Review of the American Queen Steamboat
For the past few months I had been looking towards this cruise, because I really wanted to see the difference between a steamboat and major cruise ship experience. What I found was that if you have the time and money to take a steamboat cruise …you SHOULD!!!
My friend and I drove up to the Delta Queen office/warehouse and we were pleasantly surprised to find out, that parking is free, how rare is that? We left our luggage with the security personal and proceeded into the offices to check in. We were issued our on-board cards, and directions on boarding the ship. We also both asked where we might find something to eat, since neither of us had eaten all day. The young lady stated that the rear Paddlewheel Lounge would have snacks, till departure.
We got on board the ship, Kris the Riverlorian, greeted us, explained a few things, and off we went to find our cabin. By the time we got to the cabin, our bags were already inside, and the a/c was on full blast (be careful of that, it really can get too cold in the room). As we were boarding the ship, they crew and other passengers were going about the business of the lifeboat drills, all we had to do, was put them on, make sure they were on right, the crew member then would tell us we could then leave the area.
We then wondered up stairs in search of snacks, we found the Paddlewheel Lounge, and yes there were hot appetizers and also popcorn on each table. The bartender would not fix any drinks, as long as the drill was still going on, however it seemed that while we kept waiting for the end of the drill, the more people found this bar, and it filled up. When the drill was over, the 1 bartender could not keep up with all the orders, and then a cocktail waitress came into the bar, took about 15 orders, rang them all up, then she had to wait for some drinks too. (would have made more sense to get 2 bartenders in that 1 bar, until after the boat sailed). Quite a few people cancelled their orders since they had to dressed for dinner.
After leaving the bar, we went upstairs to watch the ship depart, quite interesting to watch the ship turn around, then take off down the river. Dinner on the first night was great, I hope you like seafood, cause you will get a lot of choices. Lobster and steak on that first night, great desserts, and very nice table companions and a great waiter “David”.
After dessert, we walked around the deck, and turned in. The rooms were kind of small, but we are both average in size, the bathroom is larger than 1 on the Largest Carnival ship, score lots of points for that !!! I do wish the beds could have been longer, I was too tall for the bed, or at least if the guests wanted it, the beds pushed together.
The next day, included a stop at Oak Alley Plantation. I was not sure how much the ship was charging for tours, but you can just get off, and walk up the to the portable ticket office, and buy tickets there. The Oak Alley stop is a photographers dream, the place is great, and the girls on the tour are very nice, give a great tour, if somewhat scripted.
After that you either stroll around the levee or get back on board for some sun up on the sun deck & pool. Later that evening another great meal.
The 3rd day out, the stop for the day is Baton Rouge. There are several excursions you can do, one of the best is the “Big House” and you get to drive by Angola Prison and various other places. We had tried to sign up the evening before for the tour of the USS Kidd-destroyer navy ship, but since they did not sell enough of that tour, it was cancelled. The tour would have cost us ten bucks each. When we woke up, we noticed that the AQ was tied up, right next to the military ship, so we got off the ship, wondered over to the museum, paid six bucks each to tour the ship and museum. Kind of interesting. After that we went to the Argosy Casino, and signed up for players cards, you get free stuff doing that. Then went back to the boat for lunch. About 1pm, the ship departs for a 2-hour cruise around the port of Baton Rouge. After that we return back to get the folks who stayed on shore, then we depart for the port of New Orleans.
My over all impression of this cruise was very good-excellent.
Cons-The tipping/grat guidelines were too high
The first afternoon in the Paddlewheel Lounge
Not enough chairs on the front porch
Beds too short
Shortage of TV sets, Pres Regan died and Jo-L got married (missed it all)
Drinks should look like advertised pictures
Great food and servers
Friendly Guests & Crew