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Suzan February 21st, 2003 08:37 AM

American Queen
Any information on the American Queen Riverboat will be appreciated.......Web sites, Ammenities, Food service, etc............I have never been on a riverboat and will be sailing this summer out of Pittsburgh on the American Queen. The larger cruise ships have become so mass marketed and busy, busy, busy. I will welcome a very, very quiet week on the Ohio River.......Reviews seem to be very few and far between. We will be in cabin #351 on Texas Deck. AAA catagory. Looks like a very nice wrap-around veranda on this aft cabin.......Thank You......

Don G February 21st, 2003 09:35 AM

Re: American Queen
We did American Queen during her inaugural year way back when. Really one our best cruising experiences. You will love it.

You will be on one of the more picturesque segments. Lower Mississippi can be rather dull. Best part is watching countryside roll by, rather than endless ocean.

Life is very laid back. Morning coffee and roll on the front porch in bathrobe. You have to be able to entertain yourself. Great show in the evening. People jostle for the boxes but you can see better in more comfortable seats on the main floor. Hope you like Dixieland. An older, moneyed crowd. Although dress is casual, coats were the norm at dinner.

Some don't appreciate my description of the decor as turn of the century New Orleans whorehouse. Opulent to excess. Parlors, sitting rooms, smoking rooms, card rooms. On what other ship can you sit "outside" in rocking chairs or a porch swing. Rooms reminiscent of a New England B&B.

American staff and crew, since it is U.S. registered and under union rules. Most of the reason for astronomical fares.

A caravan of cars and vans follow the boat so you have your own transportation for getting into town and tours. Handy if you miss the boat, they take you up river, the boat puts into shore and you clamber aboard.

Close your blinds at night. If they are ahead of schedule, they simply tie up to a tree. Tow boats pass close enough to get personal with the crew.

Food is outstanding, as is the service. Our waiter was working his way toward med school. Old time competition among them as to whose table gets the best service and has the best time. Wait staff is college age men and cabin staff is like aged women. Yes, it does do on and it is obvious. They do know where to go in the river towns where you will tie up. Makes for a raucous evening.

I'm not that fond of cruising, although we always seem to be doing it. As I said, that was one of our favorites.

More than you ever wanted to know.

nushnakka February 21st, 2003 11:25 AM

Re: Re: American Queen
Very interesting Don, I have never thought of a river cruise but then I really am an ocean person. For me its the beautiful numerous hues of the caribbean that keeps me going back. Personally I could just sit and look out over the water all day long and admire the various blues.

Don G February 21st, 2003 01:52 PM

Re: American Queen
Nushnakka - know what you mean. We lived on the edge of a 50 foot clift jutting into the Caribbean for several years. Between the water, sun shining through clouds, isolated rain showers, rainbows, fish and dolphins jumping and ships going by, we spent a lot of time on the porch.

That said, the banks of the Ohio are absolutely beautiful compared to the Mississippi. Watching the landscape drift by at 8 mph and waving to the folks on shore is a welcome diversion. Folks would hang over bridges to watch and wave, and wonder if the stacks will clear.

Suzan - Forgot to mention, the stacks fold down straddling the AAA rooms forward. They pop and bang as they cool. You will be glad to be in the aft rooms.

The AQ has a "navigation room" below the pilot house with a sweeping view of the river. You sit at a counter with your Army Corps of Engineers trip tic which shows the river in detail. A radar repeater is behind you to assist if the pilot has it on, which is rarely. Everyone tracks the boat as it goes from navigation marker to the next. Gets rather tense when the back seat pilots think it is time to turn and the boat isn't. There is no compass in the pilot house. All they care is if you are going up river or down river. The pilots are certified by river segments. Their exam is a pencil and a sheet of graph paper. The Captain was complaining that for his last recertification exam there was the added the requirement for a north arrow. In nearly 50 years of piloting the major rivers of America, he had no idea which way was north and wasn't interested in learning.

More than you ever wanted to know.

nushnakka February 21st, 2003 05:37 PM

Re: Re: American Queen
Oh Don I can see it now, tell me where did you live to see that? That sounds like my kind of place!

Don G February 22nd, 2003 06:07 PM

Re: American Queen
Senior officer's housing, Roosevelt Roads Naval Station. On the point between the harbor and the Caribbean. Lost most of the back yard in the last hurricane to go through, next one will probably take the whole house. Meanwhile, whoever lives there now still has the view of a life time.

nushnakka February 22nd, 2003 09:28 PM

Re: Re: American Queen
Sounds great Don, I'm sure you enjoyed while you were there! I am definatety going to work towards that myself. I am a water sign and it is so true for me. I am getting closer to the ocean so myabe the within the next 2 moves I should be there. While the American Queen sounds like a fine experience, I'm sticking to the open ocean. Loved the info you provided nonetheless.

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