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Sail Date: August 2019
On day 1, we arrived at Lambert's Landing in St. Paul to find no boat at the dock. When we called the office to find out why, they said there was a last minute change and the boat had been docked in Red Wing, MN and that we would have ... Read More
On day 1, we arrived at Lambert's Landing in St. Paul to find no boat at the dock. When we called the office to find out why, they said there was a last minute change and the boat had been docked in Red Wing, MN and that we would have to find our own way there. No company rep nor a bus was at the dock to update us and transport us to Red Wing, though they did say they would pay for the taxi ride (I'm still waiting for reimbursement as the ship's staff said they were unable to refund directly to me). Our Uber driver agreed to take us there, and I tipped him generously because he would have to go back to the city empty. But the most irritating aspect of this is that the ship apparently hasn't been able to dock in St. Paul for quite some time, perhaps all season, and it wasn't a "last minute" change. And even if it was, they should have called us. We finally arrived at the ship at lunch time, and no one greeted us or apologized for the situation, or offered any reasons (or compensation) for the foul up. As we met other guests during the cruise, we found that others had been left in the lurch just as we had. Our cabin, no. 209, smelled strongly of mildew, and our towels (which we were encouraged to reuse) never dried out overnight; when I reported it on the mid-cruise questionnaire, a dehumidifier was delivered to our room; however the room steward didn't know how to empty it so I figured it out myself... I also reported how dirty our veranda was, and though they said they would clean it, that never happened. It was covered with spider webs and dead bugs, which made it unpleasant to sit out there. I don't understand why the room steward didn't have time to at least sweep it, because all she had to do in our room each day was make the bed (they don't change the sheets during the week), deliver dry towels, wipe down the shower and sink and empty the waste baskets. Though the Queen of the Mississippi is only in her 6th year of service, she is suffering from some deferred maintenance. There is chipped paint, dirty windows and balconies, scuffed upholstery, stained lamp shades, and stained carpets, all contributing to a general aura of shabbiness. There is simply no excuse for this level of neglect on a cruise for which you've paid nearly $10K for a week. We've been on 4 European river cruises (with Viking and Vantage) and several ocean cruises (with NCL and Cunard), and one thing they all have in common in constant maintenance. They're always pressure washing or painting or cleaning something, without interfering with the guest experience. ACL seems to have decided not to do this type of maintenance during the season. The room was quiet and spacious enough, with the typical tiny bathroom, but storage, both in the room and bathroom was more than adequate. Wifi was slow, and we usually had decent tv reception, though the screen is tiny. There were a few places along the river where we had no cell phone reception, but that was okay. I was pleasantly surprised at how smooth and quiet the boat is while cruising at night. Even when we were going through locks, I was rarely disturbed by noise or motion during the night. There are many lounges and decks on the ship, and you could easily find a place to socialize or sit quietly and read or contemplate the beautiful scenery. Cocktail hour at 5:30 each evening was also lively and fun, with generous pours of beer, wine and liquors. A nice assortment of hors d'ouevres was also offered each evening. After dinner, we enjoyed a variety of entertainers in the lounge; a guitar singer one night, a motown duo for 2 nights, a barbershop quarter another night. The onboard lecturer, Dale, was fun and entertaining and filled us with information about the Mississippi and each of the ports we visited and even conducted a few sing-alongs. At every port, except the first day in Red Wing, we docked very early in the morning and had the whole day to visit the town. We were warmly welcomed by local guides in each town, and they genuinely seemed happy to have us there. Fort Madison has recently been added to the itinerary, and they were especially gracious, though there was a scheduling issue and the visit to the old penitentiary was cancelled while we were actually on the bus on the way there. They have some kinks to work out in their tours. We had a nice dose of warm, mid-western hospitality at each port. Most of the tours were rather heavy on bus time rather than actual on-the-ground touring, but perhaps this is in deference to the rather advanced age of the typical traveler on this cruise. I wish they would use buses that have 2 doors, because waiting for all the people with canes and walkers to exit the bus at each stop was very time consuming. Food service varied from barely acceptable to very nice. We learned to get to the dining room promptly when they opened at 7:30 each morning; any later and you could wait a long time for your entree. They really should offer a buffet for breakfast, because the wait staff becomes quickly overwhelmed and they seem to not have enough short-order cooks in the galley. Lunch seemed a bit less hectic; perhaps because the limited number of entrees offered were pre-cooked and just needed to be plated. Dinner also featured uneven service. If you arrived promptly at 6:00 when they started to serve, you might get served quickly. But people are allowed to wander in any time from 6:00 to 7:30, so one couple at a table might be finishing up dessert just as another couple joined the table. ACL should adopt the strategy utilized by the European cruise lines that we've traveled (Vantage and Viking), who seem to have figured this all out. Sometimes entrees were delivered lukewarm; sometimes the lettuce in the salad was soggy and appears to have been pre-dressed. Both the lunch menu and the dinner menu changed each day, and you had to make your selection in the morning at breakfast so the cooks could plan accordingly. The only item that was consistently good were the desserts, though one in our party complained that the tres leches cake was still frozen. Many on the wait staff are very young and inexperienced, and it was actually the first time serving for some of them. It was painful to watch one young man try to nervously balance a tray of drinks without dumping them down the back of a guest... We heard that they pulled quite a few from the staff to populate the new ship that is coming on line next week, leaving our ship with a very inexperienced crew. Similar to the beginning of the cruise, we were advised on the next-to-last day that we wouldn't actually dock in St. Louis (for reasons not divulged), and would instead dock in Alton, Illinois and be bused into St. Louis for our afternoon excursion. We sat in Alton all morning with nothing to do, no shuttle bus and no excursions or suggestions offered. It was a 30-45 minute drive each way, time we would have liked to spend enjoying the city rather than on a freeway. I do realize that the shipping lines can't be held responsible for the ever-changing conditions on the river that cause itineraries to be altered. What was lacking was their communication of such changes and the reasons for the changes. If they said high water or flooding made it too dangerous, everyone would have understood. They haven't been able to dock in St. Paul or St. Louis at all this season, so why are they still advertising this as a St. Paul to St. Louis tour? It's actually a Red Wing to Alton tour. Disembarkation was the smoothest part of the process. We had to put our tagged bags out at midnite, and the bus to the airport was scheduled at 7:30. We walked off the ship, identified our bags out on the tarmac, and got on the bus. The combination of inadequate communication, being stranded in St. Louis and having to make our own way to Red Wing, the smelly room, the dirty windows and balcony, the uneven food service, and the unprofessional service in general, added up to a less-than-exceptional experience for us. We are experienced travelers used to "going with the flow", but the negatives on this cruise somewhat outweighed the positives for us. Seeing the magnificent Mississippi River from the perspective of a grand river boat, and the quaint small towns along the way, was memorable and interesting, but the overall experience with the ship itself was rather disappointing. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2019
We went on the Grand New England Cruise offered by American Cruise Lines and enjoyed it very much. The Lobster Bake in Rockland, ME was wonderful...from music to our lobster. In fact, we found every port interesting especially visiting ... Read More
We went on the Grand New England Cruise offered by American Cruise Lines and enjoyed it very much. The Lobster Bake in Rockland, ME was wonderful...from music to our lobster. In fact, we found every port interesting especially visiting the Portland, ME Lighthouse, and the excursions we signed up for (Lobster and Lighthouse in Camden, ME and Schooner Sail in Gloucester, MA). We found the ship and our stateroom very clean. Weather made it impossible to tender at Bar Harbor, but safety of passengers should be the main concern which it was. The food was delicious and we were thrilled with all the seafood offered. The waitstaff, for the most part, was excellent. The crew was very friendly and attentive especially our Cruise Director. We also enjoyed the on board Historian. This was our first cruise experience and would go again with American Cruise Lines. We met some wonderful people and will have great memories. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2019
My wife and I love the fact the ACL ship has 100 passengers max. The ship is cozy, casual and very well run. The crew, top to bottom, are friendly, responsive and efficient. The cabins are roomy with private balconies. The food and ... Read More
My wife and I love the fact the ACL ship has 100 passengers max. The ship is cozy, casual and very well run. The crew, top to bottom, are friendly, responsive and efficient. The cabins are roomy with private balconies. The food and service is excellent. We have done the big ship cruises (3000+ + passengers, and swore we will never do another big ship again!) We discovered ACL last summer when we did their New England Island cruise, and loved it. We have already signed up for our third cruise with ACL for Nov. 2020. It was fun to be able to mix and mingle and sit with different people at every meal. Since many passengers, like us, were older, retired people, and from a variety of states, cities, businesses and professions, mealtimes were always interesting and entertaining. American Cruise Lines have smaller ships so they can visit more of the coastal and river ports than the big ships, so we you get to see more of the country up close and personal. Landing in port, there are at most only 100 passengers who disembark or go on shore hikes and excursions vs. 3000 people descending on a port at the same time. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2019
After having cruised Alaska last year with Celebrity we wanted to try a smaller ship for the off the path stops. The Constellation was just the size we were looking for. The precruise hotel was an old one. While billed as a 3 star I ... Read More
After having cruised Alaska last year with Celebrity we wanted to try a smaller ship for the off the path stops. The Constellation was just the size we were looking for. The precruise hotel was an old one. While billed as a 3 star I certainly wouldn't give it that rating. A clean road side motel more accurately describes the "Prospector" now owned by Ramada Wyndham As others have noted the onboard dining experience left a lot to be desired. Diner entrée choices where down to three and the portions were small. One could ask for more but there would be a time delay and when dining with others that would be problematic. The entrees were mediocre at best. One night was a vegetarian stuffed pepper. It was only a small slice of pepper overlaid with a tasteless couscous and I ended up having a piece of chocolate cake for dinner instead. The absence of a snack bar onboard was very apparent that day. The ship's heating units were all mounted high on the walls and because heat rises the decks were drafty all the time. The outside temperatures were running in the 50s and 60s so it was very uncomfortable. There was some problem with the ship wide computer system and we had to be logged on and off the ship by paper the entire cruise. I understand the cell service and wifi are spotty in Alaska but the brochure offered free wifi during the cruise and it was rare when we had access outside Juneau. After dinner we were stuck with our overly bubbly cruise director reading us the next day's itinerary from the same sheet that was delivered to our stateroom. She often ran over her allotted time so the entertainment didn't start until late. The music stopped at about 9:45PM so it was a short night. The good? the staff, they were great without exception (wish the cruise director would be a bit more mature and professional) Boarding and debarkation was smooth. Alaska was, what can I say? Gorgeous. The ship's captain stopped the vessel several times to view wildlife (whales, bears and orcas) and really made the cruise. I'm not big on walking tours so I passed on several excursions. The bus tours, the river rafting and the White Pass RR were great. Would I recommend this cruise? Probably not. They really have to upgrade their dining options and when it gets cold in Alaska the ship is uncomfortable. Back to the bigger ships for me. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2019
I chose it because of the decor depicted in the brochure and the itinerary. The decor of the ship was nothing like was depicted in their advertisements. We sailed during an impending tropical storm which they ignored and the cruise up the ... Read More
I chose it because of the decor depicted in the brochure and the itinerary. The decor of the ship was nothing like was depicted in their advertisements. We sailed during an impending tropical storm which they ignored and the cruise up the lower Mississippi river got worse. We repeatedly questioned the cruise direction inquiring about our destination considering the weather. We essentially were ignored. The decor of the rooms is average. The upper floors leaked terribly. two of our three ports were closed. The port at Baton Rouge was at flood stage and the entire city was shut down pending the coming flood. Once again we tried to get answers with no results. When then decided to disembark and catch a flight home. All the crew were first timers and inexperienced. The food was average for a cruise. The entertainment areas were small. There was one ice machine for the 100 or so passengers, The captain was relieved of duty apparently because his lack of communication with the passengers. I contacted the corporate office and their flippant response was we didn't know of any storm or problems with the America. This cruise is falsely advertised and way to expensive for what is offered. The crew is very young and inexperienced. It felt like we were on training vessel. The main office has yet to refund me any money. They offered a 1000 cruise credit which to me was an insult. If you book with this company you will regret it! Never Again! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2019
Whale sightings 6 of 7 days, excellent food and service, magnificent views up close of mountain goats, a wolf, hundreds of sea lions, otters, eagles and flocks of birds. Local seafood served as one choice in varied dishes at lunch and ... Read More
Whale sightings 6 of 7 days, excellent food and service, magnificent views up close of mountain goats, a wolf, hundreds of sea lions, otters, eagles and flocks of birds. Local seafood served as one choice in varied dishes at lunch and dinner. Crew was on target, baggage in our room when we arrived onboard after a morning at Mendenhall Glacier to have lunch onboard. We saw multiple types of glaciers. Presentations onboard for identifying whales readily and their habits. Also information from Alaskan native tribe and National Forest Service about what we would see in the 2 days in Glacier Bay. Stops in small towns were different and varied in their purpose. Train available to Yukon up the path taken by miners thru White Pass. Kayaks, rafting, who could want more? Accommodations were spacious, and food too often available as snacks between meals. Hors d’oeuvres and cocktails each afternoon, wine and beer with meals. Services were personalized and consistent. We added an extra day to wander and absorb the flavor of Juneau before boarding which was a good decision. Tracy’s Crab Shack in Juneau is a must for King Crab like a local! Leaving was smooth transition in early morning with assistance of crew to make early flights necessary to get to East Coast. Small ship experience was so much better than what my friends had on larger ships that have less access to places where we went. Now looking for another bucket list destination. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2019
My first river cruise. Choose Columbia River for the scenery. Clarkston, WA ..to Portland, OR. Travel from Houston to the cruise was a challenge. Easy to get to Portland. Getting to Clarkston,WA. Or Spokane by plane from portland ... Read More
My first river cruise. Choose Columbia River for the scenery. Clarkston, WA ..to Portland, OR. Travel from Houston to the cruise was a challenge. Easy to get to Portland. Getting to Clarkston,WA. Or Spokane by plane from portland was unrealistic so we rented a car and drove 6 hours. Once we were inClarkston it was well organized. (Car was returned to Lewiston airport hotel provided shuttle back to hotel.) Embarkation went smoothly. Just a short walk to ship ...hotel staff took our luggage to ship. My cabin was as expected. Neat clean lots of room and drawer space. HINT. When you leave it is requested you leave your key card on the desk ....no card on my desk.. plenty of staff available to get me a new card. *****Key cards are magnetized so I had problems with it demagnetizing when it was near my IPAD. Cruise was great I researched ahead of time so I knew the guests would be a mature group. The tours were adequate for the remote areas we cruised. The crew went out of their way to make sure slower guests disembarked for tours safely and with dignity.. This was my first River Cruise and there will. Be many to follow. I am not a fan of the huge cruises with thousands of guests. Yes ACL cruises are expensive. I read lots of reviews and knew what to expect Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2019
Great comfortable cabin on nearly new ship, but open closet hanging space is limited. Lectures were good and musical entertainment was generally adequate, we came prepared with own DVD's. Shore excursion to Mt St Helens required 90 ... Read More
Great comfortable cabin on nearly new ship, but open closet hanging space is limited. Lectures were good and musical entertainment was generally adequate, we came prepared with own DVD's. Shore excursion to Mt St Helens required 90 minute bus ride for 60 minute visit, but DVD on bus about eruption helped. Pendleton excursion definitely not worth it, would have preferred to remain on board. We enjoyed the locks and the lecturer gave commentary in the lounge. Really no other commentary or map described the areas we were passing by. We kept changing tables in the dining room until we found a server we liked - they usually cover the same 3 or so tables. Usually only a couple choices of appetizer/salad, main course and dessert. They try really hard to accommodate dietary issues, we had none. Snacks and all kinds of sodas/juices always available in several lounges. Jet boat ride on Hells Canyon did not include the sheer canyon walls I expected, but did see an eagle and big horn sheep. Three free washers/dryers with soap pods and dryer sheets provided. Embarkation is walk on from Red Lion Hotel and disembarkation was well organized. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2019
We enjoy river cruises as opposed to ocean cruises. We enjoy the silence of the river, and the history surrounding it. On this Lewis and Clark themed cruise along the Snake and Columbia Rivers in Washington and Oregon, we relived a most ... Read More
We enjoy river cruises as opposed to ocean cruises. We enjoy the silence of the river, and the history surrounding it. On this Lewis and Clark themed cruise along the Snake and Columbia Rivers in Washington and Oregon, we relived a most important part of our nations past, forged in part by these two infamous explorers. Great shore excursions and presentations by the River Historian added to the experience. The hospitality of the ship and crew was outstanding. The food and drink was excellent. It should be noted that the Queen of the West is the line's oldest ship and the rooms and bathroom are smaller than newer ships. But so little time is spent in the room, we found the accommodations to be adequate. The one difficulty was a high step into the bathroom which may be difficult for an elderly person. We enjoyed the entire cruise so much that we immediately signed up for another cruise next year! Read Less
Sail Date: June 2019
Doing the Lewis and Clark riverboat Cruise has always been on our bucket list. This seemed to be a good time of the year. Queen of the West is an older boat and is very intimate. Bedroom very small but haven’t spent much time in it ... Read More
Doing the Lewis and Clark riverboat Cruise has always been on our bucket list. This seemed to be a good time of the year. Queen of the West is an older boat and is very intimate. Bedroom very small but haven’t spent much time in it but to sleep. Several places where you can sit, watch the scenery, read or visit with the new friends you meet daily. Crew very attentive and Edgar to please. First morning we boarded at 10:30 AM snakes and open bar has we were oriented to our boat. Meals have been delicious! Who doesn’t like a root beer float or ice cream sundae at 8 PM?? As we travel we learn more about the history of the area we are in. Loved Astoria’s quaint look. Houses on hills like San Francisco but then you seen a doe with her fawn meandering down the street or tucked under a 300 foot fir. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
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
2 Helpful Votes
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
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: May 2019
We have been on many, many ocean cruises and wanted to experience the small ship cruise. We chose the American Constellation which had 130 passengers. This was a great alternative to the huge ships - no crowding, large comfortable suite, ... Read More
We have been on many, many ocean cruises and wanted to experience the small ship cruise. We chose the American Constellation which had 130 passengers. This was a great alternative to the huge ships - no crowding, large comfortable suite, easy and smooth embarkation and disembarkation. A Senior atmosphere, very accommodating to the 55+ generation. No kids which was a plus for us - (after our last Caribbean cruise that offered free passage for kids and there were hundreds of kids running and jumping and screaming all over that ship.) The Constellation can go to places the big ships cannot. While onboard, we booked another for next year on Chesapeake Bay. Looking forward to it. The onboard entertainment was very enjoyable. Food was good for the most part. Ports were interesting with well organized excursions. Cruise Director and Hotel Manager were very helpful, cheerful and friendly - as were all crew members. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
This Cruise Line was recommended to us, We had studied their literature carefully. I use a cane and scooter and was with my husband. It all worked out very well for me. The crew assisted me with my scooter on and off the Riverboat. ... Read More
This Cruise Line was recommended to us, We had studied their literature carefully. I use a cane and scooter and was with my husband. It all worked out very well for me. The crew assisted me with my scooter on and off the Riverboat. This was quite helpful, so I did not miss a thing. We enjoyed meeting new people, many interesting and from all over the USA. We found the group fun and stimulating having shared many of the same experiences in life. The Riverboat,The American Song was new. The furnishing and lounges were quite nice with large windows. This was a Food and Wine Cruise so we raved about the Food Selections and Wines. My husband, in particular had seafood at each meal. I tried other menu selections. We found the lectures interesting and stimulating. We found two of the evenings of entertainment most enjoyable. The entire crew made our experience the Best! The shore excursions were fabulous, the small towns in the Pacific Northwest, the Museums we visited, the magnificent Columbia and Snake Rivers were Wonderful to see. The terrain and locks were so impressive to us having lived mostly in the East, Midwest and South. We are from Atlanta, Georgia and signed on for the Alaska Cruise for next Summer in August 2020. Praises to the American Cruise Line. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2019
We were seeking a vacation that could accommodate my husband in a wheelchair and chose the river cruise on the Columbia River on the American Song. This new boat is beautiful with lovely cabins and public rooms. The dining room was lovely ... Read More
We were seeking a vacation that could accommodate my husband in a wheelchair and chose the river cruise on the Columbia River on the American Song. This new boat is beautiful with lovely cabins and public rooms. The dining room was lovely and accommodated all guests at once. The cuisine was excellent and locally sourced, and the service impeccable. Since this cruise travels in a fairly rural area, one goes for the scenery and history/ local culture rather than big entertainment. We would recommend an extra day or two to explore the Portland area pre or post cruise. For our needs, the boat was completely accessible. Every room has showers with safety bars. There are also bars in the hallways.The staff were exceptional in all regards. Getting on and off the boat for shore excursions was challenging for my husband, but fantastic staff assistance made it all possible. I would recommend this cruise line to anyone, but especially note its ability to handle someone with mobility issues (assuming an able-bodied companion). 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
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
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
Cruise began in New Orleans (on my bucket list) and we went on a Wednesday and our cruise didn’t begin until Saturday, so we had time to see NOLA or a couple of days. The French Quarter was having a music festival so it was packed with ... Read More
Cruise began in New Orleans (on my bucket list) and we went on a Wednesday and our cruise didn’t begin until Saturday, so we had time to see NOLA or a couple of days. The French Quarter was having a music festival so it was packed with people, but some of the food vendors had some delicious food. We boarded the ship Saturday AM and got underway at 1:00 PM heading towards Memphis, with various stops in between. We had a riverarian and a historian onboard, who gave very interesting talks about the Civil War and the history of the Mississippi. Very interesting talks. Our stateroom was very nice, clean and included a writing desk, a king size bed, 2 end tables, a small closet and an upholstered chair, enough drawer space for some clothing, but we didn’t have to take a lot because the boat had free laundry facilities for the guests. The bathroom was adequate with only a shower, but not enough towel racks or door hooks for clean clothes. We also had a small balcony, which was nice to sit and have a drink or read a book while the boat was on the move. There were plenty of excursions you could sign up for or if you wanted you could explore on your own. Some were complimentary, but most had a fee if you wanted to sign up. There was entertainment every evening after dinner, usually music or a comedy act. The dining room has open seating, so you have the opportunity to meet many people, and these small cruise ships usually have less than 200 passengers. All the servers and deck hands , kitchen staff and cruise directors, etc., are Americans, the boats/ships are all built in the USA, so there is never a problem with communication. Food is usually pretty good, but for some reason the kitchen seemed to be disorganized, therefore food service was very slow. This was our 4th cruise with ACL, and the most disorganized in general. Public areas on the boat were nice and comfortable, whether in the lounges or out on the decks. Happy hour ( 5:30-6:30). is always nice but a bit crowded, sometimes with a line of people waiting for a drink. There were servers with trays of appetizers being passed out and a table with more food and 2 servers to pass out your food of choice. Be careful or you won’t have room for your dinner ( 6:30-8:00). Overall we’ve been really happy with our cruises with ACL and have signed up for our 5th cruise next year. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
We sailed the Columbia/Snake River cruise. The American Song is a beautiful ship with spacious staterooms and very comfortable design and furnishings. The public deck areas are exceptionally nice with probably the most comfortable deck ... Read More
We sailed the Columbia/Snake River cruise. The American Song is a beautiful ship with spacious staterooms and very comfortable design and furnishings. The public deck areas are exceptionally nice with probably the most comfortable deck furniture I have experienced on a cruise ship. The crew was very personable, friendly and accomodating. The hotel director went above and beyond to ensure guests needs were met. The onboard historian brought the river alive with storytelling that made you appreciate what your were seeing and experiencing. It was more than just a cruise, it was an educational experience. The other passengers were very compatible and friendly and it made for a very pleasant journey. The itinerary was very good with a good selection of shore excursions that made it interesting and enjoyable. Going through the locks at each of the Dams was fascinating and interesting. Overall, I give American very high marks. We would definitely cruise with them again. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: February 2019
First, the cruises offered by ACL are geared towards mature audiences - 60's and up, although there very people much younger on this cruise. Actually who's on the cruise really doesn't matter to me, as long as people are ... Read More
First, the cruises offered by ACL are geared towards mature audiences - 60's and up, although there very people much younger on this cruise. Actually who's on the cruise really doesn't matter to me, as long as people are enjoying their experience. I have taken 7 ocean cruises and on rivercruise (20 years ago). If you are expecting in your face activities and craziness, pick something other than a river cruise. This was a celebration cruise for my husband and I, and when greeted when boarding the boat, we were congratulated and on the second day, after returning from a shore excursion, we found champagne and strawberries in our cabin! Every crew member is there to serve you and extend extraordinary customer service, which was evident every minute of the day (we had to ask someone to thread a needle, and they did so with a smile!). When crew members say they love their jobs, that says something about a company! Because the river was running high, a last minute change of itinerary was made and I thought it gave us an even better experience; also, Because we were in the height of Mardi Gras season, instead of staying in a hotel pre-cruise (part of your fare), we stayed on the boat - we were greeted by a lovely buffet and drinks. We were not able to dock at Houmas House or Oak Alley, but those excursions were changed to days when we were in Baton Rouge and New Orleans. We cruised up to St. Francisville instead on the first day, and had the choice of three additional excursions (only 2 of the many offered were premium at an extra charge, by the way...). Also in Baton Rouge, which is not the most exciting stop, they added a walking tour by their river guide, which made is all worth while. And because we returned to New Orleans a half day early, excursions to the WW2 museum and a French Quarter walking tour were added! I think this was all handle exceptionally well!!! On the ACL cruises, beer and wine are included at Lunch, cocktail hour, dinner and during the evening entertainment, so you are not running up a tab. The food was excellent and you could request half portions. There were also snacks, coffee, tea, fruit, juice and soda always available in two of the lounges. My husband had never cruised before and I knew that an ocean cruise was out of the question - he thoroughly enjoyed this and we are considering other itineraries in the future. The cost seems high at first, but when I compared it to an ocean cruise with similar accommodations (balcony), and considering that there is no charge for adult beverages, no tipping, free excursions, free WIFI, the cost is comparable. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
Great Cruise with top notch food, entertainment and service. In addition, very enjoyable and informative cruise tours at the ports. This cruise is focused on older adults as not much that would interest children. Small number of people ... Read More
Great Cruise with top notch food, entertainment and service. In addition, very enjoyable and informative cruise tours at the ports. This cruise is focused on older adults as not much that would interest children. Small number of people on-board which gives ample opportunity to meet new people. There were some traveling alone, some in groups as well as couples. The ship was kept immaculate and our room was a nice size. We enjoyed the view from our balcony. We saw beautiful sunrises and sunsets. There was more than enough to eat and drink at all times! There was accommodation for those that needed accommodation to reach the tour buses and tour destinations. We also were very satisfied with the hotel the first night in New Orleans that was part of the cruise package. Loved that the food and entertainment was inclusive of the local area of the cruise. We highly recommend taking this cruise! Read Less
Sail Date: November 2018
We had never been to this area and this seemed like a great way to experience it...historically and culturally. This was our first cruise on American Cruise Lines. While the ship is not new, it was very clean and comfortable, and decently ... Read More
We had never been to this area and this seemed like a great way to experience it...historically and culturally. This was our first cruise on American Cruise Lines. While the ship is not new, it was very clean and comfortable, and decently decorated. Our stateroom was AAC on the third floor and it was as large as advertised as was the bathroom. The bedding was very nice and the king bed quite comfortable. The outside balcony would have been used more if the weather had been warmer. We sailed in early November and it was often quite cool and we had some rainy days. For us the trip was almost flawless and we had a wonderful time. Attire is casual but folks dressed neatly and tastefully. We were fortunate to find many congenial groups, couples, and singles to enjoy the cruise with. No young children or teenagers. The group ranged in ages 50 - 80's and was a fairly active group. The food was quite good. I am Vegan and the cruise chef was able to plan and prepare very good meals for me. My spouse enjoyed the regular cuisine. Although some crew members were quite new, the hotel (cruise) manager did a great job making sure all the parts worked really well together. She was very organized and the materials the company provides its passengers were very clear and complete. The itinery director was also organized, quite pleasant, and competent communicator. There was an onboard naturalist who gave several lectures and he was knowledgable and an entertaining presenter. The off ship excursions were enjoyable with several locals guiding us in their respective home towns. We did book another cruise while on this one as we so enjoyed it. No complaints. The crew and staff did a great job. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
From my first contact by phone with the cruise agent through the debarkation, everyone and everything was a most pleasant experience. I have been on several cruises and this ranks near the top of the list. First and foremost was the ... Read More
From my first contact by phone with the cruise agent through the debarkation, everyone and everything was a most pleasant experience. I have been on several cruises and this ranks near the top of the list. First and foremost was the attentiveness and attitude of the entire crew which was directed t making our trip pleasant and enjoyable. The fact that passenger count was small (at capacity) allowed for interaction between everyone which made for a most comfortable time and conversation with all. The ship provided ready access to every public area and was clean and well manned. Our cabin was large by cruise ship standards and dining was excellent. The entertainment was good and their was always something to do. All personnel were dedicated to providing first class service to all passengers. The ports were well chosen and provided good shore experiences. I would most assuredly use American Cruise Lines again. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
Our ship, the American Song, was brand new and had only been in service for two weeks before our cruise. Everything was sparkling clean and shipshape. It was a real treat to be onboard such a clean, beautiful ship. One very nice feature is ... Read More
Our ship, the American Song, was brand new and had only been in service for two weeks before our cruise. Everything was sparkling clean and shipshape. It was a real treat to be onboard such a clean, beautiful ship. One very nice feature is that our room heating/cooling system worked great. The cabin temperature controls were easy to use and the system performed well. The staff was unfailingly courteous and helpful. Most of the complimentary shore excursions were very interesting although a little slow-paced for my wife & me. We’re in our early-to-mid-60s and prefer a more active pace. Most of their tours range from an hour to three hours and involve little walking. But most of the passengers looked older than us so the tours probably fit American Cruise Lines’ demographic well. The onboard pilothouse tour given by the ship’s cabin was very interesting. (But I’m an old sailor so I have a bias toward anything nautical.) Riverboat historian Bill’s lectures were terrific. They focused on riverboat history, the Civil War and the Louisiana Purchase. We found them fascinating. He has a great delivery and infuses the subjects with humor. Bill’s wife & entertainment partner is singer Laura and her tribute to women singers was great. Her knowledge of the repertoire starting back in the early 20th century and continuing up to the current day was amazing. The food was very good but designed to appeal to the standard American palate. It’s centered around a large chunk of meat or fish and accompanied by a starch such as potatoes or white rice. Vegetables are an afterthought. I had a hard time getting veggies even when I ordered the vegan options. Salads were mostly lettuce with a very small dollop of dressing. At least, the lettuce was not iceberg. Some fruit was available on a buffet table at breakfast but some was unripe. Dessert was available at both lunch & dinner. Alcoholic beverages flow freely starting with complimentary beer & wine at lunch. Next is happy hour with the added option of free mixed drinks. Happy hour is followed by free beer/wine/mixed drinks at dinner. The WiFi was very slow, so slow as to be mostly unusable. I tried it in a few different locations throughout the ship. I found that I could get a faster connection by using my cellphone to set up a hotspot. We paid for a couple of the “signature” excursions. One was the Atchafalaya tour; we were very disappointed by this. On the day we went the swamp boat’s steering had apparently been worked on recently and put back together backwards; i.e., steering to port sent the boat to starboard and vice versa. Watching the skipper try to leave the dock with this mechanical disability did not inspire confidence. Once away from the dock we didn’t see much wildlife and the tour narration was lacking. On the way back we had a miserable lunch in a local hole-in-the-wall diner. I’ve had better meals at Denny’s. It sounded like the people who took the free tour that day had a better experience. To top it all off when we boarded the bus to return Rush Limbaugh was on the radio, not at all what a couple of lefties like us want to hear. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2018
This was my second cruise on the Independence and I have booked two more cruises for 2019 and 2020. We were able to take a New York City tour before sailing giving me a chance to visit the 911 Memorial, which was very important to me. ... Read More
This was my second cruise on the Independence and I have booked two more cruises for 2019 and 2020. We were able to take a New York City tour before sailing giving me a chance to visit the 911 Memorial, which was very important to me. Touring West Point was such a wonderful experience and the FDR Home and Library were a highlight of the trip as well. I could have spent a whole day there. I enjoy the atmosphere of the small ship and getting to know so many people. The age range of the passengers is more to my liking, closer to my age. And the fact that American Cruise Lines has staterooms designed for singles makes traveling a little less expensive for a single person. The food was wonderful and the variety at each meal was a real treat. The open seating at all meals made it so easy to get to know people. The service staff and management were exceptional. Looking forward to traveling with American Cruise Lines again. Read Less
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