Steamboats (aptly named!) have been through a few cycles since John Fitch first operated a primitive one on the Delaware River in 1787. Originally steamboats were not the opulent creatures we picture today. They were cargo vessels, stripped down for maximum speed, since quick delivery, es-pecially for livestock and produce, was vital. People were an afterthought. Then railways came along, making steamboats an also-ran in the cargo-moving race. Increasingly, steamboats catered for passengers, with on-board entertainment and such. Fares varied, just like on ocean-going ships of the day (and you could also work on-board in exchange for passage).
The new owners of American Queen (capacity 420 passengers) have re-turned to the traditional steamboating audience: a crowd with a lot of grey hair and no interest in the parasailing and snorkelling you find offered on Caribbean cruises. The nightly song and dance shows are generally intro-duced with the phrase "Remember when". The American Queen barely pays lip service to the idea of on-board exercise, with only a small gym. Most activities are of the sit-and-listen variety, e.g. talks about steamboat history, piano bar and eating. Food on-board is served in a large dining room. The service in the dining room is a little rocky since the staff is green and therefore more or less learning on the job. But the food is better than food on a boat has the right to be. Even though my ticket cost £1,872, the dessert on the second night convinced me that I hadn't nearly paid enough. Anyone who doesn't feel stuffed with what is being served in the dining room can eat at the River Grill on a rear deck, and at the front of the boat a little snack bar sells hot dogs, snacks and cappuccinos.
Along the journey, we come across various towns filled with historic man-sions crying out to be toured. Various cotton, sugar and tobacco plantations can also be visited on the way. There is a riverboat casino in Natchez and a string of land-based gaming parlours in Vicksburg.
At each stop, the cruise line sets up a free hop-on/hop-off bus circuit to take guests to nearby attractions, some of which grant free admission to pas-sengers from the boat. But for an additional fee — £36 was typical — the more adventurous can take a variety of premium tours.
Q24.1 Which of these statements about steamboats cannot be deduced from the passage?
A. They were originally designed to carry animals and goods.
B. Some passengers could travel without paying any money.
C. They used to carry cotton, sugar and tobacco.
D. They were not powered by steam.
Q24.2 Which of these statements cannot be deduced about the American Queen from the passage?
A. Cruises are mostly attended by older people.
B. There are few opportunities to exercise on-board.
C. There is more than one food outlet on-board.
D. There is a casino on-board.
Q24.3 Which of these statements is the author most likely to agree with?
A. Food on-board is good value for the price of the cruise.
B. Food portions served in the dining room are too small.
C. Some of the dining room waiters can get sick when sailing.
D. Passengers of the American Queen often tend to go on Caribbean cruises too.
Q24.4 The writer enjoyed his dessert on the second night.
❑ Can't tell
Q24.5 All premium tours incur an additional fee.
❑ Can't tell
Q24.6Vicksburg and Natchez are towns on the Delaware River.
❑ Can't tell
Q24.7 John Fitch was the inventor of steamboats.
❑ Can't tell
Q24.8 Ocean-going ships used to charge fixed fees.
❑ Can't tell
Answer and Explanation
Q24.1 — C: They used to carry cotton, sugar and tobacco.
All we know is that steamboat cruises include visits to cotton, sugar and tobacco plan-tations, which we presume are bordering the river and may therefore well
have been carried by those boats. Nothing indicates those were the actual goods carried by steamboats. Looking at the other options:
• A: They were originally designed to carry animals and goods. The first paragraph describes how the boats were designed to transport live-stock and produce.
• B: Some passengers could travel without paying any money. The end of the first paragraph states that you could work on-board in ex-change for passage. This implies that work was in lieu of money.
• D: They were powered by steam. The words "aptly named" in the first sentence means that the name reflects the reality. Therefore steam-boats were powered by steam.
Q24.2 — D: There is a casino on-board.
The only casinos mentioned in the text are those in Natchez and in Vicksburg. There is no hint of a casino on-board the American Queen. Looking at the other options:
• A: Cruises are mostly attended by older people. There are several clues to this. This is a "crowd with a lot of grey hair"; although younger people can have grey hair of course, this use of "a lot of points to an older crowd. Then the text talks about a fairly sedentary lifestyle and contrasts it with the more sporty activities of the Caribbean cruises. Fi-nally the passage talking about "song and dance" and the use of the phrase "remember when" also point to an older audience.
• B: There are few opportunities to exercise on-board. The text men-tions that the boat "barely pays lip service to the idea of on-board exer-cise, with only a small gym".
• C: There is more than one food outlet on-board. The text mentions the large dining room, the River Grill and the snack bar.
Q24.3 - A: Food on board is good value for the price of the cruise.
The sentence "The food served is better than food on a boat has the right to be" means that the food is exceeding the expectation of the food one would expect to see on a boat. Looking at the other options:
• B: Food portions served in the dining room are too small. If any-thing, the text hints to portions being generous: "Anyone who doesn't feel stuffed with what Is being served in the dining room....
• C: Some of the dining room waiters can get sick when sailing. Nothing in the text points to anyone getting sick on board. For the sake of clarity, the word "rocky' in the text refers to substandard service and the word "green' refers to the waiters being young or new. They have nothing to do with boat movement and sickness.
• D: Passengers of the American Queen often tend to go on Carib-bean cruises too. There is no suggestion in the text that this is the case. in fact the text suggests they may attract crowds with different interests.
Q24.4 - TRUE.
"Even though my ticket cost £1,872, the dessert on the second night convinced me that I hadn't nearly paid enough." This suggests that the price of the cruise was cheap for the quality of the food served (epitomised by that dessert). The writer is suggesting he would have paid more for that level of quality.
Q24.5 - TRUE.
The last sentence clearly indicates that an additional fee is payable for premium tours. The fact that the £36 is a "typical" amount only indicates that most fees would be around that amount, not that some would be free of charge.
Q24.6 - CAN'T TELL.
The only mention of the Delaware River is on the second line as the home of the first steamboat. We are not actually told about the river on which the American Queen operates and therefore on which Vicksburg and Natchez are located.
Q24.7 - CAN'T TELL.
We are told only that John Fitch was the first to op-erate a steamboat, not that he was the inventor. We therefore cannot con-clude either way.
Q24.8 - FALSE.
The last sentence of the first paragraph is clear "Fares [on steamboats] varied, just like on ocean-going ships..." Therefore fares on ocean-going ships were variable, not fixed.
Drafted by Juno Wong(UCAT Prep)