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David Dewey 12-23-2007 12:56 PM

OK, Reunion Cruise is over, reports please!
HI all,
OK, the trip is over, now let us hear about it!! Inquiring & snoopy minds want to know! NOW!! :)
David D.

Bruno Krause 12-24-2007 01:57 PM


Deb and I are internet challenged right now, thank the gods for my office machine or I would be getting the shakes right about now.

Anyways, I'll wait untill my satellite dish is fixed to give the forum a full report. Anybody else that wants to chime in, that would be great.

I will say that she is beautiful boat if not a tad big, with wonderful entertainment. There were enough DQ employees aboard to make it special and very second familyish, if you catch my drift. She ain't no DQ but she does have her special, unique charms. Yes, we are planning to cruise her again. And it was wonderful seeing old friends and making new friends with fellow dot.orgers, the Bear and the Redhead.

We had a great, great time...and for you out there that know the story, I got to hear Louie, Louie on the calliope again!


Miss Alice 12-29-2007 12:52 PM

Cpt Buddy and I were on board for t he reunion. He was the guest lecturer, and we had a wonderful time. There were a large number on board who we had traveled with before, and we received a very ward welcome. Jim and Tracy did a wonderful job with entertainmrnt. Lewis Hankins (aka Mark Twain) was there, also. Needless to say, he was great. Thanks to all of you posters out there for making our cruise woderful. We miss you all. Miss Alice

Bear 12-29-2007 02:25 PM

The wandering trip is over and the Redhead and I have arrived home safely.
I am rarely at a loss for words but the reunion cruise on the AQ almost defies description. It just kept getting better and better as the week progressed. I just made an unsuccessful attempt to determine when my first trip on the DQ was but it has been awhile. What I remember most is the entertainment provided by Bud Black, Jazzou Jones, Bob Schadd (Yes Jazzou and Bob were young once), Phyllis Dale (She never ages) and a good house band. This trip came as close as possiible to recreating that era.

The scheduled entertainment was good but the real action came in the lounges and Phyllis' Night Owl Club was revived. There were various combinations of Jazzou, Bob, Phyllis, Paul Penta, Phil Westbrook, Gabe and Cindy Chengary and as a special treat: Mom Prater on the piano. Outstanding! It was an incredible treat. I had tried to describe these sessions to the Redhead without success for years but now she knows.
Mark Twain was a special treat and as always held the audience in the palm of his hand.

I usually try to maintain a pretty low profile but at the show on the first evening, Phil Westbrook had the houselights turned up and identified "the Bear and the Redhead" to the group at the request of a certain person. (Bruno, I don't get mad, I get even.) The end result was that over the week, I met a lot of folks and had a great time with them. In Vicksburg, we found a small locals coffee shop and were way in the back at the table with a group of locals when someone walked up and asked: "Are you the Bear?" There was no escaping notoriety. I was especially honored to meet Jazzou's wife Diane and be able to chat with her. She is a remarkable woman and appears to be in much better health. If anyone doesn't know Pat Carr, she is a wonderful lady and kept me laughing the whole trip. Yes, that is my elbow that repeatedly got into the DVD.

Capt Buddy and Miss Alice are the epitomy of Southern Grace and Class.
His stories of people and events on and off the river were wonderful.

I found the crew friendly and really trying hard to make the cruise a good one. They even had a sense of humor. The first time we left the boat, we found that my pass had the Redhead's photo and her pass didn't have a photo. We went to the purser and they fixed it by putting my picture on her pass. Gotta love it. The food ranged from good to excellent and service was pretty good.

The one major disappointment was when Phyllis announced the dates of next year's reunion cruise. It appears that there is no way we can make it due to other commitments. But, we should be retired by Jan 2009 and then bring the reunions on.


Bruno Krause 01-01-2008 10:02 AM

Ok, I gotta add a bit to this...yesterday, we had a brand new transmitter head installed on our satellite dish, and thankfully we are no longer challenged.

We had a great time. I think the thing that really got to us is that the crew, which was made up with quite a few present and former DQ crew, went out of their way to seek us out and to make Deb and me feel comfortable. There are also AQ crew that have siblings working on the DQ and they had been "warned" ahead of time that Deb and me were going to be on board and to seek us out. Wonderful, wonderful people.

The entertainment was in a word, [B][I]INCREDIBLE[/I][/B] and Deb and I had a problem toward the last few nights of the cruise as to whether we were to go to Phyllis's entertainment, or in the case of the Pajama Party, whether to go to Phil Westbrook's entertainment in the Engine Room Bar as he specifically asked us to be there, the theme being "Couples" and how they came to meet...Between Bob Schad, Jazzou, Phil Westbrook, Lewis Hankins doing Twain, always fantastic, and Ed Taylor with his wonderful Cajun humor, and Gabe and Cindy and of course Helen Prater, there was [B][I]ALWAYS[/I][/B] something fantastic going on (dontcha just go crazy hearing "Dill Pickles"? And Helen doing Glenn Miller, mmm, mmm, yummy). But the one entertainer that should get a standing ovation in my mind was Paul Penta as he was a mere humble paying passenger, yet he went out of his way to provide his talents, for free, zilch, nada. I've never heard "Do you know what it means to miss New Orleans" done as torch before, wonderful stuff, and Paul, yes, it's still there inside my head. Phil, your "Louie, Louie", twice I might add, was just great, you made me smile, and if anybody hasn't heard the story/song "North to Paducah" that Phil does, its very funny, funny stuff, and great recent steamboat "history". And Phil also did a show, "By Request", that just knocked Deb's and my socks off. And it was curious to us that Bobby Durham's band sounded so much better, richer, fuller, warmer in the Grand Saloon than down in the Orleans...somebody at the Captain's Bar played the Delta Queen Waltz, I forgot who, I had to leave...same with Phyllis's "Ohio", awful misty all of a sudden...

The food was good, and better than earlier this year, definitely more "southern" choices are now available. It was nice to have two soup selections at lunch again. And it was nice to have salads again that looked like salads should, at least most nights. And it was nice to have two mornings with made to order omelets. But some of the bar hors d'ouevres (lovingly referred to as "Sara Moldies") were still quite silly (come on, spinach balls? pluheeasse...and you can deep six anything with caviar, OK?), though in all fairness all weren't as silly as they were on the DQ the first half of the season. Deb and I didn't care for the semi-assigned seating at breakfast and lunch... And of course I gained 5 pounds...

The boat itself is lovely, very tastefully decorated, you could spend a whole day just studying the gorgous antiques. Our room (an E) was huge in comparison to what we are used to on the DQ, yet clothes storage was about the same or even a little less than our beloved DQ "G". One of the things that got to Deb and me is that the boat has so many "hidy holes" as Deb calls them, that we would lose each other for long periods of time. And the stairs up to our room on deck 4 got to be a bit much, especially bringing coffee up to Deb in the morning. The AQ is smoother than the DQ underway, the only vibration I felt was in the Engine Room Bar. The other thing that can sneak up on you is how gawd awful big she an example when we docked at the Paper Clip in Baton Rouge the back half of the Kidd was right in front of our stateroom door! Getting to and from places takes a bit more time.

And now the rest of the story to my new friend the Bear...The first afternoon after Phil played Louie, Louie for me on the calliope (which is a lot LOUDER than the DQ's, why is that?) that was obviously warmth challenged with sour cold whistles, I asked Phil if he knew you and the Redhead, which he said he did, and would he please point you two out to me and Deb, as I didn't want the same thing that happened in March to happen again. The next thing I know, that night everybody is coming into the Engine Room Bar after the show (Deb and I skipped the first night's Grand Saloon entertainment) saying how the entertainers had turned up the house lights and asked where you two and Deb and I were in the crowd.[B][I]"EVERYBODY IS LOOKING FOR YOU"[/I][/B]. Say what? We obviously weren't there, a tad embarrasing, oh well...That was all Phil's doing, not exactly what we had intended. Deb was all "we should have gone, if we only had known he was going to do that, we should have been there..."

The American Queen is a lovely, charming, warm boat...She ain't no DQ, but she's a great second choice and she does indeed have her many, many charms. We would cruise on her again in a heartbeat...

Paul Penta 01-03-2008 11:59 AM

Hi Bruno,

Thanks so much for the nice things you said. For me it was not too much of a stretch to sit in with my steamboatin' brother and sister entertainers. They knew that I would have gone nuts if they hadn't asked me to perform.

To tell you the truth, at home when I go to the refrigerator to get a drink, as soon as the light comes on, I do twenty minutes of my best material, immediately.

For me, the trip was everything I wanted it to be. Mainly a chance to visit with the entertainers and crew that are still so much a part of my life. And when I saw that it was a Phyllis Dale Reunion cruise, I knew I'd get the added benefit of seeing old friends and making a couple of new ones, too.

And, of course, it was nice to see my first steamboat again.


Elaine Santangelo 01-05-2008 10:19 AM

Wow- you do make me sorry I missed it but mainly because of what you said about the entertainers.

When I first started working on the boats, I was awed by the entertainment staff almost as much as the boats themselves. There was a sense of being invited to their personal parties regardless of which boat it was.

Years ago (when I was young and single) I had gone on a week long cruise to the Bahamas. Sure, I had fun although I doubt that I was truly sober the entire time. But, what I recall of the shows was a big business type of show.

I think that many other crew members get their cue from the entertainers as far as personal interaction with the guests. And while there is a certain amount of discouragement from being too familiar in most service businesses, the steamboats seem to encourage a true family atmosphere.

I am way behind in reading everything else because I have also had some computer issues plus I have been dealing with so many other issues. I did spend New Year's Eve discussing my procrastination on my book that several at the party had already read my Staples printed copy. They wanted to know when I was booking my trip so they could see about booking theirs. Since I had not talked to some of these friends in quite a while, it was interesting to me that my life of various other accomplishments had now been simply noted as that crazy Italian gal who abandon her conventional life and went to work on steamboats.

Well, I am way behind on some other stuff too and no time to read more. Happy 2008! I still believe that whether the DQ gets an exemption will be determined by how successful the rest of the business is for MAL. I am watching the airline industry cut flights and use smaller planes on most routes except overseas travel when big birds rule the skies. It is the same principles as the steamboats.

Carmen 01-05-2008 10:39 AM

Phyllis has uploaded photos of the Reunion cruise



Bruno Krause 01-08-2008 09:04 PM

2 Attachment(s)
A few more pictures. The first is our home away from home. The picture does a good (a bad?) job of showing off the new royal blue paint scheme. Note the changes to the stage signboards. Our stateroom was next to top deck, this side, halfway back. The second is stateroom 429, our sleeping spot. Notice David Dewey's incredible gift to me and Deb, our personalised name plaque to the left of the french doors. And yes, you can open both doors, sit on your bed in the wee hours, drink coffee and watch the river pass by, wonderful stuff.

Bruno Krause 01-08-2008 09:13 PM

2 Attachment(s)
A few more. This was Phil Westbrook doing his incredible "By Request" show, with Bobby Durham's band and Rosalinda. If you even remotely like Sinatra, you gotta see and hear Phil's show. The second is of the two good friends performing together, Phil and Paul Penta, in the Engine Room Bar. Notice behind the two guys, if they had been clean, the 2 windows, out of a total of 6, are real interesting...they look directly onto the top 1/3 of the paddlewheel, should be quite a sight with the windows clean and the boat moving. The paddlewheel is lit up with a multitude of spotlights to enhance just this effect at night.

If you look real carefully, there is a "Save the DELTA QUEEN" button up on the motorcycle Santa above Paul's shoulder in the second pic. Who put that there? :-)

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