Morning, Steamboating colleagues:
Recent E=Mails/conversations mentioned to me that a number of our well-known S&D & MOR fellow members recently enjoyed cruises on the AMERICAN QUEEN and then the ACL boat on the Columbia River. So far no 'reports or reviews' of their experiences here on We used to read posted reviews here way back on river cruises here and there.

A recent travel industry study focuses on the "luxe travel market" where now passengers "Buy on emotion and not buy on price." Those with higher disposable incomes in this group. Most luxury cruises and cabins/suites on boats/ships sell out first at the top and then down. Some factors--and economics--play into these spending habits:
*Exclusivity: This cruise isn't available to everyone or explores out-of-the-way destinations or a 'special interest theme cruises.'
*Features: Is the cruise exciting, beautiful, unique amenities, tours/lectures?
*Status: Does this cruise make you one of the top? Are you a cut above?
*Recognition: You've worked hard to get where you are and this cruise/vessel proves all you've done.

Yet, many in this position DO watch their disposable dollars carefully--and expect/demand top value in return. Novelist F. Scott Fitzgerald said that "The rich are different from you and me," to which Earnest Hemingway replied "Yes, they have more money." It all begs the questions: what is real luxury and what defines wealth?" Cruise boats and ships, hotels, resorts etc. appeal to this niche market. Let's not knock larger cabins, fine bed linens/towels, TV/Internet, food until we try it. Expectations go in hand with ability to pay. So, who will step up and tell about their recent AMERICAN QUEEN and ALC cruises? Anybody on a recent VIKING RIVER or VIKING OCEAN cruise? Again, what do I know?

R. Dale Flick
Old Coal Haven Landing, Ohio River, Cincinnati.