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236 American Cruise Lines Senior Cruise Reviews

" Small cruising done perfectly " truly describes the experience. The staff are well trained, polite and very accommodating. Food and drinks were outstanding. Entertainment and "Toots" enhanced the overall experience. ... Read More
" Small cruising done perfectly " truly describes the experience. The staff are well trained, polite and very accommodating. Food and drinks were outstanding. Entertainment and "Toots" enhanced the overall experience. That is why we hope to go again and again. [Our stateroom was] Spacious, elegant, plenty of drawer/closet space. We did have a severe leak on the floor. We told someone when we arrived but I guess it was a very hectic time and no one came to check for a couple of days. I think one of the stewards reported it again. By that time the rug was saturated and some clothes got soaked. However, once discovered the crew worked to discover the source of the leak. It did take a couple of trys but was resolved. The crew did a good job in tracking down the problem. The room was musty but did dry out in time for the next cruise. The coordination of events and organization of the cruise demonstrates a well thought out plan that takes training, experience, and skill. There was one steward who went "above and beyond" for me. His name is Salvadore S/. I will be writing a letter on my experience under separate cover as he deserves special recognition. Briefly, I have severe back pain and he watched over me the whole trip with compassion, humor, and efficiency. The dining room was a little noisy compared to the rest of the large rooms. Having several small areas/lounges allows opportunity for small group experience and personal time Overall a great excursion done in a quality way ! Thank you. Read Less
Sail Date April 2014
First, let me say that this was our third cruise on the American Star, and that we have already booked two more with American Cruise Lines--on the Mississippi and then in Maine. Previously we toured the New England Islands and the ... Read More
First, let me say that this was our third cruise on the American Star, and that we have already booked two more with American Cruise Lines--on the Mississippi and then in Maine. Previously we toured the New England Islands and the Intracoastal waterway from South Carolina to Florida. Although we have traveled a lot on Regent and Seabourn ships,, the far more casual atmosphere of ACL is very appealing. The food is quite good, though admittedly the selection is far more limited than on the ocean-going ships, and the service is not as professional (these are, after all, young American kids). But there's something rather nice about having them around instead of waiters who dress more formally than the guests. And the fact that there are only 100 passengers means that the staff actually knows your name in short order (the fact that you wear name tags does help everyone become acquainted in short order). Also, there is a cocktail hour every evening aboard ACL vessels, with good brands being poured, and rather freely. Furthermore, although you can order half portions at all meals, food is constantly being handed to you--cookies in the morning, if you are aboard, hors d'oeuvres at cocktail time, and then popcorn and root beer floats or sundaes in the evening with some sort of fairly casual entertainment brought aboard from a nearby town. Oh, and, of course, you are free to bring your own alcohol aboard with you as well. Now let me say something about the cruise itself. The Hudson is a very interesting river for a couple of reasons: its history, including the long-term efforts to clean it from the pollution generated by chemical dumping by corporations at a time no one was much aware of its carcinogenic potential, and the fact that the river is tidal, which means that the water flows both north and south. The foliage was gorgeous, though more subdued than one would find in the Berkshires or Vermont. One stop was Olana, the home of one of the Hudson River School painters, Frederick Church, and one can easily see why he was drawn to the location. Others stops were Albany (much more interesting a city than we had anticipated, probably because we had a most enthusiastic and knowledgeable guide, West Point and Hyde Park, which need no comments, since they stand on their own as interesting destinations, Kingston, which was made more enjoyable because it is the town where the ship's resident expert, Sandy Balla, actually lives, and tours of the homes of both robber baron Jay Gould and Washington Irving near Sleepy Hollow. The contrast between the ostentation of Mr. Gould and homey feel of the residence of Ichabod Crane's creator was worth the visit. All in all, the trip was worth every penny and the fact that we live within driving distance means that we shall definitely return on our own. The only negatives we have to say about our experience is that driving to Chelsea Pier in Manhattan is not exactly a pleasant thing to do, but mitigated by the fact that parking is available very close to the pier. The other is that mobility is an issue to take into consideration for some folks, since there are distances to walk to some of the sites, and some stairs to climb. Those of us without that issue also had to be patient getting on and especially off buses (some were not) as those who were physically challenged slowly made their way down the aisle. Not everyone was elderly, but some were. Read Less
Sail Date October 2013
This cruise was the return trip to Seattle for the American Spirit after a summer season of seven day round trip cruises from Juneau. While we visited the usual cruise ship ports of Juneau and Ketchikan, the real attraction was the small ... Read More
This cruise was the return trip to Seattle for the American Spirit after a summer season of seven day round trip cruises from Juneau. While we visited the usual cruise ship ports of Juneau and Ketchikan, the real attraction was the small "real" Alaskan ports where the big cruise ships cannot go. Petersburg, AK is a working commercial fishing port in the heart of southeast Alaska. The included tour was a one hour guided tour through the fishing docs led by a retired commercial fisherman. He explained the different types of fishing and pointed out how the equipment on each boat was specifically developed for one type of fishing. The wonderful Clausen Museum tells the story of those who lived and worked in Petersburg. Our next port of call was Wrangell, AK. We visited the Chief Shakes Tribal House of the Tlingit (pronounced Clingit) settlers. Visited the Petroglyph Beach where rock carvings have been dated 8,000 years before the Tlingit settlement. All tours were included in the cost of the cruise. Another plus for the small ship: we were able to traverse the innermost and most scenic of the routes down the Inland Passage. Saw numerous Humpback Whales and Orcas. Re-entering U.S. waters we also visited three small ports in the San Juan Islands: Friday Harbor, WA, Anacortes, WA and Port Townsend, WA. Port Townsend has a Historical District which is a treasure of Victorian Architecture; buildings from when the town aspired to be the "New York of the West." Nice roomy king stateroom on the second deck. All the basics but not luxury. Good bed though. Just aft of the forward lounge, I spend little time in my cabin anyhow. it was convenient and not noisy. American Spirit is not a noisy boat.   Read Less
Sail Date September 2013
We had cruised three times previously on American Cruise Lines (ACL), and generally had good to very good experiences, although the cruises are expensive. So, we looked forward to this cruise along the coast of Maine. One of the big ... Read More
We had cruised three times previously on American Cruise Lines (ACL), and generally had good to very good experiences, although the cruises are expensive. So, we looked forward to this cruise along the coast of Maine. One of the big positives of ACL is the informality, ease of embarkation and disembarkation, and friendliness of the crew. Unfortunately, it was the worst of the four cruises by a wide margin. The food and service were not up to the level of previous cruises, and there was continual confusion about the itinerary, with last minute changes. Although you cannot control the weather, the captain seemed to be way to cautious. In the end, the visit to Bar Harbor was cut short by over a half day, and we skipped three ports completely (although passengers had the option to be bussed to two of them). The tours were not great, mostly either bus or walking tours of the ports. There were some highlights, like the Farnsworth Museum, and Main Botanical Garden, as well as several marine museums, but not enough interesting sights. The best meal of the whole trip was a lobster bake off the ship put on by a local company in Rockland. We did enjoy our fellow passengers, most of who are retired and very experienced travelers. This is definitely a "senior crowd", with the average age probably in the 70's (We actually had two passengers on board in their mid-90's), which might explain some of the caution on the captain's part with fog and moderate waves. The nightly cocktail hour is also a big hit with passengers, and the appetizers served then were usually quite good (often better than the subsequent dinner). Housekeeping was also generally good. It appears to us that ACL is experiencing growing pains as it adds ships and itineraries, and the small number of experienced crew members are spread way too thin. Given the money we spent (~$5000 per person), we clearly did not get value for our money. We will give ACL one more try, but another negative experience would have us spend our money elsewhere after that. Read Less
Sail Date September 2013
It rained the first 3 days of the trip which was not the fault of ACL.This meant we could not go to Astoria. They didn't seam to know what to do and we traveled about 35 miles in 3 days. The cabins on this boat are so small that the ... Read More
It rained the first 3 days of the trip which was not the fault of ACL.This meant we could not go to Astoria. They didn't seam to know what to do and we traveled about 35 miles in 3 days. The cabins on this boat are so small that the bed takes up about 75% of the room. The tv is on desk next to the bed with no place to sit to watch it. A lamp next to the bed was connected to an extension that went across the room to a outlet. This was in front of the door that led to the small balcony. If you wanted to sit and read you had to go to the library as there was no room in the cabin. I called ACL twice to find out the cost of excursions and they said you will find out when you board the ship. The booklet said $20 to $90. They charged $40 to $120. The per diem cost of the cruise was more than some luxury cruises we have taken. Some the most scenic parts of this cruise were traveled at night or during a lunch or dinner hour. The food choice was minimal but basically well prepared The kids serving the meals also cleaned the rooms. They were hard working and enjoyable. In summary this the most over priced bare bones cruise we have ever gone on. Read Less
Sail Date September 2013
the cruise started with outstanding scenery at Acadia National Park.It continued with wonderful tours of small towns in Maine showing the local scenery and history. Along the way were a number of very interesting and beautiful places to ... Read More
the cruise started with outstanding scenery at Acadia National Park.It continued with wonderful tours of small towns in Maine showing the local scenery and history. Along the way were a number of very interesting and beautiful places to see. The ones that stand out are the following although there were lots more that were almost as good. The working waterfront at Belfast was interesting showing the history of the captains and the fishing industry. Rockland was a super day with the Marine Academy, a trip on a lobster boat while they were catching their lobsters and a very authentic lobster bake on the beach.It was a awesome day. The botanical gardens at Booth Bay Harbor were stunning. I love gardening and this was a wonderful example of a great garden that all would enjoy. In addition the food on board was very very good. The variety was super and the service was outstanding. The quality of the personel is the best I have seen. They catered to every wish. Read Less
Sail Date August 2013
The Columbia River scenery was nice, the locks and dams were interesting. The pros: Laid back Quiet not crowded Casual The cons: Cabins are really small Food is very marginal and little choice Snacks are very salty, pretzels etc., ... Read More
The Columbia River scenery was nice, the locks and dams were interesting. The pros: Laid back Quiet not crowded Casual The cons: Cabins are really small Food is very marginal and little choice Snacks are very salty, pretzels etc., not good for seniors Waiters are really young and inexperienced. Some real surprises here. Shore tours are pricey, save your money Not much to do on board, just relax and read Entertainment was really lacking Mostly old folks, some friendly, some are not Grossly unfair? They allowed some folks to reserve tables, bummer Hot food is cold, service is really poor Young kids who do not really fit in, some of them are trying Actually, the kids are overworked, do food handling then the restroom cleaning Read Less
Sail Date August 2013
The Queen of the West looks tired. Our Veranda stateroom was small & cramped, and the door to the veranda was not all glass so the view we expected wasn't there. There were fumes so we didn't use the balcony much. The day ... Read More
The Queen of the West looks tired. Our Veranda stateroom was small & cramped, and the door to the veranda was not all glass so the view we expected wasn't there. There were fumes so we didn't use the balcony much. The day we arrived the toilet in our cabin was dirty and stained. There was zero storage in the bathroom -- no cabinets, no shelves, so I kept my toiletries on the floor. The passengers were mostly very senior; one man fell on the threshold to the lounge and broke his hip 3 hours into the trip and had to be evacuated at the first lock. Food was OK, but not much variety for vegetarians or the health conscious. On the bright side, the Columbia River was beautiful and the trip to Mount St. Helen's was good, as was the Maritime Museum in Astoria. You can ride all day on the little historic streetcar there, which was fun. We have been on the Rhine, the Yangtze, the Danube, the Mississippi on the American Queen, and the Amazon, and all offered much more quality for less money. Too bad because American Cruise Lines has other interesting itineraries in the US, but we won't be on them. Others must agree as there were just a handful of cruise line repeaters on this ship. Read Less
Sail Date June 2012
My wife and I had a wonderful cruise on the Queen of the West on the Columbia River. The accommodations were comfortable and the ship's staff could not have been any better. The cruise is well planned, with a variety of activities on ... Read More
My wife and I had a wonderful cruise on the Queen of the West on the Columbia River. The accommodations were comfortable and the ship's staff could not have been any better. The cruise is well planned, with a variety of activities on board and on shore to keep everyone busy and active. The food is wonderful with a variety that should please anyone. I was pleased that smaller portions were available if requested. We met many interesting people from all over the U.S. at meals and cocktails. Cocktail hour is open bar, quite nice really. Some other highlights: bus tour to Mt. St. Helen's, jet boats on the Snake River, traversing five or six huge river locks, wildlife spotting like bighorn sheep and bald eagles, the views on the Columbia River, lectures on history and and geology by the ship's experts on the area. Great time, well worth the money. Read Less
Sail Date July 2011
Okay, my first time to post a review: We went on American Cruise Lines New England Islands trip. The cruise was a disappointment in these areas: Accommodations: the furnishings in the lounge, our room, and small public areas looked very ... Read More
Okay, my first time to post a review: We went on American Cruise Lines New England Islands trip. The cruise was a disappointment in these areas: Accommodations: the furnishings in the lounge, our room, and small public areas looked very motel-like. The sheets on our bed were worn and rough and they were not changed for the entire week. Our room was not vacuumed all week (a bottle cap was in the same place all week). The dining room experience: First of all, if we were moving and the ship's motor was on, it was very loud in the dining room. Then add almost 100 people talking and we found ourselves talking very loud to be heard and it was darn hard to hear others at our table. Secondly, the food was inconsistent. Some things were delicious but others were a big miss - and this opinion was shared by most on board (I'm not a picky eater). The wait staff consisted of young people who were very nice and really tried hard to please but many were clearly inexperienced. We had one kid who told us he'd never waited tables or worked on a cruise ship and he actually left the ship mid-week. The young woman they hired to replace him appeared also to never have waited tables before. The programs: We had adequate lectures and some entertainment each night. The passengers: Very nice people, average age I'd say was 75. I'm 60 and was just about the youngest person on board. No children. Hotel staff: There were three introduced to us as the "hotel staff". All were very young and the young man who was the head staff member appeared to be uncomfortable with the passengers. They seemed to be trying to "figure things out" as we went along. For instance, a woman was left in port and they reversed the ship to return to the dock for her. Afterwards, several passengers suggested to the hotel staff that a prominent sign needed to be posted at the door we all disembarked from to call our attention to the time we must be back on the ship. Overall: My husband said it best: "We paid for business class and got coach instead." We paid a little over $8,000 for the two of us (standard room w/small balcony). We could have cruised for far less on a larger ship but we thought we were getting a first class, luxury cruise with an exclusive, small group of people and we were willing to pay for that. If we'd paid less for the cruise, our expectations would have been lower. I hope they'll make some changes because we love the idea of small ship cruising. Read Less
Sail Date August 2010
This past summer I had the pleasure to be a passenger on the Inaugural Cruise of American Cruise Lines newest ship, the "Independence" with an itinerary which included New England and Maine ports of call. Over the past 10 years I ... Read More
This past summer I had the pleasure to be a passenger on the Inaugural Cruise of American Cruise Lines newest ship, the "Independence" with an itinerary which included New England and Maine ports of call. Over the past 10 years I was also fortunate enough to cruise on the "Maiden Voyages" or "Inaugural Cruise" of all of their other ships. This trip was the 10th cruise I had taken since ACL resumed operation in 2000. If you are want a relaxing informal "Small Ship" experience sailing within US waters with a great US crew, one of the American Cruise Lines ships will be the ship for you. Many of the passengers I have met on the ACL cruises feel the same as I do as they too have been repeat passengers. We always enjoy discussing our previous experiences, trips, and itineraries with American Cruise Lines. Many of the cruises have had a local historian or naturalist on board, who keep the passengers well informed about the local history of the areas we visited. ACL also arranges for sightseeing tours in most of the ports they visit, however if you are free to arrange you own "shore excursion" or just stay on board and relax. While underway, my favorite "on board" activity is to sit on the sun deck and follow along with the Waterway's Charts for the area. Just think of a "Chart" as being your Roadmap if you were driving your car. I like to pin point exactly where we are by watching for the Channel Markers and buoy Markers as well as to try to locate the various Light Houses, Towers, Steeples, and Bridges which are marked on the charts as navigational aids. The ships also have an "Electronic Chart" or GPS in the lounge so that the passengers can follow along if they wish. All of the crew members go out of their way to make your cruise a memorable experience. The staterooms are roomy, and comfortable with individually controlled heating and air conditioning. Each room also has Satellite TV, and large pictures windows. Many of the staterooms have a small balcony where you can sit and enjoy the scenery. All of the ships are equipped with a small passenger elevator and the crew members are always willing to assist with wheelchair operation on and off the ships. In the past, I had always cruised with my mother and in some cases, other family members, however this most recent trip I felt completely comfortable traveling alone as a single lady. If you are looking for a casino, swimming pool, or nightly "show" entertainment, American Cruise Lines is probably not for you, but if you want a nice relaxing vacation aboard a small cruise ship with other passengers who have the same interest, they cannot be beat. Most of the passengers are seniors, many of whom are retired. I have already signed up from my next ACL cruise which will be the Potomac to Philadelphia itinerary in the spring of 2011 and I know I will sail on the Mississippi River aboard ACL's new boat in 2012. Can't Wait!!! Read Less
Sail Date June 2010
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