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Old 09-16-2009, 01:28 PM
Jo Ann Schoen Jo Ann Schoen is offline
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: Mile 639 is where I grew up
Posts: 609
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Sorry Dave, been busy catching up at work. A quick run down.

Some started arriving early in the week, like Tuesday and Wednesday. But I guess the majority of us got there on Thursday, except a few even arrived on Friday and left on Sunday. Most left on Monday, but one couple wasn't leaving until Tuesday. As many arrived a whistle salute was given.

It was good to be aboard. Almost like old times, except there was only two crew members there, Bob Stevens and Jennifer Lemmon. Bob performed several times including in the Texas Lounge and after dinner on Sunday night. His performance Sunday night was especially wonderful as he dedicated many songs to previous entertainers who had performed on the boat over the years. As you may know Jennifer is no longer employed on the boat. She was the "last steamboater standing". She had come back just to be with us and relax. But if you know Jennifer "relax" is not in her vocabulary. She was called up several times to "help out", which she did with a very willing heart.

Most of the new staff went out of their way to make sure we had a nice experience. I must admit that they are still working out bugs for a few things. It seems we were the first big group who came to stay for more than a night or two. I also must say though - having visited aboard a few times over the last few months that the staff that is there has become somewhat like the old crew. They seem geniunely glad to see you and are thankful to be able to work aboard this wonderful piece of history.

Thursday evening was a welcome aboard cocktail party, and a professional photographer was aboard to capture the moment. We have a wonderful group picture on the bow. Dinner was then served in the Orleans Room with a local guy playing his guitar and singing to us as we ate.

Friday morning we boarded what appeared to be a brand new bus to have a city tour. Our speaker, Charlie Pierce has chosen the right profession. He was very informative and kept things moving along - telling jokes along the way. We lunched at the Chattanooga Choo Choo, which was delicious. Some headed back to the boat, others to shop and a few of us took another bus to the Chickamauga Battleground with Charlie as our guide again. That man talked all day and didn't run down!

Friday evening we had the option of purchasing a pasta bar in the Orleans Room, which was of course, buffett style. It was very tasty.

Saturday we were on our own. A few took the opportunity to take an all day train ride. Eleven of us took the 5:00 p.m. River Explorer Aquarium boat ride up the Gorge. We rode the River Taxi across the river and boarded on the South Shore. The 5:00 p.m. ride allows for three hours rather than the usual 2 hours. I would fully recommend this for tourists of any age. The boat is unbelievable and the scenery is unsurpassed. They have a young man who gives talks and answers questions. And because they had a bunch of steamboaters on board they went over to the North Shore right up to the DELTA QUEEN so we could get good pictures.

After a small mix up in getting dinner on the South Shore after our River Explorer ride, the kitchen staff was able to come up with a quick buffett for us with left overs from another dinner being served in the Texas for a small private party. We were most appreciative and collected enough to help defray costs and tip the staff.

There was a dinner and show in the Orleans Room on Saturday night for those that wanted to do that. The entertainment was the Red Hot Dixieland Band (I think that was their name). The had a lengthy performance and those that attended said they were VERY good.

Sunday started with the usual church service in the Texas with Brother Bob as the minister and fine pianist Barbara Hameister. Again, a day on our own, some of which took the opportunity to ride the "Ducks", which again because of several steamboaters on board came right over and up close for better picture taking.

Sunday evening was our Farewell Dinner. Captain Phillips gave a few comments afterwards - which were very entertaining. More on that at another time. After dinner we had the usual calliope concert with colored steam (the aurora effect - ooooooo).

An award was presented to Barbara Hameister for her undying dedication to the DELTA QUEEN in her continued support and volunteerism. Barbara has spent many hours shining brass, cleaning up rust spots, repainting, and even cleaning the insulation on the engines to name only a few of her chores.

The boat is bright and shiny on the outside, due to a new coat of white paint since arriving in Chattanooga. She has freshly painted decks of green, which are green and not black, since there is no soot. The cabin attendants work all day making up rooms and vaccuming and vaccuming some more. The public areas are kept very nice.

We did have other whistle blowing on occasion and some impromptu calliope concerts, since we had brought our own calliopist with Barb and Kathy Lake being aboard.

Charlene Corris did a supurb job of getting this all together. There is talk of doing this again. Having been onboard when no other steamboaters were around I can tell you this was much more enjoyable.

Hope this helps fill the void. Of course, all weekend long we missed crew members and fellow steamboaters. We had a few impromptu show and tell sessions and were constantly talking about old times and telling stories of other "trips". We did receive "Steamboating Certificates" for another trip. Everything these days say "Delta Queen Steamboat Company" with the old logo. We even had a one page "Steamboating Times" in our cabin upon arrival along with a welcome aboard treat.

The gift shop is open - but it is stocked with items mostly left over from Majestic America Line days. There are fresh flowers in various places and the tables were always set nice for the dinners which was served on the usual dinnerware with white or burgundy napkins - not black ones! Weather couldn't have been better. It did rain on Monday morning as were leaving. Barb and I thought the skies were crying because we had to leave the DELTA QUEEN!

Okay really have to end this now - work calleth. Excuse the grammer and spelling errors.
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