NO INTERNET! You will have NO Internet the entire cruise. Make a note of that. And since you are out in the middle of a river, you will unlikely be able to get enough data on your cell network to make a difference. So, have everything you would need off of the Internet before you cruise. American Queen Voyages offers no help or assistance with this. And, the Purser's Desk is of no help for this or any other issue during the cruise. All other departments are good, but the Purser's Desk is unusable. We had been told that our airport transfer from Ottowa, Illinois to Chicago O'Hare Airport was included by the company when we booked. But, we were then told that it would be $49/person. The Purser's Desk was of no help with this.
The cruise otherwise is very good. Cruise Critic doesn't allow it, but our Embarkation Port was Memphis, Tennessee. We went up the Mississippi to Alton, Illinois, then continued up the Illinois River to Ottowa, Illinois, 80 miles outside of Chicago. We had previously cruised on the American Queen, once under their previous ownership, and once under their current ownership. The Countess is a smaller boat, so there are a few things that are different. But, there are also improvements, like a full bar in the Grand Lobby. Trevor, the bartender, was great! It is his great work that takes the Countess from 3 Stars to 4 Stars. Alcoholic Drinks were included in this cruise, which made a big difference! I am not a big drinker. But, being able to have different drinks during the cruise, and having Trevor to talk to so I can find out how they were made was great!
The jazz band that performs in the Grand Lobby after the stage show each night were great! And, on the second afternoon of the cruise, they give a jazz concert in the theater which is a must see. Spenser and his band did a great job and were definitely key in our enjoying the cruise.
Our room was good, in general. But, there was a rattle in the ceiling near the door that happened when we were on the Mississippi River and the boat was having to work harder against the current while going upriver. It mostly stopped when on the Illinois River, which was much more calm. You have enough room to move around, and the bathroom is a very good size. Housekeeping got kind of noisy on some mornings with their vacuuming early on. But otherwise, Antoinette was very good and very friendly. She helped us with our special request of getting ice for our cabin twice a day, which was appreciated.