American Queen New Year's Cruise departing Memphis to New Orleans December 28, 2013
It is unconscionable what has happened on this cruise. Especially one that costs almost $8000 for two persons -- very overpriced!
This was supposed to be a holiday cruise -- especially with Vicksburg and Natchez. One of then for New Year"s Eve fireworks. The cruise turned out to be a disaster -- except for the crew who were all gracious!!
The ship left Memphis with at least one inoperable generator. There are two on the boat and there was another temporary generator on the bow of the ship. This should have been a clue that the ship had already had problems. I have no clue which one might have been inoperable when we departed Memphis.
I believe the company knew there were problems, but this was the last cruise of the season and the ship probably had to get to New Orleans!
Our first stop was Helena AK, an overnight sail but only 60 road miles from Memphis. We toured the city in the morning and then were to depart at 1pm. We backed out and, in 30 minutes we pulled back in. A meeting was called for all passengers at 5pm. We were told of the generator problem and that a repair crew was coming but wouldn't arrive until midnight. When we awoke the next morning, we were still tied to the tree at Helena! Another meeting at 10am where we were told that the repair crew could not fix the problem and they were looking at alternatives. Hence, we were stranded in Helena, a dump of a town. The alternative turned out to be to get a "pusher tug" to push us all the way to New Orleans.
It took 30 hours to become that "barge", even though we were only 6 -12 hours from Memphis.
We sailed with the "pusher"around midnight. There was no announcement about itinerary changes until the next day when we were told we would miss the two most important ports -- Vicksburg and Natchez due to the 30 hour delay. We were offered nothing except a free drink!! Having known this was going to be the case they should have offered passengers to disembark and bus them to Memphis instead of this terrible set of ports that were remaining. We never heard from American Queen Steamboat until 10 days after we returned home with a letter in the mail and a $500/person credit certificate on a future AQ cruise. I guess the President figured that 30 hours out of a planned 240 hours was 12.5% and hence he offered it!
The company should have offered either a REFUND of 25% or a future cruise credit of 50%. Instead, everyone received this ridiculous offer no matter what they paid for the cruise.
I would never recommend AQ Steamboat company to anyone.
Again, we missed the two most important ports, Vicksburg and Natchez, including New Year's eve festivities there!