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Old August 10th, 2003, 08:22 PM
Benjamin Smith
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Default I think I've found what I'm looking for

Lately, my wife and I have been going to small towns, just for day trips. We live in Maplewood, New Jersey, (originally from New York City) and sometimes take trips to coastal towns in New England or towns that feature quaint, well-restored architecture, esp. Victorian. We love Cape May for instance, we also like New Hope, PA, and Lambertville, NJ.

We've gone on a few cruises, HAL, Celebrity, and NCL. We enjoyed the HAL and Celebrity of a few years ago, cruising in New England on HAL, and Alaska and Europe on Celebrity. We recently cruised on one of Celebrity's big new ships and did not enjoy it so much. We found it too big, too trendy, and we found sailing in the Caribbean too touristy and Celebrity not especially matching the feel of the Caribbean much (we're not fans of the Caribbean for vacations and prefer USA, Canada, and Europe. We are also not too fond of the direction the big lines are going in, the ships are getting bigger and bigger, service inconsistent, standards slipping.

I've been looking for a smaller ship (boat) environment. We love big band jazz, standards of the 20s-50s (Kern, Cole Porter, Berlin, Rogers) (I'm 44, wife is 37), interacting with fellow passengers especially experienced travelers, piano bar entertainment and singalongs, we love and respect clothing and style, wife loves quilts (I understand that's a feature on some itineraries). We don't gamble so the lack of onboard casinos is not an issue with us.

The impression I get of the Delta boats is that they are like floating inns in a sense; back in history in a sense; steaming along the river slowly past small, scenic towns; features more in the way of individual entertainers rather than the Vegas revue type of shows that the big cruise ships feature. They are traditional and their style honors the great tradition of grand American steamboats. I'm impressed with Delta's brochure in that they have a variety of different types of cruises. They have big band, 50s, Civil War, Jazz and Blues, Traditional Christmas among other interesting themes. I enjoy this sort of focus rather than the big ships that try to cram everything into the vessel.

Some questions I have are:

Overall, how would you rate the maintenance and cleanliness of the boats?
Do the boats have formal, informal and casual nights ( we have no problem with adhering to dress codes)?
What type of lunch and breakfast do the boats serve? Is there a buffet set-up?
Is wine-tasting available?
How's the Delta holding up (I know she dates back to 1930 or so)?
Any small towns to recommend or tours or must-see things to do (we're thinking of New Orleans to Memphis but we are open to other itineraries)

Also, has anyone tried America West Steamboats? If so, how do they compare?

Presently, we are considering the Missippi Queen in May of next year on one of their big band cruises. We like the look of all of them. Interiors appear rich and Victorian in style, warm, cozy, and tasteful.

I have a really good feeling about this line and wish to cruise in the vast, scenic, America and have a feeling of American culture onboard, which Delta seems to provide. And, also I'm glad that the boats are back sailing after the company went bankrupt and hope the line strives as a business under their new owners. We need these types of cruise alternatives.
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Old August 22nd, 2003, 07:20 PM
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Default Re: I think I've found what I'm looking for

Overall, how would you rate the maintenance and cleanliness of the boats?

The ships are in wonderful ship. They are pristenely maintained and kept in like-original condition right down to the steam whistle.

Do the boats have formal, informal and casual nights ( we have no problem with adhering to dress codes)?

They have nights that are "formal" but that means a suit (not a tuxedo), these ships are small and friendly in a "down home" kind of way.


What type of lunch and breakfast do the boats serve?

table service with "salad" bars for both breakfast and lunch. These boats serve AMERICAN food in the most traditional sense. Look for Southern style cooking; catfish, fried chicken, pot roast, pork chops, etc.

Is there a buffet set-up? for lunch

Is wine-tasting available? not sure

How's the Delta holding up (I know she dates back to 1930 or so)?

They have to keep her in good shape, there are laws! Keep in mind, she is one of the only floating historical landmarks in the USA so she has received special dispensations from Congress to keep her afloat (because she is a wooden ship)



Any small towns to recommend or tours or must-see things to do (we're thinking of New Orleans to Memphis but we are open to other itineraries)

I sailed out of New Orleans just for 3 days. It was wonderful. NOLA is great city to start out from.



Post Edited (08-22-03 19:21)
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Old August 22nd, 2003, 07:23 PM
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Default Re: I think I've found what I'm looking for

And by the way... the entertainment on our cruise was fantastic - the big cruise lines should take note. We had Pete Fountain and his Jazz band one night, and another night we had a local New Orleans jazz band of younger players who pay homage to traditional NOLA jazz, but updated. Very very good.

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Old August 24th, 2003, 05:56 PM
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Default Re: I think I've found what I'm looking for

You'll love it. We've been on both the Delta Queen and the Mississippi Queen and thoroughly enjoyed both. In July we went from St. Louis to St. Paul and it was a spectacular trip. The locks are fun, scenery great and warm welcomes from the towns. At night many homeowners flash their outside lights in greeting, people would follow along the river in cars, making us all feel like royalty. The New Orleans to Natchez trip last spring was equally nice, but in a different way. There are some lovely plantations and towns to visit, but the river itself isn't nearly as scenic. However this trip on the charming Delta Queen totally hooked us on steamboating.
Yes, there was wine tasting on both boats, dress up on two nights but no shorts or tee shirts on the other nights. Most people changed into something a bit nicer than their day wear. The food was excellent, entertainment far better than we imagined. Best part? Just sitting "rockin' on the front porch", catching a beautiful sunset, and chatting with fellow passengers.
Think you're gonna be happy!!
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Old October 13th, 2003, 03:50 AM
thoth
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Default Re: I think I've found what I'm looking for

If you do the New Orleans-Memphis run, then Natchez MS will be a highlight. Natchez was the real world "Gone with the Wind" with the magnificent pre Civil War homes. Back in the spring I had the pleasure of seeing the Delta Queen moored at Natchez under the hill, which is a street of restored historic buildings from the wilder days of riverboat life. Also there are many fine antebellum homes in Louisana with stops at Oak Alley, St Francisville, and Baton Rouge. Vicksburg MS is the site of one the war's most pivot battles. There is a battlefield park there with the USS Cairo a union battleship dredged from its watery grave.
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Old April 4th, 2004, 01:21 PM
Y. Medalie
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Default Re: I think I've found what I'm looking for

We would like to get info on Mississippi Queen cruises in September or October 2004. How many days for a Memphis to New Orleans trip. And, of course, what would it cost? We would be flying from San Jose, CA to start the cruise. Are there short cruises with New Orleans on both start and finish?
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Old April 5th, 2004, 01:54 PM
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Default Re: I think I've found what I'm looking for

I will be on the AQ on June 6th for a Travel Agent Cruise.

Darrell
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Old April 5th, 2004, 02:06 PM
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Default Re: Re: I think I've found what I'm looking for

According to my latest brochure the Mississippi Queen will be doing two trips out of New Orleans in Sept. One is for 4 days and the other is for 7 and ends in Memphis. If you're coming all the way from CA you should definitely make it the 7 day trip. The rest of Sept and Oct for both the Delta Queen and Mississippi Queen will be on the upper Mississippi or Ohio rivers for fall foliage trips. You should be able to pick up an '04/'05 brochure from any travel agent with all the trips and prices. There are still some two for one fares available for this year and of course that's the best deal. Also some free airfare on some dates which for you might work out best. The brochure outlines it all. Check their website (I dare not give it out but do a search) which has lots of info and some wonderful deals on last minute travel, plus another way to order a brochure. Click on "Jeremiah Boone's" special offers. A call to their 800 number will be answered by a knowledgable and pleasant real person who can help you with your reservations and questions.
The larger American Queen is offering 3 and 4 day round trips out of New Orleans combined with a city stay for this year and that might interest you also. Some good prices.
By all means take the paddlewheel way of seeing this great country.

PS - We love the history, intimacy and charm of the Delta Queen.
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