposed to be a 50s/60s Themed Cruise but for the most part we heard nothing but Jazz and even music written in different styles was jazzed up by the piano player in the Captains Bar, who incidentally was so far up himself you couldn't speak to him. He just ignored us when asked if he could play something not jazzed up. We didn't use the pool either, as apart from the rest of the boat, we found the Sun Deck quite dirty and neglected. The pool was cloudy and had 'things' floating in it, not very inviting. There were two types of excursion provided, the usual organised type where you book and pay extra for a dedicated location or activity and which we have found in the past usually more expensive than they are worth. However none of them either appealed to us or were out of our do-able category. We therefore chose the second type, that of a Free Hop On, Hop Off Bus around each of the locations where the Boat visited. We found this to be really handy as we could go the full route making notes of where we would like to visit and then Hop off when we reached them on a subsequent circuit hopping back on to visit the next choice. These buses carried a dedicated tour guide who resided in each of the locations and who were very well informed about their respective towns. Disembarkation was a farce as not being very mobile we had to negotiate the steep slope again only this time upwards, it was only when I were half way up I was offered assistance, which was not previously offered otherwise I would have taken it, being at the point of no return I soldiered on to the waiting queue of taxis (the AQ wanted $25 per person to go by their coach to the airport,having to sit on it until it was full, but it only cost us $40 to go by private taxi, not have to wait, and a much better ride) We would have given an excellent rating, but the Sun Deck and lack of Themed Music let you down. All in all we had a lovely time and were looked after incredibly well throughout our cruise by a most wonderful crew. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2015
This was my fourth AQ trip - Columbia/Snake River, Ohio River, lower Mississippi and this one on the upper Mississippi from St Louis to Minneapolis/St Paul, MN. As always AQ trips start with an overnight in the embarkation port - this ... Read More
This was my fourth AQ trip - Columbia/Snake River, Ohio River, lower Mississippi and this one on the upper Mississippi from St Louis to Minneapolis/St Paul, MN. As always AQ trips start with an overnight in the embarkation port - this time St Louis where we were put up at the Hilton Ballpark, just across the street from the Cardinal's Stadium where they played both that night and the next day, which made for a "busy" hotel. After breakfast (on AQ) and check in for the voyage, most of us took an extra cost Premium Tour of St Louis and then were delivered to the "boat" in Alton IL as the boat could not tie up in downtown St Louis due to high water and construction. Remember - a cruise ship is called a "ship", but a river cruise ship is called a "boat". Our luggage, picked up from our hotel rooms, was on the bed in our cabins. So nice to not have X Ray and other inspections as on other lines going on the high seas. Underway for Hannibal MO, a day "Riverboating, Clinton IA, Dubuque IA, La Crosse WI, Red Wing MN. We usually arrived in these towns about noon for a 5 hour stay. As always AQ's three "Hop On/Hop Off" busses accompanied us and provided tours at each stop. In addition there was usually one or more extra cost "Premium Tours available. Food on AQ is outstanding at all meals but is a little "spicy" reflecting their New Orleans origins. New this year is "room service" for those desiring at all meals. Food is also available at a simpler buffet called the Front Porch, and snacks are available at all times. Additionally bottled water, sodas, various coffees and ice cream, are always available, and complimentary beer/wine are served at dinner. Food quality and service are outstanding. Both a menu and a buffet are offered at breakfast and lunch in the Dining Room, and a menu in the evening for dinner. Dress is "resort elegant" - in other words collared shirts for men, but ties and coats not needed AQ offers a quality product, but as it is American owned and crewed (with US wages etc), their fares are significantly higher than on foreign owned, ocean going cruises averaging $450 per pers/per day I cannot rate AQ high enough and am very surprised that the Queen's rating here on CC is only 66% favorable. Only recently has AQ introduced "single fares, as opposed to their double fare for singles in the past. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: May 2015
This was my first experience with American Cruise Lines. All aspects of the cruise was FUN! More training needed of the young service personnel for their sake. All personnel was courteous. Tours were interesting, food was top quality, ... Read More
This was my first experience with American Cruise Lines. All aspects of the cruise was FUN! More training needed of the young service personnel for their sake. All personnel was courteous. Tours were interesting, food was top quality, kept up to date on a daily basis for tours, activities on and off the boat. Looking forward to another trip. Best part, you get to travel, see sights' meet new acquaintances without having to pack & unpack each day. Read Less

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