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
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 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
1 Helpful Vote
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
3 Helpful Votes
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
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2017
On October 24th we took an American Cruise Line (ACL) trip on their America from St. Paul to New Orleans. Then on December 4th, we took the American Queen Steamboat Company (AQSC) cruise on their American Duchess, roundtrip, ... Read More
On October 24th we took an American Cruise Line (ACL) trip on their America from St. Paul to New Orleans. Then on December 4th, we took the American Queen Steamboat Company (AQSC) cruise on their American Duchess, roundtrip, Nashville-to-Nashville. Though both these paddle-wheelers are similar in many ways, we also found numerous differences. (The comments below apply to the AQSC American Duchess, unless otherwise indicated.) Food: All meals were A+, with many selections available. Most tables were configured for 4 people; a few would seat 2. We could come to a meal at any time of our choosing; the staff would ask if we would mind sharing a table. If we said "no," we would be seated with another couple, or seated at a new table and another couple would later join us. (By comparison, ACL required everyone to arrive at the same time, but allowed us to sit anywhere. Most of their tables were configured for 6 persons or more.) Drink: No free alcohol for lunch. For dinner, one white and one red wine were provided, of mediocre quality. Higher-quality wines were available at steep prices. After we had consumed about half our glass, the staff would appear and refill the glass. After that, no further servings were volunteered, but if we asked for more, it was willingly brought. (With ACL, drinks were provided at lunch, at an hour-long happy hour before dinner, and readily throughout dinner.) Drink prices: Wine was between $8 and $10 a glass, to which a 15% surcharge was added. Beer was slightly less. (ACL charged between $6 and $8 a glass, with no surcharge; similar quality wines.) Dining room: The outer 2/3 was an impressive two stories high, with very large windows. The middle 1/3 was only one story high, as the upper story was taken up by the Lincoln Library mezzanine. Our cruise was at about 70%; we were always seated on the outer sides, with the middle tables set but unused. (The ACL cruise was at about 50% capacity; they had some place out of sight to store the unused tables, so the dining room seemed very spacious despite being only one story high.) The Duchess has a second dining room, with a much smaller seating capacity, and reservations here were required. With no carpeting, it was much noisier, but the tables were farther apart. It opens to an outside dining area, but was closed on our cruise due to cold weather. Dress: Not formal. A few folks wore jeans, and did not seem out of place. Several wore sport coats and ties, and also did not seem out of place. The overwhelming majority wore casual wear. (Similar for ACL.) Cabins: Our AQSC cabin was the "IS" (inside cabin) category, on the 2nd deck. The cabin seemed a little clastrophobic, but not overly so. The bathroom was fine, but oddly situated 10" above the cabin floor. Not so hard stepping up, but very awkward stepping back down. The temperature controls worked OK, and the shower had plenty of hot water. (On ACL, our cabin, also the cheapest, was an outside cabin with a balcony -- definitely better.) Entertainment: The Duchess has a small house band and a 3-person troupe of professional entertainers. They perform in a theater-style lounge with an elaborate lighting and sound system. They were very versatile -- shows ran the gamut from Broadway to Country & Western to 50's Rock & Roll. Their performances were consistently excellent. (ACL entertainers were local groups from each stop, performing in the main lounge. Some groups were excellent, some not so much.) Tours: We were initially a bit skeptical about the AQSC "Hop-On/Hop-Off" system, but it worked great. Three buses ran a continuous route covering several stops. Each one had a local tour guide in addition to the driver. The guide would explain the first stop, then let those who wanted to do that stop get off (that was usually most of the bus). Then the guide would explain the second stop to those remaining, and so on. Having three buses and only a few stops meant that no-one had to wait very long for the next bus. Very explicit maps were provided for the tours, and each stop was marked with a prominent placard -- very hard to get lost. There are a staggered start times and a kiosk reservation system so that the entire ship isn't out there waiting for the first bus to leave. (With ACL, there is only one tour starting time, and all the buses leave the ship at the same time, and everyone returns at the same time. The AQSC system is much more flexible.) Comfort: Our biggest gripe with the Duchess was...it was SO DARNED COLD! The two dining rooms, the Lincoln Library, and the theater were OK, but all the common areas averaged around 60 degrees F (my estimate). The "Perks" snack bar was frigid, as were all the hallways and common areas. The only places to sit when not eating or attending a stage show were in these cold common areas. Viewing the scenery: Our biggest gripe with the Duchess was that there was virtually no place where one could sit and watch the scenery glide by (other than at mealtimes). None of the common area seating had windows. Outside, there were only a few rocking chairs, without cushions - of course, on our cruise, it was too cold to go out there. The top deck was closed, and the outside part of the second restaurant was too, most of the time. Yes, those with balconies could see out, but only a narrow slice of view straight to the side. (On the ACL America, there are three well-appointed lounges -- one facing forward, two facing aft --featuring 270-degree views of the outside in each lounge.) Riverlorians: Duchess had one full-time Riverlorian, who also performed as a musician, plus one Riverlorian-in-training. For the most part, the lectures were excellent. (ACL had several Riverlorians -- two were also theatrical performers, and one was the great-grandson of Jefferson Davis.) Glitches: Initial Duchess reviewers reported numerous problems in ship operations. We saw no problems; apparently the "shake down" bugs have been eliminated. Overall: The spaciousness and quality decor of the Duchess is impressive. And had the ship been at 100% capacity, I think it would not have seemed crowded. But if ACL's America had been at 100% capacity, I think it would have seemed very crowded. Still, considering the excellence of the ACL lectures and the overall "comfortability" of the ship, I would have to give the (slight) edge to ACL's America. Read Less
American Duchess Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.5 0.0
Dining 4.0 0.0
Entertainment 4.5 0.0
Public Rooms 5.0 0.0
Fitness Recreation 3.5 0.0
Family 1.0 0.0
Shore Excursion 4.0 0.0
Enrichment 4.0 0.0
Service 4.5 0.0
Value For Money 4.0 0.0

Find a Cruise

Easily compare prices from multiple sites with one click
Compare and book excursions for your next cruise