For an entire day about half the passengers were expected to sit on the boat in the middle of the inner waterway outside of Fernandina Beach, FL. We were told that we will not be taken ashore due to the outboard motor on the launch boat ... Read More
For an entire day about half the passengers were expected to sit on the boat in the middle of the inner waterway outside of Fernandina Beach, FL. We were told that we will not be taken ashore due to the outboard motor on the launch boat being unreliable to keep running.
Half the passengers were taken ashore earlier today so they could go on their shore excursion tour. After they were delivered ashore, we were told the launches were cancelled for the day - - however they were running them to bring the shore excursion passengers back to the boat at the end of their tour.
An entire day of our six day cruise was lost and wasted because the Captain and crew did not aggressively pursued resolving the problem. Anyone with simple problem solving skills and a little motivation would know that the problem of an unreliable outboard motor can be overcome with other solutions. Instead we are expected to just sit on the boat all day and believe that because it's a Sunday NOTHING can be done. We had no other option but to remain sitting on the boat.
I discussed my dissatisfaction and voiced many suggested solutions numerous times today with the Captain, Tour Director, and several other staff. All fell on deaf ears and I was told to voice my concerns with the main office of the cruise company. I called the 800 number, spoken to customer service and was then told to voice my issue in an email, send it to customer service, and it will be taken from there. After three weeks of my continuing to follow up on my complaints, ACL has now told me that if I take another cruise with them they will give me a 20% discount. Why would I choose to waste my time and money on another cruise with this company?
This was an expensive cruise, the last thing I expected was for a situation such as this to have arisen and to be dealt with in such a unsatisfactory manner.
In further notes, the ship is old, worn and terribly in need of updating and refurbishing. The so-called "management" on the boat are immature, very poorly trained and not at all suited for their jobs. Messages left for "management" on the boat were never answered.
The Captain and "management" chose to make any announcements during the cruise at the nightly Happy Hour. I guess they assumed that everyone on board would be their drinking and would hear their announcements. Either that or they didn't care whether the announcements were heard by all the passengers or not.
At the time of booking this cruise I specifically asked about signing up for shore excursions prior to the cruise. I was told that all signing up for shore excursions are handled on the boat during the cruise. Much to our surprise, when we started the cruise we learned that this was not the case and there were indeed shore excursions that had to be signed up ahead of time online. Those excursions were all filled by those passengers that happened to be lucky enough to get the correct information.
I've cruised many times before with other cruise lines and have never had problems such as I have had with American Cruise Lines. Save your money, time and frustration - - book a cruise with another company! Read Less
We chose this cruise , because we have been on American Cruise Lines before and enjoy the quiet , laid back atmosphere. We also enjoy seeing beautiful, scenic areas of our own country, without the hassle of international travel . The ... Read More
We chose this cruise , because we have been on American Cruise Lines before and enjoy the quiet , laid back atmosphere. We also enjoy seeing beautiful, scenic areas of our own country, without the hassle of international travel . The food was excellent on this particular cruise. With American Cruise Lines you have complimentary cocktail hour at 5:30 each day followed by dinner at 6:30. Breakfast & lunches are also very good, with several options available. The American Star only has 100 passengers at full capacity , so it is a very nice small size group and you actually get the chance to know the other passengers. The on-board historian is another plus. We also like the fact that the passengers are mostly seniors and there are not small children running around, as is often the case, on the very large cruise ships that have thousands of passengers. The nightly entertainment is usually an area musical act. All in all it was another satisfying cruise. Read Less
I chose this cruise because I was impressed with my previous cruise with American Cruise Lines from New Orleans to Memphis on the Mississippi in June 2016, and I wanted to travel in this part of Florida. Most of the good things from the ... Read More
I chose this cruise because I was impressed with my previous cruise with American Cruise Lines from New Orleans to Memphis on the Mississippi in June 2016, and I wanted to travel in this part of Florida. Most of the good things from the previous cruise carried over to this one. The crew and housekeeping staff were top-notch, offering efficient, attentive, and friendly service. The food, both in terms of quality and selection, was superb. One of my dietary requirements--soy milk--was cheerfully accommodated. Cocktail hour offered ample opportunity to socialize and enjoy the food and drink. My single cabin was small but serviceable, with enough space for two dressers, twin bed, small closet, two nightstands, a chair, and a luggage stand. The bathroom was clean, but my room was not always made up at the same time each day--sometimes early morning, sometimes mid-to-late morning. As for entertainment, I went to five of the seven shows and liked them very much. Two involved solo singers performing American standards. One involved a film and accompanying discussion by the ship's guest lecturer. Two involved duos who sang and played, excellently. I skipped two shows because I needed some downtime to relax from a full day of onshore touring. I did all the tours, which cost $320. I liked nearly all of them, especially Blue Springs State Park, Palatka Murals and City Tour, Tram Tour of St. Augustine, Alligator Farm and Zoological Park, the Lady Jane Shrimp Boat Tour, and the Sea Turtle Center & Jekyll Island Tram Tour. The only one I didn't care for--the only complimentary one--was the Green Cove Springs Narrated Tour. There wasn't much to see. I didn't even take any pictures there. I'd recommend deleting this tour. My only other suggestion for improvement would be to give the guest lecturer more opportunities to share his knowledge of the area. On last year's Mississippi cruise, the guest lecturers--a husband and wife team--were much more visible and active than the lecturer on this cruise. I would have preferred a lecture to the bingo game that was offered one morning. All in all, though, a very good cruise. I've already signed up for another cruise in May, 2018. Read Less
My wife and I selected this cruise simply to relax in pleasant weather exploring a new part of Florida for us. We arrived the day before the start of our cruise with an overnight stay at the Hyatt Regency Jacksonville Riverfront allowing ... Read More
My wife and I selected this cruise simply to relax in pleasant weather exploring a new part of Florida for us. We arrived the day before the start of our cruise with an overnight stay at the Hyatt Regency Jacksonville Riverfront allowing us to enjoy the pleasant weather and St. Patrick Day activities at Jacksonville landing and good seafood at Benny’s Steak and Seafood Restaurant on the St Johns River. This also allowed for a short five minute walk to board our American Cruise Lines (ACL) ship, the American Star, for embarkation which was simply a matter of showing your photo ID and walk on to the ship.
During the week the American Star cruise up the St Johns River (south as the river flows north) with stops in Palatka FL and Green Cove Springs FL returning down river (north) to pass thru Jacksonville and travel south on the intercostal waterway to St Augustine FL than north stopping at Fernandina Beach/Amelia FL than on to Brunswick GA before cruising back to Jacksonville FL for disembarkation. My favorite time onboard was spending time on the Sun Deck while cruising, enjoying the great weather (highs in the seventies with lows at night in the high fifties and no rain the entire week), watching the scenery go by and spending time with our pleasant travel companions while learning about the wildlife, history and key sites from our guide Charlie Petrocci and Captain Dennis Stokowski.
Our cruise Director Jim Leary did an excellent job handling all of our shore excursions with my favorite of the trip and one of the best I’ve experienced being our Lady Jane Shrimp Boat Tour which took us trawling through the Marshes of Glynn, south of St Simons Sound (near Brunswick, GA) learning about the shrimping industry and our catch from our three, fifteen minute trawls consisting of shrimp, blue crabs, spider crabs, puffer fish, horseshoe crabs, skate, amberjack and various other sea creatures. Also memorable was the Alligator feeding at the Alligator Farm & Zoological Park in St. Augustine FL and the Carriage Tour in Green Cove Springs, FL.
What made this cruise even more special was the food, as it was the best I've experienced in over thirty ocean cruises and fifteen river/coastal cruises. Food on my cruise experiences has always been overall good, with meals ranging from fair to excellent, but I was extremely pleased to find all of the meals on this cruise to be excellent. Each meal consisted of great selections, presentations and some of the best tasting meals I can recall . . . and that’s from someone from New Orleans, the home of great food.
The main reason why my wife and I have moved from Ocean Cruising (completed 31) to river/coastal cruising (this is our 15th and 7th ACL cruise) is for the easier sea travel on the inland waterways to avoid my wife’s trouble with motion sickness. This cruise was extremely smooth with the Captain taking extra care by traveling at the right time and waterway taking into account winds, tides etc. well communicating his schedule the entire week. Another plus of river/coastal cruising is the smaller ships with fewer passengers. Our cruise had sixty-nine passengers comprised mostly of retired seniors that resulted in great conversations about travels, hometowns, jobs/careers, family, military service and other life experiences. We love ACL’s daily 5:30 PM Happy Hour and open seating dinning that enabled us to meet most of our fellow passengers developing a few new found friendships.
The crew on this ship was simply great with the added bonus of having two Hotel, Assistant Hotel, and Housekeeping Managers as wells as three Executive Chefs and three Sous Chefs onboard to take care of our every needs. We selected a great week to cruise as more than enough care was being given with the added management onboard for training. Maybe having three Executive Chefs working as a great team resulted in the best meals ever experienced on my forty-six cruises. But it was not only management taking care of us as the college students hired to handle the dinning and housekeeping services were all friendly and couldn’t do more to provide a great onboard vacation experience. Service as meals was excellent as well as the attention given the care to our cabin.
In summary, ACL provided the consistent great service and excellent cruising experience we’ve enjoyed and we are looking forward to our two future ACL cruises booked while onboard. Read Less
A close friend and I wanted to enjoy a relaxing week together, and this cruise turned out to be the perfect choice. From the moment we stepped aboard we were greeted by a sea of smiling faces. We followed the luggage to our cabin and ... Read More
A close friend and I wanted to enjoy a relaxing week together, and this cruise turned out to be the perfect choice. From the moment we stepped aboard we were greeted by a sea of smiling faces. We followed the luggage to our cabin and were delighted with the space, the balcony with sliding doors providing fabulous views at all times, especially on waking, and the larger than usual bathroom on a cruise ship. Lunch followed and it was indeed delicious as was every meal we had on board. The chefs managed to combine healthy and tasty food with an abundance of choice. I only put on two pounds!!
We enjoyed some of the shore excursions in old Florida especially visiting the towns of St. Augustine and Fernandina Beach. The highlight was the trip on a shrimp boat where we netted a variety of sea creatures all of which were explained to us.
The crew of the American Star were a close-knit group, helping each other, and always available to please the passengers. They worked very hard indeed
We enjoyed the entertainment most evenings. We found it mellow and pleasing at the end of the day. Read Less
American Cruise Lines has a slogan, "Small Ship Cruising Done Perfectly." Yep, they certainly did it. Everything was perfect. The food was scrumptious. I liked that they offered half portions, so I was less tempted to ... Read More
American Cruise Lines has a slogan, "Small Ship Cruising Done Perfectly." Yep, they certainly did it. Everything was perfect. The food was scrumptious. I liked that they offered half portions, so I was less tempted to overeat. There were only 60 on the Cruise, although the ship will carry 98. With open seating at meals, we got to meet so many interesting people.
The Line caters to older passengers. They were always there to assist. The elevator for handicapped was most welcome. I have some mobility issues.
Our state room was very comfortable and spacious, with a small private balcony. We could control our own temperature, or open the window for fresh air. The state room had so much drawer space that we could not fill it all, and a closet. :-)
My husband was able to workout every morning on an elliptical on the top deck.
The on-board lecturer was great about answering questions about the area, and gave several interesting talks. He came on some of the excursions, and added an additional dimension to local guides. Many of the excursions were accessible for the less mobile. I did not try any walking tours, although my husband did. The excursions were well planned and gave a good look at the area (Historic South). Do note that excursions are extra, and you are billed only for those that you attend.
There was on-board entertainment nightly. Mostly it was some type of music or a lecture. One day, we played bingo, and I won the top prize - a big bag of souvenirs! Another day, the chef demonstrated how to make a bread cornucopia. His creations were on display for our fantastic Thanksgiving Dinner.
There is no bar on the ship, but complimentary wine and beer was served at lunch and dinner. At 5:30 every evening, a very complete bar was set up in the lounge for complimentary cocktails, beers or wines. We did not lack for festive alcohol. Fabulous appetizers accompanied the cocktail hour.
It is difficult to say enough about the remarkable service. The entire crew worked very hard; they were always up-beat and smiling. The captain was most accessible. He dined with the passengers when he could. Gratuities were included in your cruise price.
This is not a cruise for children. Read Less
We chose this cruise for a smaller ship, on board lecturer, fewer passengers. We had to miss our first port due to hurricane damage and that was understandable. We missed another port due to engine problems but nothing was said until we ... Read More
We chose this cruise for a smaller ship, on board lecturer, fewer passengers. We had to miss our first port due to hurricane damage and that was understandable. We missed another port due to engine problems but nothing was said until we had sat unmoving for several hours and then had to turn back to the previous port. No compensation provided.
Embarkation/debarkation went smoothly. The ship is only 10 years old but is decorated like the 50s with plastic flowers, cheap decor. Dining service was ok but staff not only served your food but cleaned the cabins, etc. Not a good thing in my estimation. Young, not so well trained, not in uniforms or with gloves, etc. Attempt at gourmet only met unpeeled, inedible garnishes such as a tiny piece of kiwi on each plate. Food was stacked instead of side by side as other gourmet restaurants seem to do better in this effort. Entertainment brought in was local and excellent. On the missed port day the only activity provided was a Family Feud type of game, very old dvds and books to borrow. One computer provided a printer. Internet service was very poor and you had to keep your stateroom door open for minimal power. Ports were fine but missing two out of five wasn't good. Passengers were older as we are and many were repeat travelers. We asked why and many felt intimidated by larger ships and also liked that the ship was built and is staffed by Americans. This didn't matter to us at all. We would not sail with American Cruise again although they do have nice US itineraries and several folks love the line and the ship.
The cruise cost more than twice what we normally pay on larger ships with same size rooms but those have many, many more amenities and activities. We felt for the cost we should at least have had quality decor and furnishings and far, far better service and housekeeping. Oh yes, the "fitness center" consists of three pieces of equipment on the windy deck and two were not working. Read Less
We chose American Cruise Lines because we wanted to be on a small ship, we loved the itinerary, our friends who'd been on before said everyone seems like family, and the reviews were great.
We were looking for a great experience ... Read More
We chose American Cruise Lines because we wanted to be on a small ship, we loved the itinerary, our friends who'd been on before said everyone seems like family, and the reviews were great.
We were looking for a great experience – what we got wasn't quite enough to be even good. I was surprised that this was a fairly new ship, when we got to the dock it looked like some old ship. The dining room and lounge felt very dated, worn upholstery/carpets throughout, smallish staterooms also bland - it all felt very utilitarian. We also had a problem with our reservation as we were on for 14 days and had to change rooms midtrip because someone in booking couldn't be bothered to try to keep us in the same room.
We paid a lot of money for great and we got average, worn rooms, boring décor, below average entertainment, often things felt like they were done on the cheap and disengaged staff – just disappointing. We cruise a lot on the higher end cruise lines and this one was very expensive for what you recieved. Everything was just mediocre. Read Less