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American Queen Review Detail (very long)



 
 
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  #1  
Old February 7th, 2004, 11:16 PM
Odysseus
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Default American Queen Review Detail (very long)

American Queen, November 2003

Boarding was the easiest I have ever experienced. There were no metal
detectors or x-ray machines. Proof of citizenship was not needed. There
were no lines. The gangplank was less than 100 feet from where the taxi
dropped us off. We showed our ticket and picture ID to the one person
checking documents, set our luggage in the area with the bags to be bought
to the cabins, and walked aboard. We were instructed to go to the purser to
check in, but were left on our own to find him.

The person who greeted us as we approached the gangplank was a woman in
1860s period costume who must have been over 70 years old. That was an
indication of the age group of the fellow passengers. It was the same
clientele as HAL only more ambulatory.

The welcome aboard buffet was a disappointment, which was a harbinger of
things to come. It consisted mainly of a few low-end buffet style salads,
plates of lunchmeat, commercially made bread, and supermarket bakery quality
cookies. A staff member made a big deal about cookies on the Delta Queen
Line.

My single cabin reminded me of tourist class cabins on ocean going ships
built in the 1950s. The walls were some sort of off white plastic. The
color was probably a good thing. If it had patterned wallpaper like higher
quality cabins, it would have closed in on me. The walls were so thin that
when the woman in the next cabin talked in a normal conversational volume, I
could hear her as easily as if she was standing next to me. I'm a skinny
guy, and when I was in the shower, my shoulders almost touched the sides.
This was the first cabin I have been in since the early 1990s that did not
have a TV and where your door key was metal. The cabin lighting was good.

My cabin phone was just an ordinary old slim line model. It appeared to be
put together from pieces of several phones, a bezel was missing, and the top
and bottom pieces were different colors. There were no special buttons for
the different departments, no voice mail, and no system to dial in your own
wake up call. You arranged a wake up call by writing your cabin number on
the wake up call sheet at the purser's desk. When you get the call, there
is a person on the other end. While that is a nice personal touch, it can be
prone to inaccuracy.

The rest of the ship was very well decorated. Delta Queen does an excellent
job of making the boat look like something from the 19th century. There are
antiques throughout. There was even an antique silver water cooler (a
standard fixture on 19th century steamboats) in the foyer between the Ladies
Parlor and Gentlemen's Card Room.


The Mark Twain Gallery is furnished with lovely antiques and reproductions.
It functions as the boat's library and is a good place to sit and read.
Unfortunately, if you want to keep up with the latest news you'll need to
buy your own newspapers in port. The AQ kept the same newspapers
in the library for three days.

On the top deck there was a small workout room that was OK considering the
size of the boat. The swimming pool was not much bigger than a hot tub.
I'm short and could swim the length in one stroke.

Overall, the service in all parts of the boat was good considering the boat
operates under American labor law. The staff is hard working and helpful.

There was a decent selection on the dinning room menus. The food on the
11:00 PM buffets was limited since few passengers ate at them. That's
probably because they didn't stay up that late. The wait staff tried hard
and was attentive but was overworked. Service could be slow. The food
quality in the dining rooms was good but not great. It was better than
Princess (that's not hard). The food selection and quality was similar to a
middle quality chain restaurant. It was better than Denny's but not as good
as the Chart House.

There is one word for the entertainment and activities onboard, DULL. HAL
operates party ships compared to Delta Queen.

There was no casino or discothèque aboard. The activities consisted of
insipid things like kite flying off the fantail and sing alongs. The
evening show was always before dinner for the second seating passengers.
After dinner, most of the passengers went to bed. Fortunately, there were
bars onboard. I don't drink much but on the AQ I felt the need for a bracer
against the tedium.

The after dinner entertainment consisted of two piano bars. One was in the
Main Deck Lounge and included the sing alongs led by an aging pretty boy.
The other piano player was a brassy voiced large woman performing in the
Engine Room Bar.

The main show each evening was filled with hokum and was scripted to appeal
to provincial Middle American tastes and attitudes. I disliked most of them
and I'm from the Midwest.

The show performed the first evening had a patriotic American theme that was
more suited for an Independence Day celebration than an entertainment venue.
It started out asking the passengers to stand and pledge allegiance to the
American flag. They followed by playing the hymns of all of the American
armed forces asking those who belonged to the forces to stand when their
respective hymns were played. I guess Delta Queen either does not get
international passengers or does not care about their sensibilities.

The other shows had trite themes like a salute to Broadway. That's not too
bad on a line like Princess or Royal Caribbean with young energetic chorus
lines. It does not work well on Delta Queen where there are just a six or
eight performers who are in their late thirties and older. On their behalf,
I will say that their voices were good and they did try hard to put on a
good dance show.

The jazz musicians were very good. I wish they had performed in one of the
bars after dinner.

The Riverlorian gave informative lectures and was eager to answer passenger
questions. I learned a great deal about the Mississippi River from her.
The port lecturer also provided informative details about the ports and was
very honest in describing the shore (or is it bank) excursions. He did an
excellent job of helping passengers select the proper excursions, if there
were any, for their individual tastes.

The Emporium (gift shop) had a limited selection. They did not stock the
high fashion items and expensive jewelry offered on large cruise ships.
But, the selection was tasteful and did not included synthetic loose
gemstones, gold by the inch, and other flea market schlock found on
mass-market lines.

There were items offered for sale and optional extra cost services as there
are on all lines. But, thankfully, Delta Queen uses the soft sell approach
that was prevalent on cruise ships BC (before Carnival). For the first time
in a long while I felt as if I was seen as someone who had paid in full for
his vacation. On my last Princess cruise I felt as if the line saw me as
someone who has purchased the loss leader and better buy something else.

Disembarking was a breeze compared to the mega ships. There was no need to
clear Customs or Immigration. We just gave our cruise cards to the person
at the gangplank, walked off the boat, and picked up our luggage. The
luggage was easy to find since there are only 222 cabins. We then bypassed
the lines for the busses, walked the short distance to the taxis, and left
for the airport.

Overall, I did not care much for the cruise but the person I was traveling
with, an elderly relative, enjoyed it a lot. A steamboat cruise was worth
experiencing for three days but I would not do it again.

--
Change "spamhater.com" to "lycos.com" for replies.
I got so much SPAM , I stopped listing a correct address in my settings.

  #2  
Old February 7th, 2004, 11:31 PM
Benjamin Smith
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default American Queen Review Detail (very long)

Odysseus wrote:

Thanks Odysseus. This cruise sounds good to me except for the patriotic
part. People should not be forced into that.

Ben


American Queen, November 2003

Boarding was the easiest I have ever experienced. There were no metal
detectors or x-ray machines. Proof of citizenship was not needed. There
were no lines. The gangplank was less than 100 feet from where the taxi
dropped us off. We showed our ticket and picture ID to the one person
checking documents, set our luggage in the area with the bags to be bought
to the cabins, and walked aboard. We were instructed to go to the purser to
check in, but were left on our own to find him.

The person who greeted us as we approached the gangplank was a woman in
1860s period costume who must have been over 70 years old. That was an
indication of the age group of the fellow passengers. It was the same
clientele as HAL only more ambulatory.

The welcome aboard buffet was a disappointment, which was a harbinger of
things to come. It consisted mainly of a few low-end buffet style salads,
plates of lunchmeat, commercially made bread, and supermarket bakery quality
cookies. A staff member made a big deal about cookies on the Delta Queen
Line.

My single cabin reminded me of tourist class cabins on ocean going ships
built in the 1950s. The walls were some sort of off white plastic. The
color was probably a good thing. If it had patterned wallpaper like higher
quality cabins, it would have closed in on me. The walls were so thin that
when the woman in the next cabin talked in a normal conversational volume, I
could hear her as easily as if she was standing next to me. I'm a skinny
guy, and when I was in the shower, my shoulders almost touched the sides.
This was the first cabin I have been in since the early 1990s that did not
have a TV and where your door key was metal. The cabin lighting was good.

My cabin phone was just an ordinary old slim line model. It appeared to be
put together from pieces of several phones, a bezel was missing, and the top
and bottom pieces were different colors. There were no special buttons for
the different departments, no voice mail, and no system to dial in your own
wake up call. You arranged a wake up call by writing your cabin number on
the wake up call sheet at the purser's desk. When you get the call, there
is a person on the other end. While that is a nice personal touch, it can be
prone to inaccuracy.

The rest of the ship was very well decorated. Delta Queen does an excellent
job of making the boat look like something from the 19th century. There are
antiques throughout. There was even an antique silver water cooler (a
standard fixture on 19th century steamboats) in the foyer between the Ladies
Parlor and Gentlemen's Card Room.


The Mark Twain Gallery is furnished with lovely antiques and reproductions.
It functions as the boat's library and is a good place to sit and read.
Unfortunately, if you want to keep up with the latest news you'll need to
buy your own newspapers in port. The AQ kept the same newspapers
in the library for three days.

On the top deck there was a small workout room that was OK considering the
size of the boat. The swimming pool was not much bigger than a hot tub.
I'm short and could swim the length in one stroke.

Overall, the service in all parts of the boat was good considering the boat
operates under American labor law. The staff is hard working and helpful.

There was a decent selection on the dinning room menus. The food on the
11:00 PM buffets was limited since few passengers ate at them. That's
probably because they didn't stay up that late. The wait staff tried hard
and was attentive but was overworked. Service could be slow. The food
quality in the dining rooms was good but not great. It was better than
Princess (that's not hard). The food selection and quality was similar to a
middle quality chain restaurant. It was better than Denny's but not as good
as the Chart House.

There is one word for the entertainment and activities onboard, DULL. HAL
operates party ships compared to Delta Queen.

There was no casino or discothèque aboard. The activities consisted of
insipid things like kite flying off the fantail and sing alongs. The
evening show was always before dinner for the second seating passengers.
After dinner, most of the passengers went to bed. Fortunately, there were
bars onboard. I don't drink much but on the AQ I felt the need for a bracer
against the tedium.

The after dinner entertainment consisted of two piano bars. One was in the
Main Deck Lounge and included the sing alongs led by an aging pretty boy.
The other piano player was a brassy voiced large woman performing in the
Engine Room Bar.

The main show each evening was filled with hokum and was scripted to appeal
to provincial Middle American tastes and attitudes. I disliked most of them
and I'm from the Midwest.

The show performed the first evening had a patriotic American theme that was
more suited for an Independence Day celebration than an entertainment venue.
It started out asking the passengers to stand and pledge allegiance to the
American flag. They followed by playing the hymns of all of the American
armed forces asking those who belonged to the forces to stand when their
respective hymns were played. I guess Delta Queen either does not get
international passengers or does not care about their sensibilities.

The other shows had trite themes like a salute to Broadway. That's not too
bad on a line like Princess or Royal Caribbean with young energetic chorus
lines. It does not work well on Delta Queen where there are just a six or
eight performers who are in their late thirties and older. On their behalf,
I will say that their voices were good and they did try hard to put on a
good dance show.

The jazz musicians were very good. I wish they had performed in one of the
bars after dinner.

The Riverlorian gave informative lectures and was eager to answer passenger
questions. I learned a great deal about the Mississippi River from her.
The port lecturer also provided informative details about the ports and was
very honest in describing the shore (or is it bank) excursions. He did an
excellent job of helping passengers select the proper excursions, if there
were any, for their individual tastes.

The Emporium (gift shop) had a limited selection. They did not stock the
high fashion items and expensive jewelry offered on large cruise ships.
But, the selection was tasteful and did not included synthetic loose
gemstones, gold by the inch, and other flea market schlock found on
mass-market lines.

There were items offered for sale and optional extra cost services as there
are on all lines. But, thankfully, Delta Queen uses the soft sell approach
that was prevalent on cruise ships BC (before Carnival). For the first time
in a long while I felt as if I was seen as someone who had paid in full for
his vacation. On my last Princess cruise I felt as if the line saw me as
someone who has purchased the loss leader and better buy something else.

Disembarking was a breeze compared to the mega ships. There was no need to
clear Customs or Immigration. We just gave our cruise cards to the person
at the gangplank, walked off the boat, and picked up our luggage. The
luggage was easy to find since there are only 222 cabins. We then bypassed
the lines for the busses, walked the short distance to the taxis, and left
for the airport.

Overall, I did not care much for the cruise but the person I was traveling
with, an elderly relative, enjoyed it a lot. A steamboat cruise was worth
experiencing for three days but I would not do it again.

  #3  
Old February 8th, 2004, 12:19 AM
Charles
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default American Queen Review Detail (very long)

In article [email protected]_s52, Odysseus
wrote:

Overall, I did not care much for the cruise but the person I was traveling
with, an elderly relative, enjoyed it a lot. A steamboat cruise was worth
experiencing for three days but I would not do it again.


Thanks for posting your review. From your review it appears to be as
bad as I imagined!!!

--
Charles
  #4  
Old February 8th, 2004, 12:21 AM
Charles
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default American Queen Review Detail (very long)

In article .net,
Benjamin Smith wrote:

This cruise sounds good to me except for


That sounded good to you?

--
Charles
  #5  
Old February 8th, 2004, 12:24 AM
Lloyd Parsons
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default American Queen Review Detail (very long)

In article , Charles
wrote:

In article .net,
Benjamin Smith wrote:

This cruise sounds good to me except for


That sounded good to you?


The only good thing I saw about it was I got to read it before I
screwed up and booked it! G

Lloyd
  #6  
Old February 8th, 2004, 01:55 AM
Benjamin Smith
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default American Queen Review Detail (very long)

Charles wrote:

In article .net,
Benjamin Smith wrote:


This cruise sounds good to me except for



That sounded good to you?


Yes. It's close to what my wife and I are looking for. We don't care if
the staterooms are kind of small, we'll deal with the poor soundproofing
for 7 nights, and I think the 7 nighters will have more jazz after
dinner. We like singalongs. We want to go on the big band jazz cruise,
and if the folks are mature on the ship, they'll know the dances and
it'll be the music of their youth. There's other stuff like the calliope
playing, the sound and feel of the sternwheeler, the playing of classic
movies, that we're interested in as well. There's little in the contents
of this review that turns us off. I think it is a plus that the boat
feels authentic and is maintained well. Dining food good, another check.

Most people that sail on these steamboats are looking for the type of
cruise that is described. Wasn't a good fit for Odysseus, but it seems
for most of the people sailing on the steamboats, it's a good fit.

Ben


  #7  
Old February 8th, 2004, 02:08 AM
Sue and Kevin Mullen
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Posts: n/a
Default American Queen Review Detail (very long)



Odysseus wrote:

Overall, I did not care much for the cruise but the person I was traveling
with, an elderly relative, enjoyed it a lot. A steamboat cruise was worth
experiencing for three days but I would not do it again.


Thanks for the review, I now know that this isn't for me. I am glad that
your elderly relative enjoyed it.

sue

  #8  
Old February 8th, 2004, 02:47 AM
Jean O'Boyle
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Posts: n/a
Default American Queen Review Detail (very long)

Very interesting review, thank you! Not my cup of tea, either...

--Jean.




  #9  
Old February 8th, 2004, 03:34 AM
D Ball
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Posts: n/a
Default American Queen Review Detail (very long)


Odysseus wrote:
American Queen, November 2003



Odysseus,

Thanks for taking the time to share such a detailed review of your experience.
I have often considered the possibility of taking an historic river trip,
but your description confirms my worst suspicions.

Diana Ball
near Houston, TX
  #10  
Old February 8th, 2004, 05:51 AM
Odysseus
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Posts: n/a
Default American Queen Review Detail (very long)


American Queen, November 2003



Odysseus,

Thanks for taking the time to share such a detailed review of your
experience.
I have often considered the possibility of taking an historic river trip,
but your description confirms my worst suspicions.


Most of the passengers enjoyed the cruise. There are plenty of repeat
cruisers. Delta Queen does a very good job of catering to their market.
It's just that I am not in that market. I like Las Vegas style shows,
European cuisine, formal service, and a cosmopolitan ambiance.

I enjoyed the historical component of the steamboat. For me, it was the
high point of the cruise. The high point of the trip, however, was the
pre-cruise package, three nights on Bourbon Street.

 




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