My wife and I took the 7 night ACL Queen of the Mississippi cruise from Memphis to New Orleans departing on May 23 of 2015.
Not only was this the most expensive vacation the two of us have taken in our 33 years together, it was also the most disappointing. I suppose we should have done more research before we booked on this boat but all of their literature led us to believe it would be a good trip for us. Unfortunately it turned out to be our worst vacation. I would recommend you look very carefully at this company and what they are offering before you spend your money.
There were many things to dislike about this trip, a few of which I will talk about.
First, we were greeted at the entrance to the dock by a young lady who took our luggage and boarding passes, told us our room was probably not ready yet (not unexpected as they off load arriving passengers at 8:30AM and begin boarding new passengers at 10:30AM), and showed us where to go to board the boat. There was no one at the gangway or on the boat to greet us when we boarded.
I assumed we would go to the bar for a drink and snack while we waited for our room. I located the office and found a young employee named Robert being confronted by a woman who was also looking for the bar. Imagine my, and her, surprise when we were informed that there was no such thing on this boat! I had somehow concluded from the literature that there was a lounge with snacks and drinks available around the clock. The snacks turned out to be small bags of potato chips and packages of peanut butter or cheese crackers. Drinks consisted of coffee, soda, juice and water.
Our cabin was OK. The carpet was dirty. The sliding door to the balcony was very difficult to open. I asked three times for it to be fixed and finally fooled with it myself and got it so my wife could open it. The TV in the room was smaller than my desktop computer monitor. I asked for an extra bath towel each of the first three days. Finally on the fourth day they began leaving one without my asking.
Unlike the marketing literature pictures showing middle aged passengers lounging in luxury, with what one might conclude are alcoholic beverages, the average age of the passengers on this boat was well North of 80. Many walkers and wheelchairs. Not many partiers.
There was a "cocktail hour" each day from 5:30 to 6:30. To me the term "cocktail" implies a drink with alcohol in it. Their liquor was so watered down you could not taste the gin or vodka and the brown liquor was tan, not brown. My friend Murray took to making them open a new bottle of scotch every time he got a drink. The "cocktail hour" ended each day with the "Hotel Manager", who Murray dubbed the " 'happy' Hawaiian" , singing to the herd that it was time to go to the dining room for dinner.
The kids working in the dining room, the same kids who worked housekeeping and other duties, in general tried hard to deliver good service but the entire meal service was very disorganized. Never saw anyone who appeared to be in charge of the dining room. If asked, the kids would provide all the wine we wanted, including an extra bottle at the end of the meal. If you did not ask they generally tried to serve a really crappy Pinot Noir by the glass. I sent it away every time they tried it and ordered a slightly more acceptable bottle of Cabernet. The Pinot Grigio was acceptable. Several of my meals were lukewarm.
The morning we departed the ship we arrived in the dining room at 7:05 AM. At about 7:20 I finally attracted the attention of one of the waitresses and we ordered breakfast. We had ordered a taxi for 8:05 to take us to the airport. The waitress never returned to the table again and we did not get our breakfast (or even a second cup of coffee). By the way, if you are crazy enough to take this trip and need a taxi, insist that they call a metered one. Otherwise you will get somebody's brother-in-law in a beater. We did exactly that to go to the French Quarter in New Orleans on Friday evening. The guy charged me $15 bucks. I flagged a real cab to return and the meter fare was less than $7.00.
Entertainment was awful. The lecturer was OK. Afternoon activity consisted of an hours' worth of bingo one day, 45 minutes of banjo lessons one day, some stupid game show game one day and I don't even know what excitement they came up with the other days. The first two evenings they had a duo who played banjo and bass. They were OK but certainly not up to 1st class cruise standards. It went down hill from there, including a Gospel singer for an hour and I totally lost interest after that. By 9:00 or 9:30 PM it was all over and everyone was in their cabin! No bar to go to, no music, no nothing.
I am an active 70 year old man married to an active 65 year old woman. We actually sat and played a game of Scrabble one night, just to keep from going totally nuts.
What a shame, what a disappointment. They have a perfect venue here and have totally wasted it. My advice...run as fast as you can from this outfit. For what you pay for this trip you can take two really good trips to a Caribbean Island, or two very nice cruises on some other line.