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.