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American Queen (not live NOLA to Memphis)


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   Hats off to the earlier poster who managed to get enough service to post during his lower Mississippi American Queen trip.  The ship workers joked about the ship's "spotty" Internet.  I could never get it.  Apparently there is a way to route it though a cell phone, but that is above my tech level.  In fact, there was a time -- between Greenville and Memphis -- where my iPhone had NO bars and NO service.  (we have T-mobile).

   We've been back a few days now and I wanted to add a few tips and observations.  First, there is a restaurant call Drago's right in the New Orleans Riverside Hilton.  Do not cheat yourself of going there if you like oysters.  This is a real hot spot.  It has a small window for reservations but people mostly line up -- at all hours.  The house specialty is flame cooked oysters.  Expensive -- I'm thinking like $32 a dozen and $18 a half -- but not to be missed for oyster lovers.  

    Note:  There are two bars in Drago's with open seating.  ALSO, the hotel bar that is adjacent to the restaurant offers the flamed oysters as well.  They come from the same kitchen and often there are seats at the hotel bar.

   Beware:  Both Drago's and the hotel's open spaces are COLD.  Dress appropriately.  We managed to snag seats at the restaurant bar in front of the cooking area on evening.  There were two young women in spaghetti strap dresses near us.  They LOVED it when the oysters flamed up so they could get some of the heat from the fire.

   BREAKFAST - The buffet breakfast included in the trip is very nice.  On weekends, they charge $25 for it.  I don't know the charge on Monday but it is a nice spread.

    more later

    

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MORE from the NOLA to Memphis trip:

    The GOOD:  The ship was beautiful, built in 1995 to look like 1895 (or there about). The library was extremely peaceful for reading when it was too hot outside.  (Beware, however, the staterooms are small compared to bigger ships).

    The entertainment was fantastic.  Broadway quality.  I can't remember when I have seen every show during a cruise.  One night they brought in this old blues singer from Memphis who had her own band and was great.

   This was a very peaceful cruise. No big waves or sea-sickness.  Most of all, I appreciated not feeling crowded, not waiting in long lines, not needing to show up an hour early to get a seat for a show.  The boat was just maybe 60 pct full.   Life was slower, sort of how it probably was in Mississippi river travel days.

    The BAD:  I found the food disappointing.  Granted, older people don't eat much and I'd say the average age on the ship was 70something.  But for example, a chicken liver appetizer was only two pieces.  One night the starch side dish was fingerling potatoes cut up.  I don't think I even got the equivalent of one whole fingerling.  

    We had late dining, by choice.  Most of the folks at the 8 p.m. seating were there because the early dining was filled. For us, 5:15 is just too early for dinner.   The one dessert that really caught my eye beforehand was bananas foster.  Oops, they ran out by second seating.   Supposedly baked potatoes are available anytime but again, they ran out at late seating one night. 

    Now they do offer prime rib every night at the Front Porch buffet.  We had it on night 2 and it was great.  We went back on night 5.  The buffet runs until about 8 p.m. We checked about 7:10 pm and there was a big roast left.  We sat on the patio for  drink and some friends joined us.  We went back in at 7:35 and the whole big roast was gone and only two almost-well-done servings remained.  The roast wasn't  served; it was put away early.  

     Moreover, the circular warming trays in the buffet do not work well.  One night the cheesy potatoes were cold.  On two separate mornings the scrambled eggs were luke warm.  

     Simple things that we have come to expect on a larger ship were just not there.  One day at the sit-down lunch there was a guy near us who asked for a simple turkey sandwich.  No, it wasn't happening for him.  

    On the plus side, lobster is a choice most nights.  The tails are small but tasty.  

more later

   

 

 

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Totally fair assessment. We found the Front Porch staff at lunchtime very unresponsive at 1330 so 30 minutes before end of service and the only choice available couldn’t be eaten due to allergies the boat was aware of. We solved the problem by hitting room service instead (we had time that day)

 

Yes I never got Tennessee whiskey cake dessert on late seating as it was all gone. More annoying think I referenced before the group with tour manager, three large tables and all the senior restaurant staff always fluffing round them.  Well after we ate our second choices which were fine out comes plates of the said cake with much fanfare for these tables. 

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JUST A FEW MORE COMMENTS:

  Take bug spray.  Those pesky river mosquitoes seem to be everywhere.

  Do not worry if you have a disability.  There were plenty of cane carriers and walker users to keep  you company, and the boat has lots of golf carts to help you get to and from the HOHO buses.  

 Our favorite paid excursion was the B.B. King museum with lunch and live music.

 Our least favorite stop was Nottaway, which is sort of like No Wheres Ville.  Not even a town to visit, just one plantation.  

  We also enjoyed the working cotton plantation and gin in Natchez, though there isn't much cotton to see growing in June -- just 4 to 5 inch plants.  However, right across the street from where the boat lands is a bar called either Over the Hill or Under the Hill. (I can't remember which).   We were told it is the longest still-surviving saloon on the Mississippi River.  It was a neat old place.  

   That about wraps it up.  Enjoy

 

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Thanks for the reviews!  We are an extended family of 17 that are going on the American Queen on June 26 from NOL to Memphis.  We have 6 kids from age 6-20.  I know this is really not a family friendly cruise, but I was wondering if they have board games and pool or ping pong tables or anything to do besides the pool.  I sure hope we don't annoy all of the passengers!  Especially the 6 year old who is rather rambunctous!

 

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