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5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
My sister-in-law booked this cruise and invited my husband and I to join them. We have traveled numerous times together and have many of the same expectations and standards. Upon reading the itinerary we were excited for the ... Read More
My sister-in-law booked this cruise and invited my husband and I to join them. We have traveled numerous times together and have many of the same expectations and standards. Upon reading the itinerary we were excited for the adventure. Upon embarking, the ship smelled old! The flower arrangements were artificial and very dusty/old and tired looking. The main gathering room, The Chesapeake room, has dirty couches and broken blinds. The stateroom was one of “the larger” rooms with a king bed (actually two twins pushed together, VERY uncomfortable) was crowded. The TV was a 19” and hard to view from the bed. The brochure stated dvd’s were available, it failed to mention they were from the 1990’s and very few. Our cabin’s furniture was also very dated and soiled. Three small pillows were there, strange for a king sized bed. The bathroom was very small and cramped. On our preference sheet, we requested extra toiletries and a small fan, neither were provided. Actually, the ship RAN OUT of shampoo and they often did not replace the bar soap. On the third day of a seven day cruise, they couldn’t keep up with the towels. There were times we did NOT have ANY towels. I mentioned my concerns to hotel manager and he told me as he was walking away (over his shoulder) there isn’t any shampoo on the whole ship! He scolded me when I asked him for a replacement key and to keep it away from my cell phone. I mentioned it never worked and that it wasn’t near my phone, he just repeated my scolding louder. Tours were very disorganized and not ADA compliant. My husband had to lag behind to help other passengers as no cruise member did. The entertainment consisted of a banjo player (who was really pretty good) and several lectures! How is lecturing a bonus evening entertainment? The food was phenomenal! Jvon was our server and was fantastic, he kept us sane! There was NO room service so we never had breakfast on board. There was a coffee donut setup from 6-7 Read Less
16 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2016
It was an Anniversary cruise that was supposed to be aboard a luxury cruise ship with a wheelchair accessible accommodations. My husband was assured that he would be able to use his motorized scooter for excursions ( he used it twice) the ... Read More
It was an Anniversary cruise that was supposed to be aboard a luxury cruise ship with a wheelchair accessible accommodations. My husband was assured that he would be able to use his motorized scooter for excursions ( he used it twice) the scooter had to be lifted up and over the ramp. The ramp isn't even wide enough for a wheel chair people were made to get up and walk up or down the ramp. The elevator only accommodated the wheelchair if my husband stood up and we folded the wheelchair. The room was anything but luxury the bath room was disgraceful and outdated. The room was sold as a king but it was two twins pushed together with a piece of foam running down the middle. (Pictures to follow). Now the entertainment was 1 hour each night some nights it was a talk about what some people got to see if they were able to go on the tours that day. Happy hour was just that 1 hour then the bell was rung and everyone is shuffled off to the dining room after dinner the 1 hour of entertainment.There are only two things this cruise line has going for them the food and some remarkable young people that work their butts off. Serve your food in the morning clean your room later then back to the dining room to serve again. We paid to be transported back to our car in charleston sc and a very nice shuttle bus showed up for other passengers we had to wait for a taxi that would accommodate our scooter this was a 3 hr ride in a old,loud taxi. We have been on at least 8 cruises and never have I felt so scammed. $10,800 dollars lighter we will always remember this nightmare and I will warn everyone I can not to take a cruise with this company. Read Less
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11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2016
We chose this cruise because of the unique itinerary, stopping at Block Island, Martha's Vineyard, Nantucket, etc. Embarkation and disembarkation went very smoothly. We are very experienced cruisers. That being said, In a ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of the unique itinerary, stopping at Block Island, Martha's Vineyard, Nantucket, etc. Embarkation and disembarkation went very smoothly. We are very experienced cruisers. That being said, In a nutshell, for a cost of about $8000-$12,000 per couple, for seven days, we expected the best of everything.This cruise line simply did not deliver, Way overpriced for what you get! The young men and women who served our meals,the same ones who cleaned our rooms were, overall, friendly, delightful,l and did their best. However, I was told that they were not allowed to work for more than 16 weeks and then, they would be terminated.(This may have something to do with Obamacare). As a result, the quality of their work never reached its potential. One server told me they received only their paychecks, and did not share in passenger gratuities. The meals served the first day, and the last day, were excellent, including much lobster. Breakfast was the best meal of the day. Lunch and dinners were entirely "hit or miss" Here's a couple of examples. My wife asked for a cappuccino and was told they were not available on the ship. With the exception of only one day, there were no bananas available. One noon time, the menu listed "tomato salad". It contained the equivalent of a teaspoonful of minced tomatoes. Individual meal selections for the day are made each morning. The menu is limited. There are no tables for two or four; only six, seven or eight. On the plus side, "happy hour" drinks were superior, as was the "happy hour" food. Of the15 or 20 tours offered, only one was "included". This was a walk across the street to a museum. They ship itself was quite average. That being said, the room used for "happy hour" and entertainment had very comfortable sofas. There is a three-person elevator between the first and third decks. One other thing. I wanted to print a boarding pass. After quite a bit of time spent trying to get the ships printer to work, I asked for help. A worker checked things out and told me the printer was out of ink but he would get a replacement. He came back five minutes later and let me know the ship did not have any replacements. For the most part, the evening entertainment was enjoyable. It was a mixture of singers and lectures. The ports were wonderful and many attractions were accessible simply by taking a stroll. This ship has a great itinerary however, all things considered, considering the cost,the ship itself and what is delivered, we would not return and suggest that you look elsewhere. Read Less
48 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2015
NEVER, EVER AGAIN! If you book a cruise after reading my review below, all I can say is “I warned you.” We booked back-to-back Mississippi River Cruises in August, 2015. First one was from St. Paul, MN to St. Louis, MO: the second ... Read More
NEVER, EVER AGAIN! If you book a cruise after reading my review below, all I can say is “I warned you.” We booked back-to-back Mississippi River Cruises in August, 2015. First one was from St. Paul, MN to St. Louis, MO: the second one from St. Louis to New Orleans. We had the same cabin for both cruises. As other travelers have mentioned, new passengers can come on board at 1030 a.m., but have to cool their heels in a lounge until the cabins are ready two hours later. Why not just push the boarding time back to 1230 and have the rooms ready? We got to our cabin, complete with an EIGHTEEN-inch TV. Really? 18-inch? My computer screen is larger. I had to clean the cobwebs off the sliding glass doors before my wife would go out on the “veranda”. Cobwebs and fingernail clippings on the floor of the veranda were good indications that this company doesn’t bother to clean the outside of the boat. On the second day we realized the crew only has one set of washcloths on board. You can’t get replacement washcloths until 330 p.m. each day, and bath towels are only available after 1030 a.m. For the first few days we told crew members, including the hotel manager, we needed replacement towels, and all said we would get them, but that didn’t happen. For first few days we had to go down and get our own. One day instead of two bath towels, we got two bathmats! Some days we got one washcloth and one hand towel per cabin. How much would it cost to have 2-3 sets on board? We had a Keurig-like coffee maker in our room but nothing to drink the coffee out of for first week. I decided to wait and see how long it would take before the steward noticed. It took a week. Other comments on the room: The cabin wasn’t vacuumed even once in the two weeks we were on board. The volume control on the wall for the public address system was stuck on full blast. Result: every time an announcement was made, I jumped about six inches off whatever I was resting on. While the wall switch supposedly gave us a choice of background music, etc., it was inoperable. The best thing about the room was Ivan Levashov’s painting of white irises. Amazing. Cruise staff told me that average age of passengers was 65-75. Not true by at least a decade. I know that American Cruise Lines has no control over who buys tickets, but the entertainment advertised should reflect that. We had World War 2 vets, Korean War vets (they wore hats advertising such), etc. One night’s entertainment was advertised as “Old Time Rock and Roll”, but the first tune we heard as we entered the room was “Bye Bye Blackbird”, followed by “I Fall to Pieces”, “In the Mood” and “Sentimental Journey”. Bluegrass another night act was not bluegrass music. I could go on and on, but that is illustrative. Even the cruise director admitted to me that they had “misrepresented” the entertainment. Some nights the talent advertised didn’t show up, and afternoon activities on three days included kite flying and BUBBLE BLOWING on the top deck. Be still my heart. PORTS OF CALL: Oh, boy! Where do I start? The ports they advertise only have a casual relationship with what you get. Personally, I don’t think three hours on land counts as a port call. Passengers are herded onto buses, sometime for three hours, with no breaks. Local tours too often are a tour bus driving up and down the streets of small towns, looking at the outsides of vintage houses and touring vacant lots and closed store fronts with the tour guide saying “This lot/store used to be……….” The highlight of a couple of tours was a stop at the top of a bluff overlooking the town. Almost every port call ended, like at Disneyland/ Disney World, at a gift shop. The first port of call was Red Wing, MN, home of the famous Red Wing Shoes, but we were there on a SUNDAY, when the factory and store are closed. Clearly American Cruise Line knows this. Result: a bus “tour” around this tiny town with a stop at a pottery-centered gift shop. We didn’t stop at Davenport, Iowa; Oak Alley, LA or Baton Rouge, LA, with no public acknowledgement of why. Instead we landed at tiny towns like Burlington, IA and St. Francisville, LA; both of which are ill equipped for and can not be considered an “attraction”. Don’t assume you are going to get to see Elvis’s bedroom at Graceland or the exhibits at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis where MLK, Jr. was killed. Didn’t happen. Also, excursion on another day was to a button museum. I couldn’t make this stuff up. ACL has no way of keeping track of which passengers are on the boat and who are not at any given stop. Consequently, for example, in Memphis, one passenger was left behind at the tour stop at St. Jude’s Hospital; a CREW member was left behind at the afternoon excursion, and a couple who had gone into town for dinner was left behind as the boat took off down the river at 7 p.m., instead of at the advertised time of 8 p.m. After sailing for 30 minutes, the boat had to turn around and go back to Memphis to pick the couple up. Crew error. When we told crew that we would be off the boat for one night, nothing (to my knowledge) was written down either upon our departure or return. A final insult was my wife and I being literally left in the parking lot in New Orleans as the shuttle to the airport drove away early. Again, crew error. Result: cruise director unsuccessfully chasing after shuttle on foot, followed by an 80-90 mph taxi ride to the airport to catch up with the bus which had our luggage. Most exciting and entertaining (although stressful) part of the trip. FOOD: Breakfast was well handled, but food to table for lunch and dinner occasionally had only a casual relationship with menu choices. Worst, the ice cream served was “soup” at every meal. Passengers complained on first half of cruise and ice cream was firm for next two days, followed by 10 days of melted ice cream. You could have consumed it with a straw. VALUE: For what we spent on two weeks with ACL on the Mississippi, we could have flown to Europe and had an all-inclusive river cruise or ocean cruise. Please note that ACL price doesn’t include tips or airline tickets. Those are on you. Read Less
20 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2015
We spent a week on this boat and I can safely say that as a veteran of many European and American River Cruise ships, this is by far the worst I have ever encountered. We had previously traveled with American Queen up the Mississippi and ... Read More
We spent a week on this boat and I can safely say that as a veteran of many European and American River Cruise ships, this is by far the worst I have ever encountered. We had previously traveled with American Queen up the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers and both were excellent. We had heard though that their recently acquired Empress of the West, just did not compare to the American Queen. In looking at the ads for the Queen of the West it appeared from the pictures and the description of the largest cabins in the US that for the same price we get what looked to be something comparable to the American Queen. How wrong we were! First of all the pictures of the cabins must have been taken on some other boat, and if this boat was renovated in 2011, it must have been a total dump to start out with! The cabins were nowhere near what was pictured in their ads. The twin beds were custom made and were 5 inches narrower than a standard twin bed, but that was necessary so they could get a night stand beside the bed and allow a bit of walking room between the beds. We waited 2 days to get a wash cloth. Three pieces of "gunk" were on our cabin floor the entire trip and three times the cabin attendant left our cabin not only unlocked, but wide open with no workers in sight in the halls. The food was pretty bad. We did have a good batch of pancakes one morning and my Oso Bucco on the first night was delicious, but tasted suspiciously like the frozen ones I get at Costco. All seafood was dry. There were only two options each day for lunch and dinner. All salad dressings were Vinaigrette so I stuck to the soups. They were obviously ladled up way in advance and held in a warming oven as each and every time there was a thick "crust" on the top of the cup. Breakfast sausage was often lukewarm and portions of food were quite small. Duck Breast one night consisted of three pieces of duck about as big around as your thumb and forefinger. Strawberry shortcake was so hard it was almost impossible to break into it. I asked for some extra sauce thinking that would help. They brought me a whole cupful of berries and sauce and it was still so dry I could not cut it without a knife. They employ college age kids and it appeared to me that it was on the job training, shadowing someone who had been there for a while. The maximum time they can work the boat is 12 weeks, so the turnover is high. They do try hard but lack of experience is obvious. There are about 30 on the staff and they suggest that tips for a week should be $160.00 per person. That comes out to over $600.00 per steward. From talking to the kids they usually clear about $1200 every 2 weeks, so their base pay must be pretty low. One of their executives was on board for the last two days. I attempted to talk to him and outline problems as I saw them. He conveniently got a phone call that he "had to take" and despite the fact that he saw me at least 10 times after I attempted to talk to him, he never asked if we had finished the conversation or if I needed to talk some more. He simply ignored me. We did have a marvelous Historian on board who gave talks about Lewis & Clark along the way. He was excellent. Probably the best part of the cruise. You will be lucky if you get Ian. Entertainment was 2 nights of a guy with a guitar, and two nights of a duo on piano and bass. They were all pretty good. The final night was a Nez Perce Indian who was geared more towards children than adults. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
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
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