My wife and I have taken 16 cruises and this was the worst one yet. But before I get to the problems, I will cover the general items.
This cruise started in Cincinnati with an over night stay at the Hilton on June 27 then cruised the Ohio river to Pittsburg on July 4. We picked this cruise because we were looking for something different from ocean cruising and European river cruises. When we noted it stopped in Wheeling WV, we signed on immediately because this is where my wife's ancestors settled when they came to the USA from Ireland in the early 1800s. She has three generations buried there and had been working with a historian at the library there doing research. After singing up for the cruise, we hired a historian to drive we around town to the different sights relating to my wife's ancestors.
The Hilton is a nice old hotel downtown just a few blocks from where the AQ docks. I was extremely noisy until 11:30 because of bands playing at Fountain square just across the street. At check in we were told of an hospitality desk where AQ was checking people in. After standing in a hot line with no seating for over an hour, we find out that AQ is just trying to upsell excursions even though we have already selected them on line and that check in in the morning early.
The next morning we go to check in and get our sea pass, picture taken, credit card scanned and pick our dining preference even though we have don it on line. Then, you guessed it , Back to the excursion desk again to try to up sale us some more.
We were taking the pre-cruise tour of Cincinnati an were told to wait for the bus on the street. The hotel was trying to clear the sidewalk and get every one to wait inside but the lobby is in the second floor an you can not see when the busses are loading. The busses arrived with the passengers from the pervious cruise. That is where we found out the paddle wheel shaft had broken several days before and that the repair crew was disassembling the paddle wheel.
The AQ looks nice. The State rooms are small as expected but they are nice.
Food was barely average and portions were small. So I would order an extra vegetable. The front porch had a buffet with about the same foods but had a problem keeping food hot.
Food service was poor. Bar tenders seem to be good but I do not use them much. Cabin stewards were ok.
Bingo was good with all the money going to the prize pool.
Entertainment was very good, Much better than I expected. The house band was very good and the special shows were good.
THEN THE TROUBLE STARTS.
The caption introduced himself at the 7:00 show and tells us we have not left port yet. (duh) He said that not only is the paddle wheel shaft broken but a generator is inoperable and we are waiting for parts from New Orleans. He also said a crew member was injured working on the generator and was taken to thr hospital. I started seeing red flags because I have read several reports of AQ generator problems on Cruise Cretic.
The next day about mid morning the captain announces that we are seven hours behind schedule and will skip our first port, Maysville, Kentucky. Red flags again! We were only three or four hours late departing Cincinnati, why are we seven hours late? We pass Maysville an three hours later the boat turns around an heads back down stream, no explanation! At the seven o'clock show the captain reports a z-drive failure we will return to Maysville for repairs. Parts will be shipped from Louisiana and we might be in Maysville for two days. The red flags are getting bigger. They push the AQ op against the bank and tie it to a tree.
We sign up for the premium tour to Washington, KY in the morning and were told we could do the HOHO in Maysville in the evening. But come to find out everything closed around because it was not a cruise day.
At show time the captain announced that we would leave about seven am after Coast Guard inspection. We would have a tow boat to help us with speed but WOULD SKIP ALL REMANING PORTS.
For compensation AQ offered:
*Free bar -not much value unless you drink a lot and wine is already complimentary at dinner
* $100 on board credit -bar is free, no more excursions, the only thing you can spend it on is the Spa and gift shop--- very little cost to AQ
* 25% of the cost of the cruise toward a future cruise-- the think I am going to spend more money with AQ
* A free return trip to Cincinnati - not a bad deal for those the can take it but again very little cost to AQ the sailing is not full therefore the only cost to AQ is a little extra food.
To sum it all up I FEEL CHEATED! AQ knew several days before departure in Cincinnati that the paddle wheel world be inoperable and they made no attempt to contact us so we would have the option of canceling or postponing. In my opinion, AQ would not have been able to make the ports they advertises with the paddle wheel out of service and no other problems. The compensation AQ offered is a slap in the face after missing 75% of our ports.