This was a 4-night "add-on" to the end of the normal cruise season. The price was irrestible, plus the convenience of being a round-trip cruise. We'd previously done the traditional 8-day, one-way trip up the Columbia on this boat. Earlier this year, we did a lower Mississippi cruise on the American Queen. AQSC is a "class act", and we love the company. I hope they will expand to other rivers. There is hope, as AQSC just acquired another cruise line. It helps that AQSC's parent company is in the maritime business, so this isn't just another piece of a conglomerate empire.
I am trying to not sound like a company shill, so am being nit-picky about my complaints. With most cruise lines, they would be "lost in the noise" of other issues.
AQSC's cruises are not cheap. Their boats are built and registered in the U.S. That means that they must meet a higher standard of health and safety regulations than foreign-flagged vessels. Also, all crewmembers must be legal to work n the U.S. Their smaller vessels do not offer the economies of scale enjoyed by lines with larger ships (Carnival, NCL, Celebrity, etc.). The smaller size, and nature of operations, preclude ancillary income opportunities, such as spas, casinos, art galleries, tourist photos, and premium restaurants. Some cruise ships have more than 20 times as many passengers as the AE.
Response from JaneF, Guest Relations Manager
We had a complimentary upgrade from our "el cheapo" room -- likely because this cruise was about half full. The cabin was roomy and comfortable, with lots of storage, and an adequate number of electrical outlets, though we did use an extension cord, to bring my wife's phone closer to the bed. We could hear a television playing in the adjacent stateroom, but our room was otherwise relatively quiet. The television had several channels, including the three major networks (ABC, NBC, CBS). Interestingly, those were Los Angeles stations, rather than ones from Seattle or Portland. I'm sure that there's a valid reason, but I thought it was strange. Traffic reports and weather forecasts for SoCal were of limited interest for me. The room is very well-equipped, including a Keurig coffee maker, a small refrigerator with complimentary bottles of water, and a set of Tasco binoculars. Nearly all of our cruising was at night, so we didn't use the binocs. A television display of the ship's position would be of interest, except that it showed us permanently located well inland. I hope that will be fixed during the upcoming drydock period.