American Queen Steamboat Company

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Sep 11, 2018
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#1
We gifted my parents with a 13 day Mississippi River cruise from Red Wing, MN to New Orleans. They barely made it across the MN border-about 300 miles-when, on the second day of the cruise, having not made any of their planned stops, they were told they could go no further, the river was too high and the "cruise" would proceed the remaining 1000 miles via bus.

Please note that, per my parents (who are 77) they were about the average age for the passengers on the ship, and many of the other passengers had mobility issues.

Each passenger was offered a $1500 AQCS credit to be used in the next 12 months. This amounts to at most 25% of the cost of the cheapest cabin on this ship.

This is not a simple change in itinerary! Frankly, the spirit and experience of a luxury river cruise is not going to be duplicated by a 1000 mile bus trip with overnight stays at Hampton Inns.

It is my belief that AQSC knew that they river was not going to be navigable before this cruise began but embarked anyway to avoid having to pay out any refunds or have passengers' travel insurance kick in. Also suspicious is that on the AQCS website ALERT page, where they post changes and updates on their cruises, there is no ALERT pertaining to this cruise being cancelled.

There was no contact person for this company listed on elliot.org. I have written to AQCS via their Facebook page. I have tried to find other passengers to discuss this with but, perhaps because of the advanced age of most of them, I am not seeing any discussion of it on Yelp, Reddit, etc. Beyond a better financial compensation, I would like to know if there would be any insurance we could have bought that would have covered something like this?
 

JVillegirl541

Verified Member
Nov 21, 2014
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#2
What dates did this happen? And how long ago did you pay for this trip (your credit card?). Did your folks continue in the full bus trip or did they pack up and go home?
We need some additional information.
 
Jul 13, 2016
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#3
Unfortunately, buried deep in the cruise contract it says that the cruise line reserves the right to change any itinerary. They have to be able to do that to be able to avoid storms, hurricanes, acts of war, etc. Now typically a river cruise does not have to divert because of storms, but high or low water is always a possibility. Many European river cruises have been canceled this summer due to low water.

Your statement about American Queen deliberately starting the cruise to avoid paying out refunds is an incorrect supposition. Because of the cruise contract, they would not be giving out refunds in any case.

As far as I am aware, no insurance would pay out for a high water issue.
 

Carrie Livingston

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Jan 6, 2015
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#4
On their website, it provides the following in the legal section...

4. CARRIER’S DISCRETION. As the Carrier, we reserve the right at any time, without notice, to cancel any cruise or CruiseTour, to change or postpone the date or time of sailing or arrival, to change the port of embarkation or final destination, to shorten the cruise or substitute the Ship or to change or substitute any component of the Cruise Tour including but not limited to aircraft, other transportation or any hotel at which you are scheduled to stay. If we are required to do any of these things, we will be responsible to you as follows:
a. If we cancel the cruise or CruiseTour before it has started, we will refund the Cruise Fare or CruiseTour Fare that we have actually received (less any air or accommodation charges incurred).
b. If the scheduled sailing date or time is delayed and as a result of that delay, you are not otherwise accommodated on board the Ship, we may arrange hotel accommodations and food at no additional expense to you for the duration of the delay.
c. If the scheduled port of embarkation or final destination is changed, we will arrange transportation to the new port from the originally scheduled port.
d. If the cruise is shortened or terminated, we will, at our option, either make a proportionate refund of the Cruise Fare or we will transfer you to another ship or the port of final destination by other means.
If the scheduled length of the cruise is increased, you will have no responsibility for the cost of the additional cruise fare and we will have no responsibility to pay or compensate you in any manner, including any direct or consequential damages. In either of the above circumstances, our responsibility ends once we return you to the point of destination as booked and ticketed by Us.
If any component of your CruiseTour, such as the hotel at which you are scheduled to stay, is changed or substituted, we will use reasonable efforts to obtain a substitute for such component which is substantially equivalent therefore, but shall have no liability to you in connection with such substitution or change.


I believe this limits your ability to receive any additional compensation however you might reach out to company contacts and possibly get a better resolution. If we don't have company contacts for them (and I don't think we do), please fill out the research request form located here. This will direct our research department to locate executive contacts for you to reach out to.
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
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www.promalvacations.com
#5
All river cruise lines have in their terms that they can alter their itinerary. River cruises are much more affected by high and low water levels than ocean cruises.

From theirs:
CARRIER’S DISCRETION. As the Carrier, we reserve the right at any time, without notice, to cancel any cruise or CruiseTour, to change or postpone the date or time of sailing or arrival, to change the port of embarkation or final destination, to shorten the cruise or substitute the Ship or to change or substitute any component of the Cruise Tour including but not limited to aircraft, other transportation or any hotel at which you are scheduled to stay. If we are required to do any of these things, we will be responsible to you as follows:

a. If we cancel the cruise or CruiseTour before it has started, we will refund the Cruise Fare or CruiseTour Fare that we have actually received (less any air or accommodation charges incurred).

b. If the scheduled sailing date or time is delayed and as a result of that delay, you are not otherwise accommodated on board the Ship, we may arrange hotel accommodations and food at no additional expense to you for the duration of the delay.

c. If the scheduled port of embarkation or final destination is changed, we will arrange transportation to the new port from the originally scheduled port.

d. If the cruise is shortened or terminated, we will, at our option, either make a proportionate refund of the Cruise Fare or we will transfer you to another ship or the port of final destination by other means.
If the scheduled length of the cruise is increased, you will have no responsibility for the cost of the additional cruise fare and we will have no responsibility to pay or compensate you in any manner, including any direct or consequential damages. In either of the above circumstances, our responsibility ends once we return you to the point of destination as booked and ticketed by Us.

I do not think your parents received enough of a credit though. Use this form to ask our researchers for company contacts and them start a writing campaign.

These cruise ships will always try to go out hoping that the levels drop but sometImes it just doesn’t work. It isn’t fair to only offer a 25% discount for a future cruise when 80% of the cruise was not provided.
 
Sep 11, 2018
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#6
Thank you for all of the responses. I will fill out the form to obtain contact info.

We paid for this cruise with an AmEx in January of 2018.

This cruise embarked 9.3 from Red Wing, MN and was to disembark 9.17 in New Orleans, LA. The ship (the American Duchess) got as far as Dubuque, IA (200 miles from Red Wing).

My parents did not take the bus. They’ve seen much of the Mississippi River by land-the joy of this trip was to see it from the river. They live in a suburb of Minneapolis, so they rented a car in Dubuque and drove home (300 miles). AQSC facilitated the rental but did not cover the rental car cost.
 
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