11 New Orleans American Queen Steamboat Company American Duchess Cruise Reviews

As experienced ocean cruisers we chose this cruise up the Mississippi in late April to see some southern states before the summer heat. This year the heavy spring rains within the Mississippi watershed had created major upstream flooding; ... Read More
As experienced ocean cruisers we chose this cruise up the Mississippi in late April to see some southern states before the summer heat. This year the heavy spring rains within the Mississippi watershed had created major upstream flooding; however, the only impact to our cruise was two of our docks were damaged and unusable and one of our planned stops was canceled. Overall, the cruise was great and certainly met my expectations. The staff was great. The entertainment exceeded my expectations and the river historian dded a lot of knowledge to the cruise. The food was good and with great variety. Only complaint was a couple of servings on the lukewarm side. Also, serving sizes were noticeably smaller which did not impact me in the slightest. There certainly was plenty of food. Our cabin was good and very comfortable. The bathroom was good size with a great shower! The internet services were free and far superior to our ocean cruises. The highlight of the shore excursions was the visit to Chef Regina Charboneau's home in Natchez. She is absolutely delightful, a very entertaining guest, and we got a beautifully autographed copy of her latest cook book! Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
My husband and I took this cruise as a celebration of our 25th anniversary. We cruised from New Orleans to Memphis. Pros: excellent food and wait staff. large variety of entrees and dietary needs met. clean staterooms, ... Read More
My husband and I took this cruise as a celebration of our 25th anniversary. We cruised from New Orleans to Memphis. Pros: excellent food and wait staff. large variety of entrees and dietary needs met. clean staterooms, common areas (except the sticky laminate flooring) variety of hourly activities variety of Premium Excursions Cons: Only one location for dinner, even though alternate venue was advertised average age of cruisers on our cruise looked to be 75 activities geared more to the older crowd, including musical shows in evening cost of Premium Excursions included excursions need to be updated. Several stops had little to see 18.5% per person per day gratutites added at end of voyage(not included in cost) Hotel in New Orleans (included) was filthy This was our first cruise and didn’t know what to expect. There was a lot of “hurry up” then wait, especially since there were so many cruisers with mobility issues.We will not return. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
Entire boat was reserved for Road Scholar members for this cruise. Instead of the standard one day stay in New Orleans with tours, Road Scholar had two before boarding. The food and service was outstanding, either in the Main Dining ... Read More
Entire boat was reserved for Road Scholar members for this cruise. Instead of the standard one day stay in New Orleans with tours, Road Scholar had two before boarding. The food and service was outstanding, either in the Main Dining Room with a very good selections or in the Grill Room/Terrace buffet. Most of us chose the Main Dining Room for dinner, wine and beer is included with dinner. and the Grill Room for breakfast and lunch. Weather was good enough for enjoying the meals on the open terrace. Cabins are very comfortable and there are suites with separate sitting area, even two story suites with seating below and sleeping area up the stairs. Lectures and tours are included, with experienced and enthusiastic guides. Free Hop on/off busses are at every port. There was good entertainment with a four piece band and three singers performing every night. Music in the Lounge during the cocktail hour and after the show. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
We sailed aboard the Duchess from New Orleans to Minnesota departing July 16th. The Duchess is a beautiful boat with room for 166 guests. The design of all the rooms is pleasing to the eye and very airy with high-ceilings. We ... Read More
We sailed aboard the Duchess from New Orleans to Minnesota departing July 16th. The Duchess is a beautiful boat with room for 166 guests. The design of all the rooms is pleasing to the eye and very airy with high-ceilings. We entered the boat into the room where Pursuer is located. Access to the bar and grand dining from the Purser is through a hallway lined with beautiful replicas by Monet masterpieces. The bar area is spacious, centered by the staircase accessing two decks. Large Austrian chandeliers hang from the ceiling, an abundance of blown and fused glass artwork line the walls there, in addition there are cozy seating areas outfitted with sofas and chairs. The dining room is large enough to hold all the guests. Breakfast (6:30 to 9) Lunch (11:30 to 1) and Dinner (5:30 to 8:00) all meals are open setting, an option that allows guests to eat meals at their leisure. The food was delicious, varied and often local. The service was exceptional, the dining room staff is friendly, professional and willing to go the extra mile. In addition to the grand dining room there is a smaller dining area, River Club and Terrace, on the second deck serving buffet style breakfast and lunch with open setting. Dinners are table service and require reservations. Perks, a little café, is also located on the 2nd deck with a self-serve cappuccino machine, soft serve ice-cream with toppings, juice dispenser, popcorn maker, soda and delicious cookies. Since the Duchess is a river boat and not a ship, one cannot expect the same type of entertainment and activities. However, the entertainment overall was very good. Day time activities were offered by the activities staff and an excellent river laurate. On several occassion a movie was shown and several people arrived with popcorn. A 4-piece band entertained each day before dinner, during the nightly shows and in the evening after the shows. The nightly shows were provided by the activities staff and/or local talent offering an enjoyable way to spend an hour or so each night. I cannot walk, so I traveled with a scooter. The Duchess has done a wonderful job in making it easy for those who must travel with a wheelchair or scooter to navigate the boat by adding slight inclines everywhere there is a door jam. The halls ways were wide enough for me to scoot down even with people coming in the opposite direction. The walls are lined with art work depicting river cruising. There are 2 spacious elevators available at each level which allowed me in my scooter and up to 6 other passengers to ride the elevator. At each port, a Hop On Hop Off bus tour was included,the stops were varied and interesting. Each day we were given a data sheet with details of each stop and an indication which stops were wheelchair (or scooter) accessible. Each bus is outfitted with a lift, so I was able to go on all the tours in my scooter. The bus drivers were wonderful loading me on the bus and off the bus as often as I wanted. They eliminated any concern I had about taking the tours and made me feel safe going up and down the lift. I suggest if you know anyone who has a mobility problem, they will be pleased with taking a cruise aboard the Duchess. We were in a wheelchair accessible cabin in the aft of the boat, which we were excited about as we could sit on the balcony and watch navigating the Mississippi from both sides and up close and personal seats as we went through the locks. They installed a ramp under the carpet which enabled me to access the balcony with ease. (If I were to make a suggestion, I would ask that they provide the same type of ramp outside the doors on the observation decks, as the height of the door jam was too high for me to get back into the boat without someone manually lifting my scooter). The room was large enough for me to navigate with my scooter and the bathroom had a large roll-in shower. The only problem with our room was the noise from the paddlewheel was sometimes annoying and there were nights we were wakened by that noise. If you are considering a cruise aboard the Duchess and desire either a wheelchair accessible cabin or one at the aft, just bring earplugs and/or sound abatement equipment. Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
Engine noise and vibration in our cabin and on the aft dining deck were bad. We had several equipment failures, delays getting off the boat in several ports and having to miss one port totally. Our tie-up in Hannibal was on the wrong side ... Read More
Engine noise and vibration in our cabin and on the aft dining deck were bad. We had several equipment failures, delays getting off the boat in several ports and having to miss one port totally. Our tie-up in Hannibal was on the wrong side of the river as the American Queen got the better spot, really? Otherwise we could have walked right off and into town, one of the few ports whee the walk is so short and easy. This was totally bogus. Dining waitstaff was way below par, you can get better service and professionalism in Denny's. They seemed untrained and unhappy; perhaps overworked? After a few days their coats and cuffs had food stains all over them, ugh! Food was nothing special, sometimes lukewarm or cold. Never asked "how is everything" had to ask for another roll or condiments for baked potato. Entertainment was pretty good for the first two weeks then the Cruise Director and his two assistants (also entertainers) left and were replaced by one "Assistant Cruise Director" who was a big disappointment. Things continued downhill from there. The dining service, the entertainment and the noise and vibration plus being late off the boat, or not off at all made this a poor cruise for what could have been all very good to excellent category reviews. For example the Hop-on Hop-off buses and local guides were all very good or excellent but but being late, or at bad tie-ups lowered the rating. If you chose a similar cruise get a forward cabin, on deck 3 and go down river. But first, check more reviews for a more professional and happy dining waitstaff. Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
My wife and I booked a great 23 day Cruise up the Mississippi River. Teri Robbins the agent I purchased the cruise from at American Queen Steamboat Company Office, was AWESOME ! Every time I called or e-mailed her in the months leading up ... Read More
My wife and I booked a great 23 day Cruise up the Mississippi River. Teri Robbins the agent I purchased the cruise from at American Queen Steamboat Company Office, was AWESOME ! Every time I called or e-mailed her in the months leading up to the cruise, Teri always returned my calls or e-mails within a few minutes. I have never had a more honest, organized, and sincere agent, that I had with Teri. The Cruise on the American Duchess was very good, as we moved up the river day after day taking the Hop On-Hop Off, American Queen Buses for tours of the cities. The Drivers Karen, Tami, & Mark were so professional, funny, and had a great personality. They were so fun to be with. Angie the Golf Cart driver who drove Handicap people from the docked Duchess, up the ramps when getting off the boat, was very nice. In side the boat, our stateroom was cleaned very nicely everyday by Cleon & Francis. The American Duchess also provided us with outstanding one day complementary laundry service, once a week. Michael the bar tender in the Grand Lobby Bar was so good, as he visited with guests, and mixed great drinks everyday. In the Main Dinning Room Jeremy the Maitre d, and servers Kenneth, Sidney, and Soufian were very nice and professional. Gerald the Butler, who did a little of everything on the boat, was very funny, and worked hard pleasing everyone. At the front desk Purser Shayna Tatz was so nice and worked a lot of hours with a Big smile on her face. Teresa Marcou the Shore Excursion Specalist was such a hard worker, making sure all of the Shore Excursions, and Hop On-Hop Off buses were working on time. The Riverlorian/Stage Manager Mike Chapman was very knowledgeable, interesting, and entertaining, as he gave his daily lectures on the history of the Mississippi River. The Entertainment on the American Duchess was OUTSTANDING ! Lead by the Cruise Director, Lead Singer, and Entertainer Dustin Cunningham, his wife Courtney Cunningham, & Jeff Hudson who were also Asst. Cruise Directors/Entertainers. Their Singing and Stage performing was outstanding. The four man American Duchess Band was so good, and was lead by Band Leader/Drummer David O'Connell, Bass Player Will Wagner, Pianist, Adam Marchand, and Sax/Reed Player Ike Spivak. There were also 9 different entertainers who came on the American Duchess to entertain us. My favorite walk on shows were the comedian and magician " Dante," and the Different Instrument playing and singers Dave Para and Cathy Barton, who were so different and entertaining. One of the major highlights of our 23 day cruise was attending a special educational lecture in the Pilot House by Aaron Sidora the American Duchess Chief Mate. Later that night we also had a private dinner with Aaron for 2 hours. Aaron was so nice, very smart, and answered all of the questions we had during our dinner. That was very special. My wife and I had a great relaxing time on this 23 day cruise, as we learned a lot of History about the Mississippi River and cities around it, and we met some great people. Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
We have always wanted to cruise the Mississippi River and go on a small ship so this seemed perfect. Pro's Food was very good with a nice variety to choose from each night. Wait staff was excellant. Shows were the same ... Read More
We have always wanted to cruise the Mississippi River and go on a small ship so this seemed perfect. Pro's Food was very good with a nice variety to choose from each night. Wait staff was excellant. Shows were the same 3 people each night but they were very good and gave us quite a variety. Hop on hop off bus and drivers were great. Used those at every port as they were included in price of cruise. All ports but Greenville were interesting. Con's Ship very small and not much to do. Room was at back of ship near the paddlewheel and was very noisy! The port of Greenville was a total waste of time-there has to be some place else they could stop. Only thing there was a very small casino. To give you an idea-one of the stops on the hop on hop off bus was the Dollar Store! I don't really feel this cruise was worth the price we paid, but it was something different than the othere cruises we normally go on. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
First, I want to say that the Duchess is a lovely boat and the AQSC does everything possible to make journeys enjoyable. Of course, there are occasional glitches but none that should deter anyone from taking a cruise on the Duchess. ... Read More
First, I want to say that the Duchess is a lovely boat and the AQSC does everything possible to make journeys enjoyable. Of course, there are occasional glitches but none that should deter anyone from taking a cruise on the Duchess. Accommodations: We had booked one of the deluxe suites which are located near the rear of the boat. There is a living area with a dining table and four chairs, a bedroom area, a double-sized balcony, and a bath and a half. All are tastefully decorated and there is also a refrigerator and coffee maker in the living area. There are two TVs and that provided one of the few glitches in that changing the channels on the TV in the living room, turned on the TV in the bedroom area. Once we learned to close the doors between the two areas, that was no longer a problem. The only real negative to the room was the bath/shower combination which was difficult to step in and out of. In addition, the shower curtain was so long that one had to stand on it while showering. Dining: The real highlight of the cruise was the exceptional dining. We ate most often in the grand dining room which was elegant. Breakfast was served there with about seven or eight selections that changed daily. The dinner menu in the grand dining room typically involved four courses -- Appetizer, Soup or salad, entree, and dessert. There were always three appetizers listed, about five or six choices of soup or salad, seven or eight entrees, and about half a dozen desserts. Like the breakfasts, the dinner menu changed daily. The one exception to the timing involved the “Thanksgiving Feast” that was served mid-day with “leftovers” available in the evening. The appetizers were elaborate including such things as fried artichokes, mushroom tart, and olive bruschetta. Soups were memorable with entries like lobster bisque, crab and corn chowder. Among our main course entrees were lamb chops, lobster tail, a variety of fish dishes, pastas, and strip steak. The presentation of the entrees always included sauces and vegetable accompaniments. The kitchen was very accommodating in deleting any items from the presentation that one did not want. And, complimentary wine was included with dinner with a choice of either a red or white wine. We also had one dinner (reservations required) and several breakfasts in the River Grill and Bar, a far more informal space. Both breakfast and lunch there are served buffet style and the breakfast buffet seemed to include the same selections each day. No matter the restaurant or the time of day, a highlight of all meals involved the baked goods – breads and pastries were especially delicious. Room service was also available, but we used it just once on a day when my stomach rebelled at all of the rich food. I ordered a grilled cheese sandwich. Excursions: One of the reasons we chose the AQSC cruise was the opportunity to view the ports via a HOHO bus. Our ages preclude long walks and standing for a long time listening to a tour guide. Instead the HOHO busses that followed the ship allowed one to see each community and get off according to one’s interests. The cruise line had prepaid admission to the key attractions in each community and one could hop off to see anything that appealed and get back on when a later bus arrived. (The busses circulated on a 15 or 20 minute schedule.) There was a guide on each bus who described special features of the port. The evening prior to the port stop, one was provided with the route of the bus with stops indicated. In addition, the map included information about the main attractions like museums, shopping stops, restaurants, restrooms, and almost anything else one might want to know. I should add that there are also premium (extra-cost) excursions which many people selected. Getting to and from the boat was easy as a golf cart would shuttle you up and down the often steep banks of the river. AQSC should also be commended for its relationships with the major attractions as many were willing to open to accommodate those on the HOHO busses at times when they would normally be closed such as early in the morning or on Thanksgiving Day. Entertainment: Each day there was a talk by the Riverlorean and a show in the evening. The Riverlorean talks lasted anywhere from 30 to 45 minutes and covered such topics as terminology about the boat, characteristics of the Mississippi river, major floods on the river, and common phrases that originated from the old river boats such as “hitting rock bottom.” All of these lectures were quite interesting. The evening shows varied with two caberet style performances, an evening of jazz, another of country music, and one focusing on Broadway showtunes. The American Duchess showband of four or five musicians accompanied all performers. They were quite versatile and also provided music at occasional receptions and/or special programs. There were also games scheduled throughout the day though we did not participate in any. Service: Without exception, the staff were hard-working and very pleasant. By the end of the week you felt like they were new friends. Embarkation and Disembarkation: We flew to New Orleans and spent two nights there before boarding the boat. One of the nights was at the Hotel Roosevelt, the hotel used by the cruise line. We took a tour of New Orleans during the day of embarkation which began at the hotel and ended at the boat. Disembarkation involved taking a tour of Memphis before being dropped off at the airport. Both embarkation and disembarkation went relatively smoothly. Clientele: The average age of those on the cruise would be late 60's. The boat was about 2/3rds full and thus it was very easy to get seating in the dining rooms and space on the HOHO busses. It appeared that many cruisers came with families or travel groups-- far fewer couples than we have experienced on ocean cruises. 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Sail Date November 2017
This river cruise was to be the highlight ending a great tour of the Eastern USA. New Orleans and the Roosevelt hotel were great to experience. I found the American Duchess a poorly designed ship.The only access to our cabins was ... Read More
This river cruise was to be the highlight ending a great tour of the Eastern USA. New Orleans and the Roosevelt hotel were great to experience. I found the American Duchess a poorly designed ship.The only access to our cabins was stairs at the front of the boat and this meant lots of walking the whole length of the boat to get to the public and dining areas at the stern.We were not allowed to use the mid or back stairs-crew only. The outside seating was hard wooden rocking chairs and there was no shade. not enough seating.No shade at all on the top deck. The dining staff were very good but the food was below standard sometimes and we sent some back. Bar staff were poorly trained and uninterested. The shore tours were good and very interesting. There were no activities on board except for bingo on river sailing day. Sailing along looking at the great views was a myth. we went under some interesting bridges but there was no way to find out information about them. Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
This was a major disappointment. Booked the loft suite level which is the Commodore level that comes with a butler. That concept was a joke. Never was given a tour of our suite and how to operate the mechanical drapes plus other perks ... Read More
This was a major disappointment. Booked the loft suite level which is the Commodore level that comes with a butler. That concept was a joke. Never was given a tour of our suite and how to operate the mechanical drapes plus other perks that are outlined in their brochure. Food was marginal (my husband was served an untoasted english muffin) that was on the cold side already. Waiters messes up alot of our orders despite the fact that we had a table for two. Never got night replenishment of used towels and our balcony was never swept the whole time we were on the cruise. Had plenty of dead gnats to see. I wouldn't recommend this boat or cruise line to anyone. For the cost of this cruise ($15,000 plus); I had expected better. Leisure time activities were virtually non existent. The only good thing about the cruise is that our cabin had two full bathrooms. Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
My wife and I selected this cruise as we have traveled the world, yet never have seen our own backyard and wanted to check off the bucket list by visiting the Mississippi River. The riverboat was evidently a converted casino boat that was ... Read More
My wife and I selected this cruise as we have traveled the world, yet never have seen our own backyard and wanted to check off the bucket list by visiting the Mississippi River. The riverboat was evidently a converted casino boat that was nicely redone and well appointed, although still needed work in some areas. Entertainment was decent during the evening shows. Some of the entertainers were step on from a port and evidently their selection of entertainers were lackluster. The menu items were nicely chosen, but was consistently served cold. The waiters and waitresses were kind, cheery and always wanted to do their best, but lacking in training. Many of them worked on the river elsewhere and decided to come on the new ship. The ports of call were mostly interesting. The various towns that we stopped in did not have much to offer, which was not the fault of the cruise lines. Shuttles were provided into town, yet not much to see or do in most places. Greenville was a waste. Memphis, Natchez and Vicksburg were superb as was New Orleans. The premium shore tours were expensive, but worth taking. Although parts of the cruise were nice, we would not return as we do not feel as though we received a value for what we paid for and the ship still had several kinks to work out. Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
American Duchess Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.5 3.8
Dining 4.0 3.9
Entertainment 4.5 4.0
Public Rooms 5.0 3.9
Fitness Recreation 3.5 3.0
Family 1.0 3.0
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.6
Enrichment 4.0 3.8
Service 4.5 3.7
Value For Money 4.0 3.0

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