July 8-11: Pre-Cruise
First: my wife (“The Missus”) and I had a taste of river cruising almost a decade ago, sailing up the Danube on Ama Waterways. We had a fabulous time. But it’s a PITA to get from the West Coast to Europe. We’ve been on over forty ocean cruises on various cruise lines. We had never sailed the byways of North America. This was our reason to try American Queen. Not so much for the itinerary, but for the quality of the voyage and overall service – how they compared with the river cruises overseas. The Columbia River is West Coast-ish and is “reasonably” close to us. We had originally signed up for July 2020 and would up moving it to 2021 because, of course, of COVID.
The Missus and I had a lot of doubts about this particular cruise. Foremost was the coronavirus. Mask mandates had been lifted the previous month, at least in our home state of California – just in time for an uptick in Delta variant-related cases around the country. We liked that AQSC mandated proof of full vaccination prior to sailing.
Relatively small compared to most ocean cruise ships (and some European riverboats). Cabin was outfitted in dark woods, period wallpaper and pictures of steamboats. Two closets: one holds a group of drawers; the other contains an ironing board and life vests. A corner cabinet holds a small TV monitor, a mini-refrigerator, and a number of cubbyholes and shallow cabinets. Only three straight-back chairs were in the room, one of them for a small desk next to the queen-sized bed. The suites are, of course, larger; they have sitting areas. The balcony is small but outfitted with two chairs and a table. The bathroom: contains one sink, a toilet and shower; there is storage available under the sink and in a corner cabinet. The main complaint we had about the cabin was that there was virtually no soundproofing. You could plainly hear what your neighbors were saying. The cabin is also directly above the Show Lounge and we could hear what was going on quite clearly through the ventilation ducts in the room. Be careful when using the safe; it is in the top drawer of the closet and opens up and out. If you slam the safe door, this could dislodge the battery in the door and you risk losing whatever combination you programmed into it. The safe is small and will not hold a laptop computer or larger tablet.