Number of Cruises: 2
Cruise Line: Delta Queen
Ship: American Queen
Sailing Date: July 19th, 2001
Itinerary: Cincinnati, Portsmouth, Hunington, Maysville, Cincinnati
Lazily steaming up the river in a rocking chair, tranquility all around, a sunset reflected by the blue waters of the Ohio, food and drink whenever you want, a crew who really cares about you, you are treated like you are somebody. Life doesn’t get much better than that.
My Parents and I boarded the Grand American Queen in Cincinnati, Ohio. Being as this was a great steamboat port, there already was something special about seeing an authentic steamboat sternwheeler moored at an angle, waiting for you to board. Except for the police cars, you could have sworn you were in the 1870’s.
Which brings me to my next point. At about 9am that morning, a taxi had been driving down to the landing to pick up a passenger, when the taxi wildly accelerated and plunged into the river, not 3 feet from where a porter was standing. My family had walkie-talkies and me and my mom had one, and my dad who was parking our car had another.
When our van arrived at the landing, a porter took our luggage for us, and my dad went to park our car. (In the Cincinnati public landing, you can’t leave your car there overnight) My Mom and I proceeded to her favorite area of deck space, the Front Porch of America. When we found a couple of rocking chairs and pulled them up to the railing, divers had already managed to get a hook from a tow truck hooked to the bumper of the taxi. Everyone who wasn’t already on the boat was told to stay back about 30 feet from where the tow truck was, just in case anything happened. And something did.
The tow truck had successfully managed to pull half the car up out of the water, and when the front tires of the car were about to emerge, the chain suspending the car snapped in half, and flew back. (After that, the car did get pulled out.)
Last year, I went on the same boat out of Pittsburgh, and the Riverlorian Clara was almost too nice to me, and so was one of the entertainers, Leah. They both recognized me when I walked by, and for the first time until the end of the cruise, made me feel important.
My family when we were back together again was dismayed that our waiter from last time wasn’t on board. But our new waiter while he wasn’t as friendly, was much more efficient. We always got our food much sooner than anyone else that we saw.
While waiting for a boat to leave, nothing happens, because all the bars are closed, the entertainment doesn’t start till after the boat leaves, me and my dad started noticing that our walkie-talkies were picking up the crew’s, so we listened to what they were saying.
At the 3pm calliope concert, the new calliopist gave me permission to play every time she did, and I took that opportunity. After playing my favorite song, my family went to our cabin, and made sure all our luggage was there. ***BE AWARE*** The porters take a long time to deliver all you luggage, such as that we dropped our suitcases off at 1:30 and they got to our stateroom at 6:00.
The boat departed, and the cruise began. I played the calliope, waved to a lot of people, then ate dinner in the J.M. White Dining Room. I stayed up and watched the boat from the front porch until shortly after our first locking. I went to sleep soon thereafter.
The Next day, I attended Clara’s talk about the river at 9:00am, then watched the boat land in Portsmouth. The landing of the boat took a while because the dock was blocked by one of the RiverBarge boats. We all got off, looked around, and looked at the murals along the Floodwall. It was just too hot. I went back to the boat and went swimming, then took a pilothouse tour, where you can tour inside the area where they steer the boat. Afterwards, I talked with one of the pilots, and he gave me many tips and advice for my new life goal and job. Leaving Portsmouth, I played the calliope, went swimming some more. During dinner that night, we went through a dam, so I had to rush off to play.
At about midnight, we tied up in Hunington, West Virginia. That morning, I attended the usual talk about the river, ate some breakfast and went off to town with my parents. We just walked around the Antique district, saw the local college, and it was already time for lunch!
The heat must bring out my strange appetites, because I had a lingering for tomato juice and catfish. Leah was playing the calliope today, and so we talked about what life was like living on a boat, what I had been doing this year, and a restaurant that she recommended.
I played the calliope again as we left, and then I played again at Calliope Capers where you can play a song and get a certificate. (NOTE: before I was the only other person allowed to play. At calliope capers, anyone who wanted to could) After Swimming for another hour, it was time to eat, and that night, the master of the boat was dining with us. The Next day [which was our last :-( ] I interviewed the captain, and he said mostly the same things as the other captain did. Sadly, I ate the last meal on the boat, and said goodbye to everybody, and stayed up until midnight watching the boat dock at Cincinnati. I was drinking my normal drink, which was Apple and Cinnamon tea with Three packets of sugar.
***I will now give a description of most areas on board the boat***
-The first area you walk into is the Mark Twain Gallery, and on either side is the Gentleman’s Card Room which is just a room with lots of wood and stuffed animals, and across the hall is the Ladies Parlor, where the wallpaper is pink, and there are hearts all over (yuck!)
-down he hall is the pursers lobby, which has the grand staircase, the pursers station, tour station and gift shop.
-down the grand stairway is the dining room, designed to look like the eating/entertainment center on an old steamboat.
-going aft, there is the grand saloon, which looks like a miniature opera house, and is. That’s where the evening entertainment and the riverlorian talks were held.
-up on the second deck is the balcony and boxes, which are occupied by first come-first serve.
-at the very aft section of the boat, there is the engine room bar where there are 6 portholes where you can watch the paddlewheel spin. Down one deck brings you to the Engine Room Viewing Area, where you can watch the steam engines.
-At the bow area of the third deck, the front porch of America is a place where you sit outside, and watch the river while on rocking chairs, and there is the inside area where there is fresh ice-cream and cookies and tea available around the clock.
-In the middle, there is a giant screen television, and several chairs, where you can watch films like “showboat” or “gone with the wind” or “Miss Congeniality” and “Remember the Titans”
- On the Fourth deck the very front section was closed off for 4/5’th of the time, because the smokestacks lower in the area.
-just aft there it the Chart Room which has a collection of maps, vintage photographs, and a fake pilot wheel that does not control anything, so you can pretend you’re piloting the boat.
-In the very aft section, there is a laundry facility -On the fifth deck, there is a place called the calliope bar where the calliope keyboard is housed, and a nice little bar is there to give you drinks. (NOTE: unless you’re like me and have to be at the calliope, it is EXTREMELY LOUD.) It is intended to have a hearing distance up to 5 miles away.
-Up half a deck is a small swimming pool that is heated SO nicely, so that at 10pm, it felt the same as 1pm.
-Right Next to the pool is the health club, which has 2 treadmills and 2 exercise bikes.
-On the 6’th and final deck, there is a couple of spaces that are covered by an awning with tables to sit on.
Overall the cruise rating out of 10 with 10 being the best and 1 the worst, I would rate it 10, or 11 if I could. The cruise was worth every penny put into it.