Hi. My father (85 years old) would like to take the paddleboat along the Mississippi. The former company was the Delta Queen. It has been recently purchased by Majestic Cruise Lines. Has anyone worked with this company? Any observations, suggestions, etc., as to the cruise for an active 85 year old? Has anyone travelled with them since they changed hands?
Hi DJ0975. Thanks for the input. Do you know how long ago they purchased the line from the Delta Queen? We have so far found one change with his program. He was scheduled to go on one boat and booked it. They just got back to the travel agent to say the boat will now be in dry dock. Now, they supposedly have to rebook over 200 people. It was a little disappointing for him because air and travel plans had already been made. The line will be compensating passangers for the difference in airfare. I would have thought they would have known when their boat was to go into dry dock. The good news is that he is scheduled to go about one week early on another boat they have. Hopefully this will be the only inconvenience.
I don't know much about the new owners, but I can tell you that I cruised on The American Queen when it was still operated by Delta Queen and the boat is lovely. This wasn't my first choice, to be honest, but since it was sort of a family reunion thing, majority ruled. So I went with low expectations and it ended up being a wonderful trip. It's different from an ocean cruise...the pace, both of the boat going upriver and life onboard, is very slow. But if you're up for a relaxing vacation, it's terrific. The scenery changes with every bend in the river, and you could sit for hours on one of the shaded decks, just watching the river go by. The service and the food was excellent. We went from New Orleans upriver as far as Vicksburg with stops at Oak Alley, Baton Rouge and Natchez and back. The shore excursions, particularly the visit to the Vicksburg battlefield, were terrific.
If your Dad is a history buff and enjoys a slow, relaxed pace, he may very much enjoy this trip. As I said, I don't know much about Majestic. I know that the American Queen was mothballed after Katrina and I was heartbroken, so I was happy to see that the line had been bought. Also, please note that the Delta Queen is much smaller than the American Queen and the Mississippi Queen. Given my choice, I would choose one of the larger boats.
Hi fredhashway: Thanks for the information. He will be on the Mississippi Queen, one of the larger boats. He was scheduled for the smaller boat but they decided to dry dock it at the last minute! (then the staff had to reschedule all of the passengers. It took over a month. My father's trip is now finished but it took some time.) Yes, he is a history buff. I think this slow pace will be nice for him and also nice because he is travelling alone. I really haven't heard too much feedback since the line was sold either. Glad to hear you had a great experience.
Fredhashway: Thanks for the vote of confidence. I did check and he will be on the American Queen. How is that boat? The trip will go from New Orleans to Memphis. The stops look wonderful and very historic. We haven't received any information on pricing of some of the day tours. Do you remember the costs (an idea)? We really want him to enjoy himself. Also, with the tours, do you remember the types of tours (ie walking, hiking, etc.) Thanks.
Oh yay! The American Queen is a beautiful boat! The best part of it (and tell him now, so it doesn't take him til the middle of the cruise to discover it) is a spot at the front of the boat on the highest covered deck (I think it's the Texas Deck) called "The Front Porch of America". It's a large, shaded area with an unimpeded view and a wealth of tables and chairs, lounges and even porch swings. Just behind it there's a little self-serve area with coffee, tea, lemonade and snacks. My stateroom was just a couple of doors down from the Front Porch and I used to go out in my jammies in the AM (which was encouraged, as it is casual) grab a cup of coffee and sit in a swing to watch the river roll by. In the heat of the afternoon, there was always a breeze here and it was the perfect spot to sit with a book.
The theatre is beautiful on this boat, too, and at least when I went, the shows were first-rate. I work in the entertainment industry and I'm a tough judge...I skip the shows on most cruises, so that's saying something.
The AQ also has a small pool, something the smaller boat lacks. If your father enjoys history, he'll probably enjoy the "Riverlorian". Unless they've changed this, every boat has a historian with a speciality in Mississippi River history, onboard. They give lectures every day, often about whatever port is next, and if you don't attend in person, you can listen in from the radio in your stateroom.
The shore excursions were marvelous. I don't honestly remember how much they cost. But the ones I was on certainly took into consideration the impaired mobility issues of many people on the boat. Lots of tours are on a tour bus with some walking with the option to explore further on your own. The cruiseline should be able to guide you as to what would best fit your dad's abilities. We toured Oak Alley Plantation (the boat docks right in front of the plantation, and then there's a longest walk down the famous corridor of oaks). We also made a plantation stop in St. Francisville and, I believe, had a nice lunch there. I didn't opt for a shore excursion in Baton Rouge, but walked to the USS Kidd which is a floating museum...if your dad is a WWII buff and can manage walking around a small ship, he might enjoy this. In Natchez we took a historic homes and gardens tour which bussed us to a couple of different antebellum homes...very nice. In Vicksburg, we took a shore excursion to the Battlefield by bus (with some walking around time on our own) and I would class this as a "must see".
The food was terrific...lots of "Old South" specialties. Oh, and there is a steam calliope on the back of the boat and at certain times, they'll play it. If your dad plays piano, even a little, they'll let him give it a try. They also used to bring out kites on one afternoon, to fly off the stern of the boat. Sounds hokey, but it was a lot of fun and very relaxing. I mean, honestly, how many years has it been since you've flown a kite?
I'm betting your dad will have a marvelous time. I certainly hope so.
Fredhashway. Oh my....that was a beautiful response. I read it to my Dad and he was so excited. We got the map of the boat and found the Front Porch of America. He is on the deck above it. He is planning to do all of the tours. You really helped both of us with a comfort level concerning the tours and the boat. I did tell him that he couldn't go out in his Jammies though! I was concerned he might think he could wear them around the boat the whole time! (He just laughed!)
Your reponse serves as a great reason we have these LL boards. Your descriptions and comments were more than I could have received from other sources. Thank you from both of us!
You're so welcome! Your post made my day. I only wish my Dad was still around when we took this cruise. He'd have loved it, but he died the year before. And since he was one of the great ones, I have a soft spot for dads in general. I'm smiling thinking about your dad and this trip. Please make sure to post here after your dad returns from the cruise. I'd love to hear all about it. And please give him a big Bon Voyage from me!