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122 American Queen Steamboat Company USA Cruise Reviews

This was our second river cruise - the first was a few years ago down the Danube in August. The American Queen is a very special ship,not only because of the beautiful furnishings, collectibles and artwork which is abundant, but because ... Read More
This was our second river cruise - the first was a few years ago down the Danube in August. The American Queen is a very special ship,not only because of the beautiful furnishings, collectibles and artwork which is abundant, but because of the paddlewheel. Its power is ever present, and is mesmerizing. Visits to the engine room are encouraged. We cruised from New Orleans to Memphis. The printed material they distributed were clear and well-presented, from the daily newsletters to the material you receive pre-cruise. There were some discouraging reviews that I read prior to departing, so was ready for anything, but I found most everything about this cruise to be very satisfying and agreeable. Our room was excellent - well located, comfortable and beautifully decorated. The shower had good water pressure and plenty of hot water. The steward made up the room twice daily and left Godiva chocolate on the pillows nightly. The beds were very comfortable. The food - the menus were varied and changed daily - everything labeled with information for cruisers with allergies or other special diets. The food came out hot, if a bit too quickly. I often ate fish, and my husband beef, and no complaints about either. The staff looks a bit disheveled, but everyone was friendly and aimed to please. We sat at a table for 2 (this was not requested) so were a bit disappointed about that. When we asked to change, we were led to a table on the opposite side of the room which was above the engine room. DO NOT sit here (left side rear when walking in). We had one meal here and returned to our original table - it was so noisy that you had to strain to hear anyone speaking. We took breakfast and lunch on the Front Porch, which had excellent food even though it was a buffet. There were not an endless amount of choices, but enough and of good quality. The staff assigned to work there were helpful and kept everything very clean. I found the coffee to be just OK, including the self-serve cappuccino. The soft-serve ice cream deserves special mention - I am not a fan usually, but this was really good, available 24/7, toppings with it, and choice of cone or cup. Daily excursions - The hop on - hop off bus was an excellent way to get around and all pre-paid tours were indicated on the map of the town. There was more to do than we were able, even though we got off the boat early (it was also hovering at 100 degrees every day, so we could not move very fast!). Natchez was my favorite port while cruising. There were 8 hours of port time at each stop, except for St. Francisville. We couldn't stop at Greenville due to heavy traffic coming down river because of dredging. My husband did the optional excursion to Vicksburg battlefield, which he said was excellent. I was happy with the ones included. Entertainment - Without question, the best on any cruise. The shows each night were not to be missed. There were 4 performers which included the Cruise Director and Asst. Cruise Director (Ryan and Ashley), and all were very good to excellent. The back up band was excellent. There was nightly music in the Engine Room bar (rock and roll) and in the lounge pre-dinner for each seating. He had sing-a-longs booklets for all, played with a flourish, as well as being an engaging storyteller. All music on the ship was live. On-board activities - We spent 2 full days cruising instead of one because of the river traffic traveling south. The options are limited, but the staff does have some organized activities that were enjoyable. I like to read and there was a larger pool than anticipated, so was pleasantly surprised and kept cool in there. There was a small gym with 4 pieces of equipment (usually unoccupied) and mats for stretching. I do yoga, so found that to be ideal for me. There were many board games, puzzles, daily crosswords and sudoku, and tables for playing. The chart room was always open and you could borrow books about the river and history of the South. Jerry, the Riverlorian, gave daily talks, and was very knowledgeable and engaging. He also gave daily tours of the Control Room. I learned quite a bit about the river, the history of the Civil War, and the many nuances that we did not learn in school. Service - I was happy overall - service was good, not flawless.I am not a fan of mandating gratuities, and thought $18.50/day was high. Overall - This trip was on my bucket list and well worth doing. I thoroughly enjoyed it, and would recommend it for "older" clientele, even those with physical limitations. Also, they have you arrive one day prior to embarkation in New Orleans. I would recommend you spend at least an additional day there, as well as an additional day or 2 in Memphis. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
We selected this cruise as we were traveling with 2 other couples who live on our street. This is not the best of the ships in this line but selected as one couple needed a lower cost cruise. Rooms small and cramped and flooded during ... Read More
We selected this cruise as we were traveling with 2 other couples who live on our street. This is not the best of the ships in this line but selected as one couple needed a lower cost cruise. Rooms small and cramped and flooded during rains. Employees who work hard were up at 5am pushing rainwater off deck, but the problem, aside from the noise, was that water was pushed inside the cabin. Cabins not soundproof as next door phone conversations could be heard regularly. Awful fumes noticed inside cabin. The Hop On Hop Off buses do NOT have tour guides onboard in the afternoon so if you are not an early bird you are out of luck. Excursions booked through the cruise line were not as advertised,, and when a complaint was made to the excursion director, Alex, it was totally ignored. On the last day of the cruise, which disembarking the ship, we inquired about our concern and were told nothing would be done as it was not a cruise line excursion: BS! We booked with the ship. Forget the Elvis Graceland adventure through the ship and get a better deal with a local tour company. Our friends who had a problem with their swamp adventure were given a g=credit for the problems they had. Their excursion, like ours, was booked through the ship. Nothing is worse than being lied to by a ship representative. Room service on several occasions failed to deliver our order completely; this was for breakfast only. Dining room selection of food and service was excellent. All but one waiter (Kathisa) was fantastic. She was one who refused us a table for 2 at lunch when many tables were available and finally seated us at a table with no view---we declined it and asked for a different table. After a bit of attitude we were seated properly. Patio restaurant closes at 2 pm which is a problem when returning late from a morning excursion. You are left which a choice of hot dogs or hot dogs. Laundry machines broken at times and no hot water for showers on the last day. We had the beverage package and service varied a the different bars. Brian on deck 5 was excellent as was bartender outside the patio restaurant. The pre-cruise hotel,, The Sheriton in Memphis was less than satisfactory; air-conditioning problems and issues with door locks. We had to have a room change analog with one of our friends. Definitely not a 4 star hotel. Entertainers very enthusiastic and shows enjoyable. The band was great. Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
ATV outdoor shore excursion at Natchez was the highlight for us! Well done to David and the Team for putting this outdoor adventure together. Civil War battleground tour at Vickisburg was also excellent. Our particular thanks to the ... Read More
ATV outdoor shore excursion at Natchez was the highlight for us! Well done to David and the Team for putting this outdoor adventure together. Civil War battleground tour at Vickisburg was also excellent. Our particular thanks to the thoroughly informative speakers/guides - especially the gentleman who dressed and acted the part of a soldier of the day - he really made a difference! Plantations at St Francisville were amazing - such informative guides at Rosedown and host at Catalpa willing to share her home - such wonderful hospitality! The food and the service on board the American Queen has been second to none! All of the waiters & staff have gone out of their way to make us comfortable & have the most amazing honeymoon of a lifetime! We feel truly special that we've been able to join this cruise and spend it making friends for life! We will definitely take another cruise again! Thank you & a special mention to Ambrose & Brian - the most deserving of recognition out of a truly exceptional crew Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
My husband was interested in historic stops and I wanted to relax and be pampered. We both got what we wanted. I was able to stay on board while he went site seeing. Our cabin was small but had everything you could want. Our bed was ... Read More
My husband was interested in historic stops and I wanted to relax and be pampered. We both got what we wanted. I was able to stay on board while he went site seeing. Our cabin was small but had everything you could want. Our bed was very comfortable and the room was clean. Housekeeping stopped by twice a day to freshen up. Bathroom was larger than expected and plenty of hot water for showers. Any questions were answered thoroughly and quickly. The Hop On and Hop Off bus was just what we wanted. If we wanted more to see and do that was an option or we could just take a round trip and get back on board. Food was plentiful and delicious. Staff were very helpful and friendly. The boat is "small" so you got to meet lots of people since you would see the same people at meals or out walking. This encouraged friendliness. Truly delightful. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
The wait staff was superb, extremely accommodating. The cleaning crew did a superb job. Kristen, the EMT, and Kashawna, the Purser, went above and beyond to arrange an oxygen concentrator when "Special Needs" failed to provide a ... Read More
The wait staff was superb, extremely accommodating. The cleaning crew did a superb job. Kristen, the EMT, and Kashawna, the Purser, went above and beyond to arrange an oxygen concentrator when "Special Needs" failed to provide a working concentrator. I am extremely thankful and forever in their debt. Without their service, I might have been unable to complete the voyage. Two days without oxygen was challenging for me since I have a very severe case of Sleep Apnea that requires an oxygen concentrator and a CPAP machine. I am forever in their debt for the extraordinary service they provided for me. Their extreme care made this a successful vacation. It is heartwarming to know that the cruise line was here to accommodate my every need, but these two workers were unabelievably accommocating. I am so grateful for their care. They successfully arranged a concentrator and a backup to be delivered after we had already set sail. After two days without oxygen I was beginning to wonder if I would have to discontinue my cruise. Thankfully, they rectified the problem. I look forward to taking another excursion on the American Queen Steamboat Company,. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
We had been recommended the American Queen by a close friend, who is quite choosy so we felt confident all would be prefect! Not quite! Disappointed with quality of some of entertainment. Particularly the lounge singer- we felt ... Read More
We had been recommended the American Queen by a close friend, who is quite choosy so we felt confident all would be prefect! Not quite! Disappointed with quality of some of entertainment. Particularly the lounge singer- we felt very poor, could have been much better. Sadly dinner service was lacking, although did improve so I guess someone at a neighbourung table may have said something? We were served wrong meals repeatedly, had to ask for drinks to be served and the attitude of some staff was very off hand. Front porch cafe- always great service and choice- both at breakfast and lunch. Top deck bar- likewise, always good. This isn't a cheap trip and expectations were so high and I have to admit we were disappointed with these areas! In other areas they excelled, organistaion around trips, both additional and standard were excellent- we did both. Ease on and off at ports was great- never been so easy! The 'Hop on/Hop off' bus service fab! In terms of value for money- depends on your point of view - I know some of my fellow dinner partners felt it wasn't. However if you use all the facilities, all the trips provided as part of package, along with buses it does feel like you know what you are paying for. I think the poor service at dinner and 'not so good' entertainment in places left it feeling wanting. We , for insatnce , seldom ate lunch- but suited ourselves and made a sandwich which we took with us when on shore for a trip. Had fruit etc to eat during the day so we gained in other ways. Satff in general really great, helpful, friendly. Staterooms as expected- really clean, comfortable and well serviced- we had a private verandah which was great. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
We (my wife, myself, my daughter and her spouse) had always wanted to try a US Cruise Ship on the Mississippi River, We started at New Orleans and traveled to Menmphis, the hotel the ship chose was a part of the pre trip was excellent ... Read More
We (my wife, myself, my daughter and her spouse) had always wanted to try a US Cruise Ship on the Mississippi River, We started at New Orleans and traveled to Menmphis, the hotel the ship chose was a part of the pre trip was excellent and we actually booked it via separate reservations a day early, The room on board was nice, however our steward was at best poor, in fact the ship changed him out after the 3rd night of almost no service. The staff, were all USA residents, and the lower staff, were often indifferent to most. They seemed to get better as the trip neared its end. Food, was at best, medium. On the first night I ordered a baked potato, it was cold and would not melt the butter. They brought me a second "15 minutes later", it was colder then the first, they then sent the assistant head waiter over, he went and found a 3rd baked potato, again this took "15 minutes", by then I had finished my meal. It never got better.... The value for $$$ was far below what I expected. The dining room chairs were broken and most had extremely stained seats. Not at all what I expected for a US cruise line. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
Entire boat was reserved for Road Scholar members for this cruise. Instead of the standard one day stay in New Orleans with tours, Road Scholar had two before boarding. The food and service was outstanding, either in the Main Dining ... Read More
Entire boat was reserved for Road Scholar members for this cruise. Instead of the standard one day stay in New Orleans with tours, Road Scholar had two before boarding. The food and service was outstanding, either in the Main Dining Room with a very good selections or in the Grill Room/Terrace buffet. Most of us chose the Main Dining Room for dinner, wine and beer is included with dinner. and the Grill Room for breakfast and lunch. Weather was good enough for enjoying the meals on the open terrace. Cabins are very comfortable and there are suites with separate sitting area, even two story suites with seating below and sleeping area up the stairs. Lectures and tours are included, with experienced and enthusiastic guides. Free Hop on/off busses are at every port. There was good entertainment with a four piece band and three singers performing every night. Music in the Lounge during the cocktail hour and after the show. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
I was invited to join friends on this cruise. New Orleans is a great place to visit pre-cruise. Our hotel was within walking distance of many attractions. Cabin was small but compact, clean and orderly. The bathroom was good size and ... Read More
I was invited to join friends on this cruise. New Orleans is a great place to visit pre-cruise. Our hotel was within walking distance of many attractions. Cabin was small but compact, clean and orderly. The bathroom was good size and the walkin shower excellent. Amenities included were shampoo, lotion, shower gel, nice size bar of hand soap. The food was plentiful, many choices, and of excellent quality. For breakfast and lunch you could order from the menu or eat from the buffet. Dinner consisted of appetizer choice, soup and/or salad, choice of entrée and dessert. Wine, beer, soda, coffee, tea included with dinner. The included shore excursions were very interesting. There were enough places to visit in each town using the Hop-On Hop-Off tour buses that you didn't really need to pay for extra premium excursions. I did opt to purchase the Vicksburg, On The Front Lines of the Civil War, excursion. I felt that it was well worth the money. I was not impressed with the evening entertainment, but there were always other choices. The only downside was the fact that the Mississippi was the highest it has ever been. Consequently, we could not dock at several ports. However, we still visited most of the same towns, We could not get under the bridges leading to Memphis, so we had a long bus ride to the Memphis airport. We all made our flights on time. The staff of the cruise boat did a fine job of dealing with the swollen river and the problems it presented. Since I have visited Memphis many times, I did not stay over there. I would recommend doing so if you have not been there. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
After having taken three ocean cruises, the cruise aboard the American Queen was a very nice change. We enjoyed the more personal service that is possible with a maximum capacity of 430 passengers. We appreciated the helpfulness and ... Read More
After having taken three ocean cruises, the cruise aboard the American Queen was a very nice change. We enjoyed the more personal service that is possible with a maximum capacity of 430 passengers. We appreciated the helpfulness and pleasant demeanor of all the staff we encountered. The boat and its furnishings are very nice and seemed to be well maintained. The only equipment problem I noted was that one of the two treadmills in the gym was non-operational. That was not a problem for us as we never encountered anyone else in the gym when we were there. Our cabin #332 included a private veranda. Although we have stayed in larger suites before, we found this one to be quite comfortable and to meet all our needs. Unfortunately, we had a problem with cigarette and apparent pipe smoke being very noticeable from our veranda several times when we wanted to use it. On the second day I reported it to the Purser's office and they sent a security staff member to our cabin. He also smelled smoke but said he could not determine from where it was coming. I was later told by a different staff member that it was probably coming from the staff deck below. Sure enough, when I looked down at that deck from my veranda I saw several cigarette butts on the decking below our cabin. When I later mentioned that to the Purser's office I got the distinct impression that they were aware of the issue from prior experience but just chose not to take corrective action. I consider that to be very inconsiderate that they do not at least advise passengers where this problem might be encountered so they can make a good choice of cabin. We found the food to be of very good quality. We ate half of our dinners at the Front Porch Café because we enjoyed the more casual service style here. The staff there was excellent and quick to address any service requests. We did not take any of the premium excursions and found the hop-on hop-off bus system to be well organized and easy to use. Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
My wife and I booked a great 23 day Cruise up the Mississippi River. Teri Robbins the agent I purchased the cruise from at American Queen Steamboat Company Office, was AWESOME ! Every time I called or e-mailed her in the months leading up ... Read More
My wife and I booked a great 23 day Cruise up the Mississippi River. Teri Robbins the agent I purchased the cruise from at American Queen Steamboat Company Office, was AWESOME ! Every time I called or e-mailed her in the months leading up to the cruise, Teri always returned my calls or e-mails within a few minutes. I have never had a more honest, organized, and sincere agent, that I had with Teri. The Cruise on the American Duchess was very good, as we moved up the river day after day taking the Hop On-Hop Off, American Queen Buses for tours of the cities. The Drivers Karen, Tami, & Mark were so professional, funny, and had a great personality. They were so fun to be with. Angie the Golf Cart driver who drove Handicap people from the docked Duchess, up the ramps when getting off the boat, was very nice. In side the boat, our stateroom was cleaned very nicely everyday by Cleon & Francis. The American Duchess also provided us with outstanding one day complementary laundry service, once a week. Michael the bar tender in the Grand Lobby Bar was so good, as he visited with guests, and mixed great drinks everyday. In the Main Dinning Room Jeremy the Maitre d, and servers Kenneth, Sidney, and Soufian were very nice and professional. Gerald the Butler, who did a little of everything on the boat, was very funny, and worked hard pleasing everyone. At the front desk Purser Shayna Tatz was so nice and worked a lot of hours with a Big smile on her face. Teresa Marcou the Shore Excursion Specalist was such a hard worker, making sure all of the Shore Excursions, and Hop On-Hop Off buses were working on time. The Riverlorian/Stage Manager Mike Chapman was very knowledgeable, interesting, and entertaining, as he gave his daily lectures on the history of the Mississippi River. The Entertainment on the American Duchess was OUTSTANDING ! Lead by the Cruise Director, Lead Singer, and Entertainer Dustin Cunningham, his wife Courtney Cunningham, & Jeff Hudson who were also Asst. Cruise Directors/Entertainers. Their Singing and Stage performing was outstanding. The four man American Duchess Band was so good, and was lead by Band Leader/Drummer David O'Connell, Bass Player Will Wagner, Pianist, Adam Marchand, and Sax/Reed Player Ike Spivak. There were also 9 different entertainers who came on the American Duchess to entertain us. My favorite walk on shows were the comedian and magician " Dante," and the Different Instrument playing and singers Dave Para and Cathy Barton, who were so different and entertaining. One of the major highlights of our 23 day cruise was attending a special educational lecture in the Pilot House by Aaron Sidora the American Duchess Chief Mate. Later that night we also had a private dinner with Aaron for 2 hours. Aaron was so nice, very smart, and answered all of the questions we had during our dinner. That was very special. My wife and I had a great relaxing time on this 23 day cruise, as we learned a lot of History about the Mississippi River and cities around it, and we met some great people. Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
Loved this cruise which sailed from Vancouver ,Washington to Clarkston Washington over 9 days .Not being American we didn’t really know anything about Lewis and Clark ,and mainly picked this cruise for the beautiful scenery, but ... Read More
Loved this cruise which sailed from Vancouver ,Washington to Clarkston Washington over 9 days .Not being American we didn’t really know anything about Lewis and Clark ,and mainly picked this cruise for the beautiful scenery, but learning about the Lewis and Clark expeditions was a bonus ,the Riverlorian was very informative and we enjoyed his commentary .The food ,the staff and the service were exceptional .The day excursions were great and well organised .The Entertainment was most enjoyable,but the standout was Frank in the Paddlewheel lounge ,he is a true entertainer !.Our only complaint was our room # 238.The room itself was really lovely and well serviced but on a couple of nights a ? Generator started up and it was like having a jet engine going in our room,we complained and they offered us a another room to sleep in just for the night but at 10.30pm the last thing we wanted to do was change rooms just to sleep,so we resorted to earplugs and got little sleep .We thought this was a one off thing but no it happened again several nights later when in port .They could not offer us any other rooms that didn’t have the same noise or the paddle wheel noise so we reluctantly stayed in that room.If we had known the noise was bad at the back end of the boat we would never have booked a room at the back end of the boat .The Staff did all they could to help but they need to make people aware that those rooms are noisy ,we couldn’t sit on our verandah as the noise out of the external air conditioning vents on the outside of the boat near our room did not entice us to sit out there.My advice is if you don’t like noise do not pick rooms near the stern of the boat Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
The following is a post I wrote for my travel blog: Welcome aboard American Queen Steamboat Company’s second paddlewheel riverboat, the 223-passenger (and 83 crew) American Empress. She’s a beauty with her traditional black smoke ... Read More
The following is a post I wrote for my travel blog: Welcome aboard American Queen Steamboat Company’s second paddlewheel riverboat, the 223-passenger (and 83 crew) American Empress. She’s a beauty with her traditional black smoke stacks, red paddlewheel, ornate trim, and beautiful décor. Having been on the grand dame of the fleet, American Queen, and the newest addition, the upscale boutique hotel inspired American Duchess, we were curious to spend a week aboard the four-year-old American Empress and get a feel for their Washington-based riverboat. What makes this boat different from the others is that all of the staterooms are outside with balconies/ verandas. Although our stateroom was located on the walking deck, so the veranda wasn’t as private on the other decks, I loved having easy accessibility to get quickly around the boat when I wanted to check out the view from all angles for photography. It was also convenient for my deck walks (8-1/2 laps equaled a mile), since there wasn’t a gym available. As always when we cruise, we selected the least-expensive cabin, since we don’t need the extra space or spend much time inside our room. At 150 square feet, it was the same size as most inside cruise ship cabins, and it was appointed with a mini refrigerator, flat-screen TV, desk, safe, and plenty of closet space. A nice touch was the addition of a nice pair of binoculars. Just a short walk down the hall from us was the River Grill, the casual dining option for breakfast and lunch buffets, or reservation-only dinners. Although we didn’t dine there for dinner, we enjoyed all of our breakfasts and lunches either on the deck outside of the River Grill, or just inside with great views looking out. When the weather was nice, they would open the doors, so you could enjoy the comfortable temperatures inside, but still feel like you were dining alfresco. What made the convenient location dangerous for our waistlines was the 24-hour soft serve ice cream machine (with several toppings) and cookies. (Thankfully, I did so much walking during the week that I didn’t gain any weight!) The other dining option, the Astoria Dining Room was fabulous for dinner. Although we had second seating (7:45 PM), it wasn’t assigned seating, so you could choose to dine alone or share a table with other passengers. The dining room was never full for the later seating, because first seating was more in demand. The River Grill was also a popular option, so it took the pressure off the dining room. As a result, dining was relaxed, the service was excellent, the food was delicious, and we weren’t rushed out of the dining room at the end of the evening. Baja, the Maitre D’ also made sure the wine was always flowing. The highlight of our dining experience was being invited to have dinner with Captain Andrea Mickelson. As turned out, my previous three cruises (two with Bruce and one I took my mother on) totaled more cruising days with the company than any other passenger, so that is why we were invited! We were quite impressed with the captain’s eight-year rise in the ranks from housekeeper to earning her USCG Captains license in 2002. She has been on the rivers ever since, and her passion is evident. Thanks to Baja seating me next to Captain Andrea, I was able to ask her a lot of questions and get to know her a bit. Baja, along with Adam (bartender/ cocktail waiter), Evan (waiter), and Gail (Excursions Manager), were all working aboard the American Duchess when we were on in January, so it was fun seeing them again and getting to know them better. Adam remembered the dates we would be on, because it was his birthday during our cruise, and Baja scheduled us in his phone; so, we had a very warm welcome from them both on the first day! In between the show and dinner, and then again after dinner each evening, we made our way to the Paddlewheel Lounge to hear Frank play piano and sing. What a hoot! His quirky sense of humor added even more enjoyment to his wonderful singing and phenomenal piano playing. He had us thoroughly entertained! And, when he wasn’t playing, we enjoyed the great views of the scenery out the side windows and the turning red paddlewheel out the back. Off to the side, there was a small library with comfortable couches, and four computers to access the free WiFi. In the show lounge, Lawrence gave informative lectures during the day (We particularly enjoyed his two-part talk on Lewis & Clark). At night, there were excellent shows various combinations of the four talented staff singers accompanied by a fabulous four-piece band. Sammy and Daniel were so much fun and friendly, and they seemed to truly enjoy performing together. Greg (Cruise Director), and his wife, Lindy (Hotel Manager) reminded us so much of husband and wife team, Max and Darcy, the cruise director and assistant cruise director/ entertainers aboard the American Duchess. Not only did they all remember our names after the first time we met, but they were very personable, friendly, and amazingly talented. “Lindy on a High Note” was Lindy’s fantastic cabaret, which highlighted her operatic training while singing selections from Broadway musicals. Greg followed up with his own one-man show of Broadway musicals, complete with on-stage costume/character changes for each one. From Fiddler on the Roof to Don Quixote to Phantom of the Opera, we were totally captivated by his versatility and talent! The dining and entertainment on all three boats is truly top-notch quality, and the best we have experienced on the water, including the many ocean cruises we worked on as Arts & Crafts instructors with two major mid-level cruise lines. What makes American Queen Steamboat Company’s cruises unique, though, is the included hop on-hop off buses that follow the boat throughout the itinerary. They make frequent stops at several of each town’s highlight attractions, and admission to those attractions are included as well. Premium excursions are also available, and we scheduled our first one for this cruise. (More on that in a later post.) The most enjoyable aspect of each cruise we have taken with American Queen Steamboat Company, however, has been the staff, from the captain all the way down to our stateroom attendant. As personable and friendly as they are, it appears as if they wisely hire for personality and train the skills needed to perform the job. The company also does a great job promoting from within. Lindy was originally hired as an entertainer when the American Empress first started; however, she was asked by the owner of the company, John Waggoner, to become Hotel Manager. After initial protest by Lindy (I’m not a hotel manager; I’m an entertainer!), she agreed under the condition that she would still be able to perform her cabaret. Mr. Waggoner agreed, and she now pulls double duty and seems very happy. The staff also goes out of their way to make sure their guests are happy and having a good time. I witnessed one man at the River Grill looking at the selection of ice cream toppings and asking where the nuts were. Edward, the River Grill chef promised he would get some for him the next day. Sure enough, the next morning, he poured out a bag of mixed bar nuts on his workstation, so he could pick out the peanuts for this passenger’s ice cream. Then, he spent his work break going into town to buy a can of peanuts to keep this passenger happy the remainder of the cruise! That’s going above and beyond, don’t you think? Knowing I liked the chocolate chip cookies, Evan surprised me one night at dinner with a wrapped plate of the treats to take back to our cabin. I hadn’t asked for them, but he thought to do it anyway. In addition to seating me next to the captain, Baja brought us out lobster tails on the last night of the cruise, because he knew how much we had enjoyed them the night before. It is all of these reasons that we will continue cruising with American Queen Steamboat Company. We already have one booked for next summer! Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
I am in my 70s, an Australian solo traveller, love seeing new places and love cruising. I enjoyed an upper Mississippi cruise on the American Queen a couple of years ago and, as I had never been to the Pacific Northwest before, knew that ... Read More
I am in my 70s, an Australian solo traveller, love seeing new places and love cruising. I enjoyed an upper Mississippi cruise on the American Queen a couple of years ago and, as I had never been to the Pacific Northwest before, knew that a paddle boat cruise would be a great way to go. I was not disappointed - the accommodation was VERY comfortable, food was delicious, all of the crew from the Captain down were so helpful, and very approachable. I was so impressed with the standard of entertainment, particularly for such a small boat - all were excellent. Lindy, the Hotel Manager, ran a "tight ship", with everything running smoothly on board, and external problems (eg. a dodgy lock, which wouldn't fill) were handled efficiently. Love the Hop On Hop Off buses, painted to look like riverboats, which took us around each of the towns we docked at, and on the premium excursions. My favourite was Zip-lining, which I hadn't tried before, and the jet boat cruise up the Snake River. I met lots of lovely people, so had plenty of good company when I wanted it. Thoroughly enjoyed the cruise, and wouldn't hesitate to recommend it to others. Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
I took this cruise in February of 2018. I am under 40 and from Australia. Overall, I really enjoyed many aspects of this cruise. However, I feel, for the amount of money spent, AQSC really needs to up its game in some aspects. Booking: ... Read More
I took this cruise in February of 2018. I am under 40 and from Australia. Overall, I really enjoyed many aspects of this cruise. However, I feel, for the amount of money spent, AQSC really needs to up its game in some aspects. Booking: The company does not allow online bookings for international travellers. This is one of the most ridiculous things ever. In the digital age I really don't think they understand how many customers they lose by not having this function. This forces us to go through local agents who charge commissions and don't have access to the cheaper rates the company advertises online for US passengers.WHY?! This really needs to change. Demographics: Most of the people on this cruise were senior citizens from the US,. Personally, I had no problem socialising with the older crowd at dinner and such. Saying that, in some ports I gave up using the free bus and just walked between attractions as the loading/unloading of the bus was slowed down by the elderly. I also noticed the ship was dead of life after dinner/show. Cabin: I had single inside cabin next to the laundry. I found this more than ample for what I needed. I had no noise from the laundry which was one of my biggest concerns. The room was very clean. I thoroughly enjoyed that they played both Gone with the Wind and Showboat during the voyage. My only negative was the shower. I am 180cm (5ft 10) guy and the shower was very small - I was nearly touching the ceiling. Public Rooms: FANTASTIC. So full of character and delight. Surprisingly, I found not many people used the rooms other than just before dinner. Most seemed to retire to their cabins. I think this may be to do with the lack of onboard activities. Onboard Activities: There really wasn't much to do on board. I found the shows pretty bad for the price you pay for the cruise. The river talks always seemed to be at a time that when you couldn't attend. It would be great if they could introduce more onboard activities like art classes, or games etc Dining: YUM! I found the food just as good as many of the sea cruises I have completed. The wait staff were so friendly and amazingly helpful. Dining was always a treat and I am not sure why other reviews have said it was bad. I could not fault the dinner service. Ports: I loved all the ports. We spent appropriate times in all ports except Baton Rouge. The boat arrived on a day where everything was closed and we were there for two days. This was pretty bad planning by the AQSC. The free bus service is great (although refer to my previous comments about walking instead in some ports). Read Less
Sail Date February 2018
This was our 4th river cruise on the American Queen. Each one was a very special treat and we love the experience. However, on this trip, we noticed more superior level of crew friendliness, service and attitude. Our compliments to John ... Read More
This was our 4th river cruise on the American Queen. Each one was a very special treat and we love the experience. However, on this trip, we noticed more superior level of crew friendliness, service and attitude. Our compliments to John Waggoner and his staff for hiring, training and maintaining a fantastic crew. We actually felt like we interacted more with the crew than with fellow passengers. That is a great compliment to your fine cruise experience. Although there are many crew that we really enjoyed, we'd especially like to thank Jessie, cabin steward; waiters Burnel & Nick; maitre'd Joe & Oscar; pilot Lucas who we met several years prior when he was a cadet; watchman Kelso, front porchers Kim & Shanay and finally, the great entertainment staff including riverlorian, Bobby. This is a cruise if you want to relax, if you want to stay extremely busy, if you enjoy American history, if you enjoy a wonderful selection of great food, if you like fantastic entertainment, if you like great personal and friendly service, if you want to stay in and see America and if you want what could be the best cruise experience you could find. Read Less
Sail Date February 2018
My wife and I have done 29 cruises, mostly ocean but several European river cruises. My wife likes new ships so we decided to do the American Duchess. Overall, the ship is fine but we seemed to notice that dinning room service was ... Read More
My wife and I have done 29 cruises, mostly ocean but several European river cruises. My wife likes new ships so we decided to do the American Duchess. Overall, the ship is fine but we seemed to notice that dinning room service was lacking. We couldn’t quite determine the problem. Not sure if the dinning room was poorly designed in that the tables were too far from the kitchen or maybe they were under staffed or even poorly trained. It didn’t matter which meal it was all the same. For breakfast it took for ever to get that first cup of coffee and a refill later was sparse. We had to ask for juice always. The waiters seemed to be very busy despite the dinning room being less that half full. In fact some of them walked very fast back and forth from some where but nothing seemed to get done. The waiters were very kind and friendly and apologized often for late food, etc. I have one suggestion, and that would be to hire a helper or two for the waiter staff just to fill coffee, water glasses, rolls, juice, and bus some dirty tables. Some tables were left cluttered the whole time we were in there. The buffets were not any better, sometimes there were no plates or bowls or they were out of soup or salad item,etc. Overall dinning seemed to be very disorganized and at best I would have to rate it 2star. Other guests we talked to concurred. At times my wife and I would bet each other on whether we would get that dinner roll or that second cup of coffee,etc.. Overall, the ship is in good shape, the cabins are large for a river boat, and the staff is very friendly. It is just the dinning experience is not any thing close to 5star. These cruises are expensive, and when paying over $1000 per day per cabin plus tips you should expect good dinning service. In short, we did not find this good value for the money. I think we will stick to European rivers and the Ocean. Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
lots of fun on this cruise! although the ports don't look like there is much there, if you take time to explore they are very interesting! service is fine-not exceptional, but adequate. Ship is not luxurious, but fine. Food is great! ... Read More
lots of fun on this cruise! although the ports don't look like there is much there, if you take time to explore they are very interesting! service is fine-not exceptional, but adequate. Ship is not luxurious, but fine. Food is great! really a very fun week! Hop-on bus system is great, although you can also walk into and around these ports. Entertainment is fun! Fairly relaxing-can venture out and return whenever you like. Really enjoyed exploring this area of our country. paid excursions were good although not necessary. Really enjoyed excursion to angola prison-very enlightening. Ship is very nice. Some parts a little dated, but in general nice. Crew is very helpful. Enjoyed dining at The Front Porch. Dining room is okay, although service is slow. Huge variety of items offered each evening. Definitely an older crowd, but we took our 17 year old daughter and she was fine. There is a nice pool kept very warm-like a hot tub almost. Overall a fun week! Read Less
Sail Date November 2017
We enjoyed a fabulous on this line's competitor ACL and decided to try this company on same route. We were sorely disappointed from first boarding! Other line allowed our son to aid mobility limited father to get settled in room and ... Read More
We enjoyed a fabulous on this line's competitor ACL and decided to try this company on same route. We were sorely disappointed from first boarding! Other line allowed our son to aid mobility limited father to get settled in room and these folks were abrupt and rude to son, refusing to let him help and said boarding area was for ticked passengers only. Passengers were herded in groups and put into staging areas. One such area was in narrow alley way with busses belching fumes in our faces. Several folks asked if they could preboard as could not stand for thirty minutes and were refused. Crew acted as if passengers were a burden and in their way. Once on board things didn't improve. The Purser was a very nice lady who tried her best with crew and passengers. Gift shop lady snapped at a passenger who was going through a stack of tee shirts and told guest the pile had just been straightened and not to mess them up. Gift shop lady didn't offer to find correct size as she was busy straightening other merchandise. Several of us decided we didn't need anything from gift shop! The dining staff appeared to be trained by Carnival as they were in to mob feeding and not small boat guests. No personality, very perfunctory, assigned tables and waitstaff did not like folks at our table as we liked to sit in different chairs each evening to get to know fellow travellers. Although free wine was listed in literature, waitstaff kept bottles off table and it was difficult to have a second glass of wine. Buffet service was encouraged at breakfast and lunch, although table service was advertised. My husband was having mobility issues and we asked for menues. Our waiter said to look at buffet and choose items. When husband asked waiter for table service, waiter pointed to me and said "she can get it for you"! Needless to say we were unimpressed with service. Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
This was a brand new vessel that was sailing from New Orleans to Red Wing, Minnesota. We were interested in the shore excursions of which 3 did not take place. Our cabin was missing furniture, closet hangers, the thermostat did not ... Read More
This was a brand new vessel that was sailing from New Orleans to Red Wing, Minnesota. We were interested in the shore excursions of which 3 did not take place. Our cabin was missing furniture, closet hangers, the thermostat did not work and only blew hot air. Engineering could not fix it. The room appeared never to have been cleaned and the bathroom faucet was very loose. We asked to be moved and denied. The food wasn't cooked properly and the menu had many sold outs. The staff could not seat us so we waited a half hour looking at empty tables. Staff were brought in from the other two vessels plus several new employees. It was totally unorganized; no one seemed to know the routine. Three shore excursions were cancelled plus mechanical problems, We are not first time cruisers; this one was # 48 ! An offering was made to compensate the passengers. Myself and a few others heard Ted as well as the Riverlorian state that a complementary cruise would be issued as well as an apology for the troubles. My request for the complementary cruise was not honored ! We will no longer do business with American Queen and the same goes for the others in the group. Some even mentioned legal action. Read Less
Sail Date August 2017
First U.S. river cruise and this was absolutely delightful. The staterooms and the entire boat was furnished in antique furniture combined with modern appointments. The bathrooms are full hotel size and the staterooms are larger than all ... Read More
First U.S. river cruise and this was absolutely delightful. The staterooms and the entire boat was furnished in antique furniture combined with modern appointments. The bathrooms are full hotel size and the staterooms are larger than all but suites on ocean cruises. Al all-american crew were friendly from the top to the bottom. Everyone pulled double duty on this, the largest paddle-wheeler ever built, accommodating almost 400 passengers and over 150 crew. The Cruise Director was also the lead singer/dancer in the group that performed several times during the cruise. They boarded Mark Twain for two great programs and had a naturalist, a "Rivertarian" that kept everyone informed about the cruise as we went up the river. Even the Captain came up to the top deck one evening and played a wicked guitar (made from a retired paddlewheel). All in all a great vacation, albeit more expensive than a standard ocean cruise. Food was well-prepared. Beer and wine was complimentary during dinner. On- And-Off bus excursions were complimentary at every port. they have their own fleet of buses that follow the cruise to transport guests to highlights of each port. Read Less
Sail Date July 2017
Regrettably, our $7K cabin had malfunctioning air conditioning. It was terribly hot so we were provided with a fan! On the fourth day of the cruise, a maintenance person fixed the air conditioning unit but the thermostat was irregular ... Read More
Regrettably, our $7K cabin had malfunctioning air conditioning. It was terribly hot so we were provided with a fan! On the fourth day of the cruise, a maintenance person fixed the air conditioning unit but the thermostat was irregular and lowered to 65 degrees. With this, this, the air conditioning vent started dripping a significant amount of water into the carpeted floor. It was only after my third try that there was any action, and since I had the staff attention, I asked to have the room fully cleaned as well. There was significant dust on the baseboards and where the carpet met the walls. There was food in the refrigerator when we arrived. My assessment is there is simply no quality control. Yes, the ship has an English speaking crew but if they are not attentive, then it is of no value to the passenger. The company's apology to me was a complimentary bottle of wine. As for dining room food, I don't know. I asked someone how they liked the food and the reply was "I guess it is ok if you are hungry." My husband and I missed the first night dining because our room was so hot making unpacking impossible in the short time frame we had to unpack and change. When we did go to the dining room another day, we were seated by ourselves so we never went back. Instead, we had room service on our veranda. The value of the cruise for money spent is absurd. The scenery is really nice but the cruise experience was not something I would recommend. Read Less
Sail Date July 2017
Something new and different; great food and service, met wonderful people, enjoyed terrific entertainment, interesting ports of call - not glamorous but a good reflection of life along the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers. The best part is the ... Read More
Something new and different; great food and service, met wonderful people, enjoyed terrific entertainment, interesting ports of call - not glamorous but a good reflection of life along the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers. The best part is the pace ... it's what we wanted. The "Hop on, Hop off" excursion option offers flexibility in start and finish time ... we went and returned when we wanted. On board there was plenty to do with no pressure to do anything other than enjoy the trip. Every performance we went to was well done ... all the entertainers were professional and personable. The accommodations are among the best ...; the bathrooms are much better than on the Ocean Cruise liners we've previously experienced; and the rooms are larger and appointed much nicer. The beds are outstanding, comfortable with exceptional lighting for reading. exceptional. The staff is friendly, competent, and accommodating. Everyone went out of their way to ensure all our needs were met. Dining options are adequate (more than we anticipated for a ship this size). Dining room meals were all great, nicely presented and well prepared and served. Morning wake up coffee service is a treat! Read Less
Sail Date July 2017
We had sailed on American Queen along the Mississippi before and knew and liked the way the Hop-off Hop-On excursions operated. Our cabin onboard the Empress was larger and than what we had before, and we really enjoyed our private ... Read More
We had sailed on American Queen along the Mississippi before and knew and liked the way the Hop-off Hop-On excursions operated. Our cabin onboard the Empress was larger and than what we had before, and we really enjoyed our private balcony. The food has been outstanding--especially the seafood options, and having complimentary local wine with dinner is a nice touch. Having the Riverlorian provide great information about the area is a wonderful feature onboard AQSC cruises. We have learned quite a bit about the Pacific NW on this cruise and remember good topics covered on our Mississippi cruise. The other entertainment onboard is enjoyable-not as big-time showy as onboard the huge cruise ships, but very talented performers. Another nice features of these cruises is the providing of a night's stay in the embarkation city and transportation from there to the boat. This really eases any concerns about flight delays or other problems one might encounter prior to the cruise. Read Less
Sail Date June 2017
We had never been to the Pacific Northwest and wanted to experience the beauty and grandeur that Lewis & Clark discovered. The ship is small enough to be intimate, yet large enough to enjoy quiet areas without waiting in lines. The ... Read More
We had never been to the Pacific Northwest and wanted to experience the beauty and grandeur that Lewis & Clark discovered. The ship is small enough to be intimate, yet large enough to enjoy quiet areas without waiting in lines. The staff was friendly and, by and large, loved their jobs. The entertainers were top-notch, including the instrumentalists in the band and piano. Our woman captain presented her ship in a bridge tour and was proud of every detail. The food was exceptional. Wine is included with dinner and though it was not expensive wine, neither was it cheap; it was drinkable, often local, and enhanced the food. My wife has mobility limitations and the entire staff, including the hop on-hop off bus drivers were most accommodating and helpful. The premium shore excursions were excellent. We were a bit concerned about the Hell's Canyon Jet Boat experience, but are so glad that we went. Our jet boat captain was exceptional and the experience was not to be missed.The "Riverlorian" chats could be improved, but the lady was exceptionally knowledgeable. The art throughout the boat was amazing. We will go again, but want to enjoy other American Queen vessels first. One of the benefits of river cruising over ocean cruising is the smooth sailing; no motion-sickness and much easier to walk about. Read Less
Sail Date June 2017
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