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Old 03-25-2007, 01:51 PM
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 793
Default The News...

Deb and I got back yesterday evening from the inaugural DQ under Majestic America Line cruise. We had a ball, as we have come to sincerly appreciate. The weather was wonderful. Fellow dot.orgers Pat Traynor, Pat Carr, John and Carol Mullen, and Ginny and Ralph Rhynders were on board for great talks and good times as well as the most excited first time passengers we have ever seen... David Dewey and his lovely wife Linda.

In no particular order...

The Boat...
looks wonderful, god knows how many gallons of paint were applied. Deb and I have never seen her look quite this good for our March cruises. Even the hull shines, as was obvious when we rafted next to the unpainted hull of the AQ. Quite a bit of the varnished woodwork including the cabin doors has been refinished. They painted alot of the boat "just-in-time"; the deck was a little tacky and the paddlewheel got painted early Saturday morning. The only part of the exterior of the boat that looked a little sad was the deck surface of the fantail which is faded, quite old paint. And very little brass was shined. Though it was noted that the AQ's brass sparkled. The interior of the DQ looks the same except for a few missing items. I was told that the big brass double pot coffee maker was giving up the ghost and it was repalced with a capaccino machine. From the very first morning, even though the new machine was 'sposed to give regular plain coffee, it didn't. Matter of fact the crew loves the new machine, the passengers hated it and from that first morning soon urns of coffee where placed in the forward cabin lounge. Unfortunately the coffee was typically cool except very early in the morning. I was told that a new real coffee maker was going to be ordered. But the capaccino machine is staying. They also have brand new, very expensive pieces of wood on the bow ready to replace some of the more bashed in rub rails.


The Eagle...is gone. We were told it was gone for good because the eagle does not portray the image that Majestic America Line wants for the boat. The eagle currently is stored, in all places, Robin Street Wharf. The purple and white Majestic America Line sign board presently below the pilot house appears (to me) to be hastily applied and temporary. Gawd, I hope. The Majestic America Line signboard just looks sad...and tacky...

All other DQ signage is in place.

We are no longer "Steamboatin'". All items for sale and decorating the boat that had the DQSC logo or words were removed during or just after the Thanksgiving cruise last year. Now get this...all items with the word "steamboatin'" are being sold off as fast as possible at drastically reduced prices in the gift shop. The good side to that is that Deb and I made out like bandits on clothes. So in other words there is nothing left on the boat with the DQSC logo, little left with the "steamboatin'" terminology. Pens, matchbooks, stationary, even the instructions on the cabin walls explaining how to put your life vest on, are gone. The clock and barometer outside of the gift shop are gone. The "show where you live" map has been moved, basically out of sight.

Veteran crew on board. In the Orleans, Darryl is Maitre'D, Travis, Tory and Ortis were serving us. In NOLA Maurice came on board to say hi. The Riverboat Rhythm were on board with Walter, Tony, Jeff and Tom. Bob Stevens was cruise director. Bob Schad was also on board to help out. The entertainers were new: Brian Smith and Velda Jones. Lloyd was hotel manager and the chief purser was Paul Pennacchietti. Travis was the "discovery guide". Riverlorian is a verboten term. The pilot house was staffed with Captains Kenny Williams and Finley Frazier, the master being Captain Paul Thoeny. The gift shop was staffed by Pat Taylor. Herman was our cabin attendant. Michael kept us safe at night. Will Dorsey was there with his smile and attention to detail.

The boat did fine going up the quite high and rising Mississippi. The deck crew are mostly new and the stage was a little rough handled at times but the deck crew seems very eager and willing. I had a little treat as we backed out of the landing at Helena. Never seen the boat back up that distance before. She did OK considering all I've read about her handling "qualities". Also talked to Popeye Jones on the AQ for a bit, great to see a qualified veteran on her.

The cabins...and please keep in mind these are MY opinions...The new shower heads are wonderful, the towels fantastic. There were no "fluffy robes". They have installed automated Oregon Scientific clock/alarm/temperature/weather displays in all rooms. They sit on top of the dressers and are kind of fun to view, showing inside and outside temp. and humidity, the time and what the weather should be doing that day. The new mattress...are pillow top and very thick, and for me way too soft, but others told us how much they liked them. The new sheets are nice but had sorta a polyester feel to them. I'm sure they are pure cotton and I hope will soften up with washing. And here is something that I cannot fathom...the blue "soot" towels were nowhere in sight...Cabins are still turned down at night with a chocolate treat, the company changed suppliers of soap, shampoo and the like, which bothers me, we so enjoyed the old almond hand cream. The rooms also have an iron now, which made me laugh, and a magnifying makeup style mirror with swing arm hung on the wall next to the medicine cabinet. We also heard that the bunk rooms did not get the pillow top mattresses as they were too thick/high to work with the limited space. The mattresses arrived Friday afternoon before the cruise, again just in time. The little lace curtains on the windows of the upper deck cabins are gone.

Activities...we did bingo twice. We did not do sing along because new song books had not arrived. No kite flying, its gone for good, no trivia. The Captain's reception and dinner were combined into one, done the last night, which was strange. The captain's dinner no longer does second line, calliope certificates, nor was there any of the "Aurora Effect" fun. We had the picnic but was told it was temporary, they are eliminating it. I will truly miss Mike Gentry giving out the Vox Calliopus awards and the Aurora Effect silliness. Tony did do the colored light calliope concert. There was no lounge singing at night, no music at dinner, no music at the picnic. Pat Taylor, bless her heart, did late night piano in the Texas one night, marvelous. Discovery Guide talks were typically done in the Orleans, which makes no sense to me at all.

And I find this disturbing but expected...there was NO aknowledgement of frequent floater repeaters...no pins, no party, no certificate...

The food...much smaller portions, which quite frankly I'm thrilled about. Very, very little southern or "river" food, which was very disappointing. Bread pudding on only one night. The food was beautifully presented but a little too fancy for me.

The boat was basically full, alot of passengers had booked via the two-fer flyer sent out earlier. Also free airport transfers to and from the boat this year.

Another thing, the DQ is a ship, not a boat. I'm sorry, I refuse...and the AQ's exterior has been toned down a bit. All of her gold medalions on her sides have been removed and a good portion of her sides are now dark blue. She looked strange to me as we pulled up to her in Natchez.

Though a lot of the crew was new, the feeling, the aura of the crew was the same. They were the same friendly, happy family Deb and I love. I guess you can take NOLA out of the boat but you can't take NOLA out of the crew.

I hope others that were on board will post their observations, too.

Bruno and Debbie Krause

Last edited by Bruno Krause; 03-26-2007 at 10:37 AM.
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