I have long wished to take a Riverboat cruise and so I went with American Queen on a 6 day Ohio River cruise. American Queen starts your tour with an overnight in the originating city, Pittsburg in this case. We stayed in luxury accomodations at the Omni William Tell in downtown. There was a Hospitality Desk that afternoon, dinner "on your own", breakfast on AQ, check in at the hotel the next morning. Along with many others I signed up for their "Premium" (extra cost) tour of Pittsburg which was excellent, lunch on our own, and then delivery to the ship where we walked aboard with no security etc after we swiped our ticket card given us that morning and off to our charming staterooms where our luggage, picked up at the hotel, was waiting. Then underway at 1800 followed by truly delicious dinner either in the Dining Room or at the Front Porch Buffet overlooking the forward observation deck with plenty of rocking chairs etc. Light dining was also available at the "Back Porch" Bar and Grille.
The ship, built for Delta Queen Steamship Line in 1988, is a replica of a 1840's Steam driven Paddleboat and is beautiful. Cabins are the same, with updated baths of course. As we travelled south the "Riverlorian" gave both announcements of places/things of interest, and additionally daily talks on River Life etc.
Each day we visited another small river side town and were met by AQ's busses, which followed us shorside, and we were given complimentary Hop On/Off tours of the area and its museums etc. with another bus following aong every 15 min. to continue ones tour. AQ has made arrangements for free admission to all the museums etc., and many were much more interesting than one would expect to find in small town America, including two wonderful River/Riverboat Museums, a complete colonial fort re-created, art and theatre museums etc. All most enjoyable.Iced bottled water was distributed as one left, swiped ones "Boarding Card", and on return swiped the card again and back on board. What was missing - how about intrusive security checks, pawing thru ones bags, metal detectors, X Rays etc. Was the hassle missed - I doubt it.
We passed thru two locks each day as we headed south - most interesting and enjoyable
Food was uniformly wonderful everywhere aboard. Crew - all North American's - were friendly, knowledgeable, and helpful. Be aware that all the "quality" aboard has a price - about $500 per day/per person.
One night there was a momentary electrical loss - about 15 seconds. The next day we were scheduled to leave a port at 1200, but the arrival of a part and its installation delayed our departure. Captain called a meeting, explained what had happened, assured us that the delay would not affect any aspect our our cruise and announced "free liquor" for the remainig two days of the trip. Complimentary wine/beer is poured at Dinner, but liquor is charged at other times. I thought thia was a more than generous response by AQ. But then when my final bill arrived I saw that the line had "comped" ALL my liquor purchases for the entire trip. A truly above and beyond response by AQ I think. I will contrast that to a World Cruise on Cunard when the ship "burnt" 1/2 way thru the trip and we had 5 days of no electicity, no toilets, no water, no a/c, and very little food. Cunard compensated us aboard by opening the bars for 4 hrs. - as well as a refund of remaining fare only. What a contrast.
I was exremely happy with all aspects of the trip and will look forward to returning - but will hope for some single friendly fares.