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24 American Cruise Lines Senior Cruise Reviews

My husband and I are seasoned cruisers with experience on Seabourn, Regent, Ama Waterways & SilverSea. A two week journey down the Mississippi River. St. Paul Minn to NOLA, was a completely different type of cruising. Expect to ... Read More
My husband and I are seasoned cruisers with experience on Seabourn, Regent, Ama Waterways & SilverSea. A two week journey down the Mississippi River. St. Paul Minn to NOLA, was a completely different type of cruising. Expect to learn more about American history; exploration, wars and expansion conflicts....the pioneers vs Indian tribes, mining and lumber industries. Music. Heartland Cuisine. It was an adventure and we enjoyed seeing the beautiful upper Mississppi River florishing Eagle population. The people we met living in the Mississippi River towns were absolutely charming and gracious. So many colorful characters willing to share their stories of living on the Mississippi River and proud of their towns. Do not have high expectations because the company labels it as a Luxury cruise. It is Not. Go for the adventure, and travel down river....start on the Upper Mississippi which is manjestic and stunning. Less industrialized than the lower Mississippi. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
We are vety experienced cruisers, both ocean and river cruises. Sailed from St. Paul, Minn. To New Orleans. Nice ship and a nice room. Service at nearly all levels very average to poor. Meals were average at best !!!. Hiring an ... Read More
We are vety experienced cruisers, both ocean and river cruises. Sailed from St. Paul, Minn. To New Orleans. Nice ship and a nice room. Service at nearly all levels very average to poor. Meals were average at best !!!. Hiring an executive chef with some imagination would be a good idea. Couldn't even make a sandwich properly. How do you run out of butter for 3 days ? No Vanilla Ice Cream for 2 days. Happy hour bars were very poorly organized. First night 5 glasses total at the aft bar. No beer on ice. Very poor veer selection and out of some brands for days. Very inexperienced staff and management ( if you can call it that ) Boarding day was very badly handled. Little to no communication from the Bridge for the first 5 days. This is sold (and priced ) as 5 star, First Class. NOT SO !! Badly planned stops. For Example: Whole day in very small ports and 1/2 day in Baton Rouge. Great opportunity for a great trip but they missed it !!! Thanks to Tiffany for her service in the dining room, and to Tom for his help in DR. Read Less
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
Sail Date August 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
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
Sail Date June 2019
We, with two other couples who also were celebrating 55 years of marriage, were looking for a domestic, low key, intimate cruise. This well fit the bill although it was quite expensive relative to other luxury options......but we ... Read More
We, with two other couples who also were celebrating 55 years of marriage, were looking for a domestic, low key, intimate cruise. This well fit the bill although it was quite expensive relative to other luxury options......but we understood a small vessel simply had to be more expensive. The cruise met or exceeded many expectations, friendliness of staff, cleanliness and size of state rooms and other spaces, interesting ports, good shore excursions and generally good + food quality, variety and presentation. BUT, the food service was barely acceptable and the server we had would not last a day at a restaurant like Cracker Barrel. Aside from the captain, first mate, chef and hotel manager, the entire staff appeared inexperienced. While the staff were invariably polite, respectful and helpful, the lack of experience/training was obvious. I will not take another trip with them and certainly not recommend it to anyone....at half the price it would be decent. Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
We chose this cruise hoping to find a method of travel and cruise line that would work okay for person of limited mobility. Sadly, we felt that this trip was overpriced, and that we were misled by sales people. The Spirit is in need ... Read More
We chose this cruise hoping to find a method of travel and cruise line that would work okay for person of limited mobility. Sadly, we felt that this trip was overpriced, and that we were misled by sales people. The Spirit is in need of refurbishing. The salesperson I spoke with said it had been done. The cabin was clean enough, but I have traveled on much older vessels that were more updated. I was told that the Spirit would be the next ship to be replaced. The fitness equipment on board was pitiful. The equipment was outdoors and not plugged into power. The salesman said there would be freeweights similar to what you find in a hotel fitness room. There were none. While we appreciated the size, it is a very noisy little ship. Our cabin was on the stern, and engine noise is deafening at times. We were next to the rear outdoor steps, and ship personnel would run up and down at all hours. I finally caught and discussed the door slamming with one of the housekeeping staff. Cabin 321 should be converted to storage.This is an upper level priced cabin. For this price some shore excursions should be included. This was not. Warning to those going to Butchard Gardens...This is a 90 minute ferry ride, 40 minute motor coach, 90 minutes in the garden, 40 minutes back to ferry, and another 90 minutes on the ferry. The gardens are beautiful, but see them on another trip. I appreciated the dining room. We were not assigned seats. There were minimal choicees, but I was happy not to have to fight my way through a buffet to find something to eat. Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
We heard about this line and saw a trip to New England and wanted to see small cities in Maine. Pre-cruise all went perfectly had a nice tour of Boston and boarding went off without a hitch. The expectation went downhill when we went ... Read More
We heard about this line and saw a trip to New England and wanted to see small cities in Maine. Pre-cruise all went perfectly had a nice tour of Boston and boarding went off without a hitch. The expectation went downhill when we went to dinner and found out that most of the dining room help was new with not experience. Of 17 servers 10 were brand new and had just started with little or no experience or training. Service was slow because we were told one chef left due family emergency and another was let go. Although the choices were nice one never knew what you would be served. Even though the server wrote down what we ordered there were many times what we got did not have everything we ordered or did not resemble what the menu said. When we asked doesn't anyone check the orders before they are brought to table we were told there is an expediter but they rarely checked. All in all meals were average at best. Our cabin was nice and fairly large with a nice balcony but we noticed that our sheets were not changed the whole 10 days we were on the ship. The bath towels were hardly big enough to dry a person after a shower. Towels should be larger. At one point as we were leaving our cabin we were asked by another passenger if she could borrow a roll of toilet paper as they had run out and there was not a spare roll in there cabin. Again we found out the cabin attendants are also new and little or no training on how to clean or stock a cabin. They are not given a checklist on what to do or someone to show them. We also found out that everyone from the restaurant servers, cabin attendants and deck crew are all interns who are hired for 12 - 16 weeks and then let go. And are offered a job to come back only if a managers job is available. Now we we move on to the common areas which were very pleasant a kept neat. Coffee and snacks and sodas were displayed for everyone all day. At one time my wife wanted a diet coke but none was displayed and no one seemed to know if any were provided. So I began opening cabinets and low and behold I found not only diet coke but sprite zero hidden away. Could not understand why it wasn't on the counters with the other sodas. Also if a server or anyone started to feel sick they were sent to a doctor in port and sent home immediately. It happened to our server and cabin attendant. We were in Provincetown and both were sent away on the Boston ferry to overnight in Boston with flights home the next day, which they had to pay for. The cruise line doesn't pay for this. We couldn't understand why they could not have just stayed on the ship until the next day since we were going to Boston anyway. This cruise cost us over $19,000 dollars for 10 days which is so overpriced it is unimaginable for what you get. We at this time will never plan on going on another cruise with them and let all of our friends know about our horrible experience. The only saving grace was the stops we made and towns we saw in Maine and Massachusetts and Rhode Island. We cruise at least twice a year and this was the worst service we have ever had for the price. Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
I chose this cruise because a friend had wonderful experiences with this line and I loved the itenerary. However, I did not ask all the right questions and those I asked of the company were not answered with completeness or accurate ... Read More
I chose this cruise because a friend had wonderful experiences with this line and I loved the itenerary. However, I did not ask all the right questions and those I asked of the company were not answered with completeness or accurate knowledge of the ship. My husband is disabled and I notified the staff that we would be arriving with walker and wheelchair... no problem, they said. WRONG! The wheelchair could barely fit into the tiny, difficult elevator, there was no room service, tiny rooms, no phone to contact housekeeping for blankets or towels or special clean up needs. The staff was gracious but I had to go out of the room, wander about the ship to find some help, then request whatever we needed, clearly interrupting them from assigned tasks. This is NOT a ship for the handicapped! Fine for able bodied people who don’t mind the scheduled meals - open seating but if you miss the proper hour, you miss your meal. The staff really tried to make all better and we met a lot of nice people ( only 87 of us aboard) and the excursions were nice. Match your needs to this ship’s accommodations and you will be fine. Kudos to the staff on board who did all they could to make our lives better. Thumbs down to American Cruise Lines who could make minimal changes and market this ship to the appropriate group and solve the problems! Read Less
Sail Date July 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
The scenery on the Colombia River is outstanding. The sites were interesting but didn't get to stay long enough at Mt. St. Helen’s and the Rose Park in Portland. There was a lot to do in these two areas that warranted more time. ... Read More
The scenery on the Colombia River is outstanding. The sites were interesting but didn't get to stay long enough at Mt. St. Helen’s and the Rose Park in Portland. There was a lot to do in these two areas that warranted more time. The overall pace of the cruise is geared for seniors. Though I am one ( mid sixties and fortunately healthy, I would have preferred a bit more activity. Since most folks were in their 80’s I think the pace worked well for them. There was nightly entertainment starting at Happy Hour though nothing through out the day. Some afternoons there were lectures on Lewis and Clark that were quite infomative. Food was good and plentiful but don't expect gourmet. The ship itself was one of the older ones in American Cruise’s fleet. I was glad to hear that this trip was the last until refurbished. When traveling again, I would definitely opt for one of their newer ships that has updated furnishings and better accommodations. The Staff was very friendly especially the ship manager who went out of her way to be accommodating to your needs. Headquarters also was responsive to my concerns. Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
Summary: Poorly trained staff, inadequate staffing, chaotic alcohol service, mediocre cuisine and 20th century room design made this our first and last American Cruise Line experience. We had cruised on Crystal, Regent, Celebrity, ... Read More
Summary: Poorly trained staff, inadequate staffing, chaotic alcohol service, mediocre cuisine and 20th century room design made this our first and last American Cruise Line experience. We had cruised on Crystal, Regent, Celebrity, Avalon and AmaWaterways over the past 17 years. Mostly, these involved flights of over 10 hours. We searched for a domestic cruise to equal these experiences and discovered American Cruise Lines. We chose the fall New England cruise due to a nice length, a luxury description and destinations. We booked; we arrived; we cruised. The Constellation is a new ship; 2017 is its maiden year. The overall design is gorgeous. Lounges, public rooms and dining room are airy and bright. The rooms are large, with many storage locations and a tiny closet. There was a single vanity and no (!) refrigerator. The lighting was good. The TV was a standard definition monitor with SD satellite service; this is the 21st century…where is HD? The Wi-Fi barely connected, had low speed and was AWOL a good deal of the time. The safe never worked. We didn’t try room service. The service level, in general, was not up to luxury standards. While enthusiastic and energetic, stewards seem like they had little training and only National Park-level experience. The staffing level seemed to be inadequate for the required tasks. Calls to Maintenance went directly to a full voicemail message box. The cruise “directors” were called on to set-up, tend and tear down bars, manage tours, marshal complaint lines and explain deviations. The dining room stewards tried their best. Dining was disappointing. Early-riser breakfast looked like a 7-11 had exploded. Dining room breakfast was the best meal of the day with lots of fruit, pastry and cereal choices. The hot items were pretty good, too. Lunch was Applebee level, only with lobster (everyday). Dinner was uneven – the soups were uniformly good, the entrees commonplace with insipid saucing. We didn’t try the desserts. Alcohol service reflected a company in transition. (Perhaps an all-inclusive fare is in the future?) There are no bars on-board. Wine and beer were served at lunch and dinner; a cocktail hour preceded dinner and accompanied the evening entertainment. These were from temporary set-ups in the two major lounges. Service was chaotic using a cattle call approach. Quality was poor with wines from Gallo predominating. They ran out of chardonnay, the most popular wine in the country. Scotch inventory dried-up. Gratis tours were okay but nothing special. However, the included lobster bake was delicious and fun. If ACL is going to charge $1000 per day per person, several levels of improvement are needed throughout the ship. Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
I am 62 years old and went with my 89 year-old mother who is still very mobile. Parts of the cruise were interesting and others not. First of all, let me tell you that the accommodations were very nice. Unfortunately, we didn't pay ... Read More
I am 62 years old and went with my 89 year-old mother who is still very mobile. Parts of the cruise were interesting and others not. First of all, let me tell you that the accommodations were very nice. Unfortunately, we didn't pay for a balcony and so we were on the basement floor where many of the entertainers have their rooms and it can be noisy at night. We could hear the toilets flushing constantly from the floor above and the public bathroom outside in the hallway. The free wifi and even by cell service were often not working in the room and I had to go out into the hallway or up to the library on the second floor to use the free internet or even call my wife. There was a 24 hour period on the Snake River where there was no cell service or wifi at all. There were a few teens and young couples but very sparse. The cruise is for seniors.The entertainment was very boring for us, no exercise equipment, no pool, just a library and a piano bar...snooze!. Good for old timers who like old Broadway shows or music from the 40s. The excursions for the most part were decent The food was excellent, best part of the cruise. Even though we were given the late dinner time, we were able to change it to the later time by asking the matre d, Carmen. We were even able to get into the private dining area for than the 2 times normally allowed. In the private dining area, we were able to have lobster tail, which was pretty small...so we just asked for two of them. We liked some of the excursions, and some we didn't. The trip to see Fort Clatsop and the Snake River excursion (charge) were very good. Read Less
Sail Date July 2017
Near to places where family lives. Wanted to go to Williamsburg. Didn't like paying for other people to drink as much as they wanted as I barely drink. Don't think I will chose a cruise with unlimited alcohol included. WiFI was ... Read More
Near to places where family lives. Wanted to go to Williamsburg. Didn't like paying for other people to drink as much as they wanted as I barely drink. Don't think I will chose a cruise with unlimited alcohol included. WiFI was awful. We did sign up for another cruise, lots of pressure to do so. Felt like a pyramid scheme. Entertainment was just average, especially compared to other cruises we have been on. Not sure we will do another one after the next one. Seemed to make excursions out of places that were not all that interesting. The 1 1/2 hr ride for the crab feed and back again was not comfortable and the lunch was not worth it. Norm on board was very funny and informative. Let's hope the person on the Lewis and Clark trip is just as informative and funny. I will be disappointed if he is not. Read Less
Sail Date May 2017
Traveling along the Columbia River is utterly beautiful and peaceful. In order to fully enjoy this cruise, however, we had to ignore that we were nowhere close to getting good value for our money. The ads say cruising done perfectly, so ... Read More
Traveling along the Columbia River is utterly beautiful and peaceful. In order to fully enjoy this cruise, however, we had to ignore that we were nowhere close to getting good value for our money. The ads say cruising done perfectly, so we were surprised that about 80% of the crew was on their FIRST job, ever. They were sweet, energetic, and polite but 18-19 year olds are naturally going to overlook hundreds of things that would make a difference. Like removing a pile of damp towels, or getting food orders right, filling up water pitchers, etc. the slightly more mature "bartenders" for cocktail hour didn't know their jobs. One customer asked for a Long Island Ice Tea, and the bartender sweetly explained that sadly they had no iced tea. There was also confusion between gin and vodka. Personally, I just drink wine, so some of the frustration I overheard didn't diminish things for me, but I definitely know people were unhappy. It's almost like most of the crew didn't know HOW to work. They were willing, but "green". The boat was old (getting shabby). For example a ceiling tile by the elevator crumbled all over the floor. When we exited the boat tge final time we literally had to step in water. The food was good -- and some of it was top notch. The wine selection was probably in the $10/bottle range. It was decent, but everyday. If I were ranking the boat and its services, I would give two stars. We paid $1400 a day as a couple, so you can see it wasn't a good value. The river part was five star. Great ports, gorgeous scenery. But for that kind of money we were paying for the privilege of being on the river. Read Less
Sail Date August 2016
We chose this cruise because we wanted to see the Northwest area. We enjoyed the small towns on the itinerary, however, the cruise line had scheduled a tour of Seattle (which we took) during rush hour traffic on Fri. PM. The other tour ... Read More
We chose this cruise because we wanted to see the Northwest area. We enjoyed the small towns on the itinerary, however, the cruise line had scheduled a tour of Seattle (which we took) during rush hour traffic on Fri. PM. The other tour to the Flight Museum turned back to the ship (prudently) The "guide" dumped us at Pike's Place, fortunately, all made it back to the bus. Some never left it! The service at breakfast was slow, and food was mediocre - lukewarm or cold. Coffee was lukewarm or cold, and at the end of the week, we were getting our own coffee. The service crew seemed worn out. Lunches and Dinners were good, with the exception of Thursday nite, when the entree choices were "bar-b-q" short ribs (overcooked chuck") and duck. This would have been a good time to go into town for dinner. Overall, the cruise was average. The food was pretty good, towns were lovely. Scenery was great. Olympic National Park was beautiful. Gardens were gorgeous - very crowded. I think the last tour in Seattle left a bad impression. Read Less
Sail Date August 2016
The food was fairly well done. We have been on a lot of European river cruises and the food was, I think a little better. Not too easy to get ice tea. I don't drink any more so no wine for me. The wine was the same low end brand all ... Read More
The food was fairly well done. We have been on a lot of European river cruises and the food was, I think a little better. Not too easy to get ice tea. I don't drink any more so no wine for me. The wine was the same low end brand all need guts,but o cannot comment on the quality. There seemed to be plenty of it. Captain could not have been more friendly as were the servers and the cabin girls. Good entertainment some nights. The cruise director was not helpful at all. He talked a lot about himself. He thought very highly of himself. I was trying to ask him if he could do something for me, but he was too busy talking about whether his trousers shoul Deb shortened 1" or 1 1/2". They charge you for almost all the activities off the boat. For what we paid for the below deck room and board, I ythink that they should have included more of them. I couldn't get on the lobster trip because they only had room for about 20 or 25 people. There were about 150 people on board, so there were a lot of people that wanted this but were excluded. Kevin the cruise director was a self absorbed narcissistic $&#%€. Look for a better cruise line before you sign up for this one. Read Less
Sail Date August 2016
The ship was comfortable, well maintained, staff friendly. The food was another issue. Restaurant service was spotty. After three days of cold soup, I gave up on soup and switched to salads. Main course was often marginally warm. On ... Read More
The ship was comfortable, well maintained, staff friendly. The food was another issue. Restaurant service was spotty. After three days of cold soup, I gave up on soup and switched to salads. Main course was often marginally warm. On the last evening when were served lobster tails, it was a nightmare. My first lobster tail was not only cold but it was not cooked. The shell was the dark brown of the lobster straight out of the water. A cooked lobster is red. It took three "send backs" before I got a hot cooked lobster tail. It was really sad. That was true of the others at our table also. The cook, I can't call him or her a chef as a chef knows better. Frankly, it ruined the trip for us. We were planning to use American for a Hudson River cruise, never more, never more! Take your own food along. Read Less
Sail Date July 2016
Here's a rundown of the passengers! About 15% of the passengers on the Columbia/Snake River Cruise departing from Portland, Oct 10th, had significant physical disabilities, such as walking with a cane, walker or needing the ... Read More
Here's a rundown of the passengers! About 15% of the passengers on the Columbia/Snake River Cruise departing from Portland, Oct 10th, had significant physical disabilities, such as walking with a cane, walker or needing the supportive assistance of a spouse or adult child. About 50 % of the passengers, myself included were not physically fit enough to walk comfortably more than 2 miles on a flat surface, or less than 2 miles on an incline. Average age estimated to be about 73. For persons living an active lifestyle such as biking or vigorous hiking the activity level of the cruise will not be challenging enough in my opinion. I arrived at the boat in Portland by cab. The young man taking my bags at the pier did not welcome me onboard. He was sullen. When I got inside the boat, Jessica did welcome me but did not have a name tag for me. She said someone else had gotten it by mistake. The boat while charming on the exterior is actually run down and somewhat depressing on the interior. My cabin while it was clean enough was pretty pitiful considering what I paid for a single person. I have traveled with ACL to the Puget Sound & my cabin on that trip was considerably better. On this cruise I had a single bed which looked smaller than most single beds. More like a youth bed. The comforter was worn and limp and did not provide enough warmth. I had to pile some of my sweaters on the bed to sleep. The pillows were embarrassing. Maybe 2 inches thick and ready for the rag pile. Other passengers experienced similar pillows. It was great to have the little balcony however. Bring bug spray because you will need it for mosquitoes. The walls are so thin between cabins that just about everything is heard on the other side-coughing, conversations, nose blowing. Passengers are very considerate of each other in this regard. I did not feel that the crew addressed safety issues while the ship was in port. While in the port of Stevenson, an older passenger fell while negotiating her way into town from the dock by herself. But walking alone is not the only issue. There are 3 train tracks between the dock and the boat that must be crossed. Trains barrel around the bend very frequently and heaven forbid one of the passengers fell on these tracks and could not get up when a train is coming. Considering the frail nature of some of the passengers and that they may be hard of hearing it is a real possibility. It would be very helpful for the crew to have an informational talk regarding safety while in port. Passengers should travel together in groups at the very least. There were train tracks to be crossed also in the Dalles if one wanted to venture into town. Ian was on board, an Australian expert in all things Louis and Clark. He gave a couple of excellent talks about the Corps of Discovery. But the first afternoon out of Portland, Ian got on the microphone and was giving a blow by blow description of everything we passed by and such info as how to pronounce the town name of Kalama. Passengers in their individual cabins could not turn the sound down and some of us were very aggravated. Sometimes you just want to quietly meditate & watch the scenery go by without someone yelling incessantly. The first few days of the trip were beautiful while the last couple of days closer to Clarkston were not pleasant. In short, it stunk to high heavens! It was hard to figure out what smelled so bad but someone said it was a paper factory. However, the ship also began to smell like sewage in certain areas too. When I settled my account and left a generous tip, I was not even thanked. Great way to treat a passenger. I had also requested information on the Ohio River cruise-twice and never got it. I think an element of burnout was taking over with a couple of the staff. I fit right in with most of the passengers-age wise, interest wise, activity level. I feel comfortable at meals conversing with the other passengers. I enjoyed the excursions. But I will really weigh my options before going on another ACL trip. Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
The Positives: The food was good with complimentary happy hour and wine & beer with meals. All meals are served with tables of 8 , open seating with no buffet. We enjoyed the companionship of the mostly over 70 years crowd who are ... Read More
The Positives: The food was good with complimentary happy hour and wine & beer with meals. All meals are served with tables of 8 , open seating with no buffet. We enjoyed the companionship of the mostly over 70 years crowd who are seasoned travelers. The young staff wait tables all 3 meals and clean the rooms and are temporary for 3 months at time and are enthusiastic but overworked. Amy Traxler our naturalist was outstanding and was always willing to help and answer questions. At the end of the cruise the last night Amy presented a power point slide show of photos with music that she created for us. Something, that I would expect of the ACL Cruise Directors on ship to do every cruise. Our Captain, Capt Hexlrod ?? was personable and mingled with the passengers and on the last day in Seattle even helped load supplies. We were very impressed with the Captain and the crew who always helped passengers on and off the ship. We did like the free WiFi. The Hotel Manager , Chelsea was always willing to answer questions and would help the servers in the dining room. Amy the housekeeping manager always seemed to be helping somewhere. Several of the passengers had cruised before with ACL and are very committed to small ship cruising in the USA. I wonder if Viking comes in as I hear rumor will in 2017 if ACL will lose business from those of us who would like a more upscale cabin and less non-refundable administrative fees of $250/person and cheaper trip insurance. I would guess that many of the people that chose ACL will leave and go to Viking. The scenery is beautiful!! The negatives: The overworked staff and managers who seem to work non-stop day and evening. This made many of us feel uncomfortable to see them working so hard and not getting to rest. ACL's accommodations are pricey starting at $3985 for a basic cabin on the 1st floor which can have an obstructed view depending on the pier. This is for 7 night cruise or over $8,000 for 2 people, plus air fare etc.. A tiny balcony that can barely accommodate 2 chairs is almost $1,000 per person more to go to the 2nd level. The 1st level has considerable engine noise and vibration. Compare this with our 10 day Alaska Cruise, 2017 round trip from San Francisco in a mini-Suite on Princess for $6400 for both us for a longer cruise & includes insurance There is a $250.00 /person administrative fee to cancel which is buried in fine print. This is regardless of how far out the trip is cancelled unlike the big ship lines like Princess. The ACL insurance runs about $900 which I found high and bought from Travel Guard for about $600 for the week. On Princess for a 10 day cruise the insurance is $395 VS $900 for ACL. Tipping is requested at $125/person which seems beyond the $11 per day /person that we pay on Princess. $88 for a week on Princess VS $125 for ACL. There is no phone or call button in the cabin which is a serious safety deficit, especially for a ship with seniors . There is no announcement or clear directions on how to call for help and the expectation would be find the numbers for the hotel manager or cruise director on the ship to shore guide and call by cell phone. a number of the passengers mentioned this as a worrisome issue. There doesn't seem to be any security system ( cameras) on board and there is no tracking of passengers going on or off ship in ports or screening of lugguge. A crew member stands by the gang plank to monitor passengers and help but there is no electronic badge system or sign out process. The keys to our cabins were metal like our house keys not the electronic ones which can also monitor when a passenger or staff person enters and leaves the cabin. This is a low tech operation that doesn't seem to use tools like computer tablets to track excursions etc. Our bill was a narrow strip of paper with a box for each excursion to be checked with a total at the end and the tipping had to be added by hand. This was the 1st time that I have ever cruised with out an itemized computer print out of the bill . We had to check out the last day by using our credit card , check or cash unlike like other cruise companies which have it on file to expedite the check out process. Port Excursions are usually a town tour or some type of bus ride to view the sights or a museum with the exception of the jet boat in Anacortes and Whale watching in Friday Harbor. The Victoria excursion which we didn't take but got lots of feedback on from other disappointed passengers was a let town only 2 hours in Butchart Gardens and 45 mins in Victoria before returning via Ferry to Port Angeles. We wished for some more creative excursions and did get bored and restless as there is a lot of time spent in ports. There was only 3 pieces of work out equipment and no pool or hot tub on board. The cabin is bare bones with blond future which could use updating. Again no call button or phone . I missed a mini-fridge and fresh ice water being maintained. While this is advertised as cruising, most of the time is spent in ports even over nighting in ports. Entertainment: Mixed bag that was geared to the more Senior crowd but seemed to be enjoyed. We had one grand child on board about 11 years with her grandmother. She was smart and had picked this trip. We were all amazed how well she interacted with us and definitely held her own in dinner conversations. Meals as I mentioned is a sit down at a table of 8 and there is no horizon court for a quick meal which I missed. There is an early bird continental breakfast in the lounge starting at 6:30 am with rolls, coffee, Juice etc. Will we return to ACL maybe in a few years to take the Hudson River Cruise in a hopefully updated ship with more reasonable insurance and administrative fees. With ACL rolling out a new ship a year and not updating Spirit or its computer technology , I wonder how long this expansion can be maintained? I don't want ACL to suffer the same fate as Cruise West the small ship company that went bankrupt. Read Less
Sail Date August 2015
Our first cruise with American was on the Columbia River. We were so pleased we signed up for another cruise before we left the Columbia. This most recent cruise was from Minneapolis/St Paul to St Louis in August, 2015. The food service ... Read More
Our first cruise with American was on the Columbia River. We were so pleased we signed up for another cruise before we left the Columbia. This most recent cruise was from Minneapolis/St Paul to St Louis in August, 2015. The food service was below average. Every single breakfast was a crap shoot. In 7 days we received a) the breakfast we ordered; b) warm or hot; and c) in less than 50 minutes exactly one time. We were nearly late for every tour. Lunches were mediocre. Dinners were quite nice, but taste was an ordinary cajun. The hotel manager seemed to be experienced, but she was largely unresponsive to complaints. John and Narda were standouts in service. Gustavo not so much. The BEST part of the cruise was the Mark Twain impersonator and the young, very capable couple both of whom entertained us every day. Both were worth the price of admission each day. The shore tours were poorly organized. For example, our first tour in Red Wing started at the Red Wing Retail store. Surprise! The store was closed. Go figure. Lacrosse was great as was Hannibal. St Louis was, well, St Louis. We won't go back. Avoid this cruise unless you are an entertainment fan. The Mark Twain impersonator and the young couple who cruised with us made the cruise for us. p.s. do not get a cabin forward on the starboard side, main deck. Read Less
Sail Date August 2015
Saturday to Saturday continuous shall ship cruises during the summer along the villages and yacht harbors along Maine coast north of Portland. Good food and service, free wine at dinner and free cocktails in the lounge before dinner. ... Read More
Saturday to Saturday continuous shall ship cruises during the summer along the villages and yacht harbors along Maine coast north of Portland. Good food and service, free wine at dinner and free cocktails in the lounge before dinner. Single setting, open diner seating and generally good fellowship among passengers. Cabins roomy and comfortable. Overall on-board ship ambiance was good and pleasant; but worth $1000/couple per day for a first deck, non balcony room? You must pay for all shore (guided?) tours at each village by a bus. Tours were short, (about 2 hours) with stops leaving little time for more than make a potty stop. These are not guided tours, just bus stops with a little over the speaker commentary by bus driver. On-board entertainment most nights were usually by one performer, some good and some not. Each lasted only one hour. Two lectures were about the same quality. One free excursion was an on-shore picnic Lobster and Mussel fest which substituted for that night's dinner. If you like lobster and seafood cuisine with fellowship, looking at yachts in harbors and are willing to pay the price, this is for you. If you want to see all these villages as far north at Bar Harbor, take photos, and participate in the culture of the communities at your leisure, take Route One (US 1), and do it for less. We enjoy small ship cruises, river cruises where you get to meet people, have enriching, cultural, photo opportunity on shore, and include tours like many river trips that we have taken in Europe. This did not live up to our expectations. Summary: On-ship was expensive but very good except for entertainment - On-shore - not worth it. - One thing nice about this and other small ship/river cruises - no one inspects your baggage or on shore purchases each time you board the ship. Read Less
Sail Date July 2015
This was a trip that we had planned for many years. We were a group of 6 and each of us were very excited. Unfortunately, we were disappointed. I wish we had seen some of the posted reviews prior to booking. This cruise is indeed pricey ... Read More
This was a trip that we had planned for many years. We were a group of 6 and each of us were very excited. Unfortunately, we were disappointed. I wish we had seen some of the posted reviews prior to booking. This cruise is indeed pricey and not worth the cost. The staff were all very inexperienced however, their improvement during the course of the trip was really remarkable. However, We did not sign up for a teaching experience. If this is the case it should be reflected in the price with a reduction. We found out that the experienced staff was on the newly launched boat and the Mississippi Queen got the short end. NOT fair. Another issue we had was the matter of seating in the dining room. We were told it was open seating but there was reserved signs on at least 4 tables. We were upset and spoke with the cruise director who told us that there was a large group and the smaller groups he was told to give them reservation seating and this came from corporate. Wake up corporate, treat all your paying customers equally. Either offer reserved seating or open seating. We had to scramble into the dining room 3 times a day to ensure we would sit together. On the plus side the food we had was great. Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
My family of six (88, 61, 59, 29, 25, & 18 years old) took the two Owner's cabins, which each can hold three people and are located on the top deck, next to the captain's cabin. The captain was always at the helm or corner ... Read More
My family of six (88, 61, 59, 29, 25, & 18 years old) took the two Owner's cabins, which each can hold three people and are located on the top deck, next to the captain's cabin. The captain was always at the helm or corner pilots stations when we traversed locks or did anything tricky, and his mate was usually there, also. The captain was also very friendly, making a point to greet all the passengers and often welcoming us back to the ship. I would guess that the average age of passengers was upper 70's. There was only one other person in the younger age group at 45 years old. The age of passengers only mattered because it limited the activities on excursions significantly. Most excursions only allowed an hour and a half to do anything. We took a 4 hour round trip to the Mount St. Helen's observatory (too cloudy to see), but only had a little over an hour there because that was the most any passengers would have liked except our group. We were the only ones who went walking on the trails. This made for pretty dull sight seeing. Even at a museum, everyone (except us) was pretty pooped after an hour and wanted to go before the allotted time was up. This should be taken into consideration when considering this cruise. If you aren't pretty sedentary, you'll probably find the trip more relaxing than you'd want. The most enjoyable trips were Multnomah Falls and walking the trails at Mount St. Helens, although we had to walk quite fast since the visits were short. We also really enjoyed the Bonneville Dam visit. Going through the locks was quite memorable, and I think we traversed 8 of them. The staff are young and personable. Actually, they're the friendliest hospitality employees I've ever encountered. However, they are not competent. The food service was incredibly slow. We took to bringing water into the dining room at lunch when we would otherwise have to wait for drinks service because we would get too thirsty. The waits were interminable. The same people who served meals also cleaned the cabins. They were very poor at this. I don't know if the staff weren't trained well or if there were too few of them, but I would have expected better. The food itself was not good. It was generally bland. Fish like salmon and steelhead trout were overcooked, as was chicken. The only protein I had that was really well cooked was duck. We had lots of salads, and they had a couple of dressings that were very good. The worst dish was an entree they called deviled crab. It was a gratinee dish full of some creamy liquid and a few very tiny pieces of crab. We didn't really take much advantage of the available entertainment as it wasn't to our taste. That doesn't mean it might not have been done very well. I wouldn't take another American Cruise Lines trip. Read Less
Sail Date August 2014
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