No matter how beautiful a ship is, it is the crew that sets the tone for a cruise. If crewmembers are courteous, helpful and adept at doing their jobs, passengers feel the pleasant vibe and usually respond in kind.
The American Countess had an excellent crew. I know that they work hard but they always seemed to have a ready smile and went out of their way to make passengers feel welcome.
My cabin attendant Bonita, for goodness sakes, thanked me for keeping my stateroom neat. I mean no one makes my bed at home or turns it down at night and leaves a delicious candy for a bedtime snack.
At a theater gathering, hotel director Cynthia told passengers, “You are a fun group of people. Your energy is amazing.” I saw many smiles at that compliment.
In the purser’s office, Ricky was never too busy to stop and answer a question. He also kept a good supply of Louisville’s famous Modjeska candy on his counter for passengers.
The American Countess was sparkling clean and it wasn’t unusual to see crewmembers washing the ship’s many windows and sweeping the deck. At the Grand Lobby Bar, bartender Bruce would take extra steps to make a top-notch cocktail. For popular mint juleps, he would carefully muddle the mint and add a smidgen of orange peel zest.
American Countess Captain Richard Bryant welcomes passengers.
I never ordered one but I admired the bloody Mary that Bruce made for a fellow passenger. Looked like a meal in a glass with all the tasty olives and veggies. Certainly more than the skimpy nondescript drinks often served on other vessels.
Walking on and off the ship, there was always a crew member to lend a helping hand to folks who might have a bit of problem walking. When it sprinkled one day, the crew gave out plastic raincoats for those of us on a shore excursion. So many large and small courtesies really added a great deal to our trip.
On our Daily Voyage newsletter that we received in our staterooms every night was a space called “Discovery of the Day” which asked passengers, “If I had to recall one moment from this day with lasting pleasure it would be …” And we were to add a new experience at the end of every day.
I heard passengers talking about what a great idea that was and how they were going to keep their Daily Voyage newsletters and the comments they had written as wonderful reminders at home of the many joys they experienced on our American Countess cruise.
Included in Cruise Costs
American Queen Voyages doesn’t nickel and dime a passenger as some other ships do. It irked me on an ocean cruise to pay almost $5 (with shore tax and gratuity) for a can of Coke. Ridiculous.
On American Countess, these are the costs included in the fare:
– 1-night pre-cruise hotel stay with free ground transfers between hotel and vessel
– All onboard alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages
– All meals (no specialty restaurants or added costs)
– Locally sourced and regionally inspired cuisine
– All ship gratuities.
– Unlimited WiFi
– Port taxes & fees
– In-room dining
– Bicycles & walking sticks for shore excursions
– Private deluxe motorcoaches following along on our cruise so they are always at hand for transportation.
– Shore excursions at every stop with the option to pay a small fee for some “Premium” shore excursions. I didn’t take the extra-fee shore excursions. I was quite pleased with the complimentary shore excursions which were fun and learning experiences.
Bottom Line: With airfare so expensive and undependable, many travelers are choosing to travel closer to home. American Queen Voyages offers a variety of interesting itineraries that showcase what America has to offer.
Instead of taking a long tiresome overseas flight, more people are looking for cruises that can be reached either by driving or taking a short flight in the United States.
If I could cruise on the American Countess again, would I? Definitely. That is the biggest compliment I can give.
Photos by Jackie Sheckler Finch
Ed. Notes: CruiseCompete and its member travel advisors provide many curated cruise and land deals, offers and amenities on over 50 cruise lines with over 500 cruise ships sailing all around the world.