Having had a very good experience on the American Queen Sternwheeler, New Orleans to Memphis previously, we were not hesitant to book the Great Lakes cruise and recommend to another couple who also booked it. Wow, the two cruises couldn't have been different. I'll break down our comments.
Precruise Hotel. Chicago Hilton nice hotel, a bit dated but elegant. Breakfast provided next morning but fairly meager.
Checkin. Several different stations to check in; covid test, ArriveCan app, excursions,, etc but it seemed like the different station personnel didn't know what each other were doing. Big frustration was embarkation. Breakfast was early in morning but transfer to the ship wasn't until 4:30-5:00, meaning the entire day was wasted sitting around, unless you signed up for their $79 Chicago city tour which we did instead of sitting in lobby all day. We've done over 30 cruises and in every case, always embarked in the morning or noonish. Why go a day early?
Response from BriannaH, Guest Relations @American Queen Voyages