Where to begin? We watched the Hotel Inspector's African Queen (5D) show the day before we went so we sort of knew what we were getting into. Our trip, was a four night cruise, first going upstream as far as Wallingford and then back downstream to Henley-on-Thames before returning to base at Mapledurham.
The ship is great except for the double cabins. These are so small it is impossible for a couple to do things at the same time. With the double bed pushed up against three walls, a lot of clambering over one's partner is also involved. So cabin tip: chose the suite or the twin cabin for acceptable space.
The crew (Cherrie and Bobby) are wonderful. Cherrie is just so helpful and great fun. Bobby slightly more serious but very talented in a number of ways. We did not see too much of Bonny, though we enjoyed her food. As for Skipper Andy - let us say that the other reviews are not wrong. The African Queen is a big boat and his 'seamanship' was regularly challenged by the narrow locks and on the last day, Hurricane Bertha. Someone said that he was trying to widen the locks as we went along!
We visited the Beetle and Wedge for lunch, but the service there was appalling. This was a great shame as the food when eventually served was very good. We also enjoyed a night at the Sonning Mill Theatre which was great fun. The one disappointment was our visit to Wallingford which was curtailed because of our late arrival and the need to be at the Beetle and Wedge by a certain time. Wallingford looked interesting but we did not have time to find out. Setting sail earlier in the day would overcome this.
We had a great bunch of folks on board from all over the country and as a result had an huge amount of fun. The weather stayed fine until the last morning so we really had a good time.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- After a rich and colourful past which includes Holland and Ireland, The African Queen has battled the Irish Sea to come to rest upon the Thames just outside Reading in an area of outstanding natural beauty and historical interest. With comfortable ensuite cabins and bar and restaurant, this is a unique opportunity to stay near Reading in special surroundings whether your visiting for business or pleasure! ... more less
- Also Known As:
- African Queen Hotel Mapledurham