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23 North America River Luxury Cruise Reviews

First, I want to say that the Duchess is a lovely boat and the AQSC does everything possible to make journeys enjoyable. Of course, there are occasional glitches but none that should deter anyone from taking a cruise on the Duchess. ... Read More
First, I want to say that the Duchess is a lovely boat and the AQSC does everything possible to make journeys enjoyable. Of course, there are occasional glitches but none that should deter anyone from taking a cruise on the Duchess. Accommodations: We had booked one of the deluxe suites which are located near the rear of the boat. There is a living area with a dining table and four chairs, a bedroom area, a double-sized balcony, and a bath and a half. All are tastefully decorated and there is also a refrigerator and coffee maker in the living area. There are two TVs and that provided one of the few glitches in that changing the channels on the TV in the living room, turned on the TV in the bedroom area. Once we learned to close the doors between the two areas, that was no longer a problem. The only real negative to the room was the bath/shower combination which was difficult to step in and out of. In addition, the shower curtain was so long that one had to stand on it while showering. Dining: The real highlight of the cruise was the exceptional dining. We ate most often in the grand dining room which was elegant. Breakfast was served there with about seven or eight selections that changed daily. The dinner menu in the grand dining room typically involved four courses -- Appetizer, Soup or salad, entree, and dessert. There were always three appetizers listed, about five or six choices of soup or salad, seven or eight entrees, and about half a dozen desserts. Like the breakfasts, the dinner menu changed daily. The one exception to the timing involved the “Thanksgiving Feast” that was served mid-day with “leftovers” available in the evening. The appetizers were elaborate including such things as fried artichokes, mushroom tart, and olive bruschetta. Soups were memorable with entries like lobster bisque, crab and corn chowder. Among our main course entrees were lamb chops, lobster tail, a variety of fish dishes, pastas, and strip steak. The presentation of the entrees always included sauces and vegetable accompaniments. The kitchen was very accommodating in deleting any items from the presentation that one did not want. And, complimentary wine was included with dinner with a choice of either a red or white wine. We also had one dinner (reservations required) and several breakfasts in the River Grill and Bar, a far more informal space. Both breakfast and lunch there are served buffet style and the breakfast buffet seemed to include the same selections each day. No matter the restaurant or the time of day, a highlight of all meals involved the baked goods – breads and pastries were especially delicious. Room service was also available, but we used it just once on a day when my stomach rebelled at all of the rich food. I ordered a grilled cheese sandwich. Excursions: One of the reasons we chose the AQSC cruise was the opportunity to view the ports via a HOHO bus. Our ages preclude long walks and standing for a long time listening to a tour guide. Instead the HOHO busses that followed the ship allowed one to see each community and get off according to one’s interests. The cruise line had prepaid admission to the key attractions in each community and one could hop off to see anything that appealed and get back on when a later bus arrived. (The busses circulated on a 15 or 20 minute schedule.) There was a guide on each bus who described special features of the port. The evening prior to the port stop, one was provided with the route of the bus with stops indicated. In addition, the map included information about the main attractions like museums, shopping stops, restaurants, restrooms, and almost anything else one might want to know. I should add that there are also premium (extra-cost) excursions which many people selected. Getting to and from the boat was easy as a golf cart would shuttle you up and down the often steep banks of the river. AQSC should also be commended for its relationships with the major attractions as many were willing to open to accommodate those on the HOHO busses at times when they would normally be closed such as early in the morning or on Thanksgiving Day. Entertainment: Each day there was a talk by the Riverlorean and a show in the evening. The Riverlorean talks lasted anywhere from 30 to 45 minutes and covered such topics as terminology about the boat, characteristics of the Mississippi river, major floods on the river, and common phrases that originated from the old river boats such as “hitting rock bottom.” All of these lectures were quite interesting. The evening shows varied with two caberet style performances, an evening of jazz, another of country music, and one focusing on Broadway showtunes. The American Duchess showband of four or five musicians accompanied all performers. They were quite versatile and also provided music at occasional receptions and/or special programs. There were also games scheduled throughout the day though we did not participate in any. Service: Without exception, the staff were hard-working and very pleasant. By the end of the week you felt like they were new friends. Embarkation and Disembarkation: We flew to New Orleans and spent two nights there before boarding the boat. One of the nights was at the Hotel Roosevelt, the hotel used by the cruise line. We took a tour of New Orleans during the day of embarkation which began at the hotel and ended at the boat. Disembarkation involved taking a tour of Memphis before being dropped off at the airport. Both embarkation and disembarkation went relatively smoothly. Clientele: The average age of those on the cruise would be late 60's. The boat was about 2/3rds full and thus it was very easy to get seating in the dining rooms and space on the HOHO busses. It appeared that many cruisers came with families or travel groups-- far fewer couples than we have experienced on ocean cruises. 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Sail Date November 2017
The cruise left New Orleans, went up to Vicksburg, Mississippi, and returned to New Orleans. Highlights included 3 plantation homes (each very different), a working cotton plantation with roots going back to the late 1700s, and the ... Read More
The cruise left New Orleans, went up to Vicksburg, Mississippi, and returned to New Orleans. Highlights included 3 plantation homes (each very different), a working cotton plantation with roots going back to the late 1700s, and the Vicksburg Battlefield National Park. The best thing about the cruise, though, were the staff/cruew and their service service. A cruise director overheard me mentioning how good the peanut butter cookies were, and the day they were featured, I received a plate of them, still warm, in my stateroom! Another passenger was bothered by the engine noise and he was moved to a new, upgraded stateroom. Because the river was at flood stage, some excursions had to be planned on the fly--passengers experienced no disruptions. The food was excellent all the way around. By the end of the cruise, the staff was calling me by name! I have been on 3 cruses with American Cruise Lines and everyone has been special, not only in the things we saw/experienced, but also because of the nice, friendly, helpful staff and crew. Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
Best experience anyone could imagine unless their are more hours in a day. Staterooms, bath, and balcony were exactly as advertised with room to share for two. Ideal to be able to listen (or not) to river historian on ship radio broadcast ... Read More
Best experience anyone could imagine unless their are more hours in a day. Staterooms, bath, and balcony were exactly as advertised with room to share for two. Ideal to be able to listen (or not) to river historian on ship radio broadcast from lounge while lounging on balcony and watching the river sites. Locally sourced meals were prepared by top notch chefs and served to high standards. Excursions on time and high quality. Guides except for one who was ill were excellent and from the location; their knowledge was presented with humor and candor. All needs seemed to be provided for disabled folks routinely with gentle care. Crew was professional, well trained, and passenger service centered, always happy and friendly. High river level never interfered with our itenerary since Captain adjusted sailing times to fit without compromising any activities. Sailing was smooth and seemed effortless. We will sail with them again! Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
Our first ever river cruise was on the American Queen from New Orleans to Memphis. This very unique journey on a genuine 400 passenger Mississippi River steamboat was fabulous in every way. The embarkation and disembarkation processes ... Read More
Our first ever river cruise was on the American Queen from New Orleans to Memphis. This very unique journey on a genuine 400 passenger Mississippi River steamboat was fabulous in every way. The embarkation and disembarkation processes were outstanding, as was the organization of the included hop-on/hop-off tours and the premium tours. The places visited were rich with history and architecture and there was always more to see than you had time for. The food and service were excellent, and the variety and quality of the entertainment was outstanding, especially on such a small boat. The captain even played with the musicians in the beautiful Engine Room bar. Gerry the Riverlorian was both informative and very entertaining. The décor was Victorian ostentation, and immersed you in the elegant heyday of the Mississippi steamboat era. Everything was so well organized that we experienced only one little glitch--we had dreamed of sipping a mint julep on the deck rocking chairs, but they never had any mint! The passenger loyalty is staggering--we met "Miss Ruth" on her 150th trip on this boat. The line thanked her back by upgrading her to a luxury suite. She said she hardly knew what to do with the butler, but the digs were wonderful. Read Less
Sail Date February 2016
wow! We had a great 3 night cruise staying in both the best suite on the boat (501) and a room with no windows (541) Both rooms were perfect! 4 of us went (me, my husband, sister and 89 yr old mom- for her birthday!) The small room was ... Read More
wow! We had a great 3 night cruise staying in both the best suite on the boat (501) and a room with no windows (541) Both rooms were perfect! 4 of us went (me, my husband, sister and 89 yr old mom- for her birthday!) The small room was roomy enough with a good size bathroom and storage. TV, air/heat, radio (although it took me 3 days to realize the radio was on the wall in both rooms!) The staff made mom feel special the whole time and were always nice, with hugs, and a special birthday cake and singing at dinner. Champagne in room 501 was a nice touch, as were the cheese plates and Adams special touches to make the room neat and clean daily The boat was amazing! Clean, spacious, PLENTY OF FOOD AND ACTIVITIES if you wanted. We had incredible weather so we were able to enjoy the private deck that came with room 501. All the food we ate was terrific and they helped with dietary restrictions. This was a Big Band themed cruise, with a full brass band twice a night for all 3 nights, dancing in the theater was fun too! Our ports of call were nice (2 mansions) easy to get to and walk around. Bikes are available for the taking (just sign up!) I would recommend this cruise to people who are fun, easy going, and enjoy a good time, I only wish I were still on the boat right now! PS~ ask for Kim B, Kelvin, Kris or Adam because they were THE BEST! Pursers folks were super helpful too! xoxo Read Less
Sail Date February 2016
Any mention of the Mississippi brings to mind Mark Twain and stories of life on the river. Things have changed since that era but we found a way to recapture the history and atmosphere of those times. We did it by taking a trip on the ... Read More
Any mention of the Mississippi brings to mind Mark Twain and stories of life on the river. Things have changed since that era but we found a way to recapture the history and atmosphere of those times. We did it by taking a trip on the American Queen the largest, most opulent paddlewheel steamboat in the world. This boat is luxurious, elegant, historical and unlike any other boat we have ever seen. It was re-launched in 2012 after a $6.5 million renovation and is the only authentic steamboat in America. The staterooms are large and beautiful as are the many public rooms filled with antiques. The Mark Twain Gallery contains one of the most expansive collections of Tiffany glass in existence. It feels more like a stylish boutique hotel than a boat. The nightly five course dinners are great and in keeping with the atmosphere of southern charm. We particularly enjoyed the southern cuisine, big band jazz and relaxing in rocking chairs while we glided along the second longest river in North America. We took a short four day trip that involved excursions into the antebellum past and visits to several plantations and a swamp tour where I was handed a live alligator. Nottoway is the south’s largest mansion and dates back to 1859. The setting is magnificent. It has three floors and 22 white columns which has given rise to its nickname as the White Castle of Louisiana. It boasts an amazing 64 bedrooms and has 365 openings. Not to be outdone, the Oak Alley plantation is known as the Grande Dame of the Great River Road. Set on 25 acres, this Greek revival mansion has a quarter mile of 300 year old oak trees and reminded us of scenes from Gone With The Wind. The traditional mint Juleps and guides in period costumes may have helped. The 1830 St. Joseph plantation was a highlight as we were shown through by three charming ladies who were direct descendants of the original family. We came away with a far better understanding of this period of history and the devastation that resulted from the civil war. New Orleans has its own incomparable charms, interesting architecture, traditional jazz bands and wonderful restaurants and southern cuisine. Read Less
Sail Date February 2016
Every one of the crew is amazingly friendly. They all want you to have the absolute best cruise experience possible. Kris Kelso, deckhand, really made my cruise when he let me squeegee the deck. His friendly smile and accomodating ... Read More
Every one of the crew is amazingly friendly. They all want you to have the absolute best cruise experience possible. Kris Kelso, deckhand, really made my cruise when he let me squeegee the deck. His friendly smile and accomodating personality made us feel comfortable and welcome. Kim Breashears, waitress on The Front Porch, was such a hoot. Her sense of humor kept us entertained with every meal. She waited on us hand and foot. My husband and I came to prefer the Front Porch dining over the J.M. White Dining Hall. Sandra, our stateroom attendant, worked hard, often behind the scenes, to keep our cabin neat, clean, well supplied, and "ship-shape." Although much of her work was done while we were enjoying ourselves elsewhere, we could always tell when she had been in to spruce things up. Mary Sward, the Riverlorian, was an excellent speaker, presenting historical, educational information pertinent to the region and the river. The cruise director was and excellent host - personable and outgoing. Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
My wife and I took an American Queen Steamboat Company Cruise on The American Empress Steamboat last week, traveling up the Columbia and Snake Rivers. We have been on 30 international large cruise ships, but this was our first United ... Read More
My wife and I took an American Queen Steamboat Company Cruise on The American Empress Steamboat last week, traveling up the Columbia and Snake Rivers. We have been on 30 international large cruise ships, but this was our first United States River Cruise. The total 10 day cruise started with a Bus tour of Vancouver, Washington and Portland, Oregon which was followed by and over night stay at the Hilton Vancouver Hotel. The next morning the steamboat embarked from Portland, Oregon, going up the Columbia River and stopping in Astoria, OR. The Dalles, WA. Stevenson, WA, Richland, WA. and Clarkson, WA. After leaving the steamboat in Clarkson, WA we took another bus tour up to Spokane, Washington where we toured the city, and then checked in at the luxurious Davenport Hotel for a two night stay. It was a great Cruise trip, as we experienced the same sense of excitement and wonder that Lewis and Clark had, as they explored the Columbia and Snake River areas of Oregon and Washington. We visited many historical, scenic and enjoyable sites on our voyage up the famous rivers. The American Empress is a beautiful steamboat and is the largest overnight riverboat west of the Mississippi River. The American Empress also has a vast collection of some of the finest historical artifacts, and artwork from the Native Alaskan, Russian, Gold Rush, and stern wheeler eras on board. The corridors of the American Empress hold nearly as much beauty and intrigue as the dramatic scenery unfolding on the river outside. Our state room with a balcony was beautiful, and the bed was so comfortable. All the Meals on the ship prepared by Executive Chef Bill Ballard and Staff, were very Delicious! Chef Ballard would walk around every night checking with all the guests on the ship making sure that everyone was totally satisfied. The up stairs more casual River Grill & Bar was fantastic every time we ate there, as Restaurant Manager Lisa was so friendly and professional, as she guided the River Grill servers every night to do a great job. Desiree and Rachel were outstanding as they served us several times.The down stairs more up scale Astoria Dining Room, was managed by Maitre D' Ann Gilbert along with the very nice Restaurant Manager Allan Baja. Derrick who served are table of four people multiple times was excellent, professional, and had a great personality. The Bar Manager Ed Jenkins was also so nice as he would hustle around the steamboat making sure his Bartenders were preparing the Beer, Wine, and Cocktails that every guest wanted. One of the most important people on the entire ship was the Riverlorian Laurence Cotton, who worked very hard everyday giving multiple historical lectures, about the Columbia and Snake Rives and the Lewis and Clark expeditions. Laurence has so much knowledge and presented it very well. My wife and I also went on a tour of the Bridge, and met the Master of the steamboat Captain Ron Gray. It was a great tour, and the Captain was so nice as he instructed us about the functions of the American Empress Steamboat. We also took another good tour of the engine department with Chief Engineer Noah Sheppard. During the day on our many ports of call, we would go on either the Hop On-Hop Off luxury Bus tour which were included in the price of the Cruise, or we picked a premium excursion tour to go on. All the tours were so educational and very well organized. At night after dinner, we would go see the nightly showtime entertainment in the show lounge. The two main headliners most of the nights were the two married Cruise Directors, Lindy and Gregory Pendzick. They were FANTASTIC! During the day the two Cruise Directors were hustling around the ship making sure they did everything to take care of all the guests on the steamboat. Lindy and Greg did a great job coordinating bingo, game shows, and craft sessions for all the guests. At Night they both put on an outstanding Singing, Dancing, and Broadway play performances, that delighted the entire audience. Both Lindy and Greg have an extended list of professional stage experiences, and did a great job every night, along with the American Empress Band. After the Showtime entertainment finish at night, most people would then go up to the Paddle wheel Lounge on Deck 2 to have a Drink which would be served by Angie, and to listen to Piano Player, Singer, and Comedian Frank Case. Everyone enjoyed the "Fun with Frank" nightly categories, where he would play everyone's favorite tunes and highlights, from all the famous singers in entertainment history. Frank Case has Phenomenal Talents! All and All, my wife and I had a great time on the Steamboat Cruise, and I was totally impressed with the way the cruise was executed by the entire staff. My wife and I would definitely go back on another American Queen Steamboat Company Cruise, maybe the Mississippi cruise would be next. Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
We embarked from a dock very near to the St. Louis Gateway Arch. The walk down to the boat was somewhat steep but assistance was offered and we left our luggage with crew near the roadway. River travel is laid back and easy. We ... Read More
We embarked from a dock very near to the St. Louis Gateway Arch. The walk down to the boat was somewhat steep but assistance was offered and we left our luggage with crew near the roadway. River travel is laid back and easy. We had only one morning of rain so we had a lot of time to watch as the captain and crew navigated the five story Queen through the many locks on the Mississippi as well as through the many different lift or swinging bridges. It was warm and comfortable most of the time to sit out and watch. We often arrived early to the next port of call. Chairs and tables on deck were plentiful. Snacks and beverages including sodas were always available. One could even do laundry if desired at no cost at the self-service machines provided. There were daily talks with the Riverlorian who was always on board and available often on the top deck. Steve Marking and Joanna Funk provided not only on-board musical entertainment with help with wildlife sightings and identification of birds. Joanna also played the calliope when we left ports and also for the Sunday morning hymn sings. The cocktail hour each evening was a highlight and the Hors d'oeuvres served were excellent and plentiful. We had more food on the cruise than needed! I thought it was a great touch that we could choose to have half portions at a meal. We always found the meals delicious and we had some choice as to entrees. On the downside, as a diabetic, there were limited dessert options for me. Although I met with one of the chefs to discuss ideas, those were not always available. We enjoyed different entertainment not only at cocktail hour but also after dinner each night and many were very good and entertaining. We also were up top on the 5th deck the evening of the eclipse ... and yes, the clouds opened up to be able to see a good amount of it. I would recommend the American Cruise Lines for a truly Americana venture such as the Northern Mississippi Cruise we took. They have other interesting river cruises as well. This was our first trip with them and we would consider them again. Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
Our ship check-in was done at the DoubleTree St. Paul Downtown where we spent the night before the cruise. The process was efficient and since we were traveling with a group of twelve, our dining room tables had already been assigned. We ... Read More
Our ship check-in was done at the DoubleTree St. Paul Downtown where we spent the night before the cruise. The process was efficient and since we were traveling with a group of twelve, our dining room tables had already been assigned. We took the optional city tour, which was enjoyable, and delivered to the ship. We went straight to our cabin and unpacked. The ship is beautiful and the entire ship staff was friendly and helpful the entire trip. There are two eating areas, the Front Porch (located on the bow of the ship) and the main dining room. We ate dinner each night in the dining room and the food was delicious with generous portions. Our waiters Smooth and Butter did a wonderful job and handled whatever request we had. The provided wine was good and poured generously. Our breakfasts and lunches were eaten at the Front Porch where service was buffet-style. There was both indoor and outdoor seating at the Front Porch. Since we had wonderful weather, we ate most meals outdoors. Coffees, teas, popcorn and soft-serve ice cream was always available at the Front Porch. The ship had plenty of public areas where you could simply sit and relax. We went to the evening shows each night and enjoyed all of them. One of the highlights was an actor portraying Mark Twain. At each port we enjoyed the hop-on, hop-off bus tours. A local guide on the bus provided information about the city. You could get off at designated stops, see the attractions and get back on the bus as it completed the route about every 15 minutes. There were several optional paid excursions offered. We took the pre-cruise tour of St. Paul, the Hoover Presidential Library and the post-cruise St. Louis tour. Each one was enjoyable and worth the extra cost. We enjoyed this cruise so much that we booked a Nashville to Memphis cruise for 2016 while aboard ship. Everyone in our group had a wonderful time. Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
Our third cruise on the American Queen...what a pleasure, again. We went from Cincinnati to St. Louis. You've never been on a realistic river cruise until you've been on the American Queen steaming the waters of the Ohio or ... Read More
Our third cruise on the American Queen...what a pleasure, again. We went from Cincinnati to St. Louis. You've never been on a realistic river cruise until you've been on the American Queen steaming the waters of the Ohio or Mississippi. A very easy and relaxing way to cruise. Can't beat the food quality and selection, service, entertainment and the hop on hop off shore program. Be sure not to miss Jerry Hay's riverlorian talks...very informative, interesting and entertaining. Our cabin on the 4th deck was very comfortable and we loved the fact we could go right outside and sit and visit on the open deck. Ivie was one of the best cabin stewards we have ever experienced...thanks for being so nice and accommodating. The front porch of America forward on the 3rd deck was nice with swings, rockers and both inside and outside seating for breakfast, lunch and dinner. We seemed to migrate to the open deck on the 4th deck forward to sit in a rocker and watch the river go by. The theater is awesome and the entertainment as good if not better than the ocean going ships'. Very good band and singers and most of the songs you know and could sing along with. The Mark Twain and the Dixieland shows were very good as well. The food in the main restaurant and front porch was excellent...prime rib, beef brisket, catfish, quail, duck, salmon, etc. and of course, free beer and wine selections at dinner. All employees were friendly and seemed to be truly interested in making sure all of your needs were taken care of. There were a few kids on board (all well behaved I might add), but I would say most passengers are between 50 and 80. Ship is small, 6 decks, so its very easy to get around and you get to know your fellow passengers. Overall, this is a great boat and the owners have done a great job keeping this piece of American history alive and well. Why would you go all the way to Europe to do a riverboat cruise when the American Queen is right here in America...easy to travel to and from embarkation/disembarkation ports and being able to experience the "highways" our ancestors traveled during our westward expansion. Best kept secret in America...we can't wait to cruise again on the American Queen. Met the owner, John Waggoner, on this cruise. What a gentleman and we were very impressed with how available he made himself to both crew and passengers alike. Read Less
Sail Date July 2015
This was supposed to be a 50th wedding anniversary gift for myself and my wife. We love the east coast, being from California we don't get to see it very often, and we thought, what better way to explore that area of the country. ... Read More
This was supposed to be a 50th wedding anniversary gift for myself and my wife. We love the east coast, being from California we don't get to see it very often, and we thought, what better way to explore that area of the country. From the start things went wrong. The information on the website says that American Cruise Lines has modern "brand" new ships. If that's the case, The American Glory is not one of them. The ship is old, and to say it's "tired" is to put it gently. The furniture is frayed, smells musty from being on the water for so long, and the décor is something that looks from the 1980's, and I don't think it's supposed to be retro. I actually asked when was the last time the ship was renovated, and I was told it gets a "light" upgrade in the off season. Well, it needs a major overhaul. We saved for over a year for this cruise and the first impression we got was not what we were sold on. The staff was great, and the only reason why we didn't just get off half way through and take our trip into our own hands. The food was mediocre and unimaginative. The dishes we received weren't what was advertised. We were told these were "award winning chefs" and having a piece of seafood, bland starches and over cooked vegetables aren't acceptable. My wife sent back her dinner 3 times the first night because it was over done and I saw several other tables sending back dishes. After that, we started eating just one large meal at breakfast (it's hard to mess up toast and fruit), and then eating off ship when we could to avoid lunch and dinner onboard. Our room wasn't the "hotel sized room" that we were promised, and again, the carpets were torn, the furniture was damaged and everything looked as if it had been used just too many times. The bathrooms are not friendly to people like me who have mobility issues and my wife was upset about the lack of amenities. Bad cable TV that didn't work very well, there were no robes, no slippers, no high end toiletries, the towels were rough on the skin and finding ice? good luck. There's nothing modern about the room, wifi is spotty and there isn't even a safe for the room. For a price point close to $10,000 we could have gone and done something so much better. I had read the reviews from other passengers, and I should have (and wish I had) paid more attention. What you see in the brochures is not what you get when you come onboard. As far as I'm concerned this is a "bait and switch" company. They show you what may be the absolute nicest room on their nicest ship and then when you get onboard you get something totally different. This especially applies to the people in the photos, they are about 30 years younger than the people you actually find onboard. We were definitely of the younger age group, in our early 70's. Most people on this ship are in their 80's to 90's. I did some more research and saw Viking was coming to the United States in a few years. We have cruised with them in Europe before and loved every minute. We will never cruise with American Cruise Lines again and will gladly spend our money with Viking when they get here. Read Less
Sail Date July 2015
As frequent river (Europe) and ocean cruisers, we came with high hopes for a top notch ship to equal the price paid. We knew the ship was old; we weren't prepared for lack of quality care of the vessel (save the engineering which was ... Read More
As frequent river (Europe) and ocean cruisers, we came with high hopes for a top notch ship to equal the price paid. We knew the ship was old; we weren't prepared for lack of quality care of the vessel (save the engineering which was relatively new) over the years. Upon entering our cabin for the first time, the window covers (mini blinds) were warped from mishandling over time. The wall covering was peeling; the outdoor balcony was filthy (and remained so the entire trip). It was unusable anyway since the generator or engine noise was deafening on the balcony. Recovering from this "drive up" appearance, I sat on the bed (which was comfortable) and looked up at the ceiling. The air conditioning return vent (which is very large), was weeping dust and dirt accumulated for many months, if not years. Fine, housekeeping came up and "dusted" the exterior but did not have any filters onboard to complete the job. Next day, filters were purchased and the job was completed. I assisted the young crewman as it was more than a one man job. The filters were so black with mold and other crud it, I cannot describe just how bad they were. But we were there for the week and we were going to enjoy ourselves. So we return to the cabin after the first dinner and the housekeepers had done turndown service. Great! We expected that. What we didn't expect was to find relatively fresh blood on the duvet! Again, guest services was notified and a new duvet was received. Guest services was very responsive to our concerns. The hotel staff and a corporate supervisor were very attentive, listened to our issues all week and made corrections where corrections could be made. Here's the bottom line or takeaway. The housekeeping and restaurant staff are the same young men and women. They are well chosen and delightful to be around. However, they are US college kids or from similar backgrounds that are onboard for summer jobs. They serve, essentially, the entire summer season. I understand they receive 4 days of formal training and on the job training from there. They are not the professional and experienced staff you have on cruise lines that are operated outside the US. Until American Cruise Lines has a professional complement of staff dedicated full time to customer service, the housekeeping and other service issues we faced will be a continuing matter. The service experienced on this ship would not be acceptable to any other cruise line we have experienced. There were other matters which could be written up but I've already run on too long. On the positive side, there was coffee, teas and sodas available with chips and things 24/7 in two common areas. Breakfast was dependably good and the many fish served at lunch and dinner were well prepared. The deck crew busted their butts making sure the less mobile passengers got off and on the boat safely. The captain was great. The Columbia and Snake Rivers are incredible. The 4th deck was wonderful for viewing. That said, drive it, RV it, and use local guides. The Queen of the West is not a good value. Read Less
Sail Date June 2015
I last cruised on American Cruise Lines in 2012 and had a disastrous experience. See my review of the American Glory under "Maine to Providence Disaster." On that trip the itinerary was great, the crew was mediocre (bad really) ... Read More
I last cruised on American Cruise Lines in 2012 and had a disastrous experience. See my review of the American Glory under "Maine to Providence Disaster." On that trip the itinerary was great, the crew was mediocre (bad really) but what was really terrible was the small ship trying to go out on the ocean. It has no business on the ocean. The American Eagle trip from Memphis to New Orleans was a breath of fresh air for this cruise line. The itinerary was as advertised, the crew, fresh-faced and eager to help and the ship brand new with no break downs. I've read a bad review of this cruise and I've got to say, "picky, picky, picky!" You've got to pour your own wine? Oh no! The food is good and appropriately regional with a lot of fresh local fish and creole dishes. The ship and cabins are in great condition (since the boat is brand new) and the crew was above-average for an American crew (this will vary from trip to trip as there was still major shuffling of crew from voyage to voyage). The in-house Mississippi river experts, Bill and Laura, were above average, I never missed Bill's very entertaining lectures on the history of the Mississippi. The ports were better than I thought they would be (Natchez Mississippi charming, really? Yep). The most startling discovery about the trip for me was the fact that the Mississippi river is pretty dull in spots. There is a 150 mile stretch south of Vicksburg where there is no bridge over the river. So sometimes there was not much to look at. Unlike another review we enjoyed Longwood plantation very much. There were a lot of people with limited mobility and the crew did their best to see that those people got to see as much as possible. In general the boat and the itineraries were at least partially accessible, good cruise for mobility impaired. So fair is fair. On this trip the ship was great, the itinerary fair and the service was above-average. This trip nearly (though not completely) atoned for the American Glory...but not quite. Read Less
Sail Date June 2015
Corrections/rebuttals of other reviews: There is a toilet on board the busses. We did not have the female Riverlorian – ours was Lawrence and he was very interesting and informative. I attended all of his lectures. I didn’t think ... Read More
Corrections/rebuttals of other reviews: There is a toilet on board the busses. We did not have the female Riverlorian – ours was Lawrence and he was very interesting and informative. I attended all of his lectures. I didn’t think the Internet was that slow and always worked, but I only used it in the Paddle Wheel Lounge, which was down the hall from our room. Someone said that all the cabins have balconies. You will see from the ship’s layout before booking that there are cabins without balconies. There were not a lot of people using walkers on our cruise. The elevator was fast and large enough to hold everyone. However, there were only 105 passengers aboard that week. We've done 17 non-river cruises (Holland American, etc.), but this was our first river cruise. Dining: Dinners in the Astoria Dining Room were always very good, but service was slow (for us) and it took a minimum of two hours. This is a beautiful dining venue with sparkling crystal chandeliers and an attractive blue-lit ceiling, which added to the ambiance. I don’t know why most people were having breakfast and lunch at the River Grille. I thought the buffets there were pretty mediocre. I had many breakfasts and lunches at the almost empty Astoria Dining Room and enjoyed some great entrees – eggs benedict or specialty French toast in the morning, and lunches including southern friend chicken with home made biscuits. Be careful to watch the schedule for when the restaurants open for breakfast and lunch because they aren’t open very long. One day we went to the river Grille at 1:00 p.m. and they were putting the food away – we didn’t realize that they closed then. Another couple told us they arrived at the restaurant at 9:00 a.m. and couldn’t get any food for the same reason. We ate at the River Grille for two nights and they let us order a combo of filet mignon and lobster. The lobster was really good and we ordered it the other night we dined there as well. Then the main dining room had lobster on Friday night and we had another tasty lobster. I love sweets, but the desserts were a disappointment to me in both dining rooms. Therefore most eveneings we ordered ice cream. I don’t think they had a pastry chef on board. The cookies at the River Grille lunch buffet and Paddle Wheel Lounge were the same each day. It made me think that none of the desserts/cookies were home made – maybe just picked up from a mediocre vendor for the ship –like Costco. The dessert for lunch at the buffet at the River Grille seemed to be lemon bars every day. I didn’t like the house wines in either dining venue, but our waiter found one they weren’t offering but was still free: Saint Chapelle Soft White Wine. It was very good and I was able to request it for each meal. For the best coffee, order a cappuccino or latte from the Astoria Dining Room, because they have an espresso machine. There’s a self-serve one in the River Grille as well – a real one, which easily serves espresso and also steamed milk separately. It was very good. Entertainment: A banjo player boarded our boat mid cruise. He flew in from the American Queen on the Mississippi. He was unbelievable; so we enjoyed a fantastic banjo/guitar evening, with a very good cruise band backing him up. Art Gallery in Halls: Every floor has excellent artwork on the walls of the halls. Take time to tour each floor’s paintings. The 4th floor has old photos from the Gold Rush Days. What to Wear: As one reviewer stated, the public rooms and halls can be “ice-box cold”. In the Paddle wheel Lounge, I was surprised that even the men were asking the staff why they couldn’t make the room any warmer. My husband ordinarily never gets chilled, but wished he had brought a long-sleeve shirt even though it was summer. I wish I had brought a cashmere sweater set. I was surprised at how many people were really casually dressed for dinner. I personally feel that if you bring what they suggest wearing for dinner in the brochure, you will be fine. Excursions: Bring a warm sweater or wrap on the hop on/hop off bus. It’s usually very cold no matter what the temperature is outside. The busses are okay, but I didn’t find them that comfortable for an hour or longer ride. Also, be careful to look at each day’s program sheet for which time periods there are 15 minute pickups from drop off points and which are one hour. One day we decided to relax on the boat in the morning, and take the bus in the afternoon. We found out that we had to wait an hour at each drop off point for the bus to pick us up. The bus drivers were really accommodating and helpful – I found them to be the best employees on our cruise. I think the towns we visited and site we were dropped off at were not very exciting. It would probably be better to book their premium excursion. We did not do this because with my husband’s bad back, his limit is 3 hours and the premium excursions were a minimum five hours long. I would recommend the one that goes to Mt. Hood’s Timberline Lodge, because we came in several days before the cruise and spent the night here. Also, I’ve heard that the Maryhill Museum of Art is outstanding. We met a couple that did the wine country tour and loved the scenery. Also, everyone enjoys the Hell’s Canyon Jet Boat. However, we were content to relax, and enjoy being on the river on this fine ship. We had looked forward to it and it met our expectations. Post-Voyage Travel Days: We took the train from San Diego to L.A., and then the Coastal Starlight Amtrak train from L.A. to Portland (left Tues 10:10 a.m., arrived Wed. 3:32 p.m.). We had a deluxe sleeping room and the scenery was very good as well as the dining car meals. They have an old fashioned, restored parlor car for use by those passengers with sleeping rooms. Upon arriving in Portland, we had to wait an hour for a taxi ride a mile to our Hilton Hotel. We picked up a Hertz rental car and drove to the Timberline Lodge in Mt. Hood. We loved the lodge. The great food alone is worth the trip. Then we took the “fruit loop” and spent a night on the Columbia River Gorge at the Skamania Lodge in Stevenson, WA with beautiful views of the river. The bus ride after our cruise, to Spokane, took three hours but was a beautiful drive. We stayed at the old Davenport Hotel for 2 nights. It is beautifully restored, but I didn’t like how high the bed was – you had to use a step to get into it. I usually love staying in historic hotels, but this time I think I would have liked their more modern hotel across the street. The price for a wash/blow dry in their spa was reasonable and gave me use of their relaxing “quiet room”, etc The Davenport’s food was just so-so. We rented a car from Enterprise and the hotel’s shuttle gave us a ride there and the rental car co. gave us a return ride back to the hotel. We drove to the Coeur d’Alene Resort in Idaho and had a 5-star lunch facing the lake. We didn’t stay over night here because of the $400 per night room rate. We had a nice breakfast down the street from our hotel at The Post Street Ale, and walked to dinner at the Europa Restaurant – dinner was mediocre but the desserts were incredible. Read Less
Sail Date June 2015
We were one of the first 6 to board this ship in Lewiston. Warner kindly let us on a bit earlier as we waited in the lounge area for our rooms to be ready. Warner knew his job and we were disappointed to see him go after day one. He just ... Read More
We were one of the first 6 to board this ship in Lewiston. Warner kindly let us on a bit earlier as we waited in the lounge area for our rooms to be ready. Warner knew his job and we were disappointed to see him go after day one. He just had a way with him that made you feel special, the lass that took his place was not as confident and we found she just didn't have that personable ability that Warner had. The faux enthusiasm reminded of us of a UK comedy TV program," Hi de hi." Gladys, who had a similar job of gathering the groups to impart information to holiday makers, also spoke through a microphone with similar gusto. The rooms, although smaller than other river cruises in Europe were of a similar standard, as was the food. The Americans on board were all part of the great experience we had on this cruise. We were travelling with friends, a Texan couple, so were weren't strangers to the ways of the locals!!! Having said that, we became of interest to some Americans as we were yet again, the only New Zealanders on board. As Kiwis we are well travelled and enjoyed very much the history of the Colombia Snake river and excursions. I would like to mention Cindy one of the tour guides and driver of bus 1. What an amazing lady, so entertaining and a wealth of knowledge, and (some made up nonsence which had us in hysterics). She has the gift of the gab as we would say back here at home, and although she is contracted to do this job, don't let go of this lady, such a huge asset to have. It was a ship shape affair with all staff tending to our needs of feeding and cleaning our rooms, they must be exhausted each night, but they just carried on like troopers. All in all a most successful and interesting look into Pacific North West Area of the USA. We would highly recommend this particular boat cruise to anyone interested in the history and scenery of this area. We finally finished this trip in Portland, refreshed and satisfied with our choice. Will definitely be interested at another cruise at some stage. Read Less
Sail Date June 2015
This was an impulse trip that my husband wanted to do. I thought going on this trip might be a little boring. Boy was I wrong. First of all the boat is beautiful. Fully renovated in the true style of the time. Our room had a veranda and it ... Read More
This was an impulse trip that my husband wanted to do. I thought going on this trip might be a little boring. Boy was I wrong. First of all the boat is beautiful. Fully renovated in the true style of the time. Our room had a veranda and it was great having coffee service bought to the room each morning and sitting out there watching the river roll by. The beds are as comfortable as any five star hotel. The crew is outstanding, always smiling and ready to help you. Most of the time they were coming over just to see if you need something. They have the formal dinning room which is beautiful and the food was wonderful. Great selections everyday. If you want more casual dinning, go to the front porch and enjoy the open air dinning. The shows are spectacular, a seven piece orchestra and great performers. Something unique each night. The ports that we stopped at are historical and very interesting. You have the option to do tours that are included in the price or premium tours that they offer. We did about half and half. One of the great things about the cruise is because this is not a huge cruise ship, you get to know the people on board. We made some lifelong friendships this week. All in all it was a great trip and we will definitely go again. They are several different routes you can take. Read Less
Sail Date June 2015
We are back from the cruise and really enjoyed it. The suite was the largest we have been in on any cruise, river or ocean. The ship was only a little over half full, so we got a lot of great attention, but I believe if the ship had been ... Read More
We are back from the cruise and really enjoyed it. The suite was the largest we have been in on any cruise, river or ocean. The ship was only a little over half full, so we got a lot of great attention, but I believe if the ship had been full we still would have gotten the same attention. The couple that had the stateroom were told that it was our anniversary and we wanted a queen bed, and they had no problem switching with us. We decided to send them a gift basket for their trouble and talked to the hotel manager (Eric Lang) to get one sent to their suite. He was great. He went to 3 different spots to find a gift basket and card. Then afterwards he told us the company was picking up the costs. Suzanne lost her camera on the first day, which was the only negative on the trip, but since it was the first day instead of the last, it wasn’t that bad. When we were visiting the Franklin County Museum in Pasco Washington, we asked the administrator (Sherel Webb) if she knew where we could buy a digital camera and she thought the drug store next door and called to be sure they had one and we were able to purchase an inexpensive one for Suzanne to use on the rest of the trip. Suzanne had a question on a piece of embroidery that was on display and asked if she knew where we could get one for her to make. Sherel called the woman who donated the item to see if she knew where to get it, but she didn’t. Sherel then checked the internet for sites that might have it. After we got back Sherel had emailed us a couple of more sites for Suzanne to check. The woman was amazing. This trip was so great we have placed a deposit on a new cruise American Queen is offering on the Mississippi. It is 23 days from St Paul to New Orleans. Previously you would have had to book 3 separate legs to get the whole thing at a much greater cost. The hotel (Davenport Historical) we stayed at the first night was fantastic and absolutely beautiful. Read Less
Sail Date June 2015
The ship was not full (which was to our advantage) but I do not understand why not...this is the best trip we have taken in ages! The American Empress leaves either out of Vancouver, Washington or Clarkston, Washington depending if the ... Read More
The ship was not full (which was to our advantage) but I do not understand why not...this is the best trip we have taken in ages! The American Empress leaves either out of Vancouver, Washington or Clarkston, Washington depending if the cruise is going east or west on the Snake River and Columbia River. It is a small vessel with four decks and 200 plus passengers. The ship is in excellent condition just having been renovated. Our cabin was similar to cruise ship cabins...small! But it was nicely furnished and decorated and comfortable with lots of storage. The balcony was comfortable and perfect for viewing the awesome scenery along the Columbia and Snake Rivers. But do not limit yourself to the view from your balcony as we were prone to going out on the front and rear of the boat so we could see both sides...white painted rocking chairs are situated on the back and front of each passenger deck for the best views in comfort. What did we like: The food was excellent...lots of local produce and fruit and wines as well as local meats and seafood (I liked the bison)...wine and beer are complimentary at dinner each night The itinerary is excellent. We started in Vancouver (the cruise starts out with a night at the Vancouver Hilton...great idea!) That gave us the opportunity to take their informative and scenic Mt. St. Helen tour before the ship embarked later that afternoon. First stop was west of Vancouver on the coast at Astoria, Oregon...a good dose of Pacific rain forest wet weather but a fascinating place as we visited sites associated with Lewis and Clark, the theme of this cruise...only we were much more comfortable than they were in 1804-1806. The story of the Expedition is perfectly suited for this river cruise...an enthralling story which is well portrayed by the boat's resident Riverlorian, Laurence Cotton. We stopped in several river towns all unique and interesting...the Dalles and the Bonneville dam...Richland and its beautiful shoreline park and the area h Museum...Stevenson and the tour to Mt. Hood...we passed through four locks on the Columbia and four locks on the Snake River. Gorgeous scenery everywhere! A Hop On, Hop Off bus follows the boat and is available for free as transporation to sites in each town we visited. If we were not on an early morning premium tour (which you pay extra for) we would board the bus and do the entire route (about an hour normally). Early morning routes include local guides to talk about their community...another great idea. The premium tours were exceptional but cover a lot of territory so be prepared to be tired at the end of the day. I liked the Mt. St. Helen tour and also the Mt Hood tour, where we had scrumptious pastries and got hot drinks in the Timberland Lodge just below the summit. This tour also included a turkey dinner at the local Grange cooked and served by its members...what a pleasant experience that was. And then there was the stop at the local winery for a taste test before going back to the boat...a full day but very lovely. Onboard the boat, the crew is very attentive and service oriented. The entertainment was very good for such a small venue...a married couple are the cruise directors who serve multiple functions and are very outgoing and talented. Solo performers from on shore visit the boat for the evening's entertainment...Cowboy Joe singing and strumming made us all smile as did the other entertaunment. There is a four piece ensemble that provided excellent accompaniment as well. We also took tours of the Bridge and met the Captain Andrea and did a tour of the engine room...an impossibilty these days on all other cruise ships but well worth doing on the Empress. Highly recommend this trip! The only difficulty is getting back to Vancouver. If you fly to Vancouver, arrangements are made at the end of the cruise in Clarkston to bus you to Spokane a couple of hours away to fly home. If you drive to Vancouver, then it is up to you to get back. Renting a car is the best option which requires a short taxi ride ($15) to the Lewiston, Idaho airport to pick up a rental car...but be aware that the Avis/Budget rental agency has limited hours on Sunday the day we disembarked the ship...they do not open until 11 am. We found the best idea was to go pick up our rental car on Saturday...the ship arrives in the a.m. and park the car near the dock...plenty of spaces behind the Quality Inn and golf range. Be sure to check the rental car office hours though...it appears to be a one man operation! I will add that picking up the car on Saturday enabled us to drive around the Lewiston, Idaho area which is very scenic...we drove up the Snake River in Hells Canyon...awesome! Before we picked up the car we did take advantage of the Hop On, Hop Off bus and stayed on the whole circuit to get a great overview of the area. We could not fit in the Jet Boat premium tour in Hells Canyon which those who did raved about. By the way, picking up our rental car on Saturday also enabled us to leave Clarkston very early on Sunday for the 300 plus mile drive back to Vancouver and return the car the same afternoon ($164 for one day). If you pick it up at the 11 am opening time on Sunday, you do not have enough time to drive it back before the car rental office at the Sears Auto Service, Vancouver Mall, closes mid afternoon. So logistics is required for those who leave a car in Vancouver and I would think vice versa if you leave it in Clarkston. So, as I said I do not know why this boat is not full every trip. It is a fantastic experience and well worth every penny we paid. Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
Great service and accommodations. Relatively smooth ride except for one day when seas were running 3-4 feet but that was fun also. Ports of call were interesting especially Victoria, BC, Canada and Butchart Gardens. Food was very good ... Read More
Great service and accommodations. Relatively smooth ride except for one day when seas were running 3-4 feet but that was fun also. Ports of call were interesting especially Victoria, BC, Canada and Butchart Gardens. Food was very good also. We enjoy small ship cursing as this was our 10 one including China, Russia, Danube, Rein & Seine, Mississippi, Ohio, Columbia rivers and Alaska. Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
OK, just recently returned from a weeklong cruise aboard the American Queen (Memphis to New Orleans), and wanted to give a detailed review for others who might be considering a riverboat cruise too. As a first-timer (I've never been ... Read More
OK, just recently returned from a weeklong cruise aboard the American Queen (Memphis to New Orleans), and wanted to give a detailed review for others who might be considering a riverboat cruise too. As a first-timer (I've never been on any other cruises before, neither ocean nor river), all I can say is: wow, I'm hooked! We're already planning another trip ASAP! I'm SO glad we chose the American Queen too. We met another group of four travelers aboard the Queen who were originally traveling on the American Eagle (another, smaller boat also traveling down the Mississippi) and they actually took all of their bags, left the Eagle, and booked a room on the American Queen mid-journey at one of the ports. I don't blame them! Everything they told us about the Eagle sounded horrible—paper plates in the dining room, no evening entertainment, average age of guests was like 80+ years old… I'm so glad we chose the American Queen for our trip. As for our trip, I don't even know where to begin—we were blown away by everything! The boat was absolutely beautiful, the crew was incredibly friendly and accommodating, the dining and entertainment were excellent. The whole trip was so enjoyable, we really had no complaints. Really, the only problem we had the entire week was some confusion at our initial hotel in Memphis (the Downtown Sheraton) due to the hotel staff. We ended up taking a taxi to the boat rather than the free AQ shuttle bus (the cost was only about $10 for the taxi and the pursers on board the AQ actually credited the amount back to our account, which was very nice of them). Other than the hotel confusion, the rest of the trip was smooth-sailing (no pun intended)! All of the ports and included shore excursions were nice. We made use of the free AQ bikes at most of ports, but one thing that was really nice about the hop on/hop off tours was that you can download a free American Queen app to your phone that shows a map of each port, including live tracking of all the AQ shuttle buses. You could literally see where all the buses were along the routes in live time, and how soon they would arrive. It was really great, very convenient. I also want to mention some of the crew who went above and beyond and made our trip extra special: our room attendant Adam (he's the best!), Cassandra, Jada, and Mr. Galphyn in the dining room, everyone at the pursers desk, Pam in the front porch cafe, and Captain Brent (who was kind enough to give us a tour of the pilot house). Everyone was so nice, but those particular crew members really went above and beyond so I wanted to mention them by name. I could go on and on about what a great time we had—the incredible detail and design of the boat, the great staff, and seriously some of the best coffee I've ever had, no exaggeration. But I'll just wrap it up by saying to anyone considering a riverboat cruise: I highly recommend the American Queen. Wow! Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
One of the most enjoyable vacations in recent years. The American Eagle was fabulous. It would have been even better if Longwood Mansion were eliminated from the land tours and a lovely plantation home visited instead. While only its ... Read More
One of the most enjoyable vacations in recent years. The American Eagle was fabulous. It would have been even better if Longwood Mansion were eliminated from the land tours and a lovely plantation home visited instead. While only its second sailing (I believe) the staff for the most part were well trained with a few exceptions in the dining room, but all in all they were most accommodating and pleasant. I agree with one of the comments concerning the level of noise in the dining room. With the full ship dining at the same time, the noise level gets a bit loud. Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
Overall we had a wonderful time. Accommodations were great, food was plentiful, flavorful, good choices and very good. Tours, for the most part were excellent. As with everything, a couple could have been better, but overall very good. ... Read More
Overall we had a wonderful time. Accommodations were great, food was plentiful, flavorful, good choices and very good. Tours, for the most part were excellent. As with everything, a couple could have been better, but overall very good. Entertainment on board was adequate. Banjo player Dan Knowles was excellent! With seven days of tours and entertainment, you will always like some better then others. Doesn't mean that they weren't good, just different tastes for different folks. What we may have thought was just okay, others thought was excellent. Daily choices for tours were great. Something for everyone and they kept you busy every day. Staff members were always cheerful, accommodating and efficient. With the smaller size ship (about 150 people), you never had to wait for anything and got to meet a great deal of the folks on board. We totally enjoyed sitting with different people at dinner and sometimes were able to seek out people that we had enjoyed other nights. All tours were very well organized and we never felt rushed or had to wait for anything. We totally enjoyed ourselves and even signed up for another cruise while on board. Would highly recommend this cruise. The Mississippi River is awesome. Take an extra day at either end to explore both New Orleans and Memphis like we did as they both have a lot to offer and are fun cities. Forgot to mention that the majority of the passengers are the over 60 crowd. Read Less
Sail Date May 2015

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