When I landed in St. Louis I was picked up from some friends at the airport and we grabbed some fabulous BBQ before heading to the paddleboat. I keep calling it a ship but it’s a river boat. So you’ll have to forgive me in advance.
Queen of the Mississippi was docked just under the St. Louis arch, the nation’s tallest monument at 630 feet (thank you wiki).
Embarkation was nothing like what I’m used to boarding a cruise ship. It compared to my experience on Viking River Cruises last March in Amsterdam. The cruise director was standing at the gangway with a clipboard where he checked out my tickets that American Cruise Lines sent to me, took my luggage, my photo ID and gave me a run down of the on board happenings. Very flawless.
First impressions (as a passenger):
I was on Queen of the Mississippi for a couple hours for the inaugural celebration in Nashville, Tennessee last August, so I’ve been on the boat before. My first impressions as a passenger were about the same. It’s a very relaxing vibe, a few public areas, two public sun decks and a very open main dining room.
At 2:15 there was a welcome aboard reception where they gave us an introduction of the officers, some rules of the ship, amenities offered, dining times and went over all the excursions.
At 5:30 every evening there is a cocktail reception with light snacks. Included in the cocktail reception was an open bar with pretty much every type of liquor and wine you can think of. Tonight we had jumbo shrimp cocktails and a large selection of cheese and crackers as a pre-dinner snack.
To be honest I really didn’t know what to expect when it came to food service on the boat. Instead of eating lunch on the ship during embarkation I went to a St. Louis BBQ joint, so dinner was my first time eating on here. I was pleasantly surprised on how many options there were on the menu for the sit down breakfast, lunch and dinner.
So far the food is good and no complaints.
- Salad or gumbo
- Chicken, steak or fish
- Peach shortcake, chocolate cake or ice cream
- Wine/Beer is served with dinner complimentary
You won’t find casinos, bars or nightclubs on river cruises. Instead, you have regional entertainment, typically in one venue and one show per night. Tonight we had show tunes type show we a talented musician Dean Christopher. He sang a variety of songs, a lot from the rat pack. It lasted about an hour.
Listener question: What kinds of excursions are offered along the Mississippi River and are they included?
You’ll find that the river boat stops in a lot of small town USA type ports. The excursions primarily consist of local town tours and historic tours. For example in a couple days we are in Burlington, Iowa a couple of days and we have the option of doing a history tour of Fort Madison (dating back to the War of 1812) or doing a guided city tour. I love US History so I’ll be on the Fort Madison tour.
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