To put my comments into perspective: I travelled solo; am physically in good shape, considering my age (87); use a hiking pole for longer walks; prefer the elevator over stairs. Have been on two river cruises - - the Rhone in France and the Duoro in Portugal. I will be using a 10-point rating system, where 10 stands for outstanding.
Scenery - Unique, utterly relaxing, but not exciting. I am glad I did the cruise as an excellent one-time experience as far as my travel interests are concerned.
Embarkation/Disembarkation Process – Well thought out and executed -9
Cabin Space – Compared to European river boats which are narrow to fit through the European river locks and are usually limited to 2 decks to pass under numerous bridges, the American Queen outside cabins are quite spacious and well furnished – 8. I received a free upgrade to an outside cabin because when I arrived at my booked inside cabin, it was already occupied by someone else. The inside cabins are quite claustrophobic, especially if occupied by two people. If you take the cruise, spring at least for the lowest priced outside cabin.
My bed was a 10; the remaining cabin furniture was comfortable und useful, but could stand some refurbishing, especially as far as re-staining of the wood surfaces is concerned.
Public Rooms, spread over five decks are spacious and comfortable; compared to European river boats 9, to blue water ships – 7.
Cabin Personnel – Very friendly and helpful. When I mentioned that I had to keep my insulin cool, the stewardess immediately brought a small portable refrigerator. Rating - 9
Food/Dinner - The quality, variety and presentation of the food deserves a 10, as does the food service personnel. The assigned dinner seating can be awkward when you are travelling solo. You are sort of the fifth wheel at a table. Fortunately, enough people used the less formal Front Porch of America restaurant on the third deck in the bow so that there was always a dining space in the company of some newly acquired friends.
Again, there was a mix-up in my dinner assignment. I had requested the second seating (more compatible with the time zone in which I normally eat), but was given the first seating. This, however, was resolved quickly, because quite a number of passengers could not get their first seating choice. This, and some other minor goof-ups, seems indicative that the hotel management of the boat could use some strengthening. For example, I never got the loose toilet seat and the dirty water leak into my bathtub fixed, nor can I understand why the daily River Times on the day when it had instruction for disembarkation, had on the masthead the right day, but wrong date; or the tour manager –at embarkation tour sign-up – ran out of sign-up sheets. Hotel management – 6.
Wi-Fi: Inside and outside of the Engine Bar on Deck Two, in the stern of the boat – 8. In the cabin – 1. Computer availability – 2; one laptop for all passengers, some of whom tended to monopolize the computer.
Entertainment – I must confess, I am not a good judge here. Entertainment on a boat or ship is not important to me. I enjoyed sitting on one of the decks reading a book, chatting with fellow passengers and watching the scenery go by. People who attended the shows and lectures thought they were very good. The venue is very comfortable.
The Various Bars – fun, helped by that fact that about 10% of the passengers were younger couples from Australia, always ready to have a good time – 8. The wines at dinner were usually good and certainly plentiful – 9. Purchased drinks at almost $10 (incl. service) were a bit steep, in my and the opinion of others. But they were professionally done -8.
Tours – The hop-on/Hop-off busses certainly deserve a 10, both the bus concept and the busses, drivers, and guides. I was also on the special Vicksburg Battle field Tour and the Mississippi canoe trip in Helena, Ark. These were a good value and definitely a 10. The Helen, Ark. port call by itself was a 6. The included pre-cruise stay at the Riverside Hilton in New Orleans deserves a 10 in every respect.
Would I recommend the Cruise to others? – 9, provided they are looking for a unique American life style and relaxed cruising experience rather than a sightseeing or activity cruise. On this cruise, the clientele – except for the Australians – tended to be on the older side. The boat seems well equipped for people in wheel chairs, using walkers or some other assist.