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34 North America River Romantic Cruise Reviews

This is my first cruise with American Queen Steamboat Company. Although it is only my 2nd day I have had many requests and they have all been fufilled. I have some food allergies and requests and they were all taken seriously, although it ... Read More
This is my first cruise with American Queen Steamboat Company. Although it is only my 2nd day I have had many requests and they have all been fufilled. I have some food allergies and requests and they were all taken seriously, although it limited my choices. There is a historian on board (Riverlorian as he is called) and love the talks. They are not always at a time when we can make it. I am relaxed and happy. This is a much better feeling than the other large cruise lines. I wish I still drank wine because that was really flowing last night.. all included. The entertainment is much better than I imagined. The post cries stay hotel in New Orleans is awesome. am looking to take the Colombia River Cruise next year. Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
Our first ever river cruise was on the American Queen from New Orleans to Memphis. This very unique journey on a genuine 400 passenger Mississippi River steamboat was fabulous in every way. The embarkation and disembarkation processes ... Read More
Our first ever river cruise was on the American Queen from New Orleans to Memphis. This very unique journey on a genuine 400 passenger Mississippi River steamboat was fabulous in every way. The embarkation and disembarkation processes were outstanding, as was the organization of the included hop-on/hop-off tours and the premium tours. The places visited were rich with history and architecture and there was always more to see than you had time for. The food and service were excellent, and the variety and quality of the entertainment was outstanding, especially on such a small boat. The captain even played with the musicians in the beautiful Engine Room bar. Gerry the Riverlorian was both informative and very entertaining. The décor was Victorian ostentation, and immersed you in the elegant heyday of the Mississippi steamboat era. Everything was so well organized that we experienced only one little glitch--we had dreamed of sipping a mint julep on the deck rocking chairs, but they never had any mint! The passenger loyalty is staggering--we met "Miss Ruth" on her 150th trip on this boat. The line thanked her back by upgrading her to a luxury suite. She said she hardly knew what to do with the butler, but the digs were wonderful. Read Less
Sail Date February 2016
This was our 3rd AQ cruise and a major disappointment! The food was awful, not even truck stop quality. the pastries and bread were store bought instead of home made. the sauces/gravies were congealed in an unappetizing glue when served. ... Read More
This was our 3rd AQ cruise and a major disappointment! The food was awful, not even truck stop quality. the pastries and bread were store bought instead of home made. the sauces/gravies were congealed in an unappetizing glue when served. they ran out of earl grey tea. most of the waiters were surly and inattentive at best. we came for lunch one day, waiters standing around, no one offered to seat us. one waiter was at the salad bar scooping up salad fixings into a plastic bag with no gloves on. finally we seated ourselves at a table by the window and went through the buffet line. as i picked up my fork to start eating, a waiter came by, said 'this table is closed', took away my silverware and glass and left me sitting there! at the captain's receptions, the snacks offered were STALE croutons topped with very nice salmon, but the salmon couldn't make up for the stale bread. and the weirdest thing was that the waiters poured bottle after bottle of champagne, walked around with trays of champagne, but wouldn't serve it, and when the hour was over, they poured dozens of glasses of champagne into the garbage! we ordered a baked potato several nights and got that awful "been on the hot tray for hours" gluey textured insult to a properly baked potato. ordered a steak one nite, purportedly a new york strip. they were obviously out of steaks and had cut a thin slice off the brisket they were serving as pot roast that night. tough as leather and as thin as a pancake! there was a nice omelet/waffle station at breakfast but the cook/waiter hadn't changed his uniform all week. it was disgusting! NOT what one expects when you spend $700/day on a cruise! The tours were ok, but not nearly as interesting as on the st paul to st louis or the columbia river cruise. the entertainment was lively but not great. the banjo player mistakenly thought he was tremendous but he was VERY mistaken. the jug band was the only really good entertainment. more appropriate would have been a single or duo playing acoustic guitar and banjo and singing songs and ballads of the river. the riverlorian was great. his lectures were a 'don't miss'. i would not book a cruise with the AQ again. i don't know if they're fixing to go bankrupt and cutting costs or what but we left feeling insulted rather than pleased and relaxed from an enjoyable cruise. the other couples at our dinner table agreed that the cruise did not meet their expectations and they would neither go on another nor would they recommend the AQ to anyone. Read Less
Sail Date November 2015
My wife and I took an American Queen Steamboat Company Cruise on The American Empress Steamboat last week, traveling up the Columbia and Snake Rivers. We have been on 30 international large cruise ships, but this was our first United ... Read More
My wife and I took an American Queen Steamboat Company Cruise on The American Empress Steamboat last week, traveling up the Columbia and Snake Rivers. We have been on 30 international large cruise ships, but this was our first United States River Cruise. The total 10 day cruise started with a Bus tour of Vancouver, Washington and Portland, Oregon which was followed by and over night stay at the Hilton Vancouver Hotel. The next morning the steamboat embarked from Portland, Oregon, going up the Columbia River and stopping in Astoria, OR. The Dalles, WA. Stevenson, WA, Richland, WA. and Clarkson, WA. After leaving the steamboat in Clarkson, WA we took another bus tour up to Spokane, Washington where we toured the city, and then checked in at the luxurious Davenport Hotel for a two night stay. It was a great Cruise trip, as we experienced the same sense of excitement and wonder that Lewis and Clark had, as they explored the Columbia and Snake River areas of Oregon and Washington. We visited many historical, scenic and enjoyable sites on our voyage up the famous rivers. The American Empress is a beautiful steamboat and is the largest overnight riverboat west of the Mississippi River. The American Empress also has a vast collection of some of the finest historical artifacts, and artwork from the Native Alaskan, Russian, Gold Rush, and stern wheeler eras on board. The corridors of the American Empress hold nearly as much beauty and intrigue as the dramatic scenery unfolding on the river outside. Our state room with a balcony was beautiful, and the bed was so comfortable. All the Meals on the ship prepared by Executive Chef Bill Ballard and Staff, were very Delicious! Chef Ballard would walk around every night checking with all the guests on the ship making sure that everyone was totally satisfied. The up stairs more casual River Grill & Bar was fantastic every time we ate there, as Restaurant Manager Lisa was so friendly and professional, as she guided the River Grill servers every night to do a great job. Desiree and Rachel were outstanding as they served us several times.The down stairs more up scale Astoria Dining Room, was managed by Maitre D' Ann Gilbert along with the very nice Restaurant Manager Allan Baja. Derrick who served are table of four people multiple times was excellent, professional, and had a great personality. The Bar Manager Ed Jenkins was also so nice as he would hustle around the steamboat making sure his Bartenders were preparing the Beer, Wine, and Cocktails that every guest wanted. One of the most important people on the entire ship was the Riverlorian Laurence Cotton, who worked very hard everyday giving multiple historical lectures, about the Columbia and Snake Rives and the Lewis and Clark expeditions. Laurence has so much knowledge and presented it very well. My wife and I also went on a tour of the Bridge, and met the Master of the steamboat Captain Ron Gray. It was a great tour, and the Captain was so nice as he instructed us about the functions of the American Empress Steamboat. We also took another good tour of the engine department with Chief Engineer Noah Sheppard. During the day on our many ports of call, we would go on either the Hop On-Hop Off luxury Bus tour which were included in the price of the Cruise, or we picked a premium excursion tour to go on. All the tours were so educational and very well organized. At night after dinner, we would go see the nightly showtime entertainment in the show lounge. The two main headliners most of the nights were the two married Cruise Directors, Lindy and Gregory Pendzick. They were FANTASTIC! During the day the two Cruise Directors were hustling around the ship making sure they did everything to take care of all the guests on the steamboat. Lindy and Greg did a great job coordinating bingo, game shows, and craft sessions for all the guests. At Night they both put on an outstanding Singing, Dancing, and Broadway play performances, that delighted the entire audience. Both Lindy and Greg have an extended list of professional stage experiences, and did a great job every night, along with the American Empress Band. After the Showtime entertainment finish at night, most people would then go up to the Paddle wheel Lounge on Deck 2 to have a Drink which would be served by Angie, and to listen to Piano Player, Singer, and Comedian Frank Case. Everyone enjoyed the "Fun with Frank" nightly categories, where he would play everyone's favorite tunes and highlights, from all the famous singers in entertainment history. Frank Case has Phenomenal Talents! All and All, my wife and I had a great time on the Steamboat Cruise, and I was totally impressed with the way the cruise was executed by the entire staff. My wife and I would definitely go back on another American Queen Steamboat Company Cruise, maybe the Mississippi cruise would be next. Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
We embarked from a dock very near to the St. Louis Gateway Arch. The walk down to the boat was somewhat steep but assistance was offered and we left our luggage with crew near the roadway. River travel is laid back and easy. We ... Read More
We embarked from a dock very near to the St. Louis Gateway Arch. The walk down to the boat was somewhat steep but assistance was offered and we left our luggage with crew near the roadway. River travel is laid back and easy. We had only one morning of rain so we had a lot of time to watch as the captain and crew navigated the five story Queen through the many locks on the Mississippi as well as through the many different lift or swinging bridges. It was warm and comfortable most of the time to sit out and watch. We often arrived early to the next port of call. Chairs and tables on deck were plentiful. Snacks and beverages including sodas were always available. One could even do laundry if desired at no cost at the self-service machines provided. There were daily talks with the Riverlorian who was always on board and available often on the top deck. Steve Marking and Joanna Funk provided not only on-board musical entertainment with help with wildlife sightings and identification of birds. Joanna also played the calliope when we left ports and also for the Sunday morning hymn sings. The cocktail hour each evening was a highlight and the Hors d'oeuvres served were excellent and plentiful. We had more food on the cruise than needed! I thought it was a great touch that we could choose to have half portions at a meal. We always found the meals delicious and we had some choice as to entrees. On the downside, as a diabetic, there were limited dessert options for me. Although I met with one of the chefs to discuss ideas, those were not always available. We enjoyed different entertainment not only at cocktail hour but also after dinner each night and many were very good and entertaining. We also were up top on the 5th deck the evening of the eclipse ... and yes, the clouds opened up to be able to see a good amount of it. I would recommend the American Cruise Lines for a truly Americana venture such as the Northern Mississippi Cruise we took. They have other interesting river cruises as well. This was our first trip with them and we would consider them again. Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
Our third cruise on the American Queen...what a pleasure, again. We went from Cincinnati to St. Louis. You've never been on a realistic river cruise until you've been on the American Queen steaming the waters of the Ohio or ... Read More
Our third cruise on the American Queen...what a pleasure, again. We went from Cincinnati to St. Louis. You've never been on a realistic river cruise until you've been on the American Queen steaming the waters of the Ohio or Mississippi. A very easy and relaxing way to cruise. Can't beat the food quality and selection, service, entertainment and the hop on hop off shore program. Be sure not to miss Jerry Hay's riverlorian talks...very informative, interesting and entertaining. Our cabin on the 4th deck was very comfortable and we loved the fact we could go right outside and sit and visit on the open deck. Ivie was one of the best cabin stewards we have ever experienced...thanks for being so nice and accommodating. The front porch of America forward on the 3rd deck was nice with swings, rockers and both inside and outside seating for breakfast, lunch and dinner. We seemed to migrate to the open deck on the 4th deck forward to sit in a rocker and watch the river go by. The theater is awesome and the entertainment as good if not better than the ocean going ships'. Very good band and singers and most of the songs you know and could sing along with. The Mark Twain and the Dixieland shows were very good as well. The food in the main restaurant and front porch was excellent...prime rib, beef brisket, catfish, quail, duck, salmon, etc. and of course, free beer and wine selections at dinner. All employees were friendly and seemed to be truly interested in making sure all of your needs were taken care of. There were a few kids on board (all well behaved I might add), but I would say most passengers are between 50 and 80. Ship is small, 6 decks, so its very easy to get around and you get to know your fellow passengers. Overall, this is a great boat and the owners have done a great job keeping this piece of American history alive and well. Why would you go all the way to Europe to do a riverboat cruise when the American Queen is right here in America...easy to travel to and from embarkation/disembarkation ports and being able to experience the "highways" our ancestors traveled during our westward expansion. Best kept secret in America...we can't wait to cruise again on the American Queen. Met the owner, John Waggoner, on this cruise. What a gentleman and we were very impressed with how available he made himself to both crew and passengers alike. Read Less
Sail Date July 2015
Corrections/rebuttals of other reviews: There is a toilet on board the busses. We did not have the female Riverlorian – ours was Lawrence and he was very interesting and informative. I attended all of his lectures. I didn’t think ... Read More
Corrections/rebuttals of other reviews: There is a toilet on board the busses. We did not have the female Riverlorian – ours was Lawrence and he was very interesting and informative. I attended all of his lectures. I didn’t think the Internet was that slow and always worked, but I only used it in the Paddle Wheel Lounge, which was down the hall from our room. Someone said that all the cabins have balconies. You will see from the ship’s layout before booking that there are cabins without balconies. There were not a lot of people using walkers on our cruise. The elevator was fast and large enough to hold everyone. However, there were only 105 passengers aboard that week. We've done 17 non-river cruises (Holland American, etc.), but this was our first river cruise. Dining: Dinners in the Astoria Dining Room were always very good, but service was slow (for us) and it took a minimum of two hours. This is a beautiful dining venue with sparkling crystal chandeliers and an attractive blue-lit ceiling, which added to the ambiance. I don’t know why most people were having breakfast and lunch at the River Grille. I thought the buffets there were pretty mediocre. I had many breakfasts and lunches at the almost empty Astoria Dining Room and enjoyed some great entrees – eggs benedict or specialty French toast in the morning, and lunches including southern friend chicken with home made biscuits. Be careful to watch the schedule for when the restaurants open for breakfast and lunch because they aren’t open very long. One day we went to the river Grille at 1:00 p.m. and they were putting the food away – we didn’t realize that they closed then. Another couple told us they arrived at the restaurant at 9:00 a.m. and couldn’t get any food for the same reason. We ate at the River Grille for two nights and they let us order a combo of filet mignon and lobster. The lobster was really good and we ordered it the other night we dined there as well. Then the main dining room had lobster on Friday night and we had another tasty lobster. I love sweets, but the desserts were a disappointment to me in both dining rooms. Therefore most eveneings we ordered ice cream. I don’t think they had a pastry chef on board. The cookies at the River Grille lunch buffet and Paddle Wheel Lounge were the same each day. It made me think that none of the desserts/cookies were home made – maybe just picked up from a mediocre vendor for the ship –like Costco. The dessert for lunch at the buffet at the River Grille seemed to be lemon bars every day. I didn’t like the house wines in either dining venue, but our waiter found one they weren’t offering but was still free: Saint Chapelle Soft White Wine. It was very good and I was able to request it for each meal. For the best coffee, order a cappuccino or latte from the Astoria Dining Room, because they have an espresso machine. There’s a self-serve one in the River Grille as well – a real one, which easily serves espresso and also steamed milk separately. It was very good. Entertainment: A banjo player boarded our boat mid cruise. He flew in from the American Queen on the Mississippi. He was unbelievable; so we enjoyed a fantastic banjo/guitar evening, with a very good cruise band backing him up. Art Gallery in Halls: Every floor has excellent artwork on the walls of the halls. Take time to tour each floor’s paintings. The 4th floor has old photos from the Gold Rush Days. What to Wear: As one reviewer stated, the public rooms and halls can be “ice-box cold”. In the Paddle wheel Lounge, I was surprised that even the men were asking the staff why they couldn’t make the room any warmer. My husband ordinarily never gets chilled, but wished he had brought a long-sleeve shirt even though it was summer. I wish I had brought a cashmere sweater set. I was surprised at how many people were really casually dressed for dinner. I personally feel that if you bring what they suggest wearing for dinner in the brochure, you will be fine. Excursions: Bring a warm sweater or wrap on the hop on/hop off bus. It’s usually very cold no matter what the temperature is outside. The busses are okay, but I didn’t find them that comfortable for an hour or longer ride. Also, be careful to look at each day’s program sheet for which time periods there are 15 minute pickups from drop off points and which are one hour. One day we decided to relax on the boat in the morning, and take the bus in the afternoon. We found out that we had to wait an hour at each drop off point for the bus to pick us up. The bus drivers were really accommodating and helpful – I found them to be the best employees on our cruise. I think the towns we visited and site we were dropped off at were not very exciting. It would probably be better to book their premium excursion. We did not do this because with my husband’s bad back, his limit is 3 hours and the premium excursions were a minimum five hours long. I would recommend the one that goes to Mt. Hood’s Timberline Lodge, because we came in several days before the cruise and spent the night here. Also, I’ve heard that the Maryhill Museum of Art is outstanding. We met a couple that did the wine country tour and loved the scenery. Also, everyone enjoys the Hell’s Canyon Jet Boat. However, we were content to relax, and enjoy being on the river on this fine ship. We had looked forward to it and it met our expectations. Post-Voyage Travel Days: We took the train from San Diego to L.A., and then the Coastal Starlight Amtrak train from L.A. to Portland (left Tues 10:10 a.m., arrived Wed. 3:32 p.m.). We had a deluxe sleeping room and the scenery was very good as well as the dining car meals. They have an old fashioned, restored parlor car for use by those passengers with sleeping rooms. Upon arriving in Portland, we had to wait an hour for a taxi ride a mile to our Hilton Hotel. We picked up a Hertz rental car and drove to the Timberline Lodge in Mt. Hood. We loved the lodge. The great food alone is worth the trip. Then we took the “fruit loop” and spent a night on the Columbia River Gorge at the Skamania Lodge in Stevenson, WA with beautiful views of the river. The bus ride after our cruise, to Spokane, took three hours but was a beautiful drive. We stayed at the old Davenport Hotel for 2 nights. It is beautifully restored, but I didn’t like how high the bed was – you had to use a step to get into it. I usually love staying in historic hotels, but this time I think I would have liked their more modern hotel across the street. The price for a wash/blow dry in their spa was reasonable and gave me use of their relaxing “quiet room”, etc The Davenport’s food was just so-so. We rented a car from Enterprise and the hotel’s shuttle gave us a ride there and the rental car co. gave us a return ride back to the hotel. We drove to the Coeur d’Alene Resort in Idaho and had a 5-star lunch facing the lake. We didn’t stay over night here because of the $400 per night room rate. We had a nice breakfast down the street from our hotel at The Post Street Ale, and walked to dinner at the Europa Restaurant – dinner was mediocre but the desserts were incredible. Read Less
Sail Date June 2015
This was an impulse trip that my husband wanted to do. I thought going on this trip might be a little boring. Boy was I wrong. First of all the boat is beautiful. Fully renovated in the true style of the time. Our room had a veranda and it ... Read More
This was an impulse trip that my husband wanted to do. I thought going on this trip might be a little boring. Boy was I wrong. First of all the boat is beautiful. Fully renovated in the true style of the time. Our room had a veranda and it was great having coffee service bought to the room each morning and sitting out there watching the river roll by. The beds are as comfortable as any five star hotel. The crew is outstanding, always smiling and ready to help you. Most of the time they were coming over just to see if you need something. They have the formal dinning room which is beautiful and the food was wonderful. Great selections everyday. If you want more casual dinning, go to the front porch and enjoy the open air dinning. The shows are spectacular, a seven piece orchestra and great performers. Something unique each night. The ports that we stopped at are historical and very interesting. You have the option to do tours that are included in the price or premium tours that they offer. We did about half and half. One of the great things about the cruise is because this is not a huge cruise ship, you get to know the people on board. We made some lifelong friendships this week. All in all it was a great trip and we will definitely go again. They are several different routes you can take. Read Less
Sail Date June 2015
We are back from the cruise and really enjoyed it. The suite was the largest we have been in on any cruise, river or ocean. The ship was only a little over half full, so we got a lot of great attention, but I believe if the ship had been ... Read More
We are back from the cruise and really enjoyed it. The suite was the largest we have been in on any cruise, river or ocean. The ship was only a little over half full, so we got a lot of great attention, but I believe if the ship had been full we still would have gotten the same attention. The couple that had the stateroom were told that it was our anniversary and we wanted a queen bed, and they had no problem switching with us. We decided to send them a gift basket for their trouble and talked to the hotel manager (Eric Lang) to get one sent to their suite. He was great. He went to 3 different spots to find a gift basket and card. Then afterwards he told us the company was picking up the costs. Suzanne lost her camera on the first day, which was the only negative on the trip, but since it was the first day instead of the last, it wasn’t that bad. When we were visiting the Franklin County Museum in Pasco Washington, we asked the administrator (Sherel Webb) if she knew where we could buy a digital camera and she thought the drug store next door and called to be sure they had one and we were able to purchase an inexpensive one for Suzanne to use on the rest of the trip. Suzanne had a question on a piece of embroidery that was on display and asked if she knew where we could get one for her to make. Sherel called the woman who donated the item to see if she knew where to get it, but she didn’t. Sherel then checked the internet for sites that might have it. After we got back Sherel had emailed us a couple of more sites for Suzanne to check. The woman was amazing. This trip was so great we have placed a deposit on a new cruise American Queen is offering on the Mississippi. It is 23 days from St Paul to New Orleans. Previously you would have had to book 3 separate legs to get the whole thing at a much greater cost. The hotel (Davenport Historical) we stayed at the first night was fantastic and absolutely beautiful. Read Less
Sail Date June 2015

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