Posted June 30th, 2018, 07:15 PM
My wife and I just returned from a 7-Day Memphis to New Orleans (Lower Mississippi) Cruise. We traveled with a bunch family members. We've been fortunate enough to cruise all over the world with our family. Anyway, this was our first riverboat cruise. Our other cruises have been on the much larger ships (Princess, New Holland, Royal Caribbean).
I've read many reviews of the Lower Mississippi cruise we just returned from on the American Queen, and I have to say, I was less than impressed. The ship itself was outdated (built in 1995). We had several days of rain, and every night our family members on the 5th deck, including my wife and I, had water in our rooms. The carpet was wet about 2 foot into our room. The deck crew was in our room (and others) with wet/dry vacs and large blowers to try and dry it out. Needless to say this happened several days in a row. It all lead to a very musty smell for the remainder of the trip.
I also thought the restaurant staff was unprofessional. Most seemed like they'd never worked in the food service industry. Although I found out that many had been working in it for at least 5+ years. They were openly fighting with each other, the Matrie D' and in general were not very good. When serving drinks they were spilling wine and water all over the glass, table cloth and even in my lap once. No, "I apologize" or any acknowledgement that it even happened. Also, if you ran out of water or any other beverage (other than alcohol) they often never came back to fill it up. There were at least 2 dinners and 2 breakfasts where my water or coffee glass were empty and I never got a refill. I'm not a complainer (this post not withstanding)
and so I kindly asked for a refill. I found that, if I didn't ask for a refill, I wasn't going to get one.
Now that I've been critical of the restaurant staff I will say that we had a wonderful experience with the Head Chef and few Sous Chef's. The Matrie D's were also most helpful. Heck, even our head waiter was helpful, just not refined like I would have expected. I think the issue is that AQSC doesn't have very good training in place and maybe the restaurant is understaffed. This can be a bad combination, and make it very difficult for the existing staff to do well or even improve over time. I guess my overall impression is that they mean well, and are trying hard, but just don't have the leadership in place to really show the the ropes. I don't really know, but I felt bad for them. Most of them seemed miserable.
I've read reviews about the American Queen on this forum, and I have to say, I'm surprised there aren't more complaints. Most people giving glowing reviews. I just don't see how it's possible.
The family wants to use the AQSC for another cruise next year, but I am skeptical any of the other boats would be much better.
That just my 2 cents as you make your travel plans. Good luck!