Our earlier cruising experiences consisted of thirteen ocean cruises. We chose this cruise because flights were being cancelled, covid restrictions are iffy and we could drive to Memphis. We anticipated visiting antebellum plantations and having an opportunity to see civil war locations. The pre-cruise stay at the Guest House at Graceland was a very nice plus to our cruise. Our luggage was picked up at the hotel and loaded on the bus. Bus transportation to the boat was orderly and smooth. No covid test or shot records were required (but this could change). This cruise was priced at a luxury cruise price. Wine and beer are served at meals, mimosas after breakfast and the alcohol flows freely at cocktail hour and during the evening shows. If you do not imbibe the complimentary spirits, you are subsidizing those who do through the basic cruise price.
Throughout the cruise all crew members were friendly and helpful, especially Rick, the excursion director, John the hotel manager and Jim, the guest lecturer. Everyone greeted us with a smile and a "hello'". A big pet peeve was NO internet. Cell phone service on the river is almost always below par and sometimes non-existent. The river in July was extremely low, so getting up and down the levee banks was challenging. (This is seasonal, so it is not always an issue. Sometimes it’s too high to reach ports) DON’T OVERPACK. There is a laundry on board. (TIP: take your laundry up to the fifth deck before 6 AM). We did have a nice cabin and our stewards were attentive for the most part. There was a big screen TV with basic cable offerings in the room.
Since we were paying luxury prices, I expected luxury dining with exceptional service. Service was inconsistent. Our server Serena was very sweet and attentive, but she had no other servers helping her, so busing was slow and drinks were not refilled. Some dinners were good, namely the embarkation Prime Rib, the creole shrimp, and the pork chop with gravy. Another night I ordered a pork chop, and it was so tough I could barely cut it. I was told that the final night stuffed lobster was wonderful. One night my unpeeled sauteed potatoes were raw. Vegetables like broccoli and asparagus were overcooked. Breakfasts were generally routine fare with choices of oatmeal, grits, waffles, French toast, omelets, eggs, and the trimmings. Sometimes eggs benedict or other specialty breakfast items were on the menu. There were three dining options at lunch and dinner. Choices were made on a card at breakfast. The pastry chef was magnificent. There were two deserts at lunch and dinner along with a broad selection of ice creams. The fourth deck sky lounge featured a casual breakfast and lunch daily. Snacks and drinks were always available. There is no need for formal attire. Some guests even wore shorts to dinner. If you wish to dress for dinner an afternoon outfit will do.