We sailed the Columbia/Snake River cruise. The American Song is a beautiful ship with spacious staterooms and very comfortable design and furnishings. The public deck areas are exceptionally nice with probably the most comfortable deck ... Read More
We sailed the Columbia/Snake River cruise. The American Song is a beautiful ship with spacious staterooms and very comfortable design and furnishings. The public deck areas are exceptionally nice with probably the most comfortable deck furniture I have experienced on a cruise ship. The crew was very personable, friendly and accomodating. The hotel director went above and beyond to ensure guests needs were met. The onboard historian brought the river alive with storytelling that made you appreciate what your were seeing and experiencing. It was more than just a cruise, it was an educational experience. The other passengers were very compatible and friendly and it made for a very pleasant journey. The itinerary was very good with a good selection of shore excursions that made it interesting and enjoyable. Going through the locks at each of the Dams was fascinating and interesting. Overall, I give American very high marks. We would definitely cruise with them again. Read Less
I almost didn't write this review as I feel that we were not the demographic that this cruise caters to and comparing it to our other cruises might be unfair. However, if we had known a few things upfront, we could have made a better ... Read More
I almost didn't write this review as I feel that we were not the demographic that this cruise caters to and comparing it to our other cruises might be unfair. However, if we had known a few things upfront, we could have made a better decision or been more prepared for what we got.
The boat is very cute. The rooms are adequate in size but furnished in a drab and cheap-looking style. Bathrooms were very small in comparison but were functional. The closet is small, there are several drawers for storage, and there is no safe in the room. There is no refrigerator or water provided in the room but you can go to one of the lounges to get water at any hour. The outside seating areas are nice when sailing although I think more comfortable seating vs. the numerous rocking chairs would have been better. There are three lounges which were used for various activities such as bingo, river talks, evening entertainment, happy hour, etc. and were open all the time. The snack selection was not very good in the lounges as there were soft drinks and packaged snacks such as cheese crackers, fig newtons, and sun chips. Water and coffee were available but no iced tea and no healthy snacks. The cookies that were brought around twice a day were good and a nice touch.
Most of the crew (interior staff) were college kids who were very enthusiastic and helpful but had little to no training. They would try to do anything that was asked of them but did not have the training to provide high-level service without being prompted--not their fault but don't expect much. They were super-nice people and we enjoyed meeting many of the crew members.
What needs to be clearly stated here is that when the website states "Open seating dining allows you to dine where and when you want," what it really means is that every single passenger goes to the dining room at the same time since there is a short window of service and is squeezed into a room with tables that seat large groups of people with no option to sit as a couple. The way it was done is that passengers who came first might be on dessert and passengers who came a few minutes later would be forced to join them if there were empty seats. This was obvious chaos and didn't make a nice dining experience for everyone. Some folks probably really enjoy dining with strangers and that is fine but this could have been much better organized with options for passengers who aren't comfortable joining an already-in-progress table. I have to mention the food quality although this is a tricky subject. As someone who travels in search of the best restaurants and chefs, I feel qualified to say that the quality of the food was sadly very disappointing. It may not have been for some passengers but we found it to be uninspired and bland and some dishes seemed like an experiment of things that don't go together. Maybe the cooks were students in training also. Take that for what it's worth to you as I realize that everyone has different tastes and requirements for food and this may not be the opinion of some. Breakfast was probably the better meal and our room service (only offered at breakfast) was delivered promptly each morning. Dinner is at 5:30 pm and is over by 7:30.
Happy hour was also disorganized with a long line for drinks and staff who were doing double duty and weren't really bartenders. Only a few knew how to properly mix drinks. They could have made it easier by having waitstaff take orders or having two lines and having the staff who didn't know how to make the drinks just pour wine and beer and soft drinks. But again, they were willing to try and were very polite and friendly.
The evening entertainment that was provided was very enjoyable. It began at 8:15 and lasted about an hour. The first two nights were a musical and comedy show from the Riverlorians on board that gave educational talks in the afternoon and sang in the evenings. They were lovely people and were good singers and a lot of fun. We liked them a lot. The third night was a wonderful jazz duo with a piano player and a trumpet player. Both were amazing and we loved that they played songs we all knew as well as gave us tidbits of education about the music and the writers and famous performers of it. The last night was a cute show with the Victory Belles, three ladies who were performers based at the WWII museum in New Orleans and they did appropriate music for the time period and were very entertaining. Drinks, popcorn, and root beer floats were served. Daytime entertainment consisted of river talks, bingo, and such but that was fine for the size of the boat and the relaxing pace.
Excursions and the cruise:
One thing to know is that river cruises can change with the conditions of the river and excursions are sometimes changed or cancelled. The Mississippi is very high right now which prevented docking at some of our predetermined stops. This means we missed Oak Alley plantation but Rosedown Plantation was substituted in its place. It also meant that we docked for two nights at Baton Rouge and were bussed out to Houmas House on a longer drive than we would have been. I wish we would have been sailing at night instead of docked but I think that was largely beyond the control of the captain and crew. Both plantations were very nice with Houmas House being our favorite. Our guide there was wonderful and the owner was greeting guests on site which was nice. The grounds are spectacular. There wasn't any communication about these changes beforehand and I think there should have been but they did try to do as much as possible with the situation.
As others have stated, most passengers are in the over 60-plus category with several over 80. We were younger but always enjoy meeting nice people and everyone was very nice. There is nothing for kids to do and excursions will not interest kids if they have no understanding of the history of the area. Read Less
Even though the weather the beginning of March was not optimum, we enjoyed this cruise. Unusual cold front and towns we visited had temperatures only in low to mid 50's. Certainly not American cruise lines fault. A little rain and ... Read More
Even though the weather the beginning of March was not optimum, we enjoyed this cruise. Unusual cold front and towns we visited had temperatures only in low to mid 50's. Certainly not American cruise lines fault. A little rain and overcast. But it was a sightseeing cruise not a beach one. Weather didn't cancel anything (except a little too chilly to sit on balcony). Pre-cruise night was spent on ship instead of hotel. It was Mardi Gras time in New Orleans. Hotel didn't want to put ships passengers up. We got an extra day on ship with meals and entertainment. Food was good. Variety on menu adequate. It was suggested we preorder lunch and dinner at breakfast. We never did this. Always had room service breakfast. Never a problem for us at lunch or dinner not preordering. Wait staff was excellent as were everyone else who worked on the ship. Top rate. Can't praise them high enough. Cabin was a nice size as was the bathroom. It was clean. Only problem was the balcony, there were a few balconies with drains (if I knew i would have requested one). Because of all the rain a few days before the cruise, the balcony had at least an inch of water on it. Maintenance came twice to sweep it out. But as I stated previously, it was a little too cold to sit out on the balcony anyway. Entertainment was good. Beer, wine, soft drinks included with lunch and dinner. Open bar and cocktail hour with appetizers at 5:30 p.m. in lounge before diner. Open bar again at 8:00 p.m. before entertainment in lounge that continued till about 10:00 p.m. Then everyone (including us) went with last drink in hand to cabins. You weren't chased out of lounge. Could have stayed there. People just didn't. As for the age group of the passengers. We are both retired in our 70's, mobil without use of cane or walker. I would say the majority of the passengers were like us. Our dinner table was comprised of six people. Youngest was 63. Oldest was 83. Other four 70ish. So passengers were seniors, but a dancing bunch (had bands with dancing two nights) who also wanted to enjoy themselves and not sit home and vegetate. The few with walkers (I think I saw two wheelchairs) were at the cocktail hours and entertainment. There were very interesting lectures about the civil war and the Mississippi River. Art classes, card games. A small fitness room. Ellipticals, bikes, other exercise equipment. It was lacking a treadmill. On the review I gave to the cruise line, i told them my one complaint was no treadmill. one was needed. Actually it is my only complaint. Read Less
civil war history cruise
lectures were excellent.. info on Mississippi history, civil war history, US history
entertainment was in a smaller venue... smaller groups... the comedian "Judy" was excellent... the singer Laura ... Read More
civil war history cruise
lectures were excellent.. info on Mississippi history, civil war history, US history
entertainment was in a smaller venue... smaller groups... the comedian "Judy" was excellent... the singer Laura was also... we had a small area for dancing... wish it had been more
closer relationship with crew and other passengers
new technology class was excellent... it would be worthwhile to take the cruise just for this
lots of info regarding I phone shortcuts etc ...
regarding the cabin... we got a deluxe cabin... was nice ... but ... some other cruise lines give "VIP" service to cabin upgrades.. the service was generally exceptional but was not different based on the room type... if you can get adequate room without this much upgrade you might save some bucks
we will certainly cruise again with American... It is a relaxed, more social, in depth cruise experience .. likely the Columbia next Read Less
First, the cruises offered by ACL are geared towards mature audiences - 60's and up, although there very people much younger on this cruise. Actually who's on the cruise really doesn't matter to me, as long as people are ... Read More
First, the cruises offered by ACL are geared towards mature audiences - 60's and up, although there very people much younger on this cruise. Actually who's on the cruise really doesn't matter to me, as long as people are enjoying their experience.
I have taken 7 ocean cruises and on rivercruise (20 years ago). If you are expecting in your face activities and craziness, pick something other than a river cruise.
This was a celebration cruise for my husband and I, and when greeted when boarding the boat, we were congratulated and on the second day, after returning from a shore excursion, we found champagne and strawberries in our cabin!
Every crew member is there to serve you and extend extraordinary customer service, which was evident every minute of the day (we had to ask someone to thread a needle, and they did so with a smile!). When crew members say they love their jobs, that says something about a company!
Because the river was running high, a last minute change of itinerary was made and I thought it gave us an even better experience; also, Because we were in the height of Mardi Gras season, instead of staying in a hotel pre-cruise (part of your fare), we stayed on the boat - we were greeted by a lovely buffet and drinks. We were not able to dock at Houmas House or Oak Alley, but those excursions were changed to days when we were in Baton Rouge and New Orleans. We cruised up to St. Francisville instead on the first day, and had the choice of three additional excursions (only 2 of the many offered were premium at an extra charge, by the way...). Also in Baton Rouge, which is not the most exciting stop, they added a walking tour by their river guide, which made is all worth while. And because we returned to New Orleans a half day early, excursions to the WW2 museum and a French Quarter walking tour were added! I think this was all handle exceptionally well!!!
On the ACL cruises, beer and wine are included at Lunch, cocktail hour, dinner and during the evening entertainment, so you are not running up a tab. The food was excellent and you could request half portions. There were also snacks, coffee, tea, fruit, juice and soda always available in two of the lounges.
My husband had never cruised before and I knew that an ocean cruise was out of the question - he thoroughly enjoyed this and we are considering other itineraries in the future.
The cost seems high at first, but when I compared it to an ocean cruise with similar accommodations (balcony), and considering that there is no charge for adult beverages, no tipping, free excursions, free WIFI, the cost is comparable. Read Less
This was to be a bucket list trip down the Intracoastal Waterway. The ports were interesting but the ship was a complete disappointment. Stateroom was very small. The amenities could have come from a cheap motel. Burned out light in ... Read More
This was to be a bucket list trip down the Intracoastal Waterway. The ports were interesting but the ship was a complete disappointment. Stateroom was very small. The amenities could have come from a cheap motel. Burned out light in the tiny bath was never replaced. Three pieces of personal property were discarded by housekeeping staff. WIFI was non-existent. Food was boring and tasteless. I actually lost weight on this cruise! On the last night my stuffed lobster tail had no lobster. It was sent back and plate was returned. I was told the lobster was in the stuffing. My husband pointed out his lobster. Finally I got my lobster but it was still on the original plate. The next morning my plate garnish was a rotten grape on a pick. We complained to management and were not given satisfaction. ACL is only interested in their own pocket not in customer service. There was no value for the amount of money this cost. We will never cruise with them again and certainly will never recommend ACL to others. Read Less
Jacksonville to Charleston 12/21/18
I really, really hate being critical or complaining. But a realistic review of this cruise is important for others to read. I should have picked up on the lack of CC reviews of the ... Read More
Jacksonville to Charleston 12/21/18
I really, really hate being critical or complaining. But a realistic review of this cruise is important for others to read. I should have picked up on the lack of CC reviews of the Independence, but the timing and itinerary was perfect for us. This cruise was beyond disappointing. ACL advertises "perfect cruising". This cruise was not an example of perfect cruising; it was more an example of “annoyed cruising”. As the primary travel planner in our family, I was so upset and disappointed the first night hat I couldn’t even sleep. We are experienced cruisers on river boats and small ships. This cruise was more expensive than anything we’ve ever booked. It was a lower-middle-class cruise at upper-class prices. I contacted ACL in January with a more detailed review. I was offered a 25% reduction on a future cruise with a very short time limit. It was insulting.
PRE-CRUISE COMMUNICATION Most basic gap was communication. There is little detailed information on the website. When you call with questions, the agents don't know answers, don't offer to find out, or just give you wrong answers. The ship’s smoking policy changed, but nobody told the Captain! In numerous phone calls, my travel agent and I were both told that all information would be available on the ship. Nothing could be further from the truth.
EMBARKATION When we arrived at the boarding point, the ship was not there. No signage, no communication. We spent about an hour looking for her and finally asked at the Hyatt. They directed us; we should drive down a one-way street the wrong way. Really?? We were greeted enthusiastically and our luggage whisked away. We were escorted to our cabin; it was a very warm welcome. We were not informed about the time of the safety muster and missed it returning a rental car. I find this very disturbing.
SHORE EXCURSIONS Most river and small-ship cruises have at least one included shore excursions each day. After booking, I contacted ACL three times with no response. With a couple of exceptions, we paid extra for our shore excursions. The ACL brochure is misleading about prices, it is very clear that ACL is minimizing the fact that we'll pay extra. There are no details about excursion timing ... morning or afternoon or all-day. It only got worse after we sailed. The first evening, we were given a list of all shore excursions with prices. We were expected to complete these lists for the entire cruise and turn them in a few hours later. Unacceptable.
CRUISE DIRECTOR LILLY Lilly is a lovely girl, enthusiastic and energetic, but lacks proper training for a Cruise Director's position. She was absolutely clueless. She blasted announcements in our cabin many times each day. The worst part of this cruise. Very little information was available, customary evening port talks were not held. I attended the first one where Lilly read us the ship’s newsletter. When the printed schedule changed, nothing was posted, with no phone in the room we had to track someone down to ask our questions. The “office” was often vacant. At evening meetings, Lilly would take questions from the audience and not repeat them, giving the answers with the rest of us now knowing the question. Being sure your audience understands is the most basic protocol of public speaking. At games in the lounge, Lilly was great. We had a great deal of fun with a gift exchange
SHIP Clean and bright, comfortable lounges on each deck. Captain Dennis did good job of explaining minor deviations, tides, weather and his planned timing. Everyone appreciated his joining us at meals when his schedule allowed. There were festive holiday decorations up everywhere. Internet worked in the lounge, not in our cabin; Captain explained the reason after I spent two hours banging around on my new laptop and inquired. The ship looks worn and is without style, like your grandmother’s house back in the 70’s. Very nice coffee and goodies set up in lounge every morning at 630. There was an espresso machine with no directions. I tried twice and gave up.
CREW Other than the dining room, most seemed inexperienced and scrambling for information but did a decent job. They were friendly, welcoming, good at their jobs. A real plus for this cruise. The "visiting lecturer" Rachel was a superb speaker, but her information was about the history and other aspects of the area, not about what the actual plans were for each port. Captain Dennis was very personable and created a very positive image of American Cruise Lines. Senior crew were obviously trying to make up for an incompetent cruise director, they were great.
MEALS A real highlight of the trip: great service, fabulous food, attractive and spacious dining salon. We loved the small portions. We booked a cruise with room service breakfast, but after embarkation we were told it was not available, by then we were resigned to mediocrity. Both dinner and lunch are served in courses, we’d prefer a buffet lunch. Nightly canapes at cocktail time were excellent, lovely to have servers passing them in the lounge.
CABIN Our cabin on the top deck was spacious with a nicely furnished balcony. Good shower, two large nightstands with large lamps that should be hung on the wall. The rest of the cabin was dismal. Window blinds don’t close properly and light shines in all night. No coat hooks at entry, and the television takes up most of the room on the dresser. Hard to believe that it’s not hung on the wall. Only other horizontal space is a good-sized desk. Closet is tiny, no shelves. No surprise that electrical outlets were behind furniture at floor level. Two over-sized armchairs were squeezed together, I guess this is ACL’s idea of a suite. Bath has an 8" vanity and no shelves, one robe hook on door. I wrapped my makeup in a dinner napkin and stowed it in a drawer.
ACL has wonderful itineraries, and we would love to cruise with them every year. Their prices are so astronomical that it would take a 75% discount for me to even consider them again. A real shame. Lots of people say they love ACL, but they have never sailed on a small ship in Europe. Read Less
I heard aboard that the owner reads all the reviews so after I sent in my 17 page complaint letter I waited weeks, just now received a response from the VP saying my letter will be used for training and if I'd like to book again ... Read More
I heard aboard that the owner reads all the reviews so after I sent in my 17 page complaint letter I waited weeks, just now received a response from the VP saying my letter will be used for training and if I'd like to book again before Feb 1st I will receive 25% discount. What an insult after asking for my money back. Day 1 room was clean but not stocked (no toilet paper and no water, only two towels? Then it just got worse..Disgusting room, housekeeper left a small key on the middle of bathroom floor, we left it for her to get, THREE days later she got it. Asked for water and cups in room, never got it. Thought our window was a broken dbl panel leaking and that's why we could see out of it until I CLEANED IT, and turns out it was just old dirt caked on. Interrior of the boat is old pale yellow couches and fixtures my 83 yr young Mom thought was old,boring,"Care-Center like". Blinds didn't work. I save a few people from tripping on extension cords throughout the week due to blatent stupidity when it comes to safety. One time at dinner I opened the rolls basket and found unbaked defrosted biscuits (yes like Pillsbury), I brought it to the attention of the wait staff and they rounded up all the baskets for the important part. Food was blah, vegetables were bagged frozen I guess, always wrinkly and blah. One of the staff told me he can't eat most of the food available. Staff personal things left here and there. Broken machines. Cheap bar choices. DO NOT DO THIS CRUISE ON THIS BOAT. I'm telling you, I can go on and on for 17 more pages, hygiene, crew with way too laid back of attitude, I was working on my vacation for the health and safety of my family and fellow passengers and as Mom said it "We are lucky we made it out of there in one piece" ...Our disembarkation was a flooded parking lot, rained the night before +an incoming tide. They had our flight information and could have told us this the night before and that morning, no one did. My Mom and I hopped a fence, rolled up our pants, threw our luggage in a dock cart and waddled and rolled to a street to get an Uber while the remaining passengers and staff just stood around, doing nothing but missing their flights and watching water. NOTHING was good about this cruise except the things we did away (tours, excursions) from it. WORST CRUISE EVER, and we've been on a lot. My first review because it was so bad I am shocked I didn't know ahead of time. VERY PRICEY for crap. A Thanksgiving we will never forget for the wrong reasons. And one more important thing to keep this short, Why would the VP ever think I would book another cruise with this company? -And there is no way they can be re-trined by Feb 1st, HA! What a horrible business plan to not have refunded our money. I have told many business associates, friends, neighbors about how bad this was and they have many friends as well. SHAME ON AMERICAN CRUISE LINES, jokers taking advantage of older people. Read Less
Great Cruise with top notch food, entertainment and service. In addition, very enjoyable and informative cruise tours at the ports. This cruise is focused on older adults as not much that would interest children. Small number of people ... Read More
Great Cruise with top notch food, entertainment and service. In addition, very enjoyable and informative cruise tours at the ports. This cruise is focused on older adults as not much that would interest children. Small number of people on-board which gives ample opportunity to meet new people. There were some traveling alone, some in groups as well as couples. The ship was kept immaculate and our room was a nice size. We enjoyed the view from our balcony. We saw beautiful sunrises and sunsets. There was more than enough to eat and drink at all times! There was accommodation for those that needed accommodation to reach the tour buses and tour destinations. We also were very satisfied with the hotel the first night in New Orleans that was part of the cruise package. Loved that the food and entertainment was inclusive of the local area of the cruise. We highly recommend taking this cruise! Read Less
4 night cruise from New Orleans, enjoyed the ports very much, though not a lot of a variety of things to do at each one, to be expected on this itinerary. Visited a few very nice plantation houses, plus Baton Rouge. For those who have ... Read More
4 night cruise from New Orleans, enjoyed the ports very much, though not a lot of a variety of things to do at each one, to be expected on this itinerary. Visited a few very nice plantation houses, plus Baton Rouge. For those who have cruised on the larger ships, this cruise will come as a bit of a shock. The ambiance is very low key, no fancy décor, with basically no activities and nothing to do while on the ship. After dinner for 3 nights a banjo player performed for an hour, that was it for the evening entertainment. Seeing this once was fine, but it got old fast, and I didn't need to see it all 3 nights. Other than that, after dinner there was nothing to do, no schedule activities. The daily happy hour at 5:30 with tasty snacks and open bar was a nice touch, as well as the daily fresh baked cookies, and always available snacks and beverages. The ship staff and crew are friendly, dining room service was fine too. The boat is small, which means no crowds, no lines, getting on and off simple. My overall rating would actually be "good" if that was offered between very good and average. Read Less