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192 American Queen Steamboat Company North America River Cruise Reviews

This is my first cruise with American Queen Steamboat Company. Although it is only my 2nd day I have had many requests and they have all been fufilled. I have some food allergies and requests and they were all taken seriously, although it ... Read More
This is my first cruise with American Queen Steamboat Company. Although it is only my 2nd day I have had many requests and they have all been fufilled. I have some food allergies and requests and they were all taken seriously, although it limited my choices. There is a historian on board (Riverlorian as he is called) and love the talks. They are not always at a time when we can make it. I am relaxed and happy. This is a much better feeling than the other large cruise lines. I wish I still drank wine because that was really flowing last night.. all included. The entertainment is much better than I imagined. The post cries stay hotel in New Orleans is awesome. am looking to take the Colombia River Cruise next year. Read Less
Sail Date April 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
Sail Date March 2016
Our first ever river cruise was on the American Queen from New Orleans to Memphis. This very unique journey on a genuine 400 passenger Mississippi River steamboat was fabulous in every way. The embarkation and disembarkation processes ... Read More
Our first ever river cruise was on the American Queen from New Orleans to Memphis. This very unique journey on a genuine 400 passenger Mississippi River steamboat was fabulous in every way. The embarkation and disembarkation processes were outstanding, as was the organization of the included hop-on/hop-off tours and the premium tours. The places visited were rich with history and architecture and there was always more to see than you had time for. The food and service were excellent, and the variety and quality of the entertainment was outstanding, especially on such a small boat. The captain even played with the musicians in the beautiful Engine Room bar. Gerry the Riverlorian was both informative and very entertaining. The décor was Victorian ostentation, and immersed you in the elegant heyday of the Mississippi steamboat era. Everything was so well organized that we experienced only one little glitch--we had dreamed of sipping a mint julep on the deck rocking chairs, but they never had any mint! The passenger loyalty is staggering--we met "Miss Ruth" on her 150th trip on this boat. The line thanked her back by upgrading her to a luxury suite. She said she hardly knew what to do with the butler, but the digs were wonderful. Read Less
Sail Date February 2016
This was a really great trip. To me the major attraction is the Mississippi River itself and I was able to spend hours on my veranda watching the river and watching middle America pass by at seven miles an hour. The food was ... Read More
This was a really great trip. To me the major attraction is the Mississippi River itself and I was able to spend hours on my veranda watching the river and watching middle America pass by at seven miles an hour. The food was exceptionally good from the continental breakfast that appeared in our cabin each morning to the well prepared and tasty dinners at night. Service was exceptional and many of the staff actually remembered my name from previous voyages. Entertainment was excellent and I particularly enjoyed Phil Westbrook who is the consummate lounge entertainer. The shore excursions fall into two categories: a hop-on hop-off bus tour of the port with local guides narrating the history and traditional type excursions. Both types were interesting and very well done. The social hostess, Suzanne, circulated around the boat throughout the trip answering questions and making everyone feel at home. She is a great addition to the crew. The one negative thing I have to say is not about the boat but about the included hotel the night before embarkation. The included breakfast at the Hyatt Regency was an absolute disaster. They constantly ran out of food, coffee and even hot water. Getting a fork was a real struggle. This cruise was the 21st I have taken on the steamboats and was one of the best. It was so good I signed up for two additional cruises while I was on board. Read Less
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
Sail Date February 2016
wow! We had a great 3 night cruise staying in both the best suite on the boat (501) and a room with no windows (541) Both rooms were perfect! 4 of us went (me, my husband, sister and 89 yr old mom- for her birthday!) The small room was ... Read More
wow! We had a great 3 night cruise staying in both the best suite on the boat (501) and a room with no windows (541) Both rooms were perfect! 4 of us went (me, my husband, sister and 89 yr old mom- for her birthday!) The small room was roomy enough with a good size bathroom and storage. TV, air/heat, radio (although it took me 3 days to realize the radio was on the wall in both rooms!) The staff made mom feel special the whole time and were always nice, with hugs, and a special birthday cake and singing at dinner. Champagne in room 501 was a nice touch, as were the cheese plates and Adams special touches to make the room neat and clean daily The boat was amazing! Clean, spacious, PLENTY OF FOOD AND ACTIVITIES if you wanted. We had incredible weather so we were able to enjoy the private deck that came with room 501. All the food we ate was terrific and they helped with dietary restrictions. This was a Big Band themed cruise, with a full brass band twice a night for all 3 nights, dancing in the theater was fun too! Our ports of call were nice (2 mansions) easy to get to and walk around. Bikes are available for the taking (just sign up!) I would recommend this cruise to people who are fun, easy going, and enjoy a good time, I only wish I were still on the boat right now! PS~ ask for Kim B, Kelvin, Kris or Adam because they were THE BEST! Pursers folks were super helpful too! xoxo Read Less
Sail Date February 2016
Any mention of the Mississippi brings to mind Mark Twain and stories of life on the river. Things have changed since that era but we found a way to recapture the history and atmosphere of those times. We did it by taking a trip on the ... Read More
Any mention of the Mississippi brings to mind Mark Twain and stories of life on the river. Things have changed since that era but we found a way to recapture the history and atmosphere of those times. We did it by taking a trip on the American Queen the largest, most opulent paddlewheel steamboat in the world. This boat is luxurious, elegant, historical and unlike any other boat we have ever seen. It was re-launched in 2012 after a $6.5 million renovation and is the only authentic steamboat in America. The staterooms are large and beautiful as are the many public rooms filled with antiques. The Mark Twain Gallery contains one of the most expansive collections of Tiffany glass in existence. It feels more like a stylish boutique hotel than a boat. The nightly five course dinners are great and in keeping with the atmosphere of southern charm. We particularly enjoyed the southern cuisine, big band jazz and relaxing in rocking chairs while we glided along the second longest river in North America. We took a short four day trip that involved excursions into the antebellum past and visits to several plantations and a swamp tour where I was handed a live alligator. Nottoway is the south’s largest mansion and dates back to 1859. The setting is magnificent. It has three floors and 22 white columns which has given rise to its nickname as the White Castle of Louisiana. It boasts an amazing 64 bedrooms and has 365 openings. Not to be outdone, the Oak Alley plantation is known as the Grande Dame of the Great River Road. Set on 25 acres, this Greek revival mansion has a quarter mile of 300 year old oak trees and reminded us of scenes from Gone With The Wind. The traditional mint Juleps and guides in period costumes may have helped. The 1830 St. Joseph plantation was a highlight as we were shown through by three charming ladies who were direct descendants of the original family. We came away with a far better understanding of this period of history and the devastation that resulted from the civil war. New Orleans has its own incomparable charms, interesting architecture, traditional jazz bands and wonderful restaurants and southern cuisine. Read Less
Sail Date February 2016
This 5 day cruise from New Orleans to New Orleans was a perfect introduction to cruising on the American Queen. I could not have imagined anything better. The weather was beautiful and everything was nearly perfect. Accommodations ... Read More
This 5 day cruise from New Orleans to New Orleans was a perfect introduction to cruising on the American Queen. I could not have imagined anything better. The weather was beautiful and everything was nearly perfect. Accommodations at the Hilton Riverside were very nice. It seems the AQ people block rooms in an adjacent building and not the tower. The only problem with that was the train that runs alongside the rooms that blew its' whistle before 4:00AM. Breakfast was your usual hotel buffet with the exception of freshly fried beignets. The AQ had a conference room set up to check in, request dinner seating and give your credit card info. You were given a small card with all your info on it that was to serve as your credit card on board. It had your table number on the back of it. This process went quickly and you have the rest of the day to tour or sightsee. Promptly at 3:00 they began the embarkation process. We just went out the back of the hotel and could see where a line was forming. If you have mobility issues, transportation to the boat was arranged during the check in process. I was very pleased with our accommodations which were the bay window cabins. There was more than adequate space for your belongings and the bathroom was nicely sized. The air conditioning works extremely well, it might even be too cold for some people. The public rooms are amazing, such attention to period detail. I had read some reviews of problems in the dining room but there were none on this cruise. The food was delicious and with Troy and Jerry, our waiters, dinner was an event. Breakfast and lunch were open seating buffet or you could order from an abbreviated menu. You could take your meals on the Front Porch but I don't know why you would - the dining room is beautiful, the food is delicious and the service was spot on. This was a Big Band cruise and the orchestra was very good. The guest vocalist Lynn Roberts was so good we attended the early and late show when she was performing. In fact, all the musical performers were good. We were very pleased with every aspect of this cruise and will sail again in the future. Read Less
Sail Date February 2016
We booked this New Year's river cruise about 6 weeks before embarkation. All of the information arrived timely. The Hilton Riverside was perfect as the pre-cruise hotel. The embarkation went smoothly. The luggage was transported ... Read More
We booked this New Year's river cruise about 6 weeks before embarkation. All of the information arrived timely. The Hilton Riverside was perfect as the pre-cruise hotel. The embarkation went smoothly. The luggage was transported from our hotel room to our stateroom without incident and delivered timely. The stateroom was a little dated but of adequate size and comfort. The bathroom was roomy, especially the shower. The room attendant was attentive. She was there mid morning and late afternoon with fresh towels The beds were comfortable enough, and the TV and closed circuit radio provided in room entertainment. The selection of channels was okay although they should have a business channel. Because we signed up so late, only late dining was available. It took some adjusting to eat dinner at 8. We were at a table for 6, but rarely did we have a full table. Our table mates utilized the buffet on the third deck forward on several occasions. On certain nights we dined alone and on others, stragglers from early dinner filled the table. It was somewhat annoying but don't know what can be done. We have had the same experience on ocean cruises with late seating. Notwithstanding, the food was good, the service provided by two young ladies was excellent, the wine cups kept full. We did not experience any of the concerns voiced by prior reviewers with surly staff and inadequate supplies. Some of the wait staff in the morning at open seating moved a little slow, but so do we. Now the best part. The entertainment. Each night they had a show in the Grand Saloon. The ensemble put on 3 live themed shows backed up by the stage band which was entertaining and professional. They brought two entertainers aboard for special shows and one of the ensemble did her own show on one night with a variety of music genres. There was dancing and jamming every night in the lounge. The New Year's Eve party was a hoot. During the day we attended all the riverlorian lectures on the history of the river. And then they had the normal fill-ins, trivia, bingo, etc. The included excursions were okay. Natchez and Vicksburg were worth the time. Too many plantations. The premium excursions to Angola Prison and the Vicksburg battlefield very informative and well done. Disembarkation was a snap. We picked up our suitcases on the pier, walked to our hotel and took early occupancy. Stayed overnight on Sunday because due to our late booking, we had trouble finding a suitable flight back on New Year's weekend. Nothing wrong with another day of beignets and oysters. We are looking forward to doing it again somewhere upriver. With respect to expense, we realize that American work rules do increase the cost, but overall, we feel we received value for our money. Read Less
Sail Date December 2015
On arrival at the Sheridan a parking attendant offered me a "deal" to save me money on parking if I paid him cash, no receipt of course. Embarkation hotel wasn't prepared for guests. Several walked out of restaurant after ... Read More
On arrival at the Sheridan a parking attendant offered me a "deal" to save me money on parking if I paid him cash, no receipt of course. Embarkation hotel wasn't prepared for guests. Several walked out of restaurant after waiting an hour for food, service was slow. Pretrip excursion was good and transfer to the boat went smoothly. Was booked into a AAA suite on starboard side, turned out to be a bad choice. Boat travels at night and usually docked in wee hours of the morning, got awakened by freight train assembly at 4 am and then a follow up by dumpster delivery at 6 am. Suites with direct access to exterior deck are entertained by crew clearing rain water from deck with squeeges again at 4am! Starboard side is also where they unload the luggage in New Orleans, why at 1:30am I have no idea. Only lasted a little over a hour. Attended the disembarkation meeting and learned we needed to buy tickets for a bus trip to move us and our luggage to Hilton lobby to get our car rental. On arrival at the Hilton learned we had to drag our luggage back across the street into the strip mall "next to the boat" to get to the car rental desk. Did get to "pass" the shore excursion director on the way back. It would have been a shorter luggage drag from the boat. Overall, my last voyage on the American Queen. Read Less
Sail Date December 2015
This was our 3rd AQ cruise and a major disappointment! The food was awful, not even truck stop quality. the pastries and bread were store bought instead of home made. the sauces/gravies were congealed in an unappetizing glue when served. ... Read More
This was our 3rd AQ cruise and a major disappointment! The food was awful, not even truck stop quality. the pastries and bread were store bought instead of home made. the sauces/gravies were congealed in an unappetizing glue when served. they ran out of earl grey tea. most of the waiters were surly and inattentive at best. we came for lunch one day, waiters standing around, no one offered to seat us. one waiter was at the salad bar scooping up salad fixings into a plastic bag with no gloves on. finally we seated ourselves at a table by the window and went through the buffet line. as i picked up my fork to start eating, a waiter came by, said 'this table is closed', took away my silverware and glass and left me sitting there! at the captain's receptions, the snacks offered were STALE croutons topped with very nice salmon, but the salmon couldn't make up for the stale bread. and the weirdest thing was that the waiters poured bottle after bottle of champagne, walked around with trays of champagne, but wouldn't serve it, and when the hour was over, they poured dozens of glasses of champagne into the garbage! we ordered a baked potato several nights and got that awful "been on the hot tray for hours" gluey textured insult to a properly baked potato. ordered a steak one nite, purportedly a new york strip. they were obviously out of steaks and had cut a thin slice off the brisket they were serving as pot roast that night. tough as leather and as thin as a pancake! there was a nice omelet/waffle station at breakfast but the cook/waiter hadn't changed his uniform all week. it was disgusting! NOT what one expects when you spend $700/day on a cruise! The tours were ok, but not nearly as interesting as on the st paul to st louis or the columbia river cruise. the entertainment was lively but not great. the banjo player mistakenly thought he was tremendous but he was VERY mistaken. the jug band was the only really good entertainment. more appropriate would have been a single or duo playing acoustic guitar and banjo and singing songs and ballads of the river. the riverlorian was great. his lectures were a 'don't miss'. i would not book a cruise with the AQ again. i don't know if they're fixing to go bankrupt and cutting costs or what but we left feeling insulted rather than pleased and relaxed from an enjoyable cruise. the other couples at our dinner table agreed that the cruise did not meet their expectations and they would neither go on another nor would they recommend the AQ to anyone. Read Less
Sail Date November 2015
If your looking for a very laid back cruise with amazing food and outstanding service check out the American Queen. We went from New Orleans to Memphis. I hear running the river down stream gives you a little more time at the history ... Read More
If your looking for a very laid back cruise with amazing food and outstanding service check out the American Queen. We went from New Orleans to Memphis. I hear running the river down stream gives you a little more time at the history filled ports. If you are interested in the Civil War or Southern living this is the tour for you. The amzing staff from the Stewards like Adam, the porters like Kisha, the fantastic and fun staff of the front porch cafe, Kim, Gabby, Stefanie and others or the knowldgable and helpful pursers will treat you royaly. The hop off hop on tours give you a taste of each ports history and highlights with a little time to check out shops and museums. In the evenings there is wonderful entertainment with music, singing, storytelling, and more. Of course each afternoon you must check out the Riverlorian talk. In 2015 it is Jerry who tells great stories, is an accomplished author, and very knowledagable about US rivers (not just the MS). Food.....it becomes part of the entertainment. If you like dressing up and formal slow dinners try the dinning room for a more laid back (my favorite place on board by the way) check out the front porch cafe. Seafood, steak Dianne, chicken, key lime pie, cheese cake, coffee, or mixed drinks you'll find them here. Open 24 hrs for some drinks and lite snacks. Old or young the self serve icecream machine is a must. Read Less
Sail Date November 2015
Every one of the crew is amazingly friendly. They all want you to have the absolute best cruise experience possible. Kris Kelso, deckhand, really made my cruise when he let me squeegee the deck. His friendly smile and accomodating ... Read More
Every one of the crew is amazingly friendly. They all want you to have the absolute best cruise experience possible. Kris Kelso, deckhand, really made my cruise when he let me squeegee the deck. His friendly smile and accomodating personality made us feel comfortable and welcome. Kim Breashears, waitress on The Front Porch, was such a hoot. Her sense of humor kept us entertained with every meal. She waited on us hand and foot. My husband and I came to prefer the Front Porch dining over the J.M. White Dining Hall. Sandra, our stateroom attendant, worked hard, often behind the scenes, to keep our cabin neat, clean, well supplied, and "ship-shape." Although much of her work was done while we were enjoying ourselves elsewhere, we could always tell when she had been in to spruce things up. Mary Sward, the Riverlorian, was an excellent speaker, presenting historical, educational information pertinent to the region and the river. The cruise director was and excellent host - personable and outgoing. Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
We love the Queen! She is the most authentic paddle wheeler on the rivers! Great food, friendly crew and guests, wonderful entertainment and lectures. Furnishings are appropriate to the time of the glorious steam boats. You will relive ... Read More
We love the Queen! She is the most authentic paddle wheeler on the rivers! Great food, friendly crew and guests, wonderful entertainment and lectures. Furnishings are appropriate to the time of the glorious steam boats. You will relive that era. The staff is very accomadating to special diet needs. This was our 6th cruise aboard the Queen and will soon do our 7th. We boarded in Chattanooga TN and disembarked in Nashville. As I often say, "We feel like we are coming home." Sit and chat, or just rock and watch the river go by. Hop on , hop off buses follow the Queen to each port, with supplemental tours available. These cruises are geared to an adult traveler. Would choose her any time over the mega cruise ships! The only drawback for some travelers is the size of most of the staterooms , compared to those on board the huge cruise ships! So bear in mind this is a riverboat and you will enjoy every aspect of your experience! Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
My wife and I took an American Queen Steamboat Company Cruise on The American Empress Steamboat last week, traveling up the Columbia and Snake Rivers. We have been on 30 international large cruise ships, but this was our first United ... Read More
My wife and I took an American Queen Steamboat Company Cruise on The American Empress Steamboat last week, traveling up the Columbia and Snake Rivers. We have been on 30 international large cruise ships, but this was our first United States River Cruise. The total 10 day cruise started with a Bus tour of Vancouver, Washington and Portland, Oregon which was followed by and over night stay at the Hilton Vancouver Hotel. The next morning the steamboat embarked from Portland, Oregon, going up the Columbia River and stopping in Astoria, OR. The Dalles, WA. Stevenson, WA, Richland, WA. and Clarkson, WA. After leaving the steamboat in Clarkson, WA we took another bus tour up to Spokane, Washington where we toured the city, and then checked in at the luxurious Davenport Hotel for a two night stay. It was a great Cruise trip, as we experienced the same sense of excitement and wonder that Lewis and Clark had, as they explored the Columbia and Snake River areas of Oregon and Washington. We visited many historical, scenic and enjoyable sites on our voyage up the famous rivers. The American Empress is a beautiful steamboat and is the largest overnight riverboat west of the Mississippi River. The American Empress also has a vast collection of some of the finest historical artifacts, and artwork from the Native Alaskan, Russian, Gold Rush, and stern wheeler eras on board. The corridors of the American Empress hold nearly as much beauty and intrigue as the dramatic scenery unfolding on the river outside. Our state room with a balcony was beautiful, and the bed was so comfortable. All the Meals on the ship prepared by Executive Chef Bill Ballard and Staff, were very Delicious! Chef Ballard would walk around every night checking with all the guests on the ship making sure that everyone was totally satisfied. The up stairs more casual River Grill & Bar was fantastic every time we ate there, as Restaurant Manager Lisa was so friendly and professional, as she guided the River Grill servers every night to do a great job. Desiree and Rachel were outstanding as they served us several times.The down stairs more up scale Astoria Dining Room, was managed by Maitre D' Ann Gilbert along with the very nice Restaurant Manager Allan Baja. Derrick who served are table of four people multiple times was excellent, professional, and had a great personality. The Bar Manager Ed Jenkins was also so nice as he would hustle around the steamboat making sure his Bartenders were preparing the Beer, Wine, and Cocktails that every guest wanted. One of the most important people on the entire ship was the Riverlorian Laurence Cotton, who worked very hard everyday giving multiple historical lectures, about the Columbia and Snake Rives and the Lewis and Clark expeditions. Laurence has so much knowledge and presented it very well. My wife and I also went on a tour of the Bridge, and met the Master of the steamboat Captain Ron Gray. It was a great tour, and the Captain was so nice as he instructed us about the functions of the American Empress Steamboat. We also took another good tour of the engine department with Chief Engineer Noah Sheppard. During the day on our many ports of call, we would go on either the Hop On-Hop Off luxury Bus tour which were included in the price of the Cruise, or we picked a premium excursion tour to go on. All the tours were so educational and very well organized. At night after dinner, we would go see the nightly showtime entertainment in the show lounge. The two main headliners most of the nights were the two married Cruise Directors, Lindy and Gregory Pendzick. They were FANTASTIC! During the day the two Cruise Directors were hustling around the ship making sure they did everything to take care of all the guests on the steamboat. Lindy and Greg did a great job coordinating bingo, game shows, and craft sessions for all the guests. At Night they both put on an outstanding Singing, Dancing, and Broadway play performances, that delighted the entire audience. Both Lindy and Greg have an extended list of professional stage experiences, and did a great job every night, along with the American Empress Band. After the Showtime entertainment finish at night, most people would then go up to the Paddle wheel Lounge on Deck 2 to have a Drink which would be served by Angie, and to listen to Piano Player, Singer, and Comedian Frank Case. Everyone enjoyed the "Fun with Frank" nightly categories, where he would play everyone's favorite tunes and highlights, from all the famous singers in entertainment history. Frank Case has Phenomenal Talents! All and All, my wife and I had a great time on the Steamboat Cruise, and I was totally impressed with the way the cruise was executed by the entire staff. My wife and I would definitely go back on another American Queen Steamboat Company Cruise, maybe the Mississippi cruise would be next. Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
we were on the Snake and Columbia rivers following their trail.. It is amazing to see this terrain and in awe on how they navigated it over 200 years ago with the rapids etc., The Mt St. Helens volcano extra trip was interesting . I did ... Read More
we were on the Snake and Columbia rivers following their trail.. It is amazing to see this terrain and in awe on how they navigated it over 200 years ago with the rapids etc., The Mt St. Helens volcano extra trip was interesting . I did not know that this was not the typical lava flow eruption. The hop on and off trips were enlightening with the on bus guides, and stops. The desert area was a surprise and the locks a nice experience. Seeing the Manhattan project site was an eye opener. the food was okay. one has to realize that unlike big cruise ships, food is only served at certain times so if you miss the meal times you can not get food otherwise on the boat. the entertainment was simple was but delightful even the ones they brought on board were entertaining, cowboy songs and illusionist. they try very hard to make you feel at home with learning the passengers names. Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
We went from St. Louis to St. Paul up the Mississippi River. This was a new area for us to see...and we had a great time. It was fall foliage..but the leaves had not changed yet. We really enjoyed visiting the towns along the river. ... Read More
We went from St. Louis to St. Paul up the Mississippi River. This was a new area for us to see...and we had a great time. It was fall foliage..but the leaves had not changed yet. We really enjoyed visiting the towns along the river. We liked the hop on hop off trams in each city. We were not impressed with the Pre cruise St. Louis City Tour, but the Post cruise St. Paul Tour was a little better. We would not have done the St. Louis tour had we known how it would be. This is our 10th trip on a steamboat..so we do like this way of travel. Our cabin was great. The food and service were very good. The entertainment on board was excellent. We especially enjoyed the high energy shows. All performers were exceptionally good. I am sorry to say we did not take advantage of the fitness room. The food was very good as was the service in the dining room. The buffets were great..and the menu choices were varied. We were glad to see our friend Julius from the Delta Queen Steamboat. We did not take any of the extra premium shore excursions as we wanted to see the towns on our own. This cruise was a good value for us...as we got a good rate..and all was included. We like the cabins with an inside door...in case the weather is colder. We actually enjoyed the bingo and other on board activities. The Riverlorian,Jerry, was very good as usual. Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
Our ship check-in was done at the DoubleTree St. Paul Downtown where we spent the night before the cruise. The process was efficient and since we were traveling with a group of twelve, our dining room tables had already been assigned. We ... Read More
Our ship check-in was done at the DoubleTree St. Paul Downtown where we spent the night before the cruise. The process was efficient and since we were traveling with a group of twelve, our dining room tables had already been assigned. We took the optional city tour, which was enjoyable, and delivered to the ship. We went straight to our cabin and unpacked. The ship is beautiful and the entire ship staff was friendly and helpful the entire trip. There are two eating areas, the Front Porch (located on the bow of the ship) and the main dining room. We ate dinner each night in the dining room and the food was delicious with generous portions. Our waiters Smooth and Butter did a wonderful job and handled whatever request we had. The provided wine was good and poured generously. Our breakfasts and lunches were eaten at the Front Porch where service was buffet-style. There was both indoor and outdoor seating at the Front Porch. Since we had wonderful weather, we ate most meals outdoors. Coffees, teas, popcorn and soft-serve ice cream was always available at the Front Porch. The ship had plenty of public areas where you could simply sit and relax. We went to the evening shows each night and enjoyed all of them. One of the highlights was an actor portraying Mark Twain. At each port we enjoyed the hop-on, hop-off bus tours. A local guide on the bus provided information about the city. You could get off at designated stops, see the attractions and get back on the bus as it completed the route about every 15 minutes. There were several optional paid excursions offered. We took the pre-cruise tour of St. Paul, the Hoover Presidential Library and the post-cruise St. Louis tour. Each one was enjoyable and worth the extra cost. We enjoyed this cruise so much that we booked a Nashville to Memphis cruise for 2016 while aboard ship. Everyone in our group had a wonderful time. Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
We just returned from a wonderful, scenic, relaxing cruise from Vancouver, WA to Clarkston, WA on the American Empress paddle wheeler up the Columbia and Snake Rivers. It was extremely enjoyable in every way. The age group of the ... Read More
We just returned from a wonderful, scenic, relaxing cruise from Vancouver, WA to Clarkston, WA on the American Empress paddle wheeler up the Columbia and Snake Rivers. It was extremely enjoyable in every way. The age group of the passengers ranged from the 40's to the 70's. Unlike ocean cruises, getting off the boat at various stops along the way was extremely easy for even the handicapped (elevators are the same as ocean cruise ships). They provide hop on/hop off busses at every stop along the way, making it pleasant and easy to see every sight. Everything is included with few add-ons. Wine and beer are included with dinner, but normal bar drinks are extra. I highly recommend taking the jet boat excursion in Clarkston. It's a trip for everyone to enjoy the spectacular Hell's Canyon in Idaho which is deeper than the Grand Canyon and a beautiful sight and experience. We saw more wildlife than we did in Alaska, including mountain goats and bighorn sheep. The towns along the way are quaint and historical. Another great excursion goes to Multnomah Falls and an overlook of the Columbia Gorge. The crew were outstanding and helpful in every way possible. We had a deluxe cabin with a large private veranda on level three and loved the decor, storage, TV, free wifi, and bedding. It had closets 8 feet wide with ample hanging and drawer space as well as drawers under the TV cabinet. The food menus were fabulous despite the fact that the chef had resigned just before our trip and was replaced by a new hire. The local salmon, filet mignon, and lobster were always available. They have two dining venues - The Astoria Dining Room and a grill on the top deck which also featured a beautiful outdoor patio with umbrellas. Oregon is known for its fruit and berries and we loved the huge helpings at breakfast along with the best apple smoked bacon (thick sliced on a skewer covered in maple syrup and baked to perfection). By far the BEST part of the cruise was the entertainment. We have been on countless european river cruises which had minimal evening entertainment and ocean cruises which ranged from poor to outstanding entertainment. We were so shocked to find wonderful talent at every venue on the boat. The theater had Broadway quality singers and dancers backed by a fabulous four piece band. The lounge had an unbelievably talented and witty pianist singer that kept us enthralled every evening. Especially noteworthy was the fact that there was always seating available in all areas. We were pleased to meet Europeans and New Zealanders who also loved the entire experience. We were all enthralled with the Native Americans setting their gill nets for the autumn run of Chinook salmon and steelheads. If you are seeking beautiful scenery, time to relax, nice people and quaint towns without the hassle of flying across the pond, this is a trip for you! Read Less
Sail Date September 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
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
Sail Date August 2015
We chose this cruise as part of our bucket list. The hotel in St.Louis was excellent, all service people very good. The Urban City Park was the highlight. All connections were flawless. Boarding the boat was a very good experience, the ... Read More
We chose this cruise as part of our bucket list. The hotel in St.Louis was excellent, all service people very good. The Urban City Park was the highlight. All connections were flawless. Boarding the boat was a very good experience, the greeting we received in the lobby was very warm and gracious,as we entered our room, our bags were there and a very nice fruit bowl with bottle of wine, very very nice. The dining room servers were very professional and were well trained, we looked forward to seeing James and Taylor each night for dinner, all thou they were busy they seemed to be able to chat and make you feel very welcomed,. The excursions we booked were very educational especially the Metropolitan Hotel in Paducah, Kentucky. Kris, the meet and greet member was just the best, such a nice personality and always a warm smile, a great sense of humor. The Front Porch dining was an experience, the food was good, the wait staff could not have been better, Kim was the most happiest first thing in the morning, a great way to start your day. Our cabin was checked and cleaned every day by ADAM, he also greeted us every morning with coffee and a huge smile, always wanting to do more. He was excellent in his work and the way he presented himself, we just loved having him as our attendant. Read Less
Sail Date August 2015
This was our 3rd cruise with AQ. We embarked in St. Paul and returned to St. Paul. This cruise was not the best. Our stay at the Doubletree in St. Paul was not up to the other hotels we have stayed in with AQ. Our room was very dirty ... Read More
This was our 3rd cruise with AQ. We embarked in St. Paul and returned to St. Paul. This cruise was not the best. Our stay at the Doubletree in St. Paul was not up to the other hotels we have stayed in with AQ. Our room was very dirty (carpet dirty) and rust in bathroom. They charged our account $50.00 and were supposed to take it off when we checked out but did not. It has taken 3 phone calls to get this charge off our credit card and still is not done. I would not recommend St.paul cruise. There was not enough to do. Also, it appeared they catered to groups rather than individual guest. The band was excellent but the shows were lacking. Our room attendant was great as was our waiter. We had to fight for a table for 2 because I believe they gave those tables to the group.We have been charged $50.00 twice on our credit card and seems AQ knows nothing about this. Definitely would not recommend this cruise to friends or anyone. Very disappointing particularly when the other 2 cruises had been delightful, one on AQ and the other AE. The disembarkation went smoothly. Read Less
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
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
Sail Date August 2015
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