We booked both a pre-cruise stay in Memphis and a post-cruise stay in New Orleans. They were great. We made use of the trolley passes in Memphis and visited several of the included attractions. The Sheraton hotel in Memphis was very nice. We appreciated that we could check in for the cruise at the hotel. Great idea!
The cruise started out great. Soon we started to hear that guests were sick with a stomach flu. We got on the boat on Monday afternoon. By Wednesday morning I was sick. The EMT on board was very kind and helpful. He mentioned that he was called in to work because there were several people sick on board. I spent the next day and a half in my room sleeping. Not how I wanted to spend my vacation! My husband also missed shore excursions so he could check on me.
I recovered and resumed activities on the boat and shore excursions. As we talked to guests we heard of many people who were sick. The staff increased cleaning and the food service staff were serving all guests, no more help yourself. However, no one was enforcing the use of hand sanitizer. I am used to ocean cruising where every time you enter or leave a dining area or theatre they squirted sanitizer in your hands.
We got off the boat after 7 days. On our bus tour of New Orleans one of our fellow cruise passengers vomited on the bus. The next day my husband was sick with the same stomach flu. Obviously not enough was done on the boat to stop the germs. I contacted American Queen guest services when I got home. They only offered me a free upgrade and onboard credit for a future cruise. I requested a partial refund and have not heard from them. Not impressed with their guest services.
We did appreciate the Hop on Hop off bus at each of the stops on our trip. American Queen chose stops at interesting and historical places of interest. It was great that we could pick and choose which stops we wanted to visit and how long we wanted to stay at a stop. The Nottoway Plantation on the last day was beautiful and the tour was very informative.
We ate most of our meals in the front porch cafe. The staff were very nice and the food was good. We were scheduled to eat dinner at 7:45 pm in the main dining room but find this is too late to eat a large meal. We only at dinner in the main dining room once, on lobster night. The staff were very attentive and the food was good.
A highlight on board was the talk given by Lewis Hankins, acting as if he was Mark Twain. I also attended his second talk a couple of days later. I learned more about how funny Mark Twain was and some of his personal life. Excellent!
The swimming pool was tiny and it was too cold outside to swim. A better option for a small boat would be a hot tub.
Cabin was small but had everything we needed. The furniture reflected the theme of the boat.