10 American Cruise Lines Queen of the Mississippi Cruise Reviews

On day 1, we arrived at Lambert's Landing in St. Paul to find no boat at the dock. When we called the office to find out why, they said there was a last minute change and the boat had been docked in Red Wing, MN and that we would have ... Read More
On day 1, we arrived at Lambert's Landing in St. Paul to find no boat at the dock. When we called the office to find out why, they said there was a last minute change and the boat had been docked in Red Wing, MN and that we would have to find our own way there. No company rep nor a bus was at the dock to update us and transport us to Red Wing, though they did say they would pay for the taxi ride (I'm still waiting for reimbursement as the ship's staff said they were unable to refund directly to me). Our Uber driver agreed to take us there, and I tipped him generously because he would have to go back to the city empty. But the most irritating aspect of this is that the ship apparently hasn't been able to dock in St. Paul for quite some time, perhaps all season, and it wasn't a "last minute" change. And even if it was, they should have called us. We finally arrived at the ship at lunch time, and no one greeted us or apologized for the situation, or offered any reasons (or compensation) for the foul up. As we met other guests during the cruise, we found that others had been left in the lurch just as we had. Our cabin, no. 209, smelled strongly of mildew, and our towels (which we were encouraged to reuse) never dried out overnight; when I reported it on the mid-cruise questionnaire, a dehumidifier was delivered to our room; however the room steward didn't know how to empty it so I figured it out myself... I also reported how dirty our veranda was, and though they said they would clean it, that never happened. It was covered with spider webs and dead bugs, which made it unpleasant to sit out there. I don't understand why the room steward didn't have time to at least sweep it, because all she had to do in our room each day was make the bed (they don't change the sheets during the week), deliver dry towels, wipe down the shower and sink and empty the waste baskets. Though the Queen of the Mississippi is only in her 6th year of service, she is suffering from some deferred maintenance. There is chipped paint, dirty windows and balconies, scuffed upholstery, stained lamp shades, and stained carpets, all contributing to a general aura of shabbiness. There is simply no excuse for this level of neglect on a cruise for which you've paid nearly $10K for a week. We've been on 4 European river cruises (with Viking and Vantage) and several ocean cruises (with NCL and Cunard), and one thing they all have in common in constant maintenance. They're always pressure washing or painting or cleaning something, without interfering with the guest experience. ACL seems to have decided not to do this type of maintenance during the season. The room was quiet and spacious enough, with the typical tiny bathroom, but storage, both in the room and bathroom was more than adequate. Wifi was slow, and we usually had decent tv reception, though the screen is tiny. There were a few places along the river where we had no cell phone reception, but that was okay. I was pleasantly surprised at how smooth and quiet the boat is while cruising at night. Even when we were going through locks, I was rarely disturbed by noise or motion during the night. There are many lounges and decks on the ship, and you could easily find a place to socialize or sit quietly and read or contemplate the beautiful scenery. Cocktail hour at 5:30 each evening was also lively and fun, with generous pours of beer, wine and liquors. A nice assortment of hors d'ouevres was also offered each evening. After dinner, we enjoyed a variety of entertainers in the lounge; a guitar singer one night, a motown duo for 2 nights, a barbershop quarter another night. The onboard lecturer, Dale, was fun and entertaining and filled us with information about the Mississippi and each of the ports we visited and even conducted a few sing-alongs. At every port, except the first day in Red Wing, we docked very early in the morning and had the whole day to visit the town. We were warmly welcomed by local guides in each town, and they genuinely seemed happy to have us there. Fort Madison has recently been added to the itinerary, and they were especially gracious, though there was a scheduling issue and the visit to the old penitentiary was cancelled while we were actually on the bus on the way there. They have some kinks to work out in their tours. We had a nice dose of warm, mid-western hospitality at each port. Most of the tours were rather heavy on bus time rather than actual on-the-ground touring, but perhaps this is in deference to the rather advanced age of the typical traveler on this cruise. I wish they would use buses that have 2 doors, because waiting for all the people with canes and walkers to exit the bus at each stop was very time consuming. Food service varied from barely acceptable to very nice. We learned to get to the dining room promptly when they opened at 7:30 each morning; any later and you could wait a long time for your entree. They really should offer a buffet for breakfast, because the wait staff becomes quickly overwhelmed and they seem to not have enough short-order cooks in the galley. Lunch seemed a bit less hectic; perhaps because the limited number of entrees offered were pre-cooked and just needed to be plated. Dinner also featured uneven service. If you arrived promptly at 6:00 when they started to serve, you might get served quickly. But people are allowed to wander in any time from 6:00 to 7:30, so one couple at a table might be finishing up dessert just as another couple joined the table. ACL should adopt the strategy utilized by the European cruise lines that we've traveled (Vantage and Viking), who seem to have figured this all out. Sometimes entrees were delivered lukewarm; sometimes the lettuce in the salad was soggy and appears to have been pre-dressed. Both the lunch menu and the dinner menu changed each day, and you had to make your selection in the morning at breakfast so the cooks could plan accordingly. The only item that was consistently good were the desserts, though one in our party complained that the tres leches cake was still frozen. Many on the wait staff are very young and inexperienced, and it was actually the first time serving for some of them. It was painful to watch one young man try to nervously balance a tray of drinks without dumping them down the back of a guest... We heard that they pulled quite a few from the staff to populate the new ship that is coming on line next week, leaving our ship with a very inexperienced crew. Similar to the beginning of the cruise, we were advised on the next-to-last day that we wouldn't actually dock in St. Louis (for reasons not divulged), and would instead dock in Alton, Illinois and be bused into St. Louis for our afternoon excursion. We sat in Alton all morning with nothing to do, no shuttle bus and no excursions or suggestions offered. It was a 30-45 minute drive each way, time we would have liked to spend enjoying the city rather than on a freeway. I do realize that the shipping lines can't be held responsible for the ever-changing conditions on the river that cause itineraries to be altered. What was lacking was their communication of such changes and the reasons for the changes. If they said high water or flooding made it too dangerous, everyone would have understood. They haven't been able to dock in St. Paul or St. Louis at all this season, so why are they still advertising this as a St. Paul to St. Louis tour? It's actually a Red Wing to Alton tour. Disembarkation was the smoothest part of the process. We had to put our tagged bags out at midnite, and the bus to the airport was scheduled at 7:30. We walked off the ship, identified our bags out on the tarmac, and got on the bus. The combination of inadequate communication, being stranded in St. Louis and having to make our own way to Red Wing, the smelly room, the dirty windows and balcony, the uneven food service, and the unprofessional service in general, added up to a less-than-exceptional experience for us. We are experienced travelers used to "going with the flow", but the negatives on this cruise somewhat outweighed the positives for us. Seeing the magnificent Mississippi River from the perspective of a grand river boat, and the quaint small towns along the way, was memorable and interesting, but the overall experience with the ship itself was rather disappointing. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
I almost didn't write this review as I feel that we were not the demographic that this cruise caters to and comparing it to our other cruises might be unfair. However, if we had known a few things upfront, we could have made a better ... Read More
I almost didn't write this review as I feel that we were not the demographic that this cruise caters to and comparing it to our other cruises might be unfair. However, if we had known a few things upfront, we could have made a better decision or been more prepared for what we got. The boat: The boat is very cute. The rooms are adequate in size but furnished in a drab and cheap-looking style. Bathrooms were very small in comparison but were functional. The closet is small, there are several drawers for storage, and there is no safe in the room. There is no refrigerator or water provided in the room but you can go to one of the lounges to get water at any hour. The outside seating areas are nice when sailing although I think more comfortable seating vs. the numerous rocking chairs would have been better. There are three lounges which were used for various activities such as bingo, river talks, evening entertainment, happy hour, etc. and were open all the time. The snack selection was not very good in the lounges as there were soft drinks and packaged snacks such as cheese crackers, fig newtons, and sun chips. Water and coffee were available but no iced tea and no healthy snacks. The cookies that were brought around twice a day were good and a nice touch. The crew: Most of the crew (interior staff) were college kids who were very enthusiastic and helpful but had little to no training. They would try to do anything that was asked of them but did not have the training to provide high-level service without being prompted--not their fault but don't expect much. They were super-nice people and we enjoyed meeting many of the crew members. Dining: What needs to be clearly stated here is that when the website states "Open seating dining allows you to dine where and when you want," what it really means is that every single passenger goes to the dining room at the same time since there is a short window of service and is squeezed into a room with tables that seat large groups of people with no option to sit as a couple. The way it was done is that passengers who came first might be on dessert and passengers who came a few minutes later would be forced to join them if there were empty seats. This was obvious chaos and didn't make a nice dining experience for everyone. Some folks probably really enjoy dining with strangers and that is fine but this could have been much better organized with options for passengers who aren't comfortable joining an already-in-progress table. I have to mention the food quality although this is a tricky subject. As someone who travels in search of the best restaurants and chefs, I feel qualified to say that the quality of the food was sadly very disappointing. It may not have been for some passengers but we found it to be uninspired and bland and some dishes seemed like an experiment of things that don't go together. Maybe the cooks were students in training also. Take that for what it's worth to you as I realize that everyone has different tastes and requirements for food and this may not be the opinion of some. Breakfast was probably the better meal and our room service (only offered at breakfast) was delivered promptly each morning. Dinner is at 5:30 pm and is over by 7:30. Happy hour was also disorganized with a long line for drinks and staff who were doing double duty and weren't really bartenders. Only a few knew how to properly mix drinks. They could have made it easier by having waitstaff take orders or having two lines and having the staff who didn't know how to make the drinks just pour wine and beer and soft drinks. But again, they were willing to try and were very polite and friendly. Entertainment: The evening entertainment that was provided was very enjoyable. It began at 8:15 and lasted about an hour. The first two nights were a musical and comedy show from the Riverlorians on board that gave educational talks in the afternoon and sang in the evenings. They were lovely people and were good singers and a lot of fun. We liked them a lot. The third night was a wonderful jazz duo with a piano player and a trumpet player. Both were amazing and we loved that they played songs we all knew as well as gave us tidbits of education about the music and the writers and famous performers of it. The last night was a cute show with the Victory Belles, three ladies who were performers based at the WWII museum in New Orleans and they did appropriate music for the time period and were very entertaining. Drinks, popcorn, and root beer floats were served. Daytime entertainment consisted of river talks, bingo, and such but that was fine for the size of the boat and the relaxing pace. Excursions and the cruise: One thing to know is that river cruises can change with the conditions of the river and excursions are sometimes changed or cancelled. The Mississippi is very high right now which prevented docking at some of our predetermined stops. This means we missed Oak Alley plantation but Rosedown Plantation was substituted in its place. It also meant that we docked for two nights at Baton Rouge and were bussed out to Houmas House on a longer drive than we would have been. I wish we would have been sailing at night instead of docked but I think that was largely beyond the control of the captain and crew. Both plantations were very nice with Houmas House being our favorite. Our guide there was wonderful and the owner was greeting guests on site which was nice. The grounds are spectacular. There wasn't any communication about these changes beforehand and I think there should have been but they did try to do as much as possible with the situation. Fellow passengers: As others have stated, most passengers are in the over 60-plus category with several over 80. We were younger but always enjoy meeting nice people and everyone was very nice. There is nothing for kids to do and excursions will not interest kids if they have no understanding of the history of the area. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
4 night cruise from New Orleans, enjoyed the ports very much, though not a lot of a variety of things to do at each one, to be expected on this itinerary. Visited a few very nice plantation houses, plus Baton Rouge. For those who have ... Read More
4 night cruise from New Orleans, enjoyed the ports very much, though not a lot of a variety of things to do at each one, to be expected on this itinerary. Visited a few very nice plantation houses, plus Baton Rouge. For those who have cruised on the larger ships, this cruise will come as a bit of a shock. The ambiance is very low key, no fancy décor, with basically no activities and nothing to do while on the ship. After dinner for 3 nights a banjo player performed for an hour, that was it for the evening entertainment. Seeing this once was fine, but it got old fast, and I didn't need to see it all 3 nights. Other than that, after dinner there was nothing to do, no schedule activities. The daily happy hour at 5:30 with tasty snacks and open bar was a nice touch, as well as the daily fresh baked cookies, and always available snacks and beverages. The ship staff and crew are friendly, dining room service was fine too. The boat is small, which means no crowds, no lines, getting on and off simple. My overall rating would actually be "good" if that was offered between very good and average. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
We wanted to stay in the US this year for vacation and since we had not visited the states where the ship docked, we felt this would be a good fit. We are also interested in the Civil War and we thought that would make the cruise more ... Read More
We wanted to stay in the US this year for vacation and since we had not visited the states where the ship docked, we felt this would be a good fit. We are also interested in the Civil War and we thought that would make the cruise more interesting for us. The cruise was expensive, but we hoped it would be "top shelf" making it worth the money spent. There were no transfers offered from the airport to the hotel, but it was easy enough to ride Uber. We were disappointed, however, that the hotel chosen by the cruise line was in the suburban part of the city rather than the downtown where we could have walked around, visited museums, etc. Breakfast at the hotel was not included, but transportation to the boat the following day was. We were quite surprised when we boarded the ship and saw how worn out it looked. The décor was disappointing and the furniture dirty (especially dining room chairs), not comfortable), and basically needing to be replaced. The carpets looked like they needed a good cleaning. We were shocked to learn the ship is only 2 years old. It has not been well maintained. The food was good to mediocre, leaning more towards mediocre. We were never offered second helpings and, more often than not, reminded we could order "half" portions. Lunches always were made from leftovers of the dinner the night before. Selections were limited but, most disappointing, the food just wasn't very good in both taste and presentation. We enjoyed the Civil War lecturer but the "riverlorians" (never heard that word till this cruise) were a bit hokey. The entertainment was geared toward the older senior citizens and was not often well attended except for those that wanted to take advantage of the open bar. There was no wine selection. They only served Mondavi's Woodbridge wine which I do not think of as good quality. When I asked if I could have different wines, I was told there would be an upcharge to do so. Meanwhile, the bar was well stocked with good hard liquors which made the lack of wine choices all the more perplexing. The ports of call were good and all of the tours excellent. I also must comment that the ship's staff was attentive, friendly, and professional. Disembarking was really poor. We had paid for a tour of New Orleans and then transportation and drop off downtown. We arrived to board the bus 15 minutes early and were told there were no more seats. The explanation was, "someone must be on wrong bus." We were eventually placed on another bus (the one going to the airport) and did get a tour of the city. This is one time, however, when the tour guide wasn't very good or professional. I really went into this cruise with high hopes of doing more trips with this company but I most certainly will not after my first encounter. It is truly a niche market and I hope that other lines will join the market and offer more quality trips on the US rivers. Read Less
Sail Date May 2017
Our initial experience was bad in that the cruise line failed to pick us up at the hotel for transfer to the ship, taking our luggage but leaving us behind and then just shrugging this off with no real apology or effort to make the ... Read More
Our initial experience was bad in that the cruise line failed to pick us up at the hotel for transfer to the ship, taking our luggage but leaving us behind and then just shrugging this off with no real apology or effort to make the situation right. We felt this was very poor handling of the embarkation procedure and we could have easily missed the cruise just because of the cruise lines sloppy handling. We felt the cruise was greatly over priced and that the service, food and amenities offered were lacking for a cruise that cost more than a thousand dollars a day for each of us. The cabin was adequate but nothing extraordinary. The food was, for the most part, pretty ordinary and not up to what we expected for the price. We are veteran cruisers and have sailed with many lines, and would say as far as value received this cruise was a big disappointment. Read Less
Sail Date May 2017
With last minute change to Nashville we were treated to a stay at the Gaylord Opryland Hotel as well as an evevning at the Grand Ole Opry. Great fun. Cruising the Cumberland River was a treat and with our Naturalist Steve Marking and ... Read More
With last minute change to Nashville we were treated to a stay at the Gaylord Opryland Hotel as well as an evevning at the Grand Ole Opry. Great fun. Cruising the Cumberland River was a treat and with our Naturalist Steve Marking and his lovely wife adding informative narrative as we went through the narrow waterway. The trip was enjoyable until we reached the lower Mississippi and a pattern developed as we would arrive in the morning and leave at 12:30, not allowing enough time to see all of the offered excursions or the towns, and only to arrive at the next port the same afternoon or early evening. We arrived at New Orleans the afternoon prior to disembarkation the next morning. The extra cost tour of Graceland was 1 hour short and most on tour were not able to see the entire exhibit. The planners need to review this trip. The fitness equipment was in need of maintenance and repair. The food was generally very good but by most ocean cruise standards very limited in scope and selection. The quality and presentation was excellent but I have never been served a half of a sandwich at lunch. The wait staff were just wonderful and made our meals even more enjoyable as well as the cruise staff who could not have been more accomodating. The entertainment was hit and miss. One group fair the next outstanding. But all in all it was a fun trip and we booked two cruises for next year. Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
Our first cruise with American was on the Columbia River. We were so pleased we signed up for another cruise before we left the Columbia. This most recent cruise was from Minneapolis/St Paul to St Louis in August, 2015. The food service ... Read More
Our first cruise with American was on the Columbia River. We were so pleased we signed up for another cruise before we left the Columbia. This most recent cruise was from Minneapolis/St Paul to St Louis in August, 2015. The food service was below average. Every single breakfast was a crap shoot. In 7 days we received a) the breakfast we ordered; b) warm or hot; and c) in less than 50 minutes exactly one time. We were nearly late for every tour. Lunches were mediocre. Dinners were quite nice, but taste was an ordinary cajun. The hotel manager seemed to be experienced, but she was largely unresponsive to complaints. John and Narda were standouts in service. Gustavo not so much. The BEST part of the cruise was the Mark Twain impersonator and the young, very capable couple both of whom entertained us every day. Both were worth the price of admission each day. The shore tours were poorly organized. For example, our first tour in Red Wing started at the Red Wing Retail store. Surprise! The store was closed. Go figure. Lacrosse was great as was Hannibal. St Louis was, well, St Louis. We won't go back. Avoid this cruise unless you are an entertainment fan. The Mark Twain impersonator and the young couple who cruised with us made the cruise for us. p.s. do not get a cabin forward on the starboard side, main deck. Read Less
Sail Date August 2015
Although we had a very lovely time, the dining room staff was very new and inexperienced. If you are traveling with friends and relatives, check in advance to see if you can dine with them ....We were unable to secure a table on a ... Read More
Although we had a very lovely time, the dining room staff was very new and inexperienced. If you are traveling with friends and relatives, check in advance to see if you can dine with them ....We were unable to secure a table on a regular basis for the six of us. The food was excellent and the staff was friendly and efficient It was a very expensive trip and I don't think it warranted the price. There are many advertisements in the mail offering discounted cruises, which is very annoying when you've already booked at full price. Look for the discounted trips. Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
This was a trip that we had planned for many years. We were a group of 6 and each of us were very excited. Unfortunately, we were disappointed. I wish we had seen some of the posted reviews prior to booking. This cruise is indeed pricey ... Read More
This was a trip that we had planned for many years. We were a group of 6 and each of us were very excited. Unfortunately, we were disappointed. I wish we had seen some of the posted reviews prior to booking. This cruise is indeed pricey and not worth the cost. The staff were all very inexperienced however, their improvement during the course of the trip was really remarkable. However, We did not sign up for a teaching experience. If this is the case it should be reflected in the price with a reduction. We found out that the experienced staff was on the newly launched boat and the Mississippi Queen got the short end. NOT fair. Another issue we had was the matter of seating in the dining room. We were told it was open seating but there was reserved signs on at least 4 tables. We were upset and spoke with the cruise director who told us that there was a large group and the smaller groups he was told to give them reservation seating and this came from corporate. Wake up corporate, treat all your paying customers equally. Either offer reserved seating or open seating. We had to scramble into the dining room 3 times a day to ensure we would sit together. On the plus side the food we had was great. Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
First of all, be aware that this 7 day Mississippi cruise is quite expensive. It is not a "value" cruise at all. We traveled from Memphis to New Orleans on the Queen, truly enjoying the sites at the ports. However, this is ... Read More
First of all, be aware that this 7 day Mississippi cruise is quite expensive. It is not a "value" cruise at all. We traveled from Memphis to New Orleans on the Queen, truly enjoying the sites at the ports. However, this is where the pleasure ends. Apparently, the boat is used as a training ground for young people, to teach them skills for the hospitality industry. This is not an ideal situation for training, given the cost of the cruise. Except for a few quality servers, many of the waitresses were extremely incompetent: mixing up orders, failing to meet food or beverage requests, with painfully slow service. Food was often cold by the time it was served. Occasionally, substitutes were made without notifying the diner of any changes (salmon instead of lobster on a special eggs benedict, for example). Repeated requests for a beverage refill went without results. If an order went back to the kitchen (raw steak), it may or may not return in quite a long time. The food served was supposed to reflect the region, but it was often tasteless and mediocre--nothing special at all. Housekeeping was another problem, with towels and washcloths not replaced, even though they were on the bathroom floor, as requested. On several occasions, I replaced our towels, having found the linen closet where they were stored. Entertainment on the boat was very good, as were the included shore excursions. Otherwise, this trip is simply not worth the money paid. We will not travel with this line again. Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
Queen of the Mississippi Ratings
Category Editor Member
Entertainment N/A 4.1
Public Rooms N/A 4.5
Fitness Recreation N/A 3.3
Family N/A 3.3
Shore Excursion N/A 4.2
Enrichment N/A 4.1
Service N/A 4.5
Value For Money N/A 4.0
Rates N/A 3.6

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