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6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2017
On September 10th my wife and I and 34 neighbors from our Del Webb community took the American Empress riverboat from Clarkston Washington to Vancouver Washington (not Canada). The costs were $9189 not including flights, gratuities or ... Read More
On September 10th my wife and I and 34 neighbors from our Del Webb community took the American Empress riverboat from Clarkston Washington to Vancouver Washington (not Canada). The costs were $9189 not including flights, gratuities or transfers. Although everyone had a great time as we were all friends prior to this trip, we were very disappointed that we completely missed the major scenic portions of the river due to the Oregon fire and the Native American salmon fishing rights which prevented our docking at The Dalles. Due to the fire, we completely missed the Columbia gorge (passed thru after midnight), Mt. Hood, Multnomah Falls, The Old Scenic Highway, Bonneville Dam, and Timberline Lodge. We felt American Queen Steamship Company let us down, when they decided to compensate us with a day in Vancouver Washington with an included 15 minute hop on-hop off bus trip, and an additional day in Astoria Oregon with an included shopping trip to Cannon Beach and Seaside beach (local beaches). We asked them to provide a trip to Mt. St. Helens as they had done on the previous trip, but they refused. After returning home we requested our travel agent to ask them for compensation but AQSC did not respond. The bottom line is the fire and the blockage of The Dalles port were completely out of American Queens control, however their replacement options simply fell way short of the missed experiences to say nothing of the $1000+ a day cost. By the way they continue to advertise the same experiences we missed, even though the State of Oregon indicates those experiences may be closed for up to 2 years as a result of the fire. Although we all had fun on the river boat, we all felt that AQSC fell short in substituting for the missed experiences. We are aware that their contract says they can make any changes they want, including doing nothing. As a group we had a great time, but probably would not travel with AQSC in the future. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2017
Not our favorite cruise, yet, this week's expedition offered rest and beautiful country in Washington, Idaho, and Oregon. The staff bombarded us with picky details and scheduling, more than was necessary. The boat was noisy and the ... Read More
Not our favorite cruise, yet, this week's expedition offered rest and beautiful country in Washington, Idaho, and Oregon. The staff bombarded us with picky details and scheduling, more than was necessary. The boat was noisy and the companionways too chilly. Not many places to retreat and read. Too small for lounge chairs. Food was well prepared—caesar salad, fruit compote, pork roast, burgers, cheesecake—except for the clam chowder, which was malodorous. The riverlorian, Laurence Cotton, gave excellent guidance to Lewis and Clark history and to the background of significant figures. He also answered difficult questions about major events and post-expedition influence. Library contained quality choices of biographical, native American, and pleasure reading. Bar service was friendly and prompt with afternoon snacks—cookies, popcorn, guacamole, chips and dip—but pianist was a self-important clown who drowned out conversation with his "improvisations." Nighttime shows destroyed the serenity. Bus tours offered some excellent commentary and some pointless chatter, occasionally inaccurate. The cruise line does not compare with Voyages to Antiquity. An appealing evening entertainment would take passengers to a casino. Read Less
19 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2016
We traveled in a party of 10: 4 boys aged 5-12, parents in their 70s (one w/ memory issues), and two couples in their 40s. We loved the service, delicous food, live music, custom drinks & friendly manner of all the staff. Our rooms ... Read More
We traveled in a party of 10: 4 boys aged 5-12, parents in their 70s (one w/ memory issues), and two couples in their 40s. We loved the service, delicous food, live music, custom drinks & friendly manner of all the staff. Our rooms were on the outside of the 4th &5th floor decks, so we enjoyed the views as well. We all loved the engine room - you can walk down and see all the working parts when the ship is in motion. We enjoyed the pilot house tour (when the boat is in port) and riverlorian talks. The lady in the gift shop was delightful & gave my 5 year old a box in which to hold his treasures. The bars allowed kids and our kids were free to roam the boat; they truly treasured that freedom. The kids played bingo and chess and even cavassed the passengers to find additional chess opponents (the passengers were quite friendly). On several evenings we found an unreserved box in the Grand Salon (the theater for live entertainment which is modeled after Ford's Theater in DC). For adults drinks cards are available for purchase which allow included drinks and gratuities for the duration of the voyage ($200). Shore excursions were great fun. We opted for hop on hop off which meant we could visit a variety of stops each time the boat docked. I reccomend departing early because the stops are only 3 or 4 hours and the time passes quickly. On each bus for hop on hop off a local guide gave detailed information about the town and its history. You can purchase shore excursions for additional cost ($60 + per person per stop) but we were happy with the bus. For this leg I'd reccomend the Angonla Prison tour (we missed it and were sad) and the Vicksburg Battlefield tour. The New Orleans to Memphis Tour is good for older adults and kids because the boat stops in port during the day. If you're looking for more of a party scene you do Memphis to New Orleans (the boat stops in Baton Rouge in early evening). In short, I'd happily do another cruise with this company. It has been completely relaxing and I've been made to feel completely at home albeit in a luxurious and pampered manner. Oh, and coming in we stayed an extra evening at the Hyatt by the super dome which was lovely. I'd definitely reccomend a additional day in New Orleans and the World War II Museum is fantastic. New Orleans has Uber which is a great way to get around. The streets of New Orleans are beautiful and kid friendly during the day. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2016
Loved the music. The musicians performed almost all the time. Riverlorian spoke daily about the Mississippi River, its depth, vessels, floods, accidents. Food was good, menus could be improved. Breakfast and lunch buffets were well ... Read More
Loved the music. The musicians performed almost all the time. Riverlorian spoke daily about the Mississippi River, its depth, vessels, floods, accidents. Food was good, menus could be improved. Breakfast and lunch buffets were well done. Hop on off bus gave lots of options to visit without worrying about entrance fees. Select a cabin away from the paddle wheel or you will lose sleep: it shook the cabin when the boat was at full speed.Cabin was smaller than Celebrity or Princess of similar category. Port stops were short as the boat was going up river and there was a lot of barge traffic that got the right away. If you took a premium excursion there was little or no time to tour the port. Select the Memphis to New Orleans route. Cruise director was good. his voice is amazing. Purser's station acted immediately. Many cabins had doors opening to the outside walkway Read Less
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2016
This was my 4th trip on the American Queen this year. Quite frankly, I found the music to be addictive! The whole experience is quite nice, but the music is the biggest draw for me. All the musicians are top notch. I especially enjoy ... Read More
This was my 4th trip on the American Queen this year. Quite frankly, I found the music to be addictive! The whole experience is quite nice, but the music is the biggest draw for me. All the musicians are top notch. I especially enjoy Greg Lupton, who plays piano in the Captain's Bar twice a night. He is so engaging, with his sing-a-longs and warm humor. He's also a very, very talented musician. He makes everyone feel welcome and happy. Also terrific are the twice-nightly staged shows, the blues jam, the afternoon dixieland jazz show, and the late night dance music. The boat itself is really classy without being snooty. You will feel comfortable in casual clothes. The food is quite good, and quite varied. The staterooms are mostly very nice (though there are a few issues with water and room temperatues that need to be sorted out; I expect that those will have been remedied when the boat comes out of dry dock next season). The stops are very interesting, and some good options for side trips are provided. I especially recommend the BB King Museum! The ship is large enough that no one will feel claustrophobic, but not so large that it feels impersonal. The crowd tends to be seasoned and relaxed. We may all enjoy some wine with their dinner, and the occasional cocktail, but this is not a ship of drunken fools. The riverlorian lectures are quite interesting, and other onboard activities are available as well. The staff are friendly and helpful. Overall, I would highly recommend this boat, assuming they can take care of those few repair glitches. And, as fun as the Memphis to New Orleans route is, I actually prefer the run up to Red Wing (a charming port of call). Whichever route you take, you're bound to have a good time. Don't forget to catch Greg's act! Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2016
This was our second cruise on the American Queen and based on our previous cruise had high expectations. A pre-cruise one night hotel stay is included in the cruise. We stayed at the Airport Marriott and it was very nice. The next morning ... Read More
This was our second cruise on the American Queen and based on our previous cruise had high expectations. A pre-cruise one night hotel stay is included in the cruise. We stayed at the Airport Marriott and it was very nice. The next morning included a buffet breakfast and the ship check-in was done at the hotel prior to being taken to the ship. Check-in was very organized and smooth. This cruise was from Nashville to Memphis on the Cumberland, Tennessee, Ohio and Mississippi rivers. The river scenery was prettiest along the Tennessee, otherwise, nothing special. The towns that we stopped at were not that memorable. American Queen does an excellent job with their hop-on, hop-off tours in each town. The food was excellent. The ship staff is excellent and always willing to help. Our cabin steward did a great job. Our only complaint was poor service from our two dining room dinner servers. Our servers on our previous cruise were excellent. The shipboard entertainment was excellent. The shipboard internet could not be accessed inside or outside our cabin. The only good reception was in the public room where the ship computers were located. American Queen should upgrade their system so that internet is available in every cabin. There were a number of passengers using canes, walkers and wheel chairs. The crew made every accommodation to ensure they enjoyed their cruise and land tours. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2016
We had a great trip. Loved the accommodations, the size of the boat, dining options and quality of the food, high quality entertainment, educational experiences, hop on/hop off option and beautiful scenery. The population skewed to the ... Read More
We had a great trip. Loved the accommodations, the size of the boat, dining options and quality of the food, high quality entertainment, educational experiences, hop on/hop off option and beautiful scenery. The population skewed to the older side, so we were considered younger, active seniors (ages 67 and 69). This was not a problem since the Hop on/hop off feature allowed us to do extra walking and independent touring. The ship had a few bicycles available, which we used several times without any problem getting them when we wanted. We can see how this kind of trip would be easily accessible for older people, but it also suited our more active style. The staff was very friendly and accommodating and made an extra effort to remember everyone's name, which was impressive. The staff was also exceptionally talented and the evening shows were high quality. We also liked the Riverlorian who presented her educational information in an interesting and entertaining style. This was the perfect trip combining beautiful scenery, education and history, excellent dining, the right amount of pampering. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2016
Following our journey over from the UK and a few nights in Atlanta and then New Orleans we boarded the American Queen - bliss. We have river cruised in Europe, China and Russia (as well as a couple of Ocean cruises) and this beats them all ... Read More
Following our journey over from the UK and a few nights in Atlanta and then New Orleans we boarded the American Queen - bliss. We have river cruised in Europe, China and Russia (as well as a couple of Ocean cruises) and this beats them all in terms of atmosphere, entertainment and ambience. The boat is lovely and decorated in period style - so much so that I expected Mark Twain to be sitting in the lounge reading the local newspaper or penning his next novel. We had booked a suite with a private balcony and the room was of a similar décor, with wallpapered walls and old furniture. There was plenty of hanging and drawer space for our 7 night cruise to Memphis and a lovely comfortable bed. The cabin music was varied and relaxing with no over-the-top announcements although the aircon did take some adjusting. To open our doors in the morning and watch the world go by in bed, before breakfast, was soooo relaxing. And then to the food, all I can say is excellent, varied, great staff and make sure you take 2 cloth sizes. The entertainment was our biggest surprise and we were luck to have some great people on our trip, everyone was either very good or great but we have to say a special thank you to Greg & Lindy who were exceptional and our CD will remind us of your talent every time we play it. There were various venues on the boat from the Patio, where you could have a light breakfast, lunch or dinner to the bars which had a variety of entertainment from simple piano sing-a-long to blues/jazz/light rock with a piano and guitar/banjo duo. There was also daytime entertainment in the wonderful show theatre. There is a small fitness centre on-board along with a small pool to relax in if wanted. The other bonus were the day trips, if you did not want to pay the extra for the 'special' excursions the hop-on-hop-off service was extremely well organsied and gave a good insight into the cities/towns visited with many prepaid entries to museums and houses. Many thanks to excursions team for this wonderful service. We did book a couple of extra trips which took you further afield and the highlight was our Blues tour of Helena and Claksdale. The Mississippi between New Orleans and Memphis may not be the most spectacular in the world but it was interesting (especially the barges) and relaxing with some wonderful towns to see on route. Overall a great and memorable trip. Read Less
12 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2016
My husband and I wanted a quiet river cruise, and, thought the website for this Mississippi River cruise made the Steamboat cruise sound ideal for us. We also wanted to tie the cruise in with visits to both Memphis and Nashville. We ... Read More
My husband and I wanted a quiet river cruise, and, thought the website for this Mississippi River cruise made the Steamboat cruise sound ideal for us. We also wanted to tie the cruise in with visits to both Memphis and Nashville. We liked the idea of chugging down the mighty Mississippi and learning all about the American Civil War, which, as British travellers, we knew very little about. So...firstly the good points. The boat is beautiful, especially the dining room. It is really elegant and the food served is of a very high standard. The towns we stopped at were very pretty and very quaint and were so, so interesting. Also, the crew of the AMERICAN QUEEN made booking the tours exceptionally easy, and were extremely efficient if we had any problems. Help was always available for those passengers with mobility problems, and at every stop Hop-on-Hop -Off buses were available at regular intervals (all with knowledgable guides) , making it impossible to miss out on anything you want to see. Another plus was the entertainment. Mostly excellent.....with a couple of small exceptions!!! Our fellow passengers were, like us, mostly older holiday makers, and we found them to be extremely friendly.....so this is definitely not a trip that would appeal to young party-goers!! Bad points now!! When we first boarded the American Queen, our first impression was that this boat had so much character and was totally different to any other cruise boat we had been on before. Then we arrived at our cabin! Oh dear. The cruise company call it "cosy". We think it was "poky". Hardly any drawer-space, and just a fitted clothes-rail. The door of our cabin opened up onto the deck (which we liked, as we could sit outside our room and watch the world go by), but that also meant that the room felt damp from the humidity outside. And the beds were tiny. I would recommend anyone thinking of booking this cruise to upgrade to a bigger cabin. A larger cabin would have cost about $250 and would have been worth every dollar. But our biggest grouse about this otherwise delightful cruise was the disappointing standard of some of the waitresses/ waiters/catering staff. We put in a couple of complaints whilst we were on the cruise, as did several other passengers, and have followed this up by contacting The American Steamboat Company. We hope to hear from them soon. Nearly all the dining staff were terrific, but unfortunately the two serving our table were VERY short of the mark. Thankfully the boat's manager organised for replacement waitresses, and they proved to be first class. Read Less
12 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2016
Such a relaxing, layed back atmosphere. The crew are so pleasant and ready to help or assist in any way possible. There was an issue with one of the premium excursions and they were quick to listen and respond to feedback. The food is ... Read More
Such a relaxing, layed back atmosphere. The crew are so pleasant and ready to help or assist in any way possible. There was an issue with one of the premium excursions and they were quick to listen and respond to feedback. The food is fantastic, the entertainment great. If you want to get away, do at your own pace, be fed and have fun, then this is the trip you should take. The staterooms (with private balcony) are roomy, the cleanliness of the boat is stellar. It would have been nice to have had more time in Hannibal, MIssouri. The premium excursion to the National Eagle Center was worth every penny. It is fascinating to see these birds up close and personal. Our wait staff were wonderful to work with and very willing to work with requests to make sure you are able to eat what is before you and have any enjoyable experience while doing so. I highly recommend this experience. Read Less
28 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2016
Columbia River Clarkston to Portland We don't want to repeat other reviews so just some additional information some may find helpful. Cabin:- All cabins seem to be the same size. Some have a double bed; some have 2 single beds. ... Read More
Columbia River Clarkston to Portland We don't want to repeat other reviews so just some additional information some may find helpful. Cabin:- All cabins seem to be the same size. Some have a double bed; some have 2 single beds. Ample storage space. In-drawer small combination safe. Try to pick a cabin away from the public rooms. Third level was good. Cabin service excellent. Suggestion to management: some hooks on the wall near the door would be helpful for hats, cameras, etc. There are two elevators that go to the 4 passenger decks. Access and Security::- photo ID card given at the beginning of the trip that works as a cabin key and is scanned leaving and reboarding the ship. At the same time, a credit card imprint is taken for all on-board charges. When in port, a crew man always sits at the entrance door. Everyone is scanned before boarding. Free Shore excursions: try for the first in the morning hop-on; hop-off bus. Gives more time before lunch for the port stops. Paid excursions: These are clearly a profit center. Lots and lots of pressure to sign up. They are good trips but the cost his high and the value may not be there for many. Drinks: Expensive. $12.00 (including service charge) for cocktails. They have a a "cocktail of the day" at about half price. There is an "all you can drink" package at the start of the trip but you need to be a heavy drinker to make it pay. Good (included) wines at dinner. Food: Two seatings -- too early and too late! We rate the main dining room as 4* out of 5*. Good but not gourmet. Large portions. Reasonable choices and small steak/chicken always available at dinner. We rate the grill as 4* for dinner (limited menu - reservations required.) We give it 3* for breakfast and lunch. Food here suffers from pre preparation at the buffet. Hectic badly laid out environment. Always available 24/7 - coffee machine with cappuccino, etc. Juice machine. Cookies. Keurig machine in each cabin. Small fridge in each cabin. Ample bottled water - in cabin and on all busses. Logistics:- excellent! At the start, luggage goes from hotel to your cabin and at the end, from your cabin to the shore. Hop-on - hop off busses are on time; shore excursions are on time. Local guides are knowable and helpful. Staff:- remarkably friendly and helpful. They have been doing this for a long time and I suspect those with chips on their shoulders have been eliminated. Note: No laundry on board. No gym. Opportunities for walking on shore and at least one hike. We thought this was an excellent, well designed and well run trip. Recommended. Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2016
We took this Pacific Northwest river cruise for our 30th wedding anniversary. I really wanted a more intimate experience than a large ship/liner and this 220+ passenger boat was a perfect fit. From arrival to the hotel, to transportation ... Read More
We took this Pacific Northwest river cruise for our 30th wedding anniversary. I really wanted a more intimate experience than a large ship/liner and this 220+ passenger boat was a perfect fit. From arrival to the hotel, to transportation to the airport, to the daily newsletter delivered to our room, the cruise line had every detail covered. We are in our 50's and although we were definitely among the younger couples on board, that didn't stop others from joining us on some of the great premium excursions like zip-lining (which I highly recommend) or kayaking. Our room was spacious and the bed was remarkably comfortable. I do recommend bringing a small night light for the bathroom, as the room can be quite dark and the light switch was outside the bathroom. The halls are all covered in artwork and a self-guided brochure is provided. This was a nice way to get to 'know' the boat. Dining was wonderful, leave your diets at home and treat yourself. The more casual River Grill & Bar was noisier but worked well for breakfast and lunch when time was an issue. One of our favorite on-board experiences was listening to the Riverlorian presentations; Laurence was knowledgeable, friendly, and enthusiastic. We had a wonderful time and I still find myself saying, "I miss my boat." This cruise may have spoiled me for all other cruises and I would definitely go again. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2016
Cruised from Cincinnati, OH to Alton, IL. There are various types of cabins to choose from. Our cabin had an outside door an inside door to the hall ( 2 entrances). Nightly entertainment, two dining times for main dining, but there is ... Read More
Cruised from Cincinnati, OH to Alton, IL. There are various types of cabins to choose from. Our cabin had an outside door an inside door to the hall ( 2 entrances). Nightly entertainment, two dining times for main dining, but there is another casual dining option elsewhere on the boat. Wine included in main dining. Pop, water, coffee, tea, lemonade, ice cream, cookies, and popcorn included all day long. Pool an exercise room, movie theater. Daily river talks, rooms to read or play games and gift store. Shore excursions included along with pay for premium shore excursions. EVERYONE working on this boat is friendly and ready to help you. All ages welcomed. Every night you receive the River News with the next days activities listed. You decide how relaxed or busy you want to be during your cruise. Free wifi. Boat computers are all set up with various airlines to just click your airline and print your boarding pass. Robes and slippers in each room. Elevators and stairs to choose from. Buses for shore excursions run every 15-20 minutes with hop on/hop off option an are included. Step on guides from the local area on the buses to give information about the city you are in. The American Queen is a steamboat paddle wheel. Read Less
13 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2016
This was our fourth river cruise in a row having done the rivers of Europe in past years with Australia Tour co Scenic. This boat was significantly bigger in both people & size(400 pass v 160 pass) with significant differences in ... Read More
This was our fourth river cruise in a row having done the rivers of Europe in past years with Australia Tour co Scenic. This boat was significantly bigger in both people & size(400 pass v 160 pass) with significant differences in onboard dining and entertainment activities. Cabin was of older style and not quite as good as the scenic boats but as we rarely spent time there it wasn't an issue at all. The major two differences were: 1.Dining whilst American fare it was quite good but not upto the standard we had received before.Dining room had less space and had two seatings each evening 2.What was significantly better was the evenings entertainment. The European river boats have no ability to compete here due to space limitations and the AQ s offerings were fantastic.With an excellent nightly floor show supported by daily lectures, late evening club and resident pianist to round out the offering. Shore excursions came in two forms ..... 1.Hop on/off buses operated by the boat at each port of call. 2.Premium -at extra coast, guided adventures at each stop which were very good though a little expensive for what was on offer. Given our previous experiences we were used to having these all included. Being a non drinker I cannot comment on the wine list but others we ate with indicated it was adequate. The service offering by the boat staff was mixed with some good and others average.I did feel it fell off towards then end of our voyage. As an overall view we thoroughly enjoyed the voyage and would recommend it...with an aussie caveat re tipping..just be aware they ( AQ) charge u reguardless. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2016
My grandparents wanted to go on a cruise up the Mississippi and I had always wanted to see New Orleans so I came with. I was not aware that there would be absoloutely no one my age (21) on the ship, which made it less enjoyable. Obviously, ... Read More
My grandparents wanted to go on a cruise up the Mississippi and I had always wanted to see New Orleans so I came with. I was not aware that there would be absoloutely no one my age (21) on the ship, which made it less enjoyable. Obviously, since this a cruise geared towards the older crowd, many of the activities weren't as interesting to me as they were to them. If there had just been a few things that were available to me, and others my age, I thought it would've been a much more enjoyable experience for myself. That being said, the staff was very friendly, and professional. Something that I appreciate. Additionally, the food was delicious and the staff was very accomodating of special requests. The rooms were nicely maintained, although small. The entertainment crew did a good job, although, I again thought they could've done more stuff for someone my age. Overall, a well done cruise. Read Less
22 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2016
This is second trip on Empress. We were doing it to relive route of Lewis and Clark. Our previous trip on the boat had been very nice. So we did it from the opposite direction. Some of crew was the same and others we had met on American ... Read More
This is second trip on Empress. We were doing it to relive route of Lewis and Clark. Our previous trip on the boat had been very nice. So we did it from the opposite direction. Some of crew was the same and others we had met on American Queen. I cannot say enough good things about the Boat the Hop on Hop off tours but mostly the friendliness and professionalism of the crew. The young entertainers are great, the Dining room staff superb. The food variety and quality was wonderful. The Riverlorian who lectures on the boats theme does a great job. You cannot be bored on this Boat. Something to do from breakfast till late night. The Band four man combo is as professional as they get had a great evening jam session after normal show. Late night dancing in the Paddlewheel lounge great fun a great Pianist entertainer. On a scale of 10 this crew and boat are a fifteen. The Boat accommodations are wonderful. Rooms are quite generous in size. Appointments enhance it. On this Boat you always have interesting scenery in view as you cruise on the Columbia and Snake rivers so if you just want to relax on your porch you have something to enjoy. I can not emphasize enough though how many great activities are available. If you like Broadway shows the two young entertainers put on will surprise you how talented they are. It does not matter which of the two sets they have they are both great as we have had the opportunity to watch both.. Read Less
24 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2016
American Queen Steamboat Company (AQSC) Best For: • Guests who enjoy a first-rate, relaxed river cruise experience. • Couples, family & friends traveling together, and parents traveling with adult children. • The ... Read More
American Queen Steamboat Company (AQSC) Best For: • Guests who enjoy a first-rate, relaxed river cruise experience. • Couples, family & friends traveling together, and parents traveling with adult children. • The overall demographic is primarily 60-plus age range. As a FAM cruise, this lowered the overall age range. • Well-traveled history buffs looking for a luxury river cruise. • Domestic travelers, there are a very small percentage of international travelers. • Guests who have traveled on AQSC sister ship, the American Queen. • Cruisers who prefer to relax and enjoy the unfolding river views. • Guests who have motion sensitivity, as the river cruising is very calm. Itinerary/Port Experience: Saturday April 2nd: Pre-Hotel Stay – Portland Hotel Stay Guests of AQSC received a complimentary, one night deluxe hotel stay in Vancouver, Washington (Portland Airport-PDX-is the nearest airport). For this 2016 Launch season for the Columbia and Snake River Cruise, AQSC used the Hilton Vancouver Washington. This package included breakfast, taxes, porterage and transfers. The ship is close to the Vancouver Farmer’s market, the number one visitor attraction and home to over 200 vendors. Guest staying at this hotel received a morning overview of the American Empress, priority specialty dining reservations at the River Bar and Grill, and pre-cruise check-in. For FAM guests, the hotel is not complimentary. I opted to stay at Hotel Rose in Portland, Oregon. The hotel is pet friendly. This hotel lured me with it complimentary pineapple cupcakes, and coffee daily in the lobby. The hotel is approximately 25 minutes from PDX and equal distance to the dock in Vancouver, WA. Conveniently located walking distance to Portland’s famous Saturday Market, and the ooey gooey goodness of Voodoo Donuts. Hotel Rose provided complimentary bicycles, helmets and locks for guests to mix in with the local biking culture. I recommend including a few landmarks which are a short distance by bike: Powell’s Books (largest bookstore on the planet), St. Mary’s Cathedral, and Waterfront Park Trail along the Willamette River. Using transportation there are some great stops while in the city: International Rose Test Gardens, Portland Japanese Gardens, and The Grotto – National Sanctuary. Note: Portland is for foodies and has a very casual feel. “Keep Portland Weird” is the city’s motto. Save some time for people watching it is truly fascinating. There is a bounty of stellar food venues; many have got their start from the unending lines of food trucks adorning the city streets. I decided on cuisine from Kathmandu, Nepal, which was a solid choice. Portland is a utopia for vegans. I had my first, unbelievably good, burger made with beets and cashew cheese. The curry ketchup with home style fries was excellent. If you only have time to make one food stop, I highly recommend The Salt and Straw. Best fresh made ice cream (gelato included), I’ve ever experienced. The ice cream is made with all locally grown ingredients, and Zagat-rated. The 30 minute line was well worth it! I sampled the strawberry honey balsamic with black pepper; the honey lavender; and Arbequina olive oil. I landed on a scoop of the Arbequina olive oil. They do offer ice cream by mail. Sunday, April 3rd, Day 1: Vancouver, WA The ship departure at 6 p.m. allowed for some pre-cruise premium shore excursions (additional charge): Mount St. Helens Tour including Portland City Tour; and Portland City Tour – “The Rose City”. Both excursions included pick up at the Hilton in Vancouver and transfer to the ship. I arrived shortly before the 3 p.m. embarkation which allowed me to meet guests, which later turn out to be phenomenal new friends who I shared the journey with. Guests were greeted at embarkation with jazz music from the Empress Quartet and small treat from the dessert tray. My luggage was delivered within ten minutes of arriving in my stateroom. AQSC is touted as the largest, most elegant riverboat in the Pacific Northwest. AQSC has a dedicated fleet of motor coaches, which includes a fully narrated hop-on, hop-off (ho-ho) tours for each port town. The morning typically has three departure times from the boat (AQSC uses the term boat, not ship). Maps are provided every night in the staterooms outlining the various stops along the ho-ho route. Motor coaches pick up are every 15 minutes in the morning, and every hour in the afternoon for most days. The boat visits small towns so the ho-ho provides time to explore the local shops and museums. Some guests took the ho-ho tour for an overview of the town. Most full circuits requiring about 45 minutes. Most admission fees to museums and attractions are part of the tour, though you will still want to bring some spending monies as most have gift shops. AQSC started the journey with full-color, double-sided maps outlining our journey staterooms. Lewis and Clark’s expedition was the opposite direction of our itinerary. According to Laurence Cotton, our Riverlorian, traveling the same direction as the expedition, East to West, provides more daytime travel. The rivers passes through 7 ecosystems in 7 days! The West is close to a rainforest, receiving up to 80 or more inches of rainfall a year. The East is has desert conditions receiving less than 15 inches or less of rainfall a year. Monday, April 4th, Day 2: Astoria, OR This is the oldest American Settlement west of the Rocky Mountains. This area was inhabited by the Clatsop Indians for thousands of years. In 1805, Lewis and Clark’s expedition arrived here where they wintered at Fort Clatsop.   The battle of the premium shore excursions was shared by many guests. The tough decision between The Lewis & Clark Experience and Zip Lining Adventure ensued with much thought. The winner was the Zip Lining Adventure, which allowed me to face my fear of heights, head on. The day was a double victory as our small entourage of three guests zip lining was enhanced when our tour guide offered to take us through a fast-forward tour of the Lewis and Clark National Historical Park at Fort Clatsop. High Life Adventures provided a progressive series of an 8-course zip line. What a tremendous pleasure to share in the bucket-list-item for an 82 year-old from our ship as part of our zipping team. The afternoon of adrenalin culminated with The Zwing Extreme Zip Swing (additional charge, highly recommend). A surprise visit from Yeti at the end of one of the zip courses, added to the fear factor as he jumped from behind the trees. Note: Guests on The Lewis & Clark Experience received a complimentary book, In the Wake of Lewis and Clark: From the Mountains to the Sea by C. Mark Smith. Though I did not purchase this excursion, I did order my copy on Amazon and enjoyed the easy read. Bonus, C. Mark Smith was one of the tour guides on the ho-ho. Tuesday, April 5th, Day 3: The Dalles, OR The terrane has changed significantly from the lushness of Oregon’s west coast to the desert-like conditions of The Dalles of Oregon. There were no premium shore excursions in this area, though interestingly enough, our Lounge Entertainer, Ted Horwitz, hails from this small town. He entertained us each afternoon and evening in the Paddlewheel Lounge. The Dalles has many high tech companies residing there due to tax breaks, enhanced with the Columbia River Gorge Technology Alliance. Google invested 1.2 billion dollars in its data center. Apple and Amazon are investing in communities in Oregon, as well. Quite a few guests participated in the on shore hike emulating the Corps of Discovery on an easy ½ mile hike lead by Laurence to Lewis and Clark’s Rock Fort Camp. The crew and Riverlorian offered numerous on shore hikes ranging from ½ miles to 2 miles most days. The American Empress left port at 3 a.m. on day Day 3. New friends from aboard the boat came together after a yummy dinner to walk to a local karaoke dive. What fun times were had singing “We are Family” with some friendly folks from The Dalles! Wednesday, April 6th, Day 4: Stevenson, WA I choose the popular Multnomah Falls and Vista House premium excursion. This tour began on the Old Scenic Highway offering breathtaking views along America’s most scenic landscape. There were many vantage points and photo opportunities along the way: The Columbia River Gorge, Crown Point, Vista House, Multnomah Falls (Oregon’s highest waterfall), and much more. When I arrived back in my stateroom, AQSC surprised me with a picture memento of our day’s journey on the premium shore excursion. What a stellar gesture! Thursday, April 7th, Day 5: Cruising The Columbia River & Tri-Cities (Richland), WA (overnight) It was a relaxing morning paddling down The Columbia River with many onboard activities to choose from: Zumba Gold, Read Our Mind Game Show, Trivia, Riverlorian Presentation, Bridge Players Meet, Future Cruise Talk, and Disembarkation Talk. We arrived in Richland at 2 p.m. and the Ho-Ho ran every 30 minutes. Friday, April 8th, Day 6: Tri-Cities (Richland), WA My journey down The Columbia River to The Snake River was highlighted with the premium shore excursion Hells Canyon Scenic Jet Boat Experience. Hells Canyon is North America’s deepest gorge. The jet boats were very comfortable and covered. The bench seat in the back was even more exciting as daring guests were drenched with a combination of mist and waves. The views along the banks offered tremendous view. Our tour guide mentioned sometimes there are sighting of bear, Big Horn sheep, deer, and other native wildlife can be spotted. I spotted cattle, horses, deer, bald eagle, and various birds. At the farthest East end of the river, we stopped at the Idaho Garden Creek Preserve and enjoyed beverages and cookies. The views were gorgeous from the of river, orchard, and nature’s landscape. Note: The Jet boats were enclosed and contain onboard bathroom facilities. This was a scenic jet boat experience; there were no white water rapids. A week after I arrived home, my latest issue of Backpacking magazine featured an article boasting best views in America’s National Parks, and featuring Hells Canyon. What a fun way to showcase the end of my journey aboard AQSC! I did see many hikers along the river enjoying the gorgeous 80-degree weather and views. Highlights: What made AQSC memorable is the outstanding crew and friendliest guests on any cruise line I have journeyed! The overall feel of the ship was jovial, fun, and lasting friendships were forged. • The maîtres’ in each dining room decorated the dining table for a friend’s birthday. In the Astoria Dining Room, Carmen, head maîtres, gave her a small gift. I have never witnessed such a remarkable experience on any premium or luxury cruise line. On the last night of the cruise, Carmen gave everyone at our table a beautiful picture of Mount Hood, signed “We will miss you”! • The Riverlorian, Laurence Cotton was the most knowledgeable, engaging, and enjoyable lecturer I have had the pleasure of listening to. He is a true gem for AQSC! He gave daily lectures with a broad range: The Columbia River, “Our Journey Through Time and Place” introduction to the region and its history; “The Lewis & Clark and the Corps of Discovery: Onwards to the Pacific and Homeward Bound”; Kennewick Man and the Hanford Nuclear Site, “Frederick Law Olmsted: Designing America (his film produced for public TV); “Oregon Trail: In Their Own Words”; and Chief Joseph and the Nez Perce War (his own film). • I thoroughly enjoyed the Broadway style nightly entertainment in The Show Lounge. Each evening featured a fresh vibe, engaging audience interactions: Music of the Silver Screen, greatest pop & rock from 50’s-70’s, love songs, and Broadway songs. • Locks and Lox were featured in the River Grill as American Empress traveled through the Bonneville Dam, the first of many locks on the river journey. This was coupled with the $5 Bloody Mary or Mimosa bar with all the fixings, offered most mornings. Laurence indicated the eastbound itinerary featured more daytime cruising through the locks than the westbound itinerary. • Enrichment Presentation featuring the gifted guest speaker, storyteller, and Native American Tribal Member, J. R. Spencer sharing tales about the Nez Perce Indians. • Maryhill Wine Tasting with special guest presenter Rich Washburn for a complimentary tasting of local favorites. • “Dare to Dream” featured the history of steamboating in an interesting video showcasing the origins of the American Queen. • The good and the sad…welcome aboard and the Farewell Champagne reception. Stateroom Experience: My floating home away from home was a category C deluxe verandah stateroom #226 on the Frontier Deck. This was an ideal location being one door away from the stairwell and elevators. I enjoyed the view from the port side of the boat across the river as the boat headed eastbound. The stateroom was just down the corridor from the Paddlewheel Lounge where most activities were held. I could hear the music from my stateroom at night which was welcomed. AQSC was completely refurbished in spring 2014. Staterooms were stunning in the Victorian era with ornate furniture and elegant wallpaper. Many of the staterooms are configured for two twins with limited queen configurations. The AE-C categories are 180 sq. ft. with one picture window, and one door with window. There was ample storage in the two armoires. The stateroom was well accommodated with a flat screen TV, alarm clock, mini refrigerator, safe, Keurig coffee brewer, and binoculars. The bathroom was small though had a good design. The bath shower stall was quite small. There was a hairdryer, bathrobes, and slippers in the stateroom. Other features were an antique writing desk with chair, which I rotated for views from the picture window. There were two antique style chairs and fine artwork from the regions American Empress travels. Every evening, the River Times was left in each stateroom and offered a map of the ho-ho destinations, and newsletter for the follow day’s adventures. Note: The staterooms and on the Vista View Deck have the walking track surrounding them. There is a small railing, see below.  Dining Experience: • The cuisine above represents some of the regional Pacific Northwest cuisine, using locally sourced, fresh ingredients with a contemporary vibe. I highly recommend the grilled lobster, and espresso-rubbed tenderloin. • An all-American staff provided gracious service and warm hospitality. This was the friendliest service I have ever experienced. The head chef visited our table most every night. He even surprised our table with a specially made dessert. • The ship had a country club casual ambiance, no formal wear was required. • The Astoria Dining Room had fine the same fine service breakfast, lunch, and dinner. • The catch of the day was featured each evening in the Astoria Dining Room. • The drinks were overflowing with regional wines and beer in both dining venues during dinner. • The River Grill and Bar offered morning made-to-order omelet station, alternative grill options for lunch; including hamburgers, roast beef sandwiches, fajitas, and much more. Both breakfast and lunch buffet had varied daily options offering many choices of cold, hot, and dessert options. Afternoons you could find fruit and cookies to snack on. The drinks were self-service. There was alfresco dining or you could take in the rays from the floor to ceiling windows indoors. • Complimentary cappuccino, espresso, bottled water and soft drinks were available in The River Grill & Bar anytime. • Late afternoon snacks were offered in the Paddlewheel Lounge with a wide daily range: huge shrimp & cocktail sauce, cheese & crackers, veggies & dips, and so much more. The antique popcorn popper allowed for a salty and buttery option at any time. For my sweet tooth, I frequented the platter of different types of homemade cookies. • Room service was available with a special menu and I am told you could have cuisine from the dining room’s menu in your stateroom or for a romantic dinner on your verandah. Activities/Entertainment: • Happy hour in the Paddlewheel Lounge allowed guests to try the featured drink of the day, while tapping their feet to the sweet beat of Ted Horwitz, entertainer and pianist. Ted covered many decades and music varieties from American Folk Music; tunes from the Rat Pack; smooth sounds; to hosting a Rock ‘n Roll Dance Party. His friendly and fun banter with guests, kept the crowd engaged. After dinner, the Paddlewheel Lounge was filled with guests taking in a night cap or dancing to their favorite requests. • The Empress Quartet featured jazz some evenings. They were a talented group on guys from different parts of Missouri (shout out to where I grew up). • The gift shop was open when the boat was in port, which was handy. • A self-guided art tour was offered by way of a brochure in each stateroom/suite. The American Empress showcased fine historical artifacts and artwork of the Native Alaska, Russian, and Gold Rush throughout the corridors. • Onboard activities offered something for everyone: line dancing lessons, trivia, Independent Travelers Meet & Greet, Bingo, Veterans Meet & Greet, Bridge Players & Game Players, movie matinee, Blackjack Tournament, Pilot House tour, Engine Room Tour, crafts, Read Our Minds classic TV gameshow and The Match Game, and Liar’s Club Game. Insider’s Tips: • Complimentary bicycles were offered to guests on a first come, first serve basis to explore destinations on their own. • Be first to attend select lectures by Laurence the Riverlorian as he handed out full-size maps. The maps reflected in detail Lewis & Clarks’ expeditions, featuring the Columbia River and points of interest. • Take time slow down and take in the view. The rocking chairs on the public deck outside the River Grill & Bar invited a laid-back vibe, whilst overlooking the wake views and paddlewheel. • I recommend waiting to sign up for the optional tour once onboard, instead of advance for some special travel agent rates. • Before the cruise, sign up for some Premium Experience Excursions for a more in-depth and active options while in port. The pricing is nominal and money well spent! Read Less
13 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 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
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2016
Taking the Civil War paddle-wheel cruise down the Mississippi has been my US Army Ret. history-buff husband's dream (and mine) for many years- his father actually did a "Huck Finn" thing as a young man, shoveling coal on a ... Read More
Taking the Civil War paddle-wheel cruise down the Mississippi has been my US Army Ret. history-buff husband's dream (and mine) for many years- his father actually did a "Huck Finn" thing as a young man, shoveling coal on a Mississippi steamboat! This was a very expensive but wonderful cruise, and I highly recommend it for people interested in American history and literature, and for those who really want to see the USA from a totally different perspective than you will see it by driving or flying. We had been to several of the ports on this cruise, but arriving by paddle-wheel steamboat makes for a Totally unique way to see and enjoy them. The American Queen herself is extraordinary- she was built around a real 1926 steam engine, and the charming crew is (justly) proud of her, and will give you an in-depth tour of her! The bright red paddle-wheel is fabulous in and of itself- I still have Tina Turner singing "Proud Mary" going through my head!- and yes, one of the ship's entertainers DID sing it on this cruise! We especially loved the bar that's right by the paddle-wheel, where they had live (and excellent) music every evening, and we LOVED the real steam calliope, which the pianist played as we left port in the late afternoon! The entertainment was excellent- both the nightly musicals and the "period" Civil War entertainment, which included live music, and talks by both an historian, and AQ's "Riverlorian", and my husband and I danced more on this cruise than on any other cruise we've taken! The ship is beautifully appointed in period style, with original Tiffany glass, books, antiques, and reproductions, and the public rooms are truly gorgeous. The towns we visited as we cruised slowly down the Mississippi from Memphis to New Orleans were very interesting and fun to visit, and we got to see some fabulous things, including original Tiffany Glass church windows, a number of interesting museums, and historic sites. We took a variety of AQ's excursions, to Vicksburg, the Frogmore Cotton Plantation, the Louisiana "Swamp Tour", etc., and used AQ's free "hop on-hop off" bus, as well, and were pleased with both. Natchez was especially fun, with many things to see and do, including the Charboneau Distillery, and historic Kings Tavern next door where we had a delicious lunch (and bought their rum, of course!), and the fun & historic "Natchez Under-The-Hill Saloon", which was right where the boat was docked! The service aboard the ship was excellent (as it needs to be with an older clientele), our stateroom was very tiny but also very lovely (we booked a cabin on the "public" balcony), wine with dinner was complimentary, unlimited, and Very nice, and the food was excellent- even better than the very good food we've enjoyed on Celebrity cruises. Searching high and low I managed to find one (wonderful) travel agent who was able to get us several hundred dollars in on board credit- as AQ gives nothing, I Definitely suggest you look for a travel agent when you are ready to book an AQ cruise! It is an "older person's" sort of cruise- while there is a lovely little pool, there are no water slides or games or things for active children to do, and the average age was over 60. I am 57 and my husband is 69, and there were WWII Veterans on our cruise who were over 90, which was very cool! I will say that the cruise was made up of a VERY active & intrepid group of seniors- we all tromped through the rain and mud around the Frogmore Plantation, and through pouring rain Baton Rouge, as well! As we are in the hospitality business- we have an inn in West Virginia, and I have a travel/food blog- I blogged about the cruise- and the Civil War history/"foodie" road trip we did through Tennessee to get to Memphis for the cruise, and then New Orleans at the end of the cruise- extensively on my "We Live In The Country!" blog with lots of photos and links to all the many things we did and enjoyed. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
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
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 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
2 Helpful Votes
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
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2015
This being our fifth trip on the American Queen we had high expectations. And once again they were fulfilled. The service is excellent, the food wonderful and plentiful and very available. The shows are wonderfully staged. The onboard ... Read More
This being our fifth trip on the American Queen we had high expectations. And once again they were fulfilled. The service is excellent, the food wonderful and plentiful and very available. The shows are wonderfully staged. The onboard ensemble is as talented as we have come to expect. The Band, Steamboat Syncopators, as always was the finest. The sock hop night was great dancing and great fun. This was our first time on a full ship, and there was no degradation of service. The cruise director, new this year is as personable and friendly as they get, pretty good singer also. If you take one of these cruises, you certainly won't get bored. There is something to do all the time. However, if you wish there are places to just kick back and relax like the Front Porch of America, where food ,treats and drinks are available while you watch the river go by. My wife made it her business to try and watch each pass thru locks, even at 2 AM crazy lady. Our cabin nicely appointed, nice size for two. Everyone on the boat in the crew was always friendly and helpful, can't say enough good about them. We are a very active couple who enjoy dancing and touring all the stops along the route, mostly by walking. However the Bus service the boat provides allows everyone to experience all the things each stop provides Read Less
Sail Date: August 2015
My sisters and I AKA "The Texas Happy Ladies" just returned from our 15th trip on the AQ. We traveled on the upper Mississippi. St. Paul to St Paul. We had a wonderful time. The lure of the boat is the fact that it is the ... Read More
My sisters and I AKA "The Texas Happy Ladies" just returned from our 15th trip on the AQ. We traveled on the upper Mississippi. St. Paul to St Paul. We had a wonderful time. The lure of the boat is the fact that it is the only authentic paddlewheeler on the rivers today. It's wonderful to step back in time to a long ago era and travel as people did then. We don't want to get there in a hurry, we want to enjoy every moment of the ride. When we step onboard, no matter how long it's been since our last trip we are welcomed by name and it's like coming home. The food is excellent in the dining room and also on the front porch. It's nice to have options. Snacks can be found at any hour, day or night. The entertainment was excellent, from the onboard entertainers as well as the groups that were brought in. The staff is some of the best in the business, from the Captain down to the deckhands. If you want to travel America's rivers the way they did in the olden days step onboard the Grand American Queen. She won't disappoint. We aren''t looking for a floating hotel. We want a boat that allows us to slow down and enjoy the rivers as our ancestors did. In our book----THE BOATS THE SHOW Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
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
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