This isn't a ship with a full-on entertainment scene, and the only shows as such are the nightly concerts by the onboard band.
In every port of call, there is an excursion included in the fare, plus a for-fee premium option that will explore a destination in more depth.
On our Great Lakes itinerary these included an extended tour to Niagara Falls with a trip to the top of the Skylon Tower observation deck, a first-hand experience of Amish culture in Geauga County, Ohio, and The Henry Ford museum of innovation in Detroit. As the ship is small enough to moor in the heart of a destination passengers can also pick up a map from the reception and sightsee independently.
Back onboard, the Compass Lounge on Deck 2 is the hub of the ship where there are board games, cards and a small library of books to borrow for the duration of the cruise. Daily puzzles are also available.
Cruises also feature in-depth talks and question and answer sessions. On our sailing the multi-talented cruise director who also played in the band utilized his history degree to give insightful talks. There was also a visit from a conservationist and retired university professor who spoke about rural environmental practices in the 20th century and eco-challenges facing the Great Lakes. There are also quizzes, a scavenger hunt, games and movies in the lounge along with a daily port talk on the next day's activities, which are also detailed on the daily program left in the cabin during the evening turn-down service.
Nightlife is low-key and after a busy day in port, many passengers opt for an early night. Before dinner, most folks gather in the Compass Lounge for a cocktail and return afterwards for a nightcap or two. Every evening there is a concert by the excellent onboard musical trio, who variously sang, played the piano, guitars and drums and themed their program to destinations visited, such as rock and roll in Cleveland and Motown in Detroit. A fun touch. Passengers are invited to make requests and there is a dance floor in front of the stage.
The heart of the ship with windows on two sides, this lounge has a charming and old-style look with glittering chandeliers, white pillars and a mix of chairs of varying heights, sofas, and tables, including a couple of jigsaw tables. It's a comfortable place to watch the world go by, read, chat and enjoy the program of talks and activities. Attentive waitstaff are on hand to serve drinks and passengers can help themselves to coffee and tea.
This welcoming, cozy bar is a convivial venue with leather-topped stools and chairs, wood panels, and feature windows topped with stained glass. It's open throughout the day until late at night -- when the last passengers to bed -- and all drinks are included. There's a featured cocktail of the day which is themed to places visited. Think Motor City Martini (vodka, lime juice, sugar syrup and mint) and Lake Breeze (Malibu, cranberry juice, apple juice and Sprite). The bar is situated forward on Deck 2, in front of the Compass Lounge, so it's an alternative place to listen to the band or find somewhere to sit if the lounge is particularly busy.
There are no pools or whirlpools on the ship.
Although it's a small vessel, there is plenty of room to sit out on fine days. The topmost sundeck is divided into two areas with a large space with loungers at the front of the ship and space with loungers and shaded chairs and tables at the aft. O
Tip: Our favorite spot is the terrace, situated forward on Deck 4, where the comfy padded sofas provide a perfect place to watch the sunset or peaceful area to relax with a book during the day.
Unlimited Wi-Fi is included in the fare. Speeds vary and it can be patchy at times. The best signal is in and around the Compass Lounge.
A small selection of logowear and branded goods is available to buy from the reception. Every cabin gets one free bag of laundry per sailing and after that the ship offers a reasonably-priced laundry service.
There is an elevator to all floors, aside from the sundeck which is accessed by stairs. The ship has a resident onboard doctor.
One multi-tasking therapist provides a range of massages, facials, manicures, pedicures and hair-styling services. Tip: Slots on sea days get booked up quickly so make a reservation as soon as you get onboard.
There is a small gym on Deck 2 with a cross-trainer, two recumbent cycles a variety of free weights and yoga mats.
Although babies as young as six months can go on American Queen Voyages' sailings, these cruises are not suitable for youngsters and there are no facilities for children or cabins that can accommodate more than two people aside from the Owners' Suites. The only exceptions would be older children and teenagers with a keen interest in history and culture,