I have always wanted to travel up the River in a paddlewheeler, and my DH and I decided to take a trip up the Mississippi River, for an 8 day cruise. We selected the "Round Trip" from New Orleans, and went up as far as Vicksburg. He had previously done this cruise, many years ago, so he said all good things about it.
It was a lot of fun, cabin was spacious, lots of room, king size bed, with balcony; bathroom was nice, with ADA compliant features. Shower had good water pressure. We were only a short walk to either one of different lounges, plus 1 floor above dining room. All very convenient and never got lost. This ship had 5 decks.
Staff was exceptional, and always willing to help, and the Captain invited groups to tour the pilot house, where he explained what happens, while steering up/down the river. He was very informative, and we learned a lot.
Dining room was always nice, clean, pretty linens/napkins, and our waiter, Jonathan, was OH SO GREAT!!! and AWESOME!!! and HELPFUL, friendly, and saw to anything that was needed, during the meal. He was also knowledgeable about foods and aimed to please.
Entertainment nightly, was the flavor of New Orleans jazz and blues; All entertainers we saw were very professional, and they put on great shows for us, lasting about 1 hour 30 mins.
Had good variety of onshore excursions to pick from, mostly plantations and a battlefield, in Vicksburg. Plantations on this trip were Oak Alley, Rosedown Plantation, and Houmas House, with couple of city tours, too. Only "negative" was the Vicksburg bus tour, through the battlefields, tended to be a bit drawn out, (long time to sit on bus), with narrator being a bit long winded. Most of tours were built-in to price of cruise, but had a few extra ones, that had an additional charge.
Embarking and disembarking was a cinch -- so easy, with no waiting in lines!!! This is definitely the main reason why small ships are best. No MEGA SHIPS for us!!
Spacious, with king size bed (although it was 2 twins pushed together, not comfortable in the middle). Balcony was nice and used that alot. Bathroom was small but enough room for each of us, to manage in. Had ADA grab bars, both in front of toilet, and in shower stall. Shower had good water pressure, too. Well stocked with plenty of linens, and soaps/shampoos, etc. Plenty of drawer space, and hanging storage, too, Comfort level of AC was great; easily to adjust.
This was where cruise originated and ended; We live in Florida so it was an easy drive, and utilized the cruise terminal parking garage. The "downside" was the complimentary pre-night stay in the Intercontinental Hotel (St. Charles). Lots of glitz/glamour, upscale, modern structure, but way to pricey. There were 2 restaurants inside of hotel, but one was a bit pricey and the other was a bistro/bar type, with limited menu. We elected to come in a day earlier, so we could see New Orleans, and do some sightseeing, and still be rested up, to go on our cruise. The Hotel was a mile away from cruise ports, but think a cheaper option could have been found. Our extra night's stay costs us over $220. PLUS, valet parking costs $45.00 per day!! They have you buy the pocketbook for convenience, as there is very little parking near by.