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-   -   Report on recent AQ trip,,,finally (http://www.steamboats.org/forum/river-talk-cruises/5718-report-recent-aq-trip-finally.html)

Richard Reiff 08-16-2017 02:14 PM

Report on recent AQ trip,,,finally
 
3 Attachment(s)
Well, its been a week since returning from our rerouted (see Judy Patch comments on the other forum) AQ trip. Was supposed be a RT Red Wing to Dubuque and return, but due to high water the boat was stuck south of Alton (actually the Railroad Bridge at Hannibal was the culprit) so the previous trip, which was to be Alton to Red Wing, turn out to be a RT Alton as reported elsewhere. Although we know something was wrong, a call to AQSC a week before our trip provided no firm information as at that time the river was still too high to pass Hannibal. 3 days before our departure we received the official notice from AQSC that our trip was now scheduled to depart St Louis (Alton) instead of St Paul, but the good news is they paid for airline changes and fees. (in fact, our refund check arrived yesterday). Since we last traveled on the AQ in 2016, tear there have been quite a few minor cosmetic changes, most for the better. I will post a few photos on this and some follow up postings.

First major change I noticed upon boarding was new flooring on the 3rd deck. From 6 feet it looks like fake wood decking, but it is really a good, solid coating that is virtually skid proof, even when wet. When compared to the grey coating on upper decks this was a real safety plus, and looked fine once you got used to the solid wood like color. See photos. then to next post./

Richard Reiff 08-16-2017 02:17 PM

More changes
 
3 Attachment(s)
The inside dining area of the "Front Porch" has received new furniture, sorry some of the photos are blurred a bit. Looks a lot classier than before, but still a bit crowded especially the one day when it was windy.

Overall the new 3rd deck flooring and improved dining area on the front porch are nice improvements.

Richard Reiff 08-16-2017 02:22 PM

Nice railing upgrade
 
3 Attachment(s)
I don't remember the railing last year, but it seems that they have replaced it with polish wood, really looks nice, smooth to touch and hold when moving along the deck.

3rd photo, this was a change we noticed last year. Something is missing from the entryway to the Mark Twain Lounge....Answer and photo in the next post.

Richard Reiff 08-16-2017 02:27 PM

What is missing, change to 5th deck, stern bar area
 
3 Attachment(s)
Them moved the large water cistern from the entryway to a side wall in the Mark Twain lounge. Probably too many people bumping into it after getting back on from the shore excursions?


Lots of changes to the Calliope end of the boat. They have redone the back bar, which in the past saw little use on our trips. The redone keyboard frame (same location, just new panels) matches the paneling around the bar. When not open, the bar has fold down panels that close off the liquor area, protecting it from weather and thirsty fingers.

Richard Reiff 08-16-2017 02:43 PM

last few notes
 
3 Attachment(s)
Other changes planned for next year include eliminating a few more of the inside single rooms by knocking down the wall to the adjoining standard room to make more suites., I think they already converted a few this year.

On one hand it is nice to see that business is so good that they can do this, apparently the demand for suites is growing beyond what is available. The downside, of course, is that this eliminates some lower cost rooms that us steamboaters often need to use due to budget restrictions. The fewer "very low cost" rooms makes for fewer "low cost rooms" available for all. I use the terms "low cost" and "very low cost" loosely, looking at rates even the lowest cost is high by older steamboat standards.

A few last photos:

Not sure if this is normal, but at Clinton, IA the stern was tied onto a large water truck parked on top of the levee. You can just see the truck on the left side of the second photo. Glad they remembered to release the line otherwise I believe we have dragged that truck down and along the levee!

Last photo shows the lowered stack just clearing the railroad bridge at Hannibal, always seems less clearance that what is there, but it was close.


Final words: Great trip, and in answer to Judy Patsch's comments on the other forum. The schedule was great, we had one full day of Steamboatin', and all but one stop was 4 hours so we had lots of river running time on the other days. In fact, we had more "just plain watching the river go by" time than any other trip we have been on.

Lastly, on the last day my recent Kidney stone removal procedure seemed to show that something was still there and I had to forgo the final dinner and show. The AQ staff noticed my wife was alone and kept asking if everything was OK, did I need help, etc. The dinning crew fixed up a bowl of broth and some fruit and delivered it to our door without even asking...a great "thank you" to a wonderful staff.

Judy Patsch 08-16-2017 10:20 PM

Fourth try to post reply grrr
 
Glad you had a good time and cruised a lot. I was down at the I-280 bridge to watch the clearance and then followed the boat up to the lock. I didn't see anyone on deck, as I think it was about midnight. As to the garbage truck holding the stern line in Clinton, yes that is the usual procedure there. Incidentally your railing pictures were taken in Clinton too, as the lighthouses are always a dead giveaway - no other river city I've visited has them. Did you get to the Sawmill Museum or the windmill in Fulton?

Richard Reiff 08-17-2017 11:47 AM

Hi Judy:
We did the sawmill museum, very interesting. Also happy that it contained somewhat (for me) new information, having spent high school in the Chicago area we never learned much about the timber industry in Iowa/along the Mississippi River. I guess since it didn't in involve Abe Lincoln or the Chicago area economy it didn't matter?
Anyway, we skipped the windmill in favor of the other museums in town, all interesting and had some things on display that I have heard of or seen pictures, but I had never seen the actual object until the tour.

I was out for many of the locks, but probably missed the I-280. Also surprising to me were the observation decks at many locks that allow folks a close up view of activity, compared to many on the Ohio that keep people way back. Many lockings had large crowds watching the AQ. To add to the event, AQ crew threw beads to the bystanders, a great PR move. More blue water folks on board than steamboaters, however at the "frequent floaters meeting" there were a few people who had 25-30 trips on the DQ, so that is a good sign that steamboatin' is still alive.

R. Dale Flick 08-18-2017 11:06 AM

*Great AQ cruise report/Photos.*
 
Steamboating colleagues,
Richard, I agree with Judy RE: your great 'cruise report' with assorted photos above. All very welcomed. Sorry our other friends didn't do as you have done being coy. The AQ looks terrific and lucky you all experienced real "cruising"--or should we say "steaming"--for long periods and not tied up all day for excursions [Although that is also important]. And YES there is a very sizable number of people with their discretionary incomes who travel like this.

The 'new decking' also looks terrific. The new laminate decking materials now we see on our blue water ocean cruises simulates traditional teak decking at less the cost and easier maintenance. Yet other big ships we are on do lay down traditional teak wood. The non-skid factor on vessels important.

In turn, I took time to hit my internet search engines to call up: AMERICAN QUEEN STEAMBOAT COMPANY and AMERICAN CRUISE LINE. Their web sites with informative videos astounding at the number of vessels now in their respective fleets with me impressed. These companies are not small potatoes or clap trap operations for sure. I understand what you mean about "cruise rates" now compared to what many of us knew on the DQ years ago--and it isn't going to ever return to those long ago rates. Fact of economics, sign of the times. *Next question: Give us a summary on the AQ's food. Sorry about your kidney stone as I've been there and done that two years ago. I pulled out of it in time for us to spend that month of October in France. Cheers?

Summer: R. Dale Flick on the northern shores of mighty Lake Michigan looking forward to returning home in a week or so.

Jim Reising 08-20-2017 05:30 PM

How do you get them back to the farm after they've seen Paree????

Richard Reiff 08-20-2017 10:58 PM

AQ food
 
In response to the question, the food was very good at all locations (Front Porch and Dining Room). Most of the lunches we had were quick snacks at the front porch, breakfast a mix of dining room and front porch buffet and/or omelet bar. The Front Porch featured prime rib every night, it really looked good but we opted for the full service dining room, which offered a great assortment of options every night. I am not a fan of Lobster, so even on Lobster night there were plenty of good options. Upon return my wife has put me on a "no bacon" diet as I splurged at the bacon bin during almost every breakfast. Even though I missed the last night I probably put on 5+ lbs of extra weight, which probably helped us get under some of the bridges....


[QUOTE=R. Dale Flick;36688]Steamboating colleagues,
Richard, I agree with Judy RE: your great 'cruise report' with assorted photos above. All very welcomed. Sorry our other friends didn't do as you have done being coy. The AQ looks terrific and lucky you all experienced real "cruising"--or should we say "steaming"--for long periods and not tied up all day for excursions [Although that is also important]. And YES there is a very sizable number of people with their discretionary incomes who travel like this.

The 'new decking' also looks terrific. The new laminate decking materials now we see on our blue water ocean cruises simulates traditional teak decking at less the cost and easier maintenance. Yet other big ships we are on do lay down traditional teak wood. The non-skid factor on vessels important.

In turn, I took time to hit my internet search engines to call up: AMERICAN QUEEN STEAMBOAT COMPANY and AMERICAN CRUISE LINE. Their web sites with informative videos astounding at the number of vessels now in their respective fleets with me impressed. These companies are not small potatoes or clap trap operations for sure. I understand what you mean about "cruise rates" now compared to what many of us knew on the DQ years ago--and it isn't going to ever return to those long ago rates. Fact of economics, sign of the times. *Next question: Give us a summary on the AQ's food. Sorry about your kidney stone as I've been there and done that two years ago. I pulled out of it in time for us to spend that month of October in France. Cheers?

Summer: R. Dale Flick on the northern shores of mighty Lake Michigan looking forward to returning home in a week or so.[/QUOTE]


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