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Old 03-16-2008, 09:45 PM
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 793
Default Another great one...

Deb and I just got back from our annual March thaw-out cruise. This year, due to the Delta Queen not being out of lay-up, we locked in to doing an American Queen cruise. It was wonderful, really...quite a bit of the crew remembered us from last December.

The boat looked great, it was cleaner and "shinier" than our December AQ cruise, and along the way, every day the crew was painting something. The paddlewheel is a brighter shade of red now but it still seems not quite the right shade, this year it is a little orangey, where last year it was a bit more maroon. But the paddlewheel looks infinitly much better with this color than that mess last spring...

The company has also changed the menu, for the better, my opinion. Missing are the blue swan deserts, the lobster tails, the lunch cold cuts/sandwich fixin's and the ER bar Sara "Moldies", no more caviar or spinich ball stuff. Missing is the dinner salad lassoed into a tight circle via an inedible twig of rosemary. In their place are two soups every lunch, real salads, 4 o'clock munchies in the bar that are actually quite tasty and recognizable, a made to order omelet or waffle station every morning and all the southern food that we have grown to love... I ate way too much at the picnic. The menu is now a two page affair with the chef's personal recommendations, all courses, on the left side of the menu and all the remaining choices on the right. We found the menu much easier to read. A new afternoon snack is available at the Front Porch as two soup choices and cookies. However, the afternoon ER bar hotdogs are gone... popcorn DID come back though to the ERB. And, praise the Lord, there is now a REAL coffee maker, a huge urn type machine, in the Front Porch to offset the cappichino machine, definitely less stairs now for me to bring Mrs. Bruno her morning coffee.

Entertainment was fantastic. I personally had a bit of a time choosing between Phil Westbrook and Jackie Bankston and found myself bouncing a little between the two. We're partial to Phil's style of music and delivery, but I will admit that Jackie had me laughing, laughing hard, and I was amazed that she is (if you close your eyes) Anne Murray's double, and I love Anne Murray. But, Deb and I had a small issue with our luggage due to Atlanta weather on the way down, the result was Phil Westbrook wrote a song about the Krause's "luggageless" pain, to the tune of "Battle of New Orleans" which got added to, it got longer and funnier, every day that our luggage hadn't shown up. It's interesting that "our" song and "North to Paducah" are both adaptations of songs from the very same late 50's artist... Phil, you're a prince... If you've ever heard Phil's "North to Paducah" our luggage issue song was vaguely similar to that in content and humor... very funny stuff, and we were quite touched...And of course I heard Louie, Louie on the calliope again many times, and a bit of Steely Dan's "Peg"...thanks Phil, you made our days...

The Mississippi was very high, the Kidd was definitely floating, half the paperclip was under water and landing at St Francisville was a real issue similar to us landing the DQ at Grandview last summer. I felt bad for the deck crew at St Francisville, wet up to their thighs, the water must have been cold. The current was fast enough that it appeared that going downriver we didn't use the Z-drives, just the paddlewheel, but I'm not positive. And going down, boy were we movin'!

There were about 40 to 50 repeaters on board. The company gave us a nice reception with drinks and food, and we all told stories...the boat was pretty full with 335 on board...played bingo twice and Deb played a new game, "Match Game", very similar to the TV game of the 60's with small teams of passengers against the crew. Deb enjoyed it...

We stayed in 429 again, the same room we had in December. The one change to the rooms is that the company got rid of the weatherstation/alarm clocks and replaced them with these really nice analog alarm clocks, battery powered, that light up when you lift them up. So they are now quite useful, those other ones were just dumb...

Had an interesting trip home, 17 plus hours to get from the AQ's Front Porch to our front door. Atlanta was a mess with nasty storms...

Last edited by Bruno Krause; 03-17-2008 at 06:04 PM.
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