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Sail Date: May 2019
Our 44th cruise was with a river boat company, American Cruise Lines, but it was not on a river. We sailed around Puget Sound and the San Juan Islands, aboard the American Constellation for 10 nights and 11 days. It is a very nice boat, ... Read More
Our 44th cruise was with a river boat company, American Cruise Lines, but it was not on a river. We sailed around Puget Sound and the San Juan Islands, aboard the American Constellation for 10 nights and 11 days. It is a very nice boat, quite new and offering a good range of river boat amenities, a hardworking and a very pleasant crew. But we felt it was overpriced, and had some weak points. Embarkation We boarded shortly before noon at a marina in Seattle, and the check-in was very fast. We were handed names tags on a ribbon and encouraged to wear them all the time. We were given the usual room key, but were not asked to provide a credit card imprint – a first in our experience. The Captain was there to greet us; and helped with the luggage. We had a snack in the main “Cascade” Lounge on deck three and then went to our cabin. The Stateroom, This is a quite new ship, and the stateroom was in excellent condition. It was quite roomy for a river boat with plenty of drawer space and a small but adequate closet. The bathroom was about the same size as on most cruise ships. The verandah has a sliding glass door, two chairs and a small table. The walls were painted a nice beige shade. There were two armchairs as well as a desk with its chair. Almost all the staterooms were the same, the price differential was according to location. We were on Deck 2, but since it is a small vessel, it was not inconvenient. We were just a few steps from the center of the boat. The Ship If you are on a cruise ship, you are told to call the river vessels “boats”. But American Constellation really looks like a small cruise ship with six decks and a sharp prow. It was built for sailing on open waters, and, as we saw on our visit to the bridge, is controlled by a navigation system that matches the oceangoing vessels we have been on. The top deck is open, with a small putting green. Deck 5 has the “Owners Suites”, a fitness room and a rear sun deck. Deck 4 has staterooms with a library/computer room and the Sky Lounge aft with an open deck. Deck 3 has the main Cascade Lounge forward and staterooms as well as a lounge. Deck 2 is all staterooms except for a lounge. The Main Deck has the Office and Dining Room, as well as some rooms without verandahs. All the decks except the top deck were connected by two roomy elevators in addition to a stairway. The Crew The crew, with one exception, was entirely American. Captain Brown had served in the Coast Guard for many years. He was most pleasant and helpful for the entire cruise. The Cruise Director, Annie was also outgoing and helpful, and most of her comments on the ports were accurate. The wait staff in the main dining room was cheerful and tried their best, but still lacked the skill of those found on the major cruise line. The only non-American on the whole ship was the pianist, from England, appropriately named Jon England. Fellow Passengers As noted, all our fellow passengers were from the United States. We were actually provided with a list of everyone’s names and staterooms. Those who had sailed with American Cruise Lines had their names marked with a star. While the ship would carry up to 175 passengers, we only had 112 on board. Of these 73 had sailed with the cruise line before. Since the company has only been around for a few years, this shows a high degree of loyalty. Since it is easy to forget the names of one’s fellow passengers, the list was quite helpful. As usual, virtually all our fellow passengers were of “a certain age”. The meals were all with open seating, but after a day or two we found a small group with whom we usually ate. The name tags and passenger list did help with recalling people. By and large we were a cheerful lot, and happy to share our differing port experiences and past cruising histories. Dining This was the first cruise in which all meals were served by the wait staff. Each diner was provided with an individual menu, and the back side asked for our choices for lunch and dinner. There was a partial buffet for breakfast, but the hot items were obtained only by ordering them. Actually the breakfast had the widest selection of “main” servings. The lunches were somewhat inadequate in term of choices offered; but it was possible to order items not on the menu. One of our table regulars always had chicken tacos for lunch. I tried them, but this Arizonan with a wide experience in Mexican food, found the Constellation version to be lacking in true south of the border flavor. The dinners were generally pretty good, although no boat this size can match the cuisine on a cruise ship; even smaller ships like the Oceania Regatta or the Crystal Serenity and Symphony. In fact, these smaller cruise ships, including Marina and Riviera as well as the Viking ocean going vessels, set the mark for cruise dining. But the efforts on our trip were commendable, with three main dinner entrée choices plus a vegetarian option for my wife. Desserts were limited, but the baker did an excellent job, and treats were available almost all the time all over the boat. One nice feature was the ability to order half-size portions. As we noted in the “Crew” section, the inexperience of the wait staff led to some mixed-up orders, and on one occasion, a delay of half an hour in getting the lunch main meal served after the appetizers. Shipboard Entertainment This facet of the trip was not bad for a riverboat. We had three pretty good female singers and a five piece band in addition to Jon England and his piano offerings. There was supposed to be a Dixieland band the final night but they did not make it. The Ports Ports and their excursions are normally the highlight of “river” cruises. However the options offered in the Puget Sound area were somewhat limited for first time passengers and the complimentary excursions very restricted, unless you were a prior passenger. We received a one page “Captain’s Sailing Instructions” sheet which detailed all our various arrivals and departures. As on all river cruises, there was a session in the main lounge each night with Annie going over all the shore options for the following day. We had already received a printed sheet of these choices in our cabins after dinner in the daily “Ship to Shore” sheet. We had also been provided on arrival with three pages of all the off-ship offerings and another document showing the prices. Many of these options were too strenuous for me, but the ones we took we did enjoy. Our highlights included a visit to an alpaca farm in Friday Harbor, and a “game farm” near Port Angeles where we fed a variety of large animals such a bears, llamas, bison and deer from the bus. Anacortes, north of Seattle, was our first stop with an interesting history and some tours. We arrived at 8:00 P.M. the first day after a 1:30 P.M. sail-away, stayed all the next day and sailed the following morning west for a two hour trip to Friday Harbor. Whale watching was offered there twice a day, in addition to the alpaca farm, but only the afternoon group saw more than one kind of whale. Friday Harbor is on San Juan Island, one of the San Juan group of islands which are actually northeast of Vancouver Island and Victoria, B.C. The islands became part of the United States after a long running dispute with Canada. It was here we did a tour of the island which included a delightful visit to Krystal and her alpaca farm, where we got to feed and pet the alpacas. We also had a visit to a lighthouse and the town of Roche Harbor. We stayed overnight at a small harbor nearby and then sailed south the next day to Port Angeles on the Olympic Peninsula arriving in the afternoon. There we enjoyed a view of the snow covered Olympic Range. The following day was spent in Port Angeles, because this was the spot from which people could take a boat to Victoria and visit Butchart Gardens, a somewhat pricey trip requiring a passport. Since we had seen the gardens a few years prior to this cruise, we skipped this adventure and instead enjoyed the visit to the game farm in nearby Sequim [which should always be pronounced “Skwim”]. We left Port Angeles early the next morning and sailed east to Port Townsend, which is at the northeast corner of the peninsula, arriving at 10:00 A.M. and again spending the night there. Not too much was offered there by way of excursions except a complimentary walking tour. We sailed early the next morning to Paulsbo, just off Puget Sound, where we tendered ashore on a small ship’s launch and visited the Squamish Museum and Chief Seattle’s grave site. This is a small but very well done museum containing a great deal of history concerning the Native American tribes which inhabited this area. We left Paulsbo in the afternoon and sailed south, arriving in Tacoma at 6:00, spending the night and the next day there. This is a good sized city, but the ship offered only a complimentary excursion and two museum tours. The excursion was by bus and was enjoyable. We left the next morning, sailing north to Bremerton on the west side of Puget Sound. We arrived at noon and left at noon the next day. The only item of any interest in Bremerton is the Puget Sound Navy Museum (free), and that is a somewhat limited venue. Annie had said there was a nice shopping area, but one of our table companions who visited the area said most of the shops were closed. We had a small rain shower here, the only bad weather we encountered on the cruise until our return to Seattle the next day. Back there in the afternoon we took a complimentary bus ride (with a very inexperienced bus driver) to the Pike Place Market area, which was of some interest. We returned to the boat for the final evening and packing. The next day we simply got aboard a complimentary bus (with a much better driver) to the airport and home. We had received our statement the night before with three excursions, and no other charges on it. They have just today appeared on my computer credit card listing. Overall As we noted at the beginning of this review, we felt this cruise was very expensive for what was offered. We have been on some higher end cruise ships; but felt that we got our money’s worth on them. Not so on this cruise. The simple fact is that the food selection was not up to that of an ocean going ship, and it never can be on a riverboat. The entertainment was also far short of what one gets at sea. A friendly crew is nice, but this is true on ships in which the skill and experience of the crew is far better than what we experienced on this cruise. The fact that we were at small ports limited our on shore options. It is also true that most American ports offer fewer tours that can be booked on linethan overseas venues. We noted on our European river boat trips that the vast majority of shore excursions were complimentary, with only a few trips carrying small extra charges. All this being noted, did we enjoy this cruise. Yes, we did. American Constellation is a very nice boat with lovely staterooms, a delightful crew and very attractive small towns on its itinerary. The food was quite good, and the entertainment not bad. We are glad we took this cruise and would recommend it. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: May 2019
We chose the cruise of the San Juan Islands because we were wanting pure relaxation, not non-stop activities. This cruise was definitely relaxing. Embarkation and disembarkation were very smooth. The ship has plenty of room for the ... Read More
We chose the cruise of the San Juan Islands because we were wanting pure relaxation, not non-stop activities. This cruise was definitely relaxing. Embarkation and disembarkation were very smooth. The ship has plenty of room for the passengers to not feel crowded. Each floor has a small midship lounge to read, play puzzles, or gather with friends. The 3rd floor has a large lounge where everyone could gather for evening beverages and entertainment. The 4th floor lounge was my favorite. It's at the back of the ship and has both indoor and outdoor seating. Snacks and beverages are available here 24/7. The chairs are comfortable and warm cookies are delivered here twice daily. The crew was always friendly and helpful. Meals were outstanding. Breakfast is a self-serve buffet of cereals, fruit, and yogurt (sometimes salmon as well). Then you sit down to order what you'd like- omelets, quiche, made to order eggs, pancakes (try the banana ones!), French toast, oatmeal... just about anything you can think of. Lunch and dinner are 'ordered' at breakfast time so the chef can prepare enough of each dish, however, he makes extra so if you change your mind it's ok. There are two or three appetizer and main dish choices for each meal. Don't be afraid to request substitutions. The chef handled special requests beautifully. Shore excursions were satisfactory. The Puget Sound/San Juan Islands offers several museums, cider tasting, city tours. We didn't find most of these too enticing and ended up doing our own walking tour of most of the cities. The main exception was in Port Angeles, where we took the tour to Butchart Gardens in Victoria. It involved a 90-min. ferry ride and a 30 min. bus ride. The bus ride was narrated so we were able to learn a bit about Victoria and Butchart. The Gardens are spectacular. Don't miss this tour! We had a room on the 3rd floor, near the elevators. Elevator noise was never a problem, but we could hear the evening entertainment from down the hall. It never went later than 9:30pm, so it didn't bother us. There is a self-serve laundry room (2 washers/2dryers) on the 5th floor. Detergent and dryer sheets are provided. There is a small "gym" with bikes. Water and towels provided. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: May 2019
The PreCruise package for Seattle included a bus tour of Seattle and a night’s lodging in a nice hotel as well as breakfast and transportation to the dock. Embarkation, as well as disembarkation, went quite smoothly. The crew is always ... Read More
The PreCruise package for Seattle included a bus tour of Seattle and a night’s lodging in a nice hotel as well as breakfast and transportation to the dock. Embarkation, as well as disembarkation, went quite smoothly. The crew is always very attentive and interesting as well as interested in the passengers. This was my third cruise with ACL and I’ve enjoyed them all. The cabins and the common areas are always clean and well cared for. The food is very good and the evening entertainment is always very good. Usually it is local talent from the different ports but they are all very talented. The ports and excursions are interesting and varied. I love the fact that the ships are all built in the USA and the staff is all American, mostly college graduates. I like the fact that everything, except some of the excursions, is included so you don’t have to worry about how much drinks cost or how much you should tip the staff. The price might be higher than some cruises, but adding the extra costs from additional expenses probably evens out in the long run. The biggest downside on this ship, the Spirit (built in 2005), is the fact that the WiFi was very poor, although it was fine on the other two ships I was on, the America and the Constitution. Would I go on another one? Absolutely! In fact I’m already scheduled a fourth trip in June/July 2020. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2019
This was our second cruise with American Cruise Lines. We especially like the fact that their "small" ships can get into smaller ports than can the larger cruise ships. Docking instead of tendering in makes a huge difference. ... Read More
This was our second cruise with American Cruise Lines. We especially like the fact that their "small" ships can get into smaller ports than can the larger cruise ships. Docking instead of tendering in makes a huge difference. ACL's focus on customer satisfaction borders on obsessive. If your favorite liquor isn't available at happy hour (complimentary) just ask; they'll probably buy it at the next port and have it available the next day. The dining room has a similar focus. Have dietary restrictions (or preferences)? There was the opportunity to meet with the executive chef prior to departure to discuss any requirements or preferences. We opted for the pre-cruise extension since we needed to arrive the day before embarkation since we had to fly in from the east coast. Our bags were picked up from our hotel room, not from the hallway, which is a plus. They were in our stateroom when we arrived on ship. Our only complaint is that by the luck of the draw, the "guide" for our city tour couldn't stop talking, even when she had nothing to say. Unfortunately, the detours she requested of the bus driver resulted in our being so late to the ship that the safety briefing had to be delayed. Many of the ship's staff (dining room and cabin stewards) are students in hospitality or culinary programs. They are enthusiastic, helpful and really enjoy what they're doing. We enjoyed talking with them about their career plans. Onboard entertainment is mostly local talent from whatever port the ship is moored in. It's fair to very good depending on what your particular interests are. Our ship actually made two detours so would could see orcas - something that would have been out of the question on a larger ship. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2019
This is my second cruise with American cruise Lines. You cannot beat the service by the crew. Everyone greets you when they see you. They ask how you are enjoying the cruise and offer to help. They are very accommodating to everyone no ... Read More
This is my second cruise with American cruise Lines. You cannot beat the service by the crew. Everyone greets you when they see you. They ask how you are enjoying the cruise and offer to help. They are very accommodating to everyone no matter their ability to get around. You truly feel valued on a ACL cruise. They offered activities during the day which included lectures about the area and animals. They also offered art classes. There are tours offered at each port visited or you can explore on your own. The smaller ships and smaller number of guests is very appealing. It’s so much easier to get around and I’ve made friends on both cruises. I wanted to go to the Puget Sound/San Juan Islands area especially Butchart Gardens. The tulip tour was everything I hoped it would be. I have already booked a third cruise for next year. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2019
I like cruising in North America; no loooong overnight flights to your destination; no mega ships to overwhelm your cruise stops; and lots and lots of things to do. The Puget Sound and San Juans, our last cruise, was a normal ACL ... Read More
I like cruising in North America; no loooong overnight flights to your destination; no mega ships to overwhelm your cruise stops; and lots and lots of things to do. The Puget Sound and San Juans, our last cruise, was a normal ACL cruise. The ship, American Constellation, was clean and tidy, the crew was just great and extremely helpful when asked anything. Our cabin, on the second level, was, like everything on the ship, neat and tidy. The included balcony made the cabin seem larger and on sunny days, was great place to be. ACL has an open dining policy: you sit at any table you want along as there is space. Unfortunately the weather was not always good and some of the excursions were a bit wet. Otherwise they were fascinating and enjoyable; Butchart Gardens is something for a bucket list; the flower arrangements were almost beyond belief! Obviously I enjoyed this cruise; you saw places most Americans never see,and generally had plenty of time for sight seeing and shopping. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: September 2018
We had outstanding night time entertainment. We toured several 1800s port cities in the San Juan Islands including an underground tour of Port Angeles where the the level of the terrain had been raise about 10 feet putting the first floor ... Read More
We had outstanding night time entertainment. We toured several 1800s port cities in the San Juan Islands including an underground tour of Port Angeles where the the level of the terrain had been raise about 10 feet putting the first floor of all the buildings under ground.We visited Olympic National Park including Hurricane Ridge where we were snowed upon in early October. We learned about the serious impact on the area caused by the decreasing salmon runs. It's not just the loss of salmon. There are great efforts going to restore the salmon. We visited the outstanding Chihuly glass museum. Everyone should see it. Our ship was bright and clean with a super staff to care for our every need. We had twice a day housekeeping service in our nicely furnished cabins with a comfortable king sized bed. We had one sitting in the dining room for each meal at tables of 8 with great interaction between the guests. The meals were great. The weather was mostly overcast with rain on a couple of days. That did not stop the planned activities. We also had bright sun on a couple of days. It was a beautiful tour that anyone could enjoy. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2018
We signed up for the American Cruise lines tour and stayed at their hotel pick, the Crowne Plaza, in downtown Seattle. Very nice hotel. Probably above our pay grade any other time. They let us unload our bags and then drive to the parking ... Read More
We signed up for the American Cruise lines tour and stayed at their hotel pick, the Crowne Plaza, in downtown Seattle. Very nice hotel. Probably above our pay grade any other time. They let us unload our bags and then drive to the parking garage. No place to park at Crowne Plaza unless you valet at $50 a day. As a side note, the cruises are set up more to fly in rather than drive in. We drove but be prepared for parking near the pier for $22 a day. We parked where the ship was leaving from and walked back to the hotel. Transportation may be required depending on the departure site. We stopped by Pikes Market on the way and had trouble finding a nice sit down restaurant that wasn't stuffed with people. (it was Friday) We later found out we should have headed for the wharf for many nice places to eat and watch the sunset. The hotel stay also included a bus tour of Seattle the next day which I felt was a bonus. We lucked out with the weather but not with the fall colors. Abnormally warm weather delayed the colors changing. Minor problem. We barely got rained on for 7 days. The ship christened in 2005 was clean and just the right size. There were about 80 guests and 20 crew. The small size was why we picked this cruise. There were a lot of seniors on board but not all. Entertainment was geared toward the older set. The dress code is apparently not set in stone but I did notice some changed attire for the cocktail hour and dinner. Food and drinks were great of course and included in the fare. The stops they had set up were great. We enjoyed them all. If we had to pick a favorite it would be Friday Harbor and the San Juan Islands. Great trip! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2018
Three friends and I chose this cruise for the easy access to embarkation port, Seattle, and the itinerary of daily visits to small ports in the WA area. This experience was devastating from the initial step aboard. Had it been half the ... Read More
Three friends and I chose this cruise for the easy access to embarkation port, Seattle, and the itinerary of daily visits to small ports in the WA area. This experience was devastating from the initial step aboard. Had it been half the price, we would have had the attitude, "You get what you pay for." However, one can book Oceania, Crystal, Celebrity or any high end cruise for the same amount and receive what is expected. According the the ACL, this ship was commissioned in 2005. That may be the case, but the Star's interior must have been originally furnished from recycled interiors of motels, hotels, or nursing homes which were being refurbished. The furniture and lighting fixtures were from the early 80s and not available in 2005. This ship needs to be dry docked and redone from stem to stern. It is depressingly dated and in some cases unsafe - balcony doors that cannot be properly locked and an erratic elevator with a gate! 2005? I don't think so. The "gourmet cuisine" was a 3-5 on a 1-10 scale. All seemed to be previously frozen and microwaved before serving. My traveling companion has a photo of dirt in the salad greens. We have all read about extreme health effects of dirty lettuce! The staff was ready, willing yet unable to provide basic services. Sweet kids who were untrained. Same with the housekeeping staff; dirty towels left on the bed and no fresh ones replaced, duvet dumped in a chair, etc. It goes on and on and cannot be exaggerated. The "entertainment" was so bad, mostly volunteers from local groups who were probably paid a stipend, one which American Cruise Lines could deduct as a donation. Unfortunately, there is no regulatory agency controlling cruise ships. The passenger must take the risk. American Cruise Lines' advertising is actually fraudulant. PLEASE think twice before booking on this line. It is sad to think a cruise line named American could be so disrespectful and deceiving to it's passengers. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2018
Small cruise done PERFECTLY! Everything was outstanding! The cabin and lounge areas were spacious and clean. The bathrooms were well appointed and clean. The staff was friendly, very accommodating, knowledgable and always smiling! The ... Read More
Small cruise done PERFECTLY! Everything was outstanding! The cabin and lounge areas were spacious and clean. The bathrooms were well appointed and clean. The staff was friendly, very accommodating, knowledgable and always smiling! The tours and shore excursions were well organized and planned. The embarkation was easy and very welcoming. The food was absolutely delicious and great variety of choices. The pastry chef was awesome! The entire crew, staff and management catered to each individual passenger's needs and requests. The activities and entertainment were wonderful. There is a fitness room and complimentary laundry. The public rooms were all well appointed, clean and the views were amazing from each lounge area, dining and all areas of the ship. There were snacks, fresh fruit and beverages always available; as well as fresh, warm cookies everyday at 10:00! :) The service-hotel managers and cruise /tour directors, crew and staff were amazing- they were very personable and empathetic to each passengers needs, abilities and preferences. The pilot and speaker would alert us of wildlife- orcas, humpback whales, bears, seal lions, eagles - it was absolutely an amazing cruise! Like I said "Small cruise done PERFECTLY!!!! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2018
We were hoping to see Orcas and Humpback whales, but we only saw a couple of Humpbacks from a long distance and no Orcas, so this was the only disappointment. This was our third cruise with American Cruise Lines so we were pretty familiar ... Read More
We were hoping to see Orcas and Humpback whales, but we only saw a couple of Humpbacks from a long distance and no Orcas, so this was the only disappointment. This was our third cruise with American Cruise Lines so we were pretty familiar with the way this cruise line operates. We’ve really enjoyed cruising with them because it’s small ship cruising, only about 153 passengers on this trip, and it’s really nice to get to know many of our fellow passengers. Dining is very casual, which is just the way we like it. All the ships in ACL’s fleet are made in the USA and all the employees are Americans, so we love supporting an all American business. The staterooms are really nice, the lounges are attractive and comfortable, as are the decks. The food is delicious, with adequate choices, however, we both agreed that the kitchen on this trip wasn’t quite up to the standards set on the previous two cruises. Still, we really enjoyed the ports we stopped in and especially liked our visit to Victoria, BC in Canada, where we visited Buchert Gardens. Fabulous! Read Less
Sail Date: May 2018
The Constellation is a lovely, small ship and our cabin was spacious, clean, and very comfortable. The young American staff was delightful, warm, enthusiastic, and helpful. We chose the cruise primarily for the itinerary, and enjoyed the ... Read More
The Constellation is a lovely, small ship and our cabin was spacious, clean, and very comfortable. The young American staff was delightful, warm, enthusiastic, and helpful. We chose the cruise primarily for the itinerary, and enjoyed the tours and the scenery. Some of the guides were terrific. Getting off the ship at some ports was a bit difficult because of the steep gangplank. Another negative was that we sometimes had to walk quite a distance to the tour buses. The soups were the best parts of the meals. All were delicious. The entrees were a bit uneven, however, and the fish often over-cooked. The entertainment was pretty pedestrian, but OK for the older crowd these cruises attract. Actually, we had a pleasant cruise. But …..we will never travel on the American Cruise Line again and this is why. Before we even left on the cruise, we signed up, paid for, and then canceled a trip to Victoria, B.C. and Butchart Gardens when we realized it conflicted with another trip we preferred. On ship, we also had to cancel the transfer from the dock to the airport because our airline changed our fights necessitating using a cab. So, we had a total of $330 to be refunded and it took 4 calls and 6 ½ weeks to get a check in the mail. Although they used my credit card for additional charges incurred on ship, they said “security reasons” kept them from using my credit card for a refund. Didn’t keep the credit card number, they said, and a refund typically takes 5 weeks, requiring multiple signatures! Hello? This is the digital age. How about crediting my VISA account like everyone else? “This is our policy,” was the only explanation I got. So, that ruined the experience for us and we’ll go back to the American Queen Steamboat Company which we have used before with 100% satisfaction. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2018
very comfortable state rooms with plenty of room. Meal service as excellent and the food outstanding. They provide for half-order options for most entrees at lunch and dinner so you are not overwhelmed with food. If they didn't have ... Read More
very comfortable state rooms with plenty of room. Meal service as excellent and the food outstanding. They provide for half-order options for most entrees at lunch and dinner so you are not overwhelmed with food. If they didn't have the beer or liquor you wanted they would make an effort to get it for at the next stop. I asked for Red Hook ESB beer at lunch, they didn't have it, but had for me the next day. The cocktail hour was stocked with premium brands, not low cost brands. The lecturer gave great history and pre tour lectures that were very well done. She also took photos during the trip and provided every cabin with a free DVD of the entire trip and the tours with an effort to be sure everyone got their picture in the presentation. The whale watching tour from Friday Harbor did the same thing, provided a link to pictures taken during the tour as well as the participants on the tour. Amazing. Tips are included in the cruise fare so there is no worrying about what to do at the end of the cruise. No surprises. We will definitely use ACL again. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2018
I have been investigating American Cruise Lines since we took a Mississippi River Cruise with American Queen. I think everyone should travel on American Rivers more and they were offering some appealing options. We loved our small ship ... Read More
I have been investigating American Cruise Lines since we took a Mississippi River Cruise with American Queen. I think everyone should travel on American Rivers more and they were offering some appealing options. We loved our small ship Cruise with American Queen, so I really wanted to love this company. We took the San Juan islands trip. The ship was new and their staff is very young and inexperienced, although they worked hard and were very sweet. However, these trips are very expensive. And, since that is the case, there Are many areas that need improvement. First, there was a lack of communication. They just couldn’t get messages out for changes,etc. While they did post on the message board by the dining room, we shouldn’t have to go there to get information. Dining room service was friendly but confusingly spotty. On two occasions we had to rush through meals when we had allowed plenty of time before excursions. Also, while they say they work on dietary needs, we did not find them helpful with my husbands diabetes. Unlike American Queen, there really are no paid excursions. On the last day they did offer transport into Seattle to visit Pike Market while American Queen offers a bus at every stop. Entertainment was really disappointing and the largest Lounge available was too small and poorly arranged for any real program. Finally, they must work on safety for the Ramps off the boat. They need hand rails on the ramps and on the stairs. I don’t want to sound negative, but these trips attract elderly and handicapped people and they must do a better job if they want to flourish. My hope is that they improve, but until they do, I can’t recommend them nor will I travel with them again. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2018
Have been on 4 of their cruises. They are great, wonderful crews, clean ships, and great itineraries. I would recommend them to anyone. It is an older crowd but I’m old too! Our cabin was always very clean with night time turn down. The ... Read More
Have been on 4 of their cruises. They are great, wonderful crews, clean ships, and great itineraries. I would recommend them to anyone. It is an older crowd but I’m old too! Our cabin was always very clean with night time turn down. The food was excellent. You could have a half order of something if you would not very hungry or you could do a half of 2 different entrees to try a couple of things. The entertainment was good but it could have had a little bit more of a verity. Our cabin was above the kitchen, so we did hear them in early morning getting things prepared and late evening doing clean up. I have no complaints and looking forward to going on one of their curises again in near future. Spend 2 nights in Seattle before getting on ship. Great city with a lot to see. The Boeing Factory and the Museum of Flight are a must when in Seattle. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2017
American Cruise Line is our favorite line. I love the smaller number of passengers. The ships are lovely. Service is superior. Food is delectable, and we enjoyed the 1/2 portions! The cocktail hour is a big fun plus! The elevators ... Read More
American Cruise Line is our favorite line. I love the smaller number of passengers. The ships are lovely. Service is superior. Food is delectable, and we enjoyed the 1/2 portions! The cocktail hour is a big fun plus! The elevators were most important to me. This time we went to Seattle for the Puget Sound Cruise. On a pre-cruise package, we stayed at a beautiful Sheraton Hotel on Friday night. On Saturday morning, we had a pleasant tour of Seattle and were delivered to the ship (American Spirit) for lunch. We were very lucky in that the weather was sunny and warm, about 70-80 degrees or so. My husband is an early riser and often rode the bike early in the mornings. Walking tours are not an option for me with limited mobility (cane or rollator). My husband was able to do all the tours he wanted. I got to a number of good tours, but, at times, the buses were a long walk from the ship. My favorite tours were to Hurricane Ridge and to the Suquamish Museum. The drive through the forest to the Ridge was lovely, and the views of the mountains were spectacular. The Suquamish Museum was small, but very interesting. A young Native guided us on the tour. My husband especially enjoyed the Whale Tour and the Flight Museum. For this cruise, we had a fantastic speaker, Amy Traxler. She was most dynamic with tons of energy. She mingled with all the passengers and took many of the tours. Her "talks" were truly "gems" of knowledge. I even like "slugs" after one of her talks. Ha Ha. I was very impressed with her. This is not a cruise for children. Most of the passengers are older adults. There is nothing for children to do. Could that be why I like it so much? Yes, I would like to do more with this Cruise Line. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2017
We wanted a small ship with few passengers. This is exactly what we got. We had 15 glorious days with 60 passengers, a wonderful crew of young people, a knowledgeable permanent staff and best of all a seasoned guide in Todd Weber. The ... Read More
We wanted a small ship with few passengers. This is exactly what we got. We had 15 glorious days with 60 passengers, a wonderful crew of young people, a knowledgeable permanent staff and best of all a seasoned guide in Todd Weber. The food was plentiful, varied, creative, pleasing to the eye and delicious. If the choices for any given meal did not suit the chef would make you whatever you wanted. My only complaint was lack of sufficient fitness facilities and my husband's was lack of TV reception for most of the cruise. That said, I believe that the cruise was designed for lots of participation and not TV. I enjoyed most of our excursions and told our cruise director about those we felt were not particularly enjoyable. In closing I would like to reiterate that the staff could not have been more pleasant or accommodating. We have already scheduled another cruise with American Cruise Line. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2017
We aren't interested in the large boats that travel to AND from Seattle to Alaska in 7 days. The Spirit took 14 days to go only one way. The trip was very relaxing with a good size cabin, bathroom, and balcony. We felt that the crew ... Read More
We aren't interested in the large boats that travel to AND from Seattle to Alaska in 7 days. The Spirit took 14 days to go only one way. The trip was very relaxing with a good size cabin, bathroom, and balcony. We felt that the crew was always available to grant any wish. The historian, Todd Weber, was informative and entertaining. The food was delicious and appealing to the eye...and if you weren't interested in the given choices, you could ask for whatever you wanted. We liked that our time was our own with limited activities on the ship. I say limited, but it seems like there was usually something going on. Great group areas to congregate indoors and out. You could be as active, or as inactive as you wanted in ports. Being a small ship, we got much closer to some of the scenery. We even anchored in Glacier Bay one night while a black bear looked for shellfish on the nearby beach. Cabins are serviced twice a day usually while we were dining. An elevator made the whole ship accessible to everyone. Fellow travelers tended to be over 50 and well traveled. These two week cruises are not inexpensive but I can't imagine paying less for a trip on a mega size boat. My only recommendations to American Cruise Line would be changing to a more modern/neutral look in carpets and couches. (A minor thing.) also have WIFI that works all the time. (also not a big deal.) Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2017
We wanted a river boat cruise experience as we are familiar with the big boat cruises. It was delightful. Fewer people & we were able to meet more of them. The ship is the oldest in the American Cruise lines fleet. It should be ... Read More
We wanted a river boat cruise experience as we are familiar with the big boat cruises. It was delightful. Fewer people & we were able to meet more of them. The ship is the oldest in the American Cruise lines fleet. It should be remodeled- it looks a bit dated! Cabin size was fine but for the most expensive rom - I would have thought it to be a bit bigger...again this is the oldest ship in their fleet- a newer ship and comparable room cabin may be larger! Food was wonderful and sufficient enough- not too much (but we could ask for more if we wanted). In fact we could customize what we wanted each meal if we felt like it (and we did on three meals occasions ) . Service was excellent and our food server Diana was chipper and delightful and always ready to help us! The ports and shore excursions were great - I would say that perhaps this cruise is one day too long. I suggest that they add one or two hot tubs on the top floor and an onboard masseuse or arrangements for spa service in towns that have those. We traveled with our son , his wife and our 26 yr old grandson. We were afraid he would be the youngest on the ship and he was not! There were at least 2 other families with children ranging from 10- 18 yrs old on our cruise. They all seemed to be having fun...even though there was nothing for them to do on board except play board games. (they all had their IPads and phones - they were fine). WiFi was good most of the trip. We will go on another American Cruise Lines trip - but not this one again because we have now seen the Puget Sound...and want to see other parts of the country! I love the fact that their entire fleet is built in AMERICA and is crewed by AMERICANS! YEA!!!!! Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2017
We've traveled on American Cruise Lines twice before and enjoyed the service and itineraries and have always wanted to see this part of the US. We have a preference for seeing our own great country - and have been to all 50 states, ... Read More
We've traveled on American Cruise Lines twice before and enjoyed the service and itineraries and have always wanted to see this part of the US. We have a preference for seeing our own great country - and have been to all 50 states, in addition to traveling to several other countries. The small ship experience (just over 80 passengers this time) allows us to get to know the crew, the staff, and our fellow passengers. The itinerary allowed us several opportunities to meet "the locals" and have a little experience of "living on the islands". We were especially lucky to have clear skies in Seattle, giving us a chance to see Mount Rainier, and then another bit of luck - on our whale-watching side-trip, we found ourselves in the middle of five (!) pods of orcas. The guest speaker, a naturalist who makes her home on one of the San Juan Islands, was knowledgeable, personable and engaging. Our service staff made sure that our every need and want was satisfied. The Captain was accessible and engaging - and very skilled. We don't have any disabilities, so I can't speak to that personally, although my sense from talking to others who did have disabilities, the ship has some cabins that are designed to accommodate certain disabilities. For those with severe disabilities, I'd encourage discussing these with the booking staff - the small ship configuration may or may not be the best choice - there were days when the ramp to get on and off the ship was rather steep, because of tidal differences. This wasn't a problem for us, but could be if you have significant mobility issues. I'd highly recommend this cruise and American Cruise Lines! We plan to travel with them again in the future. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2017
My husband and I have always wanted to go into British Columbia to see the beautiful Butchart Gardens in Victoria. This was a perfect way to do it. From the time that we arrived at the ship until we got off the experience was ... Read More
My husband and I have always wanted to go into British Columbia to see the beautiful Butchart Gardens in Victoria. This was a perfect way to do it. From the time that we arrived at the ship until we got off the experience was wonderful. The staff, the food, even the rooms were great...American Cruise line has a good grasp of knowing what the more mature folks want in a cruise for length, the ports of calls where easy for us to get around, the folks that were at the Ports of Call were very knowledgeable. This being our first time on a small sailing vessel, it was a wonderful experience, you had a better chance on knowing the other people who were sailing, they were not just someone you passed in the hallway, but someone you got to know. Would love to take another cruise with this company in the New England states next year. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2017
This is our second cruise with ACL. Enjoy the smaller ship size; able to interact with staff and other passengers. Excursions were very good; however the Lavender farm would have been better if the lavender was in bloom. Whale watching ... Read More
This is our second cruise with ACL. Enjoy the smaller ship size; able to interact with staff and other passengers. Excursions were very good; however the Lavender farm would have been better if the lavender was in bloom. Whale watching was excellent, they even took pictures and e-mailed them to us free of charge. The Seattle city tour was nice; we had a small group so the guide took us to a look-out point with a beautiful view of the river and the Space Needle and surrounding area. Pike Place Market although interesting was way to crowed for me. Historians (on board and whale watching) were also very good. Cocktail hour each nice was very nice and enjoyable; no additional charge. Like one seating for dinner at 6:30pm. Was also pleased that the gratuity had already been figured into the price of the cruise. The weather was pretty nice. We were told we brought the sun with us; only occasional light rain. They did have umbrellas if we had needed them. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2017
This was our second cruise with American Cruise Lines. Our first was on the Columbia and Snake rivers. This one, like the first one, did not disappoint. The ship, while small, was quite comfortable and our cabin was quite spacious with a ... Read More
This was our second cruise with American Cruise Lines. Our first was on the Columbia and Snake rivers. This one, like the first one, did not disappoint. The ship, while small, was quite comfortable and our cabin was quite spacious with a small balcony. The ship was clean and well maintained as was our cabin. The stateroom attendant did a very good job of making up our room each day. The food was very good with nice selection and very nice presentation, especially at dinner. The dining room service was friendly and efficient. Wine is included with dinner and lunch. The evening cocktail hour was wonderful with different horderves each evening along with wine and any cocktail you could request. The lounge is very comfortable for conversation and relaxation before dinner. Complimentary non-alcoholic drinks and snacks are available in the lounge during the day. Entertainment in the lounge during the evening consisted of local musical groups performing in the lounge after dinner. A historian/naturalist traveled on-board the entire cruise and provided interesting talks during the day/evening about various topics concerning the Puget Sound. Embarkation and disembarkation in Seattle were very well handled. Very nice cruise line. Shore excursions were well run and interesting. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2017
We were planning to visit our daughter and son-in-law in Seattle this spring, and we chose this cruise so that we could do both. From the embarkation on, everything went beautifully. We enjoyed the ports, the food, the comfort, the ... Read More
We were planning to visit our daughter and son-in-law in Seattle this spring, and we chose this cruise so that we could do both. From the embarkation on, everything went beautifully. We enjoyed the ports, the food, the comfort, the friendliness and efficiency of the staff, and meeting people on the cruise with us. Our hotel manager invited us to invite our daughter and son in law aboard for dinner the last night, and facilitated our "early checkout" so we could go home with them that night instead of getting up early the next morning and having them drive all the way back out to the ship to pick us up. I thought that was just the nicest and friendliest thing to do. To add to the fun, it turned out my daughter and son in law had mutual connections with the hotel manager from the island of Lanai, Hawaii! We are already talking about our next trip with American Cruise lines! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2017
This was our ninth cruise with ACL. After our first cruise, Great Rivers of Florida, we were hooked. ACL delivers an experience in travel that my husband and I both enjoy. The ship is small, thus allowing the entire crew to get to know ... Read More
This was our ninth cruise with ACL. After our first cruise, Great Rivers of Florida, we were hooked. ACL delivers an experience in travel that my husband and I both enjoy. The ship is small, thus allowing the entire crew to get to know us. The staterooms are exceptional, not to big, with plenty of space for relaxing. The food is beyond description. The chefs really outdo themselves and we have never had a bad meal. The service is exceptional, from the deck hands to the wait staff. You get personal service and are greeted by name after only one day on board. The shore tours are all very interesting and ACL does its best to see that all of the passengers have a comfortable touring experience. Over all, ACL goes above and beyond to make their cruises a trip to long be remembered. We will be on our tenth cruise With ACL next August, and are already looking forward to another great trip. Read Less
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