33 American Queen Steamboat Company American Duchess Cruise Reviews

We recently cruised on the American Duchess during the March 9th sailing. The schedule had multiple changes from the ports we were originally scheduled to visit. Though we were disappointed about the changes, the staff were very ... Read More
We recently cruised on the American Duchess during the March 9th sailing. The schedule had multiple changes from the ports we were originally scheduled to visit. Though we were disappointed about the changes, the staff were very professional and the shore excursions person on board worked very hard to make sure our land experience was still top notch. Tours were well organized, and we really enjoyed the Hop on Hop Off concept. Great idea! Having the same drivers meet us in each port was wonderful. We got to know them and really enjoyed the consistency. We also happened to be onboard when the news was escalating about COVID-19. They were well prepared and took all necessary precautions to ensure passengers were safe. It could easily be seen that this company goes above and beyond. They have the best interest of their guests at heart ensuring we were taken care whether it be at mealtime, show time, or just in their daily interactions. The Captain personally spoke to us and others on the bus as we departed the ship. What a nice touch! We were very impressed with the everyone’s efforts and look forward to our next voyage on the American Countess in the fall. Read Less
Sail Date March 2020
We loved our whole trip. Flew into New Orleans the day before and had a nice stay in the hotel included in the price. Transfers to the boat was very nice and easy. Once on board were meet with snacks and we went to our room. Bags waiting ... Read More
We loved our whole trip. Flew into New Orleans the day before and had a nice stay in the hotel included in the price. Transfers to the boat was very nice and easy. Once on board were meet with snacks and we went to our room. Bags waiting for us. We could not stop at our first location and used that day to cruise up the river to Baton Rouge. We did the hop on hop off bus tour. Drivers were great and the first four hours a local guide is on the bus. Second stop St. Francisville. We had to dock the other side of the river and bus over the river to the little town. We visit the Myrtles Plantation included in the hop off hop on bus tour. While there be sure to visit Grandmother's Button store. Next stop on the river was Natchez and another day of hop off hop on touring. Last stop was Vicksburg and again we did the hop off hop on tours. The tours were great. During the day when not on land we spent a lot of time on deck 2 watching the river and life on the land. The food was great and loved the Buffet for Breakfast and lunch and dining room for dinner. Lots of good food to eat. Our room was an inside room on deck 3 and was a good size. Bathroom was good but not a lot of storage for items. Our attendant was great at cleaning the room and making sure we had enough coffee for us. The talks about the river given by steve was very interesting. Nightly shows were enjoyable. We had to stop in Baton Rouge on our last day of river cruising to New Orleans. There was a tugboat/barge wreck down river. We ended spending the night in Baton Rouge and in the morning we were bused back to the airport. Over all we totally enjoyed our cruise. Looking forward to our next cruise. Read Less
Sail Date March 2020
I chose this cruise because it had always been a dream of mine to cruise the Mississippi on a sternwheeler. I made it specific to my on-line discount travel clearinghouse that it had always been my dream. Firstly, American Queen failed to ... Read More
I chose this cruise because it had always been a dream of mine to cruise the Mississippi on a sternwheeler. I made it specific to my on-line discount travel clearinghouse that it had always been my dream. Firstly, American Queen failed to disclose the condition of the ship even though they had advance notice that the sternwheel had fallen off on a previous itinerary. This notice had been shared with other cruisers, but not all of us. We were not the only travelers disappointed by this lack of notice as we would have absolutely NOT booked this trip. We were planning a 30 day itinerary and would have made other arrangements. The Peabody stay, staff, and on boarding crew from American Queen were top notch, and I am grateful for their assistance when we were pickpocketed shortly after check-in. A shout-out to Peabody security for their efforts. Secondly, there is a toxic culture on board toward the elderly (the very demographic they depend upon for their survival). Portions are pathetic, plating is nonexistent, employees are surly (yes, you the so-called “Riverlorian”), and tours are driven by lead-footed drivers who speak to complainers as though they are driving prisoners to the penitentiary (yes, YOU, Patty). When the guides respond to complaints about the attractions whizzing past, the response is, “They drivers have a schedule to maintain...” well, not if they have no tour attendees! The most expensive tour (Memphis/Graceland) was led by a “guide” who mis-quoted references from The Firm (perhaps Memphis’ most famous movie to date), shooting from the hip... each tour we took (even the free ones) were peppered with answers like, “Oh, I don’t know, I’m sure you can Google it...”. The St. Francisville tour guide had such a debilitating speech impediment (and I lived in Louisiana, so I know the difference between an impediment and an “Accent”) that he could not pronounce any S’s. Considering the ages of the people trapped on those buses, someone who speaks clearly would have been a consideration (if they had any respect for the older people in the first place... which they don’t). This vessel was going into dry-dock upon arriving in NOLA and every employee on board was miserably awaiting their debarkation. In fact, according to the only driver who exhibited ANY concern for his passengers (yes, you, Randy), all the deckhands abandoned their posts and we had to return to the dock and schlep our own luggage to the buses. A couple got off the ship and depended on a non-employee’s direction and was sent the opposite way, got lost, and had to pay a $20 taxi ride to get back to those of us waiting on the bus for the NOLA tour. THe female member of the couple was health compromised, so she gasped and moaned for the first 15 minutes of the tour until she at least partially recovered (apologies to the Null party, since I’m sure you’ll get nothing from AQSC. The saving grace on this trip was the hospitality staff (housekeeping even had to be begged to remove the dirty glasswear piling up in the room on day 4). The main dining room servers were wonderful (even though the meager portions and complete lack of plating was dismal. The buffets on the other floors were horrid and those attending to those buffets routinely ignored patron’s requests. Bryan, the bartender on loan from the American Queen raised the standard for the others (really, should we have had to beg the other bartenders to turn around and hand us our “welcome glass of champagne” after staring at their backsides for way too long the moment we arrived?!?). When I said, “Excuse me... could we have our glass of champagne?” It was with raised eyebrows that these two ladies deigned to had us a drink. They later began behaving appropriately, but it set the tone that was a consistent disappointment from beginning to end. The next time I want to visit with Bryan (which we would) it will not be on the ships but from an RV en route. Never have I had a worse experience in travel and I sailed through El Niño in ‘94 off the coast of CA. Very Truly Pissed in Manchester, WA Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
In December of 2019, I had been fortunate to have an absolutely amazing trip aboard the American Duchess. We had sailed from Memphis to New Orleans, and although there were only 100 people or so on board, everything felt lively and ... Read More
In December of 2019, I had been fortunate to have an absolutely amazing trip aboard the American Duchess. We had sailed from Memphis to New Orleans, and although there were only 100 people or so on board, everything felt lively and populated, but not overly populated like on an ocean-going cruise ship. The boat had Christmas theming since it was the holidays, and everything felt warm and inviting, and everyone really enjoyed the decorations and caroling as well. The entertainment during each evening also had holiday theming and plenty of guests (including myself) ended up singing along in some cases and having a wonderful time! We thoroughly enjoyed the dining options, with the main dining room being our preference since it was sit-down dining and quite nice with attentive staff and delicious food from the area. We did get to enjoy some meals at the River Grille at the back of the boat, which were nice when needing something quicker than the main dining room. That being said, sometimes the River Grille was a bit louder than the main dining room despite having fewer people, likely since it is a more enclosed space. As for the tours, there are two types, a hop on hop off, and a premium tour. The hop on hop off type is similar to ones you would find in a large city, where the bus will drive around a set route and drop off and pick up people at selected stops along the way. The nice thing about this is that the stops were always clearly labeled on where to meet, and even better, they are free! Some towns definitely are nicer than others, but there were explanations as to why, with Helena in particular showing the history of the town and how it is up and coming after economic hardships that happened before the boats came to town. The hop on hop off is included with the cruise so nothing out of pocket on these, regardless of the port. On the other side, there are the premium tours, which do have a cost tied to them, but they are optional and more focused on a particular topic. Some are very grounded in history like the battlefield tour in Vicksburg, but others are not specifically set for a theme other than showing off the port itself, like the tour of the swamp at the end of the week. Overall, I feel all of the excursions we went on were great, and worth every penny! All of the tours had a wonderful local guide, though sometimes during the hop on hop off tour the guides were hard to hear at times, and since you can get off at any stop, the information can sometimes feel disjointed but that usually wasn’t a problem, just once or twice. Towards the end of the week, I was ready get home and show our pictures to friends and family the things we got to see, but the time we had was amazing and we are so happy to have gone! I definitely want to go again, and maybe on another boat like the one in the pacific northwest. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
I was very excited to take a trip with the American Duchess as I have been on other river cruises in the past, but mostly in Europe or other parts of the world. I knew this cruise would be different being in America, but I pleasantly ... Read More
I was very excited to take a trip with the American Duchess as I have been on other river cruises in the past, but mostly in Europe or other parts of the world. I knew this cruise would be different being in America, but I pleasantly surprised with all there was to see and do in this part of the country. We started in Memphis and ended up in Nashville, TN. On board my guest cabin was very typical of a standard hotel room, clean and nice. All of the common spaces were comfortable, although times I felt like I was the only one on the boat, even as the boat was full. The entertainment at night was great and they did their best to incorporate the Christmas theme. They were a great group of kids. What surprised me most was the amount of tours that were actually included with the cruise. I'm so used to being nickel and dimed to see every tourist destination around the world, that this was a lovely chance of pace. I actually wanted to get off and explore every day. They have what's called a 'hop on and off' tour, which sounded confusing but I got the hang of the first day. You 'hop' on a large bus (which were all very nice) and have a tour guide tell you about each town you're in. You can 'hop' off at museums, shopping areas, art galleries, etc...where they all had included admission with your cruise ticket. I got to see a lot this way, more than I would have otherwise. The buses are clearly decorated with the cruise line's name and logo so you always know what bus to get on too, which was comforting. Now you can buy what they call "Premium Excursions." At first I thought I didn't need any of them because of the hop on tour, but let me tell you for a relatively small price I had one of the highlights of my trip with the 'Chitlin' Trail' excursion in Paducah, KY. This was something special. They take a small group into a hotel which was once a safe haven for African American musicians and you feel like you're back in 1950. The guides were in character and sang so well I really thought it was really was Billie Holiday. That was really worth it and I highly recommend it. We had a few days in Nashville which I was excited to see. The Grand Ole Opry Show was an included tour on this trip and wow, it was a bucket list item for me. I'm not even a country music fan but that was a good show. I enjoyed learning about Elvis and Dolly Parton too while on the city tour there. And the tour specialist on board helped me find some great BBQ downtown to try out. When it was time to leave they took me directly to the airport. They really were organized and getting off the boat was as smooth as the whole trip (I guess I didn't need my sea sickness patches after all) I'm planning to bring a friend with me next time to try a different segment of the river. She didn't think there was much to see in the middle of America, but after telling her about my trip she can't wait to go with me. She doesn't like to travel overseas either so this will be a good trip for her. I'll be back American Duchess! Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
Sometimes, the best way to gauge a company's commitment to customer service is to experience mishaps and witness how the crew and company react. We were on the December 2 sailing from Memphis to Nashville on the American Duchess. ... Read More
Sometimes, the best way to gauge a company's commitment to customer service is to experience mishaps and witness how the crew and company react. We were on the December 2 sailing from Memphis to Nashville on the American Duchess. The first issue occurred when one of the propellers malfunctioned. We were immediately given this information and were also informed that we were going to have to skip our next port. The next morning, we found ourselves docked in a town that was not a scheduled stop on our itinerary (sorry, I forget which town it was). We were then given the news that.... the paddlewheel had fallen off! Somehow, they were able to get a team to arrive and fix the propeller and meanwhile arranged for us to go on a premium trip to a nearby museum while they worked on the repair. I'm not sure how they made those arrangements so quickly, but the museum was an excellent experience. (There was no way to replace the paddlewheel, but the boat was able to continue on our journey to Nashville.) While this was not exactly the itinerary we had expected, it was obvious that much care was taken to ensure that our experience was still enjoyable. Representatives from the corporate office even arrived, rolled up their sleeves, and pitched in...one of them even tended bar. The reason another bartender was needed was because for the rest of the trip, there was an open bar for all passengers. A nice gesture to show appreciation to the passengers for the necessary changes. But, wait.... there's more.... we were told that the company was going to pay our gratuities, and, we were issued a voucher for 50% of what we had paid for this trip, usable for any trip in 2020 or 2021! Truly, they went above and beyond to show appreciation to their customers. Going above and beyond also describes how all the staff and crew responded to these issues. As far as the actual trip itself... the entertainment crew was Broadway caliber, the food was excellent, and all crew members were efficient and friendly. The included shore excursions were equally excellent, as were the premium pre and post excursions. The Peabody Hotel was amazing, and our dinner at Chez Philippe was an indulgence worth every penny. We've already booked our next trip on the American Queen for this summer. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
We traveled on the American Duchess during Christmas time on a Nashville to Memphis Cruise. It was absolutely beautiful. The boat and some of the towns were decorated for the holidays truly making it a unique experience. The time we spent ... Read More
We traveled on the American Duchess during Christmas time on a Nashville to Memphis Cruise. It was absolutely beautiful. The boat and some of the towns were decorated for the holidays truly making it a unique experience. The time we spent onboard was phenomenal, all the staff is friendly and genuinely cared about making sure we were having a great time. The pursers were available to answer all of our questions, and our shore excursions specialist was great in helping us decide which tours were best suited for us. The food was amazing and the boat offered a great variety of dining options that well suited my picky eating habits. All of the small river towns were so charming and the included tours offered made us feel like we were getting way more than we paid for. The bus drivers stayed with us the whole week and were so friendly. They went above and beyond to provide assistance to make sure we were having an effortlessly fun time in each port. I’m a bit of an adventurer and believe you should experience as much as you can with the time that you have, so we went out on all the included tours and even purchased the premium tour options in some of the ports that we knew we couldn’t pass up. The most memorable port for me that we visited was Paducah, Kentucky. I never heard of it before until we booked the itinerary for this voyage, but that small town is something I’ll never forget! From the second the boat pulled into port, townspeople were there to greet us with big smiles! As we got off the boat they all waved and greeted us and wished us a happy stay in Paducah. The local tour guides were knowledgeable and energetic and made me fall in love with the town. This was one of the ports we purchased the premium excursion in, and it did not disappoint! They took us to the Hotel Metropolitan where we were greeted by the owner. She took us through the whole history of the hotel mentioning all the great musicians who had come through to stay there with special and unexpected surprises thrown in. The host was funny and hospitable and made us feel like we were reliving a time when the Hotel Met was at its peak. It was an unforgettable experience, and we even got some delicious pie at the end! As we departed Paducah for the next port on our itinerary, the townspeople that were there to greet us were also there to wave goodbye as we sailed away. It was extremely charming and made me feel like a special guest in their hometown. That’s how it felt the entire trip. You can tell all the people in these towns are proud of where they’re from and want to show off the great unique qualities each one has to offer. The American Queen Steamboat Company did a great job with their shore excursions that showcased and highlighted the best qualities of each town and made you feel that even though we only got a short time in each port, we left with memories we could take with us and experiences that were truly priceless. Do yourselves a favor and book a trip – go to these towns you’ve never heard of and do as much a you can while there! You won’t regret it! Read Less
Sail Date December 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
As experienced ocean cruisers we chose this cruise up the Mississippi in late April to see some southern states before the summer heat. This year the heavy spring rains within the Mississippi watershed had created major upstream flooding; ... Read More
As experienced ocean cruisers we chose this cruise up the Mississippi in late April to see some southern states before the summer heat. This year the heavy spring rains within the Mississippi watershed had created major upstream flooding; however, the only impact to our cruise was two of our docks were damaged and unusable and one of our planned stops was canceled. Overall, the cruise was great and certainly met my expectations. The staff was great. The entertainment exceeded my expectations and the river historian dded a lot of knowledge to the cruise. The food was good and with great variety. Only complaint was a couple of servings on the lukewarm side. Also, serving sizes were noticeably smaller which did not impact me in the slightest. There certainly was plenty of food. Our cabin was good and very comfortable. The bathroom was good size with a great shower! The internet services were free and far superior to our ocean cruises. The highlight of the shore excursions was the visit to Chef Regina Charboneau's home in Natchez. She is absolutely delightful, a very entertaining guest, and we got a beautifully autographed copy of her latest cook book! Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
My husband and I took this cruise as a celebration of our 25th anniversary. We cruised from New Orleans to Memphis. Pros: excellent food and wait staff. large variety of entrees and dietary needs met. clean staterooms, ... Read More
My husband and I took this cruise as a celebration of our 25th anniversary. We cruised from New Orleans to Memphis. Pros: excellent food and wait staff. large variety of entrees and dietary needs met. clean staterooms, common areas (except the sticky laminate flooring) variety of hourly activities variety of Premium Excursions Cons: Only one location for dinner, even though alternate venue was advertised average age of cruisers on our cruise looked to be 75 activities geared more to the older crowd, including musical shows in evening cost of Premium Excursions included excursions need to be updated. Several stops had little to see 18.5% per person per day gratutites added at end of voyage(not included in cost) Hotel in New Orleans (included) was filthy This was our first cruise and didn’t know what to expect. There was a lot of “hurry up” then wait, especially since there were so many cruisers with mobility issues.We will not return. 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
This cruise was chosen by a neighbor in my community, Sun City Palm Desert California, who organizes group trips. I was fortunate to be invited to join the group, and because I was cruising without my husband (who stayed at home with our ... Read More
This cruise was chosen by a neighbor in my community, Sun City Palm Desert California, who organizes group trips. I was fortunate to be invited to join the group, and because I was cruising without my husband (who stayed at home with our dog), I was paired with a roommate who is also a neighbor in our community. There were 34 people in our group. The cruise we were on is the Lower Mississippi departing from Memphis and terminating in New Orleans with stops in Helena, Arkansas; Vicksburg, and Natchez, Mississippi; Baton Rouge, St. Francisville, and Nottoway Plantation, Louisiana. However, because the Mississippi is flooding at this time, our itinerary was altered extensively. There were no complaints about this that I heard, and myself and everyone I talked to enjoyed every day. We spent the first night in Memphis at the Peabody Hotel; this overnight is part of the cruise package. The hotel is old, charming, and delightful especially if you are able to see the ducks paraded through the lobby and into the fountain. They stay all day and then are paraded back to their quarters on the roof of the hotel in the evening. The next morning, we were bused to Graceland for the Elvis Experience. This is an additional “Premium Tour” offered by the American Queen Steamboat Company. I highly recommend doing this tour; it is a must for anyone who ever enjoyed an Elvis song. Due to the flooding, our boat could not dock and depart from Memphis, so we were bused to Greenville, Mississippi, for our departure. This was about a two-hour bus ride. That evening, we boarded our boat, American Duchesse, and enjoyed dinner in the main dining room. The menu there is extensive, dining is leisurely and the food is delicious. Alternatives to the main dining room are a buffet for breakfast and lunch serviced in a bar called the River Club at the rear of the boat, and snacks and beverages available 24/7 in a little room called Perks at the front of the boat. Room service is also offered, but I didn’t have a need for it. The buffet meals in the River Club are outstanding and are perfect when you want a quick meal. Also, you can eat outside on the rear deck if you eat at the River Club. Fruit, soft serve ice cream, popcorn, sandwiches, cookies, pastries and all kinds of beverages are offered in Perks. You literally cannot go hungry on this boat, and the food is wonderful. Actually, we spent two nights in Greenville, then Vicksburg, Mississippi; Vidalia, Baton Rouge, New Roads, Louisiana; and the last day of our cruise was spent cruising the Mississippi between Baton Rouge and New Orleans. Buses meet the boat at every stop offering what is called Hop On Hop Off tours of that particular area’s highlights. This service is included in the cost of the cruise. There are Premium Tours offered at every stop that seemed to range between $79-$129. These are exceptional tours and well worth the additional cost. Some are half-day and some are full-day. My roommate and I had a veranda room which I took full advantage of. Nothing beats sitting on the veranda and watching the world go by. There are areas for doing this all over the boat in the front, in the back and on the very top of the boat called the sun roof. Highlights of this cruise for me were the meals, the historian who offered talks everyday about the Mississippi, the Mark Twain impersonator who performed twice, the visit to Graceland, the visit to BB King’s Museum and Bar, many beautiful sights offered by the Hop On Hop Off buses tours, and especially the Premium Tour to Angola Louisiana State Penitentiary. This last item may sound strange, but be assured it is an uplifting and eye-opening experience. Most of all, though, I enjoyed just being on the boat. The cruise staff are friendly, helpful, outgoing and accommodating. That includes the Captain, officers, pursers, performers, tour guides, bus drivers, dining staff and cleaning staff. We all got to be family for the brief week that we were together. You could do this cruise all by yourself and not be alone, or you can have all the privacy you want. The bottom line, I guess, is would I do this or any cruise on the American Queen Steamboat again; you bet I would. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
AQSC has river cruising figured out. The Duchess is an awesome vessel and continues the tradition of first class river cruising started by her mother, the American Queen. Our cruise from Nashville to Chattanooga on the Cumberland and ... Read More
AQSC has river cruising figured out. The Duchess is an awesome vessel and continues the tradition of first class river cruising started by her mother, the American Queen. Our cruise from Nashville to Chattanooga on the Cumberland and Tennessee Rivers was very relaxing and historical and the scenery was beautiful. Even though the Duchess is not nearly as big as the Queen, she is very elegant and well laid out. Large cabins, sufficient public spaces, excellent dining, impeccable service and excellent entertainment are some of the attributes that make this a nearly perfect vessel to explore America's great rivers. Entertainment trio of Dustin, Courtney and Jeff did a fantastic job each night and are some of the hardest working entertainers we have witnessed. We appreciated that they performed music from the 50's and 60's. The riverlorian, Mike, gave daily informative, interesting and entertaining talks about the river history, lore, navigation and other subjects. Teresa did an awesome job with our daily shore excursions and hop on hop off itinerary. We love AQSC and always look forward to our next cruise on America's rivers on either the Queen, the Duchess and hopefully, the Empress. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
Although we are listing a bunch of issues that we encountered, we had a great time on our Memphis to New Orleans cruise. The cabin, dining, staff, hop on-off and premium excursions met and/or exceeded our expectations. The Peabody and ... Read More
Although we are listing a bunch of issues that we encountered, we had a great time on our Memphis to New Orleans cruise. The cabin, dining, staff, hop on-off and premium excursions met and/or exceeded our expectations. The Peabody and Intercontinental hotel selections were excellent choices. But, as a passenger with mobility issues, the following items are presented and if remedied would make the Duchess an ideal selection for those with physical impairments. American Duchess embark process was cumbersome - lengthy lines and 2 different stations to get through. We were on the 3rd deck and got a notice in the a.m. that balconies would be washed between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. - open balcony curtain at 8 a.m. and the crew was already washing our balcony. In the afternoon we went to stern, 2nd deck, to find that the dirt from the 3rd deck was washed onto 2nd deck rockers and chairs making them unusable. The rockers were never cleaned. The bow stacks, which are for decoration only, were up and down as required for clearance. The stern stacks were stuck in a down position which, when engines engaged, blew carbon flakes on our balcony (and us, when we were sitting there). Most of the guests were senior citizens like us and a few, including me, had mobility issues. The bow elevator was closed for maintenance during the entire cruise leaving guests to walk to middle of the boat to access the only working elevators. The rug on the sun deck had significant bumpy areas which present a dangerous trip hazard even during the daylight hours. The cabin maintenance staff left their vacuum cords unsecured when vacuums were in the hallway aisles. It was a pretty common experience where we had to step over these cords. When we were still in port in Memphis the Duchess was experiencing power issues - lights flickering, etc. A beaker finally blew when we ported in Natchez, requiring us to stay in port there for an extra day, missing out on our Baton Rouge stop. While the captain and cruise crew made the extra day as comfortable as possible we did miss on of our most-looked-for destinations and our all day Cajun experience. The open bar and adding a Natchez excursion helped but we were very disappointed in missing Baton Rouge. Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
We chose this cruise as a way of exploring the deep south in some luxury. It was very expensive at over £1000 per night per cabin but we thought that the quality of service would be at least equivalent to a European river cruise or an ... Read More
We chose this cruise as a way of exploring the deep south in some luxury. It was very expensive at over £1000 per night per cabin but we thought that the quality of service would be at least equivalent to a European river cruise or an American sea cruise such as Holland America or Princess. It was nowhere near up to this standard, especially the catering and waiting staff. Firstly, the positives. A great way to see the Mississippi and absorb the history and culture. Our balcony room was good, the entertainment was fine. The food was decidedly average apart from 2 delicious evening meals, a steak on the first night and a fish dish half way through. When attending for a meal, you have to wait to be seated, quite often 10 minutes standing first in line whilst the manager serves water or hands out menus. Despite waiting long times for service, food was often served lukewarm or sometimes cold. We saw numerous occasions when waiting staff were on their mobiles (no, Steamboat Company, this was not the food ordering devices, we can tell the difference). We constantly had to ask for rolls, cutlery etc. This is not the staffs' fault but that of the management who either didn't care about high standards or didn't know what it was (difficult to imagine since we were in America). I don't think there was a single tea spoon on the boat, had to stir coffee with the knife handle! Enough on catering, except to say that the upstairs evening dining room was freezing cold and very uninviting. booking is required despite it being half empty. We only went once. Half way down the river, the boat broke down. A common theme it seems. There were power cuts every day even after the "fault" had been fixed. So we were stranded in the quietest part of the river with nothing to do but read all afternoon. That meant that we missed out on Baton Rouge, the largest town (city) on the trip downriver. I later discovered that the boat was only 22 miles from BR so why on earth did they not hire some coaches to transport us in and back. Not difficult but, as far as I am aware, not even considered. I just wish I had had the foresight to ask. So we were just supposed to accept a major port was excluded. Compensation? A free bar for an hour (2 drinks) and 1 opportunity to win $500 dollars at bingo. Think carefully about this cruise line that seem to accept that you are a captive audience and they have very little competition so, why bother? Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
We sailed aboard the Duchess from New Orleans to Minnesota departing July 16th. The Duchess is a beautiful boat with room for 166 guests. The design of all the rooms is pleasing to the eye and very airy with high-ceilings. We ... Read More
We sailed aboard the Duchess from New Orleans to Minnesota departing July 16th. The Duchess is a beautiful boat with room for 166 guests. The design of all the rooms is pleasing to the eye and very airy with high-ceilings. We entered the boat into the room where Pursuer is located. Access to the bar and grand dining from the Purser is through a hallway lined with beautiful replicas by Monet masterpieces. The bar area is spacious, centered by the staircase accessing two decks. Large Austrian chandeliers hang from the ceiling, an abundance of blown and fused glass artwork line the walls there, in addition there are cozy seating areas outfitted with sofas and chairs. The dining room is large enough to hold all the guests. Breakfast (6:30 to 9) Lunch (11:30 to 1) and Dinner (5:30 to 8:00) all meals are open setting, an option that allows guests to eat meals at their leisure. The food was delicious, varied and often local. The service was exceptional, the dining room staff is friendly, professional and willing to go the extra mile. In addition to the grand dining room there is a smaller dining area, River Club and Terrace, on the second deck serving buffet style breakfast and lunch with open setting. Dinners are table service and require reservations. Perks, a little café, is also located on the 2nd deck with a self-serve cappuccino machine, soft serve ice-cream with toppings, juice dispenser, popcorn maker, soda and delicious cookies. Since the Duchess is a river boat and not a ship, one cannot expect the same type of entertainment and activities. However, the entertainment overall was very good. Day time activities were offered by the activities staff and an excellent river laurate. On several occassion a movie was shown and several people arrived with popcorn. A 4-piece band entertained each day before dinner, during the nightly shows and in the evening after the shows. The nightly shows were provided by the activities staff and/or local talent offering an enjoyable way to spend an hour or so each night. I cannot walk, so I traveled with a scooter. The Duchess has done a wonderful job in making it easy for those who must travel with a wheelchair or scooter to navigate the boat by adding slight inclines everywhere there is a door jam. The halls ways were wide enough for me to scoot down even with people coming in the opposite direction. The walls are lined with art work depicting river cruising. There are 2 spacious elevators available at each level which allowed me in my scooter and up to 6 other passengers to ride the elevator. At each port, a Hop On Hop Off bus tour was included,the stops were varied and interesting. Each day we were given a data sheet with details of each stop and an indication which stops were wheelchair (or scooter) accessible. Each bus is outfitted with a lift, so I was able to go on all the tours in my scooter. The bus drivers were wonderful loading me on the bus and off the bus as often as I wanted. They eliminated any concern I had about taking the tours and made me feel safe going up and down the lift. I suggest if you know anyone who has a mobility problem, they will be pleased with taking a cruise aboard the Duchess. We were in a wheelchair accessible cabin in the aft of the boat, which we were excited about as we could sit on the balcony and watch navigating the Mississippi from both sides and up close and personal seats as we went through the locks. They installed a ramp under the carpet which enabled me to access the balcony with ease. (If I were to make a suggestion, I would ask that they provide the same type of ramp outside the doors on the observation decks, as the height of the door jam was too high for me to get back into the boat without someone manually lifting my scooter). The room was large enough for me to navigate with my scooter and the bathroom had a large roll-in shower. The only problem with our room was the noise from the paddlewheel was sometimes annoying and there were nights we were wakened by that noise. If you are considering a cruise aboard the Duchess and desire either a wheelchair accessible cabin or one at the aft, just bring earplugs and/or sound abatement equipment. Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
Engine noise and vibration in our cabin and on the aft dining deck were bad. We had several equipment failures, delays getting off the boat in several ports and having to miss one port totally. Our tie-up in Hannibal was on the wrong side ... Read More
Engine noise and vibration in our cabin and on the aft dining deck were bad. We had several equipment failures, delays getting off the boat in several ports and having to miss one port totally. Our tie-up in Hannibal was on the wrong side of the river as the American Queen got the better spot, really? Otherwise we could have walked right off and into town, one of the few ports whee the walk is so short and easy. This was totally bogus. Dining waitstaff was way below par, you can get better service and professionalism in Denny's. They seemed untrained and unhappy; perhaps overworked? After a few days their coats and cuffs had food stains all over them, ugh! Food was nothing special, sometimes lukewarm or cold. Never asked "how is everything" had to ask for another roll or condiments for baked potato. Entertainment was pretty good for the first two weeks then the Cruise Director and his two assistants (also entertainers) left and were replaced by one "Assistant Cruise Director" who was a big disappointment. Things continued downhill from there. The dining service, the entertainment and the noise and vibration plus being late off the boat, or not off at all made this a poor cruise for what could have been all very good to excellent category reviews. For example the Hop-on Hop-off buses and local guides were all very good or excellent but but being late, or at bad tie-ups lowered the rating. If you chose a similar cruise get a forward cabin, on deck 3 and go down river. But first, check more reviews for a more professional and happy dining waitstaff. Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
We chose the American Duchess as it was mainly suites and fewer quests. We went from Memphis to New Orleans, The cabin was very comfortable and not confining. There was a house band that was good would have liked more variety. Local ... Read More
We chose the American Duchess as it was mainly suites and fewer quests. We went from Memphis to New Orleans, The cabin was very comfortable and not confining. There was a house band that was good would have liked more variety. Local music would have been my choice (blues band, jazz band, Country band, riverboat music ). We had reservations the same time each evening with the same couple we met on the first day aboard. This riverboat had its own buses that were available at each stop for free hop on/hop off stops in each stop. They were free and worked for us. There were premium excursions $$ which we didn't try. Our dinner waiter took good care of us, however, breakfast and lunch in the main dinning room was sometimes spotty. There were other areas of buffet style food available. In addition free ice cream was available all day. Read Less
Sail Date July 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
We have always wanted to cruise the Mississippi River and go on a small ship so this seemed perfect. Pro's Food was very good with a nice variety to choose from each night. Wait staff was excellant. Shows were the same ... Read More
We have always wanted to cruise the Mississippi River and go on a small ship so this seemed perfect. Pro's Food was very good with a nice variety to choose from each night. Wait staff was excellant. Shows were the same 3 people each night but they were very good and gave us quite a variety. Hop on hop off bus and drivers were great. Used those at every port as they were included in price of cruise. All ports but Greenville were interesting. Con's Ship very small and not much to do. Room was at back of ship near the paddlewheel and was very noisy! The port of Greenville was a total waste of time-there has to be some place else they could stop. Only thing there was a very small casino. To give you an idea-one of the stops on the hop on hop off bus was the Dollar Store! I don't really feel this cruise was worth the price we paid, but it was something different than the othere cruises we normally go on. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
I want to tell you about our January trip on the American Duchess . . . To celebrate my mother’s 90th birthday, we decided to take her on a riverboat adventure! You see, Mom & Dad had, in their later years, enjoyed taking a ... Read More
I want to tell you about our January trip on the American Duchess . . . To celebrate my mother’s 90th birthday, we decided to take her on a riverboat adventure! You see, Mom & Dad had, in their later years, enjoyed taking a riverboat trip almost every year and had many wonderful memories. As Dad had passed away, we felt this would be a wonderful treat for Mom – as well as marking her 16th or 17th riverboat cruise. There were eleven of us traveling. We were especially excited about our first night stay at the Peabody Hotel – I had taken mom there before when we traveled together but never stayed there – boy, was she excited! The Peabody is a true boutique hotel and frankly, from the way we talked it up, everyone was so happy to start our adventure with a night there. Then we learned it was not going to be the Peabody but rather the Sheridan – which by no stretch of the imagination is a “boutique” hotel. However, having stayed at different Sheridan hotels before, I was hopeful that it would be fine - - it wasn’t. To put it bluntly, “The Sheridan was a dump!” Checking in was a joke as we had to wait for someone to show up (did I mention it was FREEZING out?), then they couldn’t have been more disinterested in us or less helpful if they had tried. Our room was filthy, dusty, and probably hadn’t seen a vacuum in months. There were stains on the dust ruffle, on the carpeting, and even on the lamp shade which was also broken. I would not walk in the room, or bathroom without shoes on – that is how horrid it was. The topper was, when I went to get ice there was MOLD in the ice, so obviously the ice machines were never tended – not only a health hazard but also a huge gross out. We spent the balance of the next day down at the Peabody just hanging out and having lunch and cocktails. While I realize the cruise-line has no control over the weather, we had expected temperatures in the 50s and 60s. What we got was around 9 degrees, which made using our verandas – which were covered in snow and ice – a “no go.” The first stop was not made - no access because of ice, so basically, we were on a floating hotel with lots and lots of trip hazards which we all got a taste of. Luckily, they have a medic on board. It seems strange to me that this type boat, which statistically carries “mature” patrons, would have so many places to trip over and so few views – we didn’t find that on the American Queen. With limited viewing except for the upper deck – which was closed as it had turned to an ICE RINK – there was little to do unless we came to a port. The weather was so awful that my mother chose to mostly just stay on the boat, as did the other two “more mature” women in our group. As I had pulled this trip together, I spent much of my time apologizing for it. On the third morning, Mom had slept in, and I took her to the breakfast buffet that had the deck (which was closed off due to weather), there was little left in the buffet and one of the chefs behind the counter offered to make her an omelet. I thought, “Wow, well that is nice!” She was half way through eating when I heard the fellow hacking and coughing behind the bar and my first thought was, “Oh – Please God, no.” For a day or so, everything seemed okay until one by one our group – as well as many other passengers - started to cough, and get runny noses. Since several in our party had scrimped and saved to go on this trip, we were determined to make the best of it. Bring on the DayQuil! My husband and his friend kept saying, “Well, at least we will get to go on the airboat tour of the bayou.” They felt that that would redeem some of this trip for them as there were only three men in our party, and they were holding on to this one “manly outing” – that excursion was cancelled – and last minute too. The food was great and we were, despite being in a floating hotel with very little access to views, together. On Saturday night, I sat down to dinner – yay, it was going to be lobster! Yet I soon realized I could not even sit up, the flu hit hard and fast. I had my husband take me back to our cabin where I promptly went to sleep and that is where I spent the next day as well. Ultimately, I would spend 5 days in bed once we got home but it gets worse from there. Mom had, like most of our group, contracted the Flu B virus (I am guessing from someone handling the food?) being from the west coast the flu vaccine was for flu A, and though mom had a flu shot it did no good. Unfortunately, Mom’s flu also caused respiratory failure, and pneumonia. She experienced an ambulance ride and spent over a week in the hospital and six additional weeks in a rehab center relearning how to talk, walk, communicate and feed herself. Once back from rehab she spent another three weeks with physical, speech, respiratory, and occupational therapy in the home. Then I got another surprise. My travel agent called and timidly asked if we had enjoyed the wine and on-board credit she had arranged for us. Well guess what? We never received it! And to make matters even worse, this is not the first time this has happened to us on one of the American Queen steamboat cruises! I wrote to the ship about our experiences and they sent an apology for the Sheraton and for not sending the wine and onboard credit – yet they completely ignored the fact that my mother suffered terribly from an illness contracted on their ship, not to mention that the rest of us were very sick as well. Poor follow-up American Queen - you give a lot of lip service to how much you care for your customers (who keep you employed) yet the proof is in your actions - in this case you are a fail. Read Less
Sail Date January 2018
We decided to take a maiden, winter cruise aboard the American Duchess from Memphis to New Orleans. We found the newly refurbished boat to be beautifully yet simply appointed with lots of eye appeal. The Duchess is small, able to carry ... Read More
We decided to take a maiden, winter cruise aboard the American Duchess from Memphis to New Orleans. We found the newly refurbished boat to be beautifully yet simply appointed with lots of eye appeal. The Duchess is small, able to carry 160 passengers and that adds to the intimacy that this lovely vessel affords. Our weather was not terribly accommodating with ice, snow and low double digit record temperatures but that didn't dampen the spirits aboard the boat. We took no premium excursions and chose to use the complimentary hop on hop off buses and the sites that were provided with each stop’s location. I don’t believe we missed much when talking to other passengers. Food, though not gourmet, was definitely well above the average, plated beautifully and delicious. Executive Chef Jeff Warner's careful menu planning insured that there was something to suit every palate. If not, they were ALWAYS able to accommodate requests. We chose to eat in the Grand Dining Room for dinner and in the River Terrace buffet for several breakfasts, especially if we had to leave early for excursions. Alcohol was extremely expensive, however dinner came with complimentary house wine and one's glass was never empty due to the attentive wait staff. A red and white was made available each evening. Happy hour each evening shaved a dollar or two off each drink and that together with the complimentary wine at dinner would be adequate for us without breaking the bank. A beverage package runs approximately $250.00 per cabin and with an "auto gratuity" of $50.00 tacked on your drink package is an easy $300.00--definitely overboard for the quality of wine offered. Most bottles on the open market run less than $12.00 yet bottle prices began in the $32.00 range on up. Skip the package, save the money, use happy hour and drink wine at dinner. The true gem in this company's tiara is its staff, which in my opinion is 5 STARS! They are highly attentive, yet not intrusive, knowledgeable, professional, and ever present with a wonderful sense of humor. The boat, though lovely, pales in comparison to this All American staff and it is my hope that the management of this company recognizes the value in what they have. We found officers, the Executive chef, managers and even Crystal, the Hotel Manager, waiting tables when the dining room was full. There doesn't appear to be a visible hierarchy, except for shoulder epaulets and the entire staff seems to work like one big, well-oiled machine focused solely on client satisfaction, accommodation and comfort. A special mention of Serena W, a Purser on board the Duchess is essential. We found her to have exceptional skills with an ability to listen, hear, assess, intervene and problem solve on every occasion. She is truly outstanding in every way. It is the staff and their genuine, earnest desire to serve that would bring this TripAdvisor reviewer back to this company. This All American staff gets a standing ovation from this passenger indeed. Side Note: The company’s literature states that the included, pre-board evening would be spent in the Peabody Hotel in downtown Memphis. That is not the case. We were housed in the Sheraton, a huge, modern hotel that unlike the iconic Peabody is located away from most of the attractions. An upper level staff member at the Peabody told us that the company has been doing that for some time, so this type of seemingly deliberate deception is simply not acceptable as is the advertising of state room “suites.” Read Less
Sail Date January 2018
Created from a 1995 hull, 340 foot-long paddlewheeler, American Duchess, features four decks and employs 80 American crew to run the boat and manage its 80 suites—the first all-suite paddlewheeler to cruise U.S. rivers. The maximum ... Read More
Created from a 1995 hull, 340 foot-long paddlewheeler, American Duchess, features four decks and employs 80 American crew to run the boat and manage its 80 suites—the first all-suite paddlewheeler to cruise U.S. rivers. The maximum passengers she will sail with is only 166, so the crew-to-passenger ratio is quite high. Our cruise was sold out; however, the boat never felt crowded at any time, even in the show lounge where there were always plenty of seats. (There were 165 seats available, including the chairs that line each wall.) One of the reasons there was always so much space to roam was the fact that the suites range in size from 180 square feet (for an interior cabin like ours) to 550 square feet for a two-story loft suite featuring 19-foot ceilings. Those suites (and the Owner’s Suite) had their own “River Butler” to spoil them rotten, so I’m guessing those passengers spent a lot of time in their cabins! For those passengers who had the “Commodore Services” included with their suite and had a butler, he was available for them throughout the ship. We saw him everywhere, and he made sure his passengers knew it. Have you heard of helicopter parents? Well, he was a helicopter butler. Although the décor of the boat wasn’t to my taste, the abundance of blown and fused glass artwork was. Bruce and I absolutely loved it, especially since Bruce is a glass artist and glass is our favorite art medium. The American Duchess had a modern boutique hotel feel to it, rather than a traditional riverboat ambiance. In all honesty, we preferred the 1800’s motif of the American Queen, built and decorated to replicate the paddlewheelers of their heyday. Most notably, the Duchess lacks a promenade deck, a must for open air enjoyment of the views, especially for a sunset stroll. Of course, Winter Storm Inga didn’t allow for much of that; however, I would have sorely missed a promenade deck had the weather been better. (The Duchess does have a large sun deck; however, it just doesn’t have the appeal of the top deck space on the American Queen.) Sadly, the Duchess also lacked a calliope, a charming feature I enjoyed so much on the American Queen. The most impressive area of the Duchess was the bar, dining room, and stairs leading up to the Lincoln Library. The dining room layout was similar to the American Queen in that it had tall ceilings on each side with a lower ceiling in the center. Without a doubt, the dining room on the Duchess was nicer, though, because even though the boat was sold out (like it was when we were on the Queen), there was much more room in between the tables. In addition, there was only one seating; however, you could be seated any time within the open hours (5:30 – 8:00 PM for dinner) and dine either alone or with others. There was no assigned seating, and they accepted reservations for parties of six or more. Since the American Queen Steamboat Company has an executive chef who creates the menus for all three of their boats, the menus were similar to what we enjoyed on the Queen, and the food was similar—fabulous on both boats. The service on the Duchess was better, though, and much more relaxed. (By the way, we had the same Maitre D’ on both cruises! Oscar boarded the Duchess the same day we did.) The desserts (at least the chocolate ones!) were better on the Duchess, though. Rachel did a great job! I especially liked the creative little birthday dessert that was left in my cabin along with a card. I also received an incredible piece of chocolate ganache cake in the dining room for dessert! In addition to the dining room, the River Club and Terrace was a more casual option for meals. Breakfast and lunch were buffets, whereas dinners were table service. We enjoyed a lobster tail there on our first night aboard, when we joined the other Steamboat Society of America members (repeat cruisers with the company) for an invitation-only dinner. The final option for food was in Perks, a little café with a self-serve cappuccino machine, juice dispenser, popcorn maker, and windows to sit and watch the river. Those were all well and good; however, it was the fresh-baked chocolate chunk cookies I was after. Yeah, there were other varieties, too, but it was always extra special when I could nab my favorite! (In the morning, they had pastries, and fresh fruit was always available.) Entertainment included “Riverlorian” talks during the day, as well as the usual bingo, Name That Tune, trivia, etc. What we enjoyed the most, however, were the lounge shows each evening. Max (also the cruise director), his wife, Darcy, and Matt were three talented and personable singers who performed each night backed by a top-notch band. We had a few chats with Scott, the bass player, and it turned out we new several of the same San Diego-based jazz musicians! By far, the best feature of the American Duchess was its crew, from the captain on down. They bent over backwards to make every passengers’ experience a memorable one—especially when we were hit with snow and temperatures that averaged twenty degrees below normal. The day after the blizzard, Captain Joe McKey was out on the River Club Terrace scraping snow off the deck and cleaning things up. (Yes, you read that right; the captain!) In the dining room, Executive Chef Jeff Warner constantly came out to the “front of the house” (in restaurant speak) to help serve or pick up plates. He was very personable and made sure all his passengers were happy. Read the book Waiter Rant, and you will soon learn that is not typical. I know, because I worked in the restaurant/ hospitality business for several years, most notably at the University Club in San Diego for my last seven years. Unless it was to take a bow at an event or receive kudos from a requesting club member, the chef never left his comfortable domain of the kitchen. One thing that brought a smile to my face one late evening in the Lincoln Library was seeing one of the bartenders playing Monopoly with a young passenger who had nobody her age to pal around with on board. At another table, the Riverlorian was playing a card game with some other passengers. Whether that was permitted by the hotel manager or not, I don’t know; but, I sure hope they didn’t get reprimanded. As a matter of fact, I hope they will be encouraged in the future to do more of the same! It is an example of the congenial atmosphere that is evident between the crew and passengers, and it was, in a word, special. I hope they always keep the magic they have created. American Queen Steamboat Company has a winning formula down to every detail. The success they have had and the awards they have won are well-deserved. It is my hope they can sustain it and never cut back or cut anything out like what has happened with several of the large cruise ship lines. Ask any of the long-time cruisers with Princess Cruises or Royal Caribbean Cruise Line what I mean, and they will tell you. As a former guest lecturer with both companies, I speak from experience. When you start cutting back, people notice, and you will lose your most loyal customers. More importantly, word gets around. American Queen Steamboat Company, you have a great thing going. May it always stay that way!" Read Less
Sail Date January 2018
The American Duchess Brochure promises 'classic elegance and modern luxury' as I would expect at the Four Seasons and delivered a Holiday Inn Express but at more than 10 times the price. The menu choices were very good and the ... Read More
The American Duchess Brochure promises 'classic elegance and modern luxury' as I would expect at the Four Seasons and delivered a Holiday Inn Express but at more than 10 times the price. The menu choices were very good and the food quality acceptable. The dining room staff was chronically short-handed with Officers pitching in to bus tables. The suggested dress was country club casual but I never saw sweat pants worn to Christmas dinner at a Country Club. The entertainment was every good and delivered as a clever and well-delivered show every night. We have cruised with Tauck Tours on the Rhone River and on the "Windstar" from Istanbul to Athens ...and 5 day cruise in Patagonia to Cape Horn on the Stella Aurelius so we know luxury/adventure cruising when we see it. The American Duchess is not a luxury cruise. I do not believe the American Duchess delivers a "new world of class and sophistication" as advertised. Certainly not $22,000 worth for 8 days.... a far higher price than any of the above noted cruising experiences. Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
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
American Duchess Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.5 4.0
Dining 4.0 3.9
Entertainment 4.5 4.0
Public Rooms 5.0 4.1
Fitness Recreation 3.5 3.2
Family 1.0 3.2
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.7
Enrichment 4.0 3.8
Service 4.5 3.9
Value For Money 4.0 3.3

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