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First-Timer's Report on Delta Queen

 
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Old 03-31-2007, 09:54 AM
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: San Diego
Posts: 42
Default First-Timer's Report on Delta Queen

On Monday, we just returned from our 7-day cruise up the Mississippi from New Orleans to Memphis on board the Delta Queen. Overall, we really enjoyed ourselves, although Carolynn picked up some kind of bug and spent the entire first day in bed. There were lots of good things to say about the cruise, and, unfortunately, some not so good stuff, too.

THE GOOD STUFF

1) The "meet & greet" at the New Orleans Airport was quick and efficient. Within about 10 minutes of getting our last bags at baggage claim, we were on the bus. Quick, informative trip to the dock, and we were on board. Our luggage was in our room when we eventually got up there.

2) The entire crew was friendly and courteous (but didn’t necessarily work very efficiently - see below)

3) The cruise, as a whole, was what I expected. Very relaxing atmosphere on a classic river boat.

4) The entertainment (4-piece band and a male & a female singer) was very good. The cruise director also played the banjo and sang a bit. The band and singers were perfectly balanced in that neither overpowered the other. Nice selection of music.

5) The engine room crew were really outstanding. Being a museum steam locomotive engineer, I was quite interested in the differences between a locomotive and a river boat. All the crew there was very helpful and seemed glad to answer my questions. Several of them were recent graduates of maritime academies, and I was really happy to see young people interested in reciprocating steam power. Outside of the military, there is very little steam propulsion left in the world, especially of the reciprocating type.

6) Travis, the Discovery Guide (nee Riverlorian) was excellent. He had lots of knowledge, and was very good at his presentations.

7) The shore excursions were quite informative, but see below.

8) The boat itself, was great.

9) Perfect weather.



THE NOT SO GOOD STUFF

1) When we made our reservations last May, we requested early seating for dinner, with the other couple that was traveling with us. When we were given our boarding cards after we got on board, we found that we were not at the same table with the other couple. The maitre’d changed that for us. But, what we didn’t notice at the time was that we were at the "main" seating. On the other cruises we’ve been on (Royal Caribbean and Celebrity) the "main seating" was the early seating. But, on the DQ, the main seating was the second seating. We managed, but this was not what we had asked for.

2) We about froze in our cabin. The only control for temperature is to turn the HVAC register "open" or "closed." Even with it "closed " the entire trip, the room temperature rarely got above 65. And that was in the afternoon, when we opened the door to let the sun shine in. Several complaints to the purser got neither action nor explanation.

3) Our toilet leaked. Water oozed out between the base of the toilet and the deck (floor). The water spread from the toilet to the bathroom door. We asked the room steward for an extra bath mat to soak up the water, and he brought one, but never changed it, so it was pretty wet by the end of the trip. Not a real pleasant thing to put your bare feet on in the middle of the night. This was also reported to the purser, and someone came up and took a look at it, but nothing was ever done.

4) We were greatly disappointed when we received our itineraries the week before departure. We weren’t arriving at any of the scheduled stops until noon. That made the shore excursions rushed, and didn’t leave any time for exploring on our own.

5) Because of the cold cabin my wife asked for an extra comforter for her bed. That was provided, but for some reason, two of our three comforters were removed from the beds on Friday. That night, I found them rolled up under my bed, but they were WET! All we could think of was that they have been taken away to be washed, and were not completely dried. ???

6) The dining experience wasn’t all that great, especially after reading Majestic America’s press release about how great it was supposed to be. The food was good, but certainly not great. The service was poor, and I don’t mean slow (what’s the rush, we aren’t going any where). A couple of examples: At our first dinner, I ordered a glass of wine when we were first seated. It arrived about half-way through the main course. At another meal, we had prime rib with a baked potato. Nobody arrived with the sour cream, etc, for the potato until we were just about finished eating. The dining room was very noisy.

From what I heard, there were two seatings, not because the dining room couldn’t fit everyone in, but because the kitchen (galley) was too small to turn out all that food at once. So, actually the two seatings over-lapped a bit. More wait staff wouldn’t have helped, because they seemed to be running in to each other as it was. Here’s a suggestion. Instead of two seatings (at 5:45 and 7:15), do like the old railroads did in the dining cars. Have smaller groups of people seated at shorter intervals, like 5:45, 6:15; 6:45 and 7:15. That should help out the kitchen, the wait staff, and the noise level.

7) The deck chair (rocker) outside our cabin was broken. I reported this to a deck hand who said he’d take care of it. The next day he said that he told his boss he was going to fix it, but the boss said that this wasn’t his job. Someone else would do it. It never got fixed.

8) Majestic America’s web site says that every cabin features "sumptuous robes." There were no robes in our cabin (not that we really needed them, anyway).

Hopefully, these problems can be traced to the fact that this was the first cruise of the year, and the first one under Majestic America’s ownership. But......
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