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6 American Queen Steamboat Company Memphis Cruise Reviews

We chose this cruise as a way of exploring the deep south in some luxury. It was very expensive at over £1000 per night per cabin but we thought that the quality of service would be at least equivalent to a European river cruise or an ... Read More
We chose this cruise as a way of exploring the deep south in some luxury. It was very expensive at over £1000 per night per cabin but we thought that the quality of service would be at least equivalent to a European river cruise or an American sea cruise such as Holland America or Princess. It was nowhere near up to this standard, especially the catering and waiting staff. Firstly, the positives. A great way to see the Mississippi and absorb the history and culture. Our balcony room was good, the entertainment was fine. The food was decidedly average apart from 2 delicious evening meals, a steak on the first night and a fish dish half way through. When attending for a meal, you have to wait to be seated, quite often 10 minutes standing first in line whilst the manager serves water or hands out menus. Despite waiting long times for service, food was often served lukewarm or sometimes cold. We saw numerous occasions when waiting staff were on their mobiles (no, Steamboat Company, this was not the food ordering devices, we can tell the difference). We constantly had to ask for rolls, cutlery etc. This is not the staffs' fault but that of the management who either didn't care about high standards or didn't know what it was (difficult to imagine since we were in America). I don't think there was a single tea spoon on the boat, had to stir coffee with the knife handle! Enough on catering, except to say that the upstairs evening dining room was freezing cold and very uninviting. booking is required despite it being half empty. We only went once. Half way down the river, the boat broke down. A common theme it seems. There were power cuts every day even after the "fault" had been fixed. So we were stranded in the quietest part of the river with nothing to do but read all afternoon. That meant that we missed out on Baton Rouge, the largest town (city) on the trip downriver. I later discovered that the boat was only 22 miles from BR so why on earth did they not hire some coaches to transport us in and back. Not difficult but, as far as I am aware, not even considered. I just wish I had had the foresight to ask. So we were just supposed to accept a major port was excluded. Compensation? A free bar for an hour (2 drinks) and 1 opportunity to win $500 dollars at bingo. Think carefully about this cruise line that seem to accept that you are a captive audience and they have very little competition so, why bother? Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
My wife and I have done 29 cruises, mostly ocean but several European river cruises. My wife likes new ships so we decided to do the American Duchess. Overall, the ship is fine but we seemed to notice that dinning room service was ... Read More
My wife and I have done 29 cruises, mostly ocean but several European river cruises. My wife likes new ships so we decided to do the American Duchess. Overall, the ship is fine but we seemed to notice that dinning room service was lacking. We couldn’t quite determine the problem. Not sure if the dinning room was poorly designed in that the tables were too far from the kitchen or maybe they were under staffed or even poorly trained. It didn’t matter which meal it was all the same. For breakfast it took for ever to get that first cup of coffee and a refill later was sparse. We had to ask for juice always. The waiters seemed to be very busy despite the dinning room being less that half full. In fact some of them walked very fast back and forth from some where but nothing seemed to get done. The waiters were very kind and friendly and apologized often for late food, etc. I have one suggestion, and that would be to hire a helper or two for the waiter staff just to fill coffee, water glasses, rolls, juice, and bus some dirty tables. Some tables were left cluttered the whole time we were in there. The buffets were not any better, sometimes there were no plates or bowls or they were out of soup or salad item,etc. Overall dinning seemed to be very disorganized and at best I would have to rate it 2star. Other guests we talked to concurred. At times my wife and I would bet each other on whether we would get that dinner roll or that second cup of coffee,etc.. Overall, the ship is in good shape, the cabins are large for a river boat, and the staff is very friendly. It is just the dinning experience is not any thing close to 5star. These cruises are expensive, and when paying over $1000 per day per cabin plus tips you should expect good dinning service. In short, we did not find this good value for the money. I think we will stick to European rivers and the Ocean. Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
This river cruise is quiet and enjoyable. Due to the vegetation and the dykes, there is very little to see unless you get off the boat each day. Pro - The American Queen is a clean, well groomed boat. Our cabin was on the 5th deck and ... Read More
This river cruise is quiet and enjoyable. Due to the vegetation and the dykes, there is very little to see unless you get off the boat each day. Pro - The American Queen is a clean, well groomed boat. Our cabin was on the 5th deck and it was everything you could want on a 7 day cruise. The crew is well trained, attentive to the needs of the passengers and seemed to really enjoy their jobs. I would strongly recommend this cruse for individuals who enjoy a resort environment vacation and have little interest in leaving the boat. Con - For those individuals who will be using the boat as a moving luxury hotel and enjoy taking shore excursions, you might want to reconsider taking this cruise. We signed up for 8 premium tours, cancelled one and had problems on 3 of the other 7. 1. The King of Memphis Tour - We left the hotel at 10 AM for a boat sponsored Graceland tour. Upon arriving at Graceland our guide told us we were on a tight schedule and needed to back on the bus no later than 1 PM. He also inferred he would leave anyone who was late. (This sounded good to us.) Upon arriving at approximately 1015 AM, we first viewed a short move and then stood in line for approximately 80 minutes before boarding the shuttle to Elvis's house. Upon arriving at the house, we were held on the shuttle for another 20 minutes (1210 PM). Most of us realized we would not be able to visit his house, wait in line for another shuttle and get back to the bus by 1 PM. For this reason we stayed on the shuttle and returned to the bus early (A WASTED DAY) Upon telling an American Queen Excursion member of the problem, it took them 4 days to finally agree to refund our money for the tour. The decision came in the form of a letter from a VP which suggest the individuals on board the boat have little if any authority when making decisions regarding excursions. Suggestion - Arrive a day early in Memphis and book your own VIP tour of Graceland. 2. Redemption and Rehabilitation at Angola Prison - St. Francisvlle, La. When we arrived at St. Francisville the Mississippi River was very high and we were forced to dock on the other side of the river. This should not have created much of a problem for shore excursion since the buses used by them follow the boat from site to site. While the excursion to Angola Prison was interesting and worth taking, the problems occurred upon returning to St. Francisville. Since passengers were being ferried further than normal, there were longer waits between the various on and off sites. Because of this an individual from excursion asked our driver to drive by each of the 8 sites, before returning to the ship. The driver refused her request. For this reason, not wishing to being stranded up to 45 minutes at each drop off site, we decided not to see St. Francisville and to stay on the bus and return to the boat. Again this is an example of how little authority the Excursion Staff has. 3. Grand Southern Plantation Tour - Baton Rouge, La. Our tour arrived at the Houmas House early and we waited 75 minutes for our tour to begin. Since there were 49 of us, we were divided into two groups. After the first group of 25 left, the second group waited over 30 minutes for the next tour to begin (a total of 105 minutes.) By then outside individuals were joining our private group. Since the rooms in Houmas House are small, groups exceeding 40 have difficulties seeing, hearing, etc. While the American Queen Excursion member supervising this tour saw what was happening, nothing was done to correct the problem. Again, it was hard to tell if this was lack of interest or lack of authority. Upon returning to the boat we were told by a staff member of the American Queen, the excursion staff worked for another company (the American Queen sublet all shore excursion functions to this company.) This is very misleading since shore excursion individuals wear the same uniforms, have a booth on the ship, the buses are decorated with American Cruise ship art, etc. After this last experience, we begin to realize how important cruises with well run shore excursions are to us. For this reason we cancelled our up coming Columbia/Snake River cruise. This is a real shame since river cruising the USA could be a great vacation experience with opportunities to see various areas not normally visited. Read Less
Sail Date May 2017
Fortunately, we chose the cruise for the itinerary, not the customer service. First hint regarding the lack of attention to detail throughout was that although the travel agent asked the company to send the documents directly to us due to ... Read More
Fortunately, we chose the cruise for the itinerary, not the customer service. First hint regarding the lack of attention to detail throughout was that although the travel agent asked the company to send the documents directly to us due to shortage of time, they were sent to the agent anyway. The boat (yes, paddle boats are just that) was very nice with comfortable staterooms and nice era-appropriated decor. Port excursions were very good, informative and well organized. The food was good, but despite the fact that the company website, the ticketing documentation and the onboard newsletter specified a "country casual" dress code for dinner in the main dining room, it was completely ignored by passengers and staff. The fact that when we got to our stateroom there was only one set of towels and no toiletries was the second hint about service aboard, which was generally slapdash. Service in public areas is unacceptable from beginning to end. First night dinner the server consistently screwed up the dishes. Most pepper shakers full of coarse ground pepper which doesn't shake out. Breakfast next day the hostess gave us one breakfast and one lunch menu, and there were no teaspoons for the coffee cups anywhere to be found, and when we ordered coffee the cup was not accompanied by a spoon -- something which continued all wee. At dinner next night we discovered that our 4-top table was occupied; the explanation proffered by the Maitresse'D was that somebody had taken the table of the people at ours and they had been reseated at ours -- a situation which, in addition to inconveniencing at least eight passengers could have cascaded further. The proper action would obviously have been for her to eject the miscreants. This unwillingness to confront passengers at the expense of others is of a piece with the complete lack of enforcement of the dinner dress code in the main dining room. Whilst the food at dinner was excellent, the service at the new table was initially completely unacceptable -- the waiter was in such a hurry to clear the table that we had to recover cutlery that we would need, and were constantly interrupted by his clearing dishes from the table. A complaint to the Maitresse'D took care of it. On Wednesday, no provison was made in the front Front Porch casual restaurant for the fact that three coachloads of people on the premium excursion would be eating at the same time (no cutlery or soup bowls, self-bussing of empty tables,etc.). Upon return from the excursion, no cups at the Mark Twain Lounge coffee machine, a reoccurring problem in a high (staff) volume location. Thursday: At breakfast, after having had to flag down the hostess in order to get service, I made the mistake of ordering an omelette; what arrived was a half-cooked scramble (an omelette consists of a wrapped filling). Friday: At breakfast, after having been told that we'd be happy to share a table, the hostess seated us at two-top "set" with napkins and water glasses. The server who brought our coffee (sans teaspoons, of course) also failed to notice this. It was cold in St. Francisville that day and on the way to breakfast, I closed the wide-open port side forward door to Deck 2. After finding it opne a couple more times, I noticed that it was getting hung up on the Welcome mat and moved the mat out a couple of inches. Had I not done so the door, which is frequently passed by the crew, would no doubt have been open all day. With the exception of the inexcusable failure to enforce the dinner dress code, any one of the foregoing issues would be relatively minor, but in sum they represent a gross failure of hotel management. The staff, which are oblivious to the needs of passengers, are improperly trained and supervised. Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
This cruise was OK, but not as good as other cruises I have been on. Rooms were small and needed clocks. Would have preferred open dinner seating rather than assigned seats. Riverlorian was interesting, but day time activities for those ... Read More
This cruise was OK, but not as good as other cruises I have been on. Rooms were small and needed clocks. Would have preferred open dinner seating rather than assigned seats. Riverlorian was interesting, but day time activities for those not on special excursions were substandard. Being on the Mississippi River was interesting, but I would have preferred traveling during the daytime so that I could SEE the shore sites along the river. Most of our travel was at night. Hop off and on bus tours were excellent and it was such a convenience to have such prompt busses. The narrations in the mornings were terrific. We did miss the Christmas market at Rosalie Manor since we didn't know it folded up at one. The Christmas market at Nottaway was really nice, however. Our dissappointment was on the second day at Nottaway when there really was NOTHING to do on the second as we took the house tour on the first day. Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
On a tour group..was staff tour director for cruise. This cruise was billed, like all American Queens...as a 5 star tour.....food, accommodations, activities. I'm giving it a 3 at best and that's pushing it. Nice enough people ... Read More
On a tour group..was staff tour director for cruise. This cruise was billed, like all American Queens...as a 5 star tour.....food, accommodations, activities. I'm giving it a 3 at best and that's pushing it. Nice enough people on board but lacking in some major areas: abysmal disembarking for guests...Many of whom need special assistance. Just incredulous at how poor a job was done . ..even witnessed as staff watched other clients helped each other on and off ship. Terrible. Food....average at best. Nothing special I could see. Quail, duck, pork lion, ziti ( if you can even believe that!)........typical breakfast fare. Wait staff tries hard... Accommodations...hmmm, depends on what you choose. Single canon tiny...no place to sit down. Activities- marginal. A four game bingo? Mark twain character was washed up and unbelievable. A Mr. Bojangles dance and sing set? really? Shore excursions....simple, uninspired and lacking in depth. For what one pays for this company's tours...hmm, I think I'd suggest waiting to see if the new Viking ship staff can do a better job. The American Queen needs competition and Viking is just the company to step up to the plate. Suggestion: learn to take care of the little things! Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
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