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Sail Date: October 2018
Always wanted to travel the Mississippi River by riverboat. It was a relaxing and very informative cruise. Especially liked the shore excursions to the Civil War battlefields. The boarding process was the easiest and quickest that I ... Read More
Always wanted to travel the Mississippi River by riverboat. It was a relaxing and very informative cruise. Especially liked the shore excursions to the Civil War battlefields. The boarding process was the easiest and quickest that I have experienced. We took advantage of the pre-cruise package that included a tour of Graceland, two nights as the Graceland hotel and transportation to the ship. The ship as immaculately kept and the staff could not have been more professional and attentive. Our cabin was the largest we have had on a cruise with floor to ceiling sliding glass doors opening to a private balcony with chairs and table. We made stops in Vicksburg, Natchez, St Francisville, Baton Rouge, Oak Alley, and New Orleans. There were on board lectures about the Mississippi River and the Civil War battlefields that we visited given by very informative experts. The shore excursions were excellent with very informative tour guides. The food was excellent and service was quick and efficient. Disembarkation was very organized. They provided transportation to the Airport in New Orleans as well as an optional two hour bus tour of the city on the way to the airport. We have already signed up for another cruise with American Cruise Lines in 2019 "Maine Coast and Harbors". Read Less
Sail Date: October 2018
From my first contact by phone with the cruise agent through the debarkation, everyone and everything was a most pleasant experience. I have been on several cruises and this ranks near the top of the list. First and foremost was the ... Read More
From my first contact by phone with the cruise agent through the debarkation, everyone and everything was a most pleasant experience. I have been on several cruises and this ranks near the top of the list. First and foremost was the attentiveness and attitude of the entire crew which was directed t making our trip pleasant and enjoyable. The fact that passenger count was small (at capacity) allowed for interaction between everyone which made for a most comfortable time and conversation with all. The ship provided ready access to every public area and was clean and well manned. Our cabin was large by cruise ship standards and dining was excellent. The entertainment was good and their was always something to do. All personnel were dedicated to providing first class service to all passengers. The ports were well chosen and provided good shore experiences. I would most assuredly use American Cruise Lines again. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2018
Our ship, the American Song, was brand new and had only been in service for two weeks before our cruise. Everything was sparkling clean and shipshape. It was a real treat to be onboard such a clean, beautiful ship. One very nice feature is ... Read More
Our ship, the American Song, was brand new and had only been in service for two weeks before our cruise. Everything was sparkling clean and shipshape. It was a real treat to be onboard such a clean, beautiful ship. One very nice feature is that our room heating/cooling system worked great. The cabin temperature controls were easy to use and the system performed well. The staff was unfailingly courteous and helpful. Most of the complimentary shore excursions were very interesting although a little slow-paced for my wife & me. We’re in our early-to-mid-60s and prefer a more active pace. Most of their tours range from an hour to three hours and involve little walking. But most of the passengers looked older than us so the tours probably fit American Cruise Lines’ demographic well. The onboard pilothouse tour given by the ship’s cabin was very interesting. (But I’m an old sailor so I have a bias toward anything nautical.) Riverboat historian Bill’s lectures were terrific. They focused on riverboat history, the Civil War and the Louisiana Purchase. We found them fascinating. He has a great delivery and infuses the subjects with humor. Bill’s wife & entertainment partner is singer Laura and her tribute to women singers was great. Her knowledge of the repertoire starting back in the early 20th century and continuing up to the current day was amazing. The food was very good but designed to appeal to the standard American palate. It’s centered around a large chunk of meat or fish and accompanied by a starch such as potatoes or white rice. Vegetables are an afterthought. I had a hard time getting veggies even when I ordered the vegan options. Salads were mostly lettuce with a very small dollop of dressing. At least, the lettuce was not iceberg. Some fruit was available on a buffet table at breakfast but some was unripe. Dessert was available at both lunch & dinner. Alcoholic beverages flow freely starting with complimentary beer & wine at lunch. Next is happy hour with the added option of free mixed drinks. Happy hour is followed by free beer/wine/mixed drinks at dinner. The WiFi was very slow, so slow as to be mostly unusable. I tried it in a few different locations throughout the ship. I found that I could get a faster connection by using my cellphone to set up a hotspot. We paid for a couple of the “signature” excursions. One was the Atchafalaya tour; we were very disappointed by this. On the day we went the swamp boat’s steering had apparently been worked on recently and put back together backwards; i.e., steering to port sent the boat to starboard and vice versa. Watching the skipper try to leave the dock with this mechanical disability did not inspire confidence. Once away from the dock we didn’t see much wildlife and the tour narration was lacking. On the way back we had a miserable lunch in a local hole-in-the-wall diner. I’ve had better meals at Denny’s. It sounded like the people who took the free tour that day had a better experience. To top it all off when we boarded the bus to return Rush Limbaugh was on the radio, not at all what a couple of lefties like us want to hear. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2018
Hudson River - Fall foliage peak times are hard to predict and we missed the color this year. I would recommend taking a late October cruise in order to see color on the Hudson. Excursions - The excursions were fee-based, but the fees ... Read More
Hudson River - Fall foliage peak times are hard to predict and we missed the color this year. I would recommend taking a late October cruise in order to see color on the Hudson. Excursions - The excursions were fee-based, but the fees were reasonable. I thoroughly enjoyed the Lyndhurst Mansion, FDR's Hyde Park home and Presidential Library, Thomas Cole home, Olana, West Point, and the Albany City Tour of the State Capitol and NY State Museum. All were superb tours with informative guides. My only complaint is that there was not enough time at most places, especially Hyde Park, West Point, and NY Capitol and Museum in Albany. Entertainment - Nice variety (singers - several different groups, comedian, magician, violinist). Good entertainment. Lectures about the Hudson, the places we were going to visit the next day, the art and culture of the Hudson were very informative and added to the overall experience. Dining - I have never seen so much food at all hours of the day. No one could possible partake in all the food offerings. However, I found the food very salty and had a hard time finding low-sodium selections. The breakfast offerings were amazing. Don't know how they can't prepare so many choices on such a small ship. Cabin - Decor is a little dated. Room is large. There is a lot of drawer space. Bathroom is adequate for one person at a time. Room is not always re-stocked with items unless requested. Service - Varies. We had some excellent dining servers, and some who were new and just learning. Service is slow in the dining room. Embarkation and Disembarkation: Very efficient. New York City: If traveling some distance, one should spend a few days in NY City before or after the cruise. The city has so much to do. Even if you've been to NY before, there is always something new (such as observatory at 9/11 site) and new Broadway plays. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2018
This was my second cruise on the Independence and I have booked two more cruises for 2019 and 2020. We were able to take a New York City tour before sailing giving me a chance to visit the 911 Memorial, which was very important to me. ... Read More
This was my second cruise on the Independence and I have booked two more cruises for 2019 and 2020. We were able to take a New York City tour before sailing giving me a chance to visit the 911 Memorial, which was very important to me. Touring West Point was such a wonderful experience and the FDR Home and Library were a highlight of the trip as well. I could have spent a whole day there. I enjoy the atmosphere of the small ship and getting to know so many people. The age range of the passengers is more to my liking, closer to my age. And the fact that American Cruise Lines has staterooms designed for singles makes traveling a little less expensive for a single person. The food was wonderful and the variety at each meal was a real treat. The open seating at all meals made it so easy to get to know people. The service staff and management were exceptional. Looking forward to traveling with American Cruise Lines again. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2018
Although the leaves had not turned yet, the cruise was very enjoyable. The crew was great, the food was quite good, the entertainment was very good (some were better than others) and the excursions were excellent. A tour of Albany, a ... Read More
Although the leaves had not turned yet, the cruise was very enjoyable. The crew was great, the food was quite good, the entertainment was very good (some were better than others) and the excursions were excellent. A tour of Albany, a chairlift ride up Hunter Mountain, a tour of West Point, a walk across the Hudson River on what used to be a railroad bridge, a tour of Hyde Park (Franklin Roosevelt's historic home), a tour of Lyndhurst Gothic Mansion (all decked out for Halloween!) and a bus tour of NYC, including a stop at the 9/11 Memorial, were the excursions I enjoyed. They are reasonably priced too. I travelled by myself and meeting people on American Cruise Ships is really easy because they are smaller and more intimate. Since it's a smaller ship, you tend to see familiar faces in the dining room, during the cocktail hours every evening (which are included) and on excursions. I really like the "everything's included" feature so I don't have to figure out who to tip how much and I don't have to worry about how much I'm spending on drinks, alcoholic or otherwise. The crew is all American so there isn't a language barrier. My single cabin was quite adequate sizewise and so was the storage space. The bathroom was larger than some on other cruise ships. All in all, it was a great cruise! I have another, my third American Cruise, lined up next May to Puget Sound and the San Juan Islands. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2018
We chose this cruise because it was an opportunity to cruise the entire Mississippi River. That did not happen. The river levels were high all summer long, and we understand that itinerary changes caused by weather are routine. However, ... Read More
We chose this cruise because it was an opportunity to cruise the entire Mississippi River. That did not happen. The river levels were high all summer long, and we understand that itinerary changes caused by weather are routine. However, ACL started notifying us of a change of the embarkation port from St Paul MN, to Memphis TN only 4 days from departure. Instead of attempting to put our thoughts in a narrative, I will instead provide the pros and cons in an abbreviated list. The only compensation offered was repayment of additional travel costs and $2,000 credit towards a future cruise. We of course will not be cruising with ACL in the future. PROS: Very good meals, always fresh, lots of variety, minimal repeated menu items, good regional selections, and great pastries/breads/desserts Great dining room service Cabin service very good Beer, wine, happy hour very well done First guest lecturer excellent, both educating AND entertaining Guest musicians very good to great Memphis pre-embarkation Hotel (Peabody) excellent Ship generally very clean with many public areas Really enjoyed the limited daylight sailing time on the river CONS: Highest per night price paid in our 60+ cruises ACL definitely did NOT live up to slogan “Small Ship Cruising Done Perfectly” Bad Business practices at corporate: Embarkation changed from St Paul to Memphis due to high water levels However, Mississippi River levels were high all summer Per Tour Director on board, ACL did only one cruise between July & October to Upper Mississippi River Therefore, change at the very last minute was unnecessary. It could have been done sooner. ACL began itinerary notification just 4 days before cruise start, notification process haphazard at best, no details provided, no assistance offered Few notified as late as 24 hours before embarkation, at least one cabin never notified (they caught up on their own half way through the cruise) Suspect late notice to minimize cancellations and insurance payouts Many further last minute itinerary changes once on board although river conditions remained unchanged (high) Disappointing choices of alternative ports Missed St Paul & Red Wing MN, Dubuque & Davenport IA, La Crosse WI, Hannibal & St Louis MO Added New Madrid MO, Chester Il, Paducah KY, Greenville MS, Houmas House LA Cape Girardeau added and dropped No ACL representative at Memphis airport/hotel, no information provided on pre-embarkation times or meeting locations Guests from two ships (ACL & American Queen) staying at Peabody and hotel staff not informed about ACL guests As you can imagine, the timing and manner of the last minute change was a steady conversation subject throughout the cruise Corporate Hotel Director Steve Benson sailed with us for three days, yet he only spoke to scattered groups of guests during that time, and he took NO NOTES Promises made by corporate telephone sales staff never transmitted to ship, sales staff requested our drink choices, kept information in folio, but never passed on information, also said on board staff would do guest laundry, they don’t On board Hotel Director/Cruise Director/Tour Director staff inexperienced, unresponsive, unprofessional, untrustworthy, unable to make decision without asking corporate High on board staff turnover, many visibly unhappy Poor inventory management aboard, on 14 night cruise, with daily port stops, ran out of butter, cream cheese, bananas, yogurt, selected beers, etc. Shipboard Wi-Fi service very slow, even in port Embarkation poorly done, check in handled while guests waited aboard three coaches by only ONE staffer, using paper listing and checking off names with pen No muster drill Guests could not start safety video on TV Tours disappointing or non-existent: Most frequent were shuttles from levee into town and coach tours to plantations/museums, many done on our own Did not dock in St Louis, and 90 minute each way coach tour did NOT include Gateway Arch or time to visit on our own Graceland tour poorly handled, passing out mansion tour tickets resembled a rugby scrum Disembarkation poorly handled, luggage collected on pier only partly covered by tarps in heavy rain City tour/drop off coach guide unprofessional, and made inappropriate political remarks & moral/social observations Luggage unloaded at drop off and not secured, guests kept from leaving bus to maintain visual contact with luggage Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
I wanted to experience the area from the perspective of the river itself. I have traveled with American Cruise Lines before and wanted to do it again. The ship is one of the oldest in this fleet, but it was beautiful nonetheless. The cabin ... Read More
I wanted to experience the area from the perspective of the river itself. I have traveled with American Cruise Lines before and wanted to do it again. The ship is one of the oldest in this fleet, but it was beautiful nonetheless. The cabin was a little small, but as a single it was adequate. The common areas were lovely; very comfortable furniture and a great place to just relax. The captain was exceptional; personable and accessible. He often came to dinner to mingle with the passengers. He shared his stories with us and was very gracious in asking us to share our stories. The cruise director was such a lovely person. So much personality and eager to help proactively ensuring that all was well. The crew was exceptional; friendly and courteous, quick to help and easy to find when necessary. The food was delicious and varied. The portions were just right. You could always ask for more, but it seems that waste of food was minimized. The dining staff was wonderful; prompt service, quick to respond to requests, and always cheerful and friendly. The service from the entire crew could not have been better. The shore excursions ranged from interesting to spectacular. The highlights were Astoria, waterfalls, Mt. St. Helens, and the jet boat tour down the Snake River. The geography on the river was so interesting and unusual. All in all, I am very glad that I took this cruise. It was a wonderful, relaxing week. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2018
My wife and I sailed on the "American Constitution” on its October 6, 2018 Hudson River Cruise in Owner’s Suite 505. For background information, we have taken many ocean cruises, primarily on Regent and Silversea ... Read More
My wife and I sailed on the "American Constitution” on its October 6, 2018 Hudson River Cruise in Owner’s Suite 505. For background information, we have taken many ocean cruises, primarily on Regent and Silversea ships as well as a number of European river cruises, primarily on Tauck ships. For 2018, we wanted to try an upscale North American cruise and our travel agent spoke well of American Cruise Lines. Late last year, with high expectations, we booked our Hudson River cruise in one of the best cabins on the new (April 2018) “American Constitution”. First, our positive comments: Itinerary and Navigation - well thought out as to stops and to timing of night vs. day ship movement relative to the scenery. Smooth comfortable sailing, docking, and departures with a noteworthy turnaround in a relatively tight spot in our sailaway from Kingston, NY. Crew - competent, polite, cheerful people in all areas of the ship. They are hard working and, at times, appear to be overworked due to short staffing. Fourteen-hour days, seven days a week, appear to be the norm. Turnover appears to be high. Dining - well-prepared and presented, along the lines of traditional American classics. The menus had good variety. Overall, I would characterize the dining as three-star (Mobil/Forbes, not Michelin). In my experience, four-star is possible on river ships. Shore Excursions - interesting, well-organized, well-guided, and held to schedule. Now, to our issues: Cabin Overall - good layout but with inexpensive furniture already starting to show wear (I fixed the sagging door of the refrigerator compartment with my pocket knife’s screwdriver). Comes across as mid-range motel quality. Layout would be better with a more ship-like row of built-in cabinets on the wall opposite the bed incorporating drawers, a desk surface, the minibar, and the closet. This would allow the elimination of the desk/dresser on the back wall of the bathroom in turn allowing the bathroom to be wider. Other potential improvements would include sheer curtains in addition to the blackout drapes to allow daylight into the cabin while preserving privacy. A full-length mirror should be included. Raising the minibar off the floor would allow easier access for older clientele. Thin walls make TV’s and conversation from next cabin quite audible. One evening at 11:30 P.M. I could clearly hear the baseball playoff game next door. I had to call to ask that it be turned down. Cabin Bathroom - the biggest single dissatisfier on the ship. Please see photo above. It’s just too small, particularly in the shower area. The shower is a narrow fiberglass module with a fixed-position, fixed-flow head. With the shower door closed, it was impossible for my petite wife to get away from the flow thus subjecting her to a hair-washing whether she wanted one or not. By contrast, to show what's possible and what we expected, pls. see above picture of the shower from our 2015 Rhine River cruise cabin on Tauck’s “M.S. Inspire”. Please note the tile finishes and the fact that the shower is about double the width of the one on the “American Constitution”. There is both a rainfall shower head (dark square on ceiling) and a handheld shower head with an adjustable-height mounting. The shower door is hinged at the wall and swings both ways. Shower flow and temperature can be adjusted from the doorway prior to getting in. There’s a fold-down seat for handicapped passengers on the right side. Partly visible in the reflection on the shower glass is the sink and countertop. Hygiene - the public bathrooms near the central stairwell on the ship are simply not cleaned frequently enough. My wife noticed dirty spots on the floor that had been there 24 hours earlier. This gives us rise to concern about the cleanliness of areas of the ship that passengers don’t see. We saw railings on the central stairway being cleaned only once. The only fixed hand sanitizer dispenser we noticed was at the entrance to the dining room, not at the bottom or top of the gangway or in the lounges. We were concerned about the silverware in the dining room being placed directly on plastic table mats that we weren’t sure were changed after every service. I think the ship is at some risk of a Norovirus outbreak without sanitation being improved. Supply Outages - on Wednesday, October 10, the ship ran out of milk, first 2%, then whole and skim. Big problem for tea drinkers. The coffee and tea supplies in the lounges on decks 3 & 4 often ran out of insulating sleeves and sometimes cups and some varieties of tea bags. In summary, we were quite disappointed with our experience. At more than $1000/person/day (roughly the same as Tauck’s best European river cruise cabins), our cruise was not a good value. What we expected on the ship was Four Seasons and what was delivered was closer to Holiday Inn. We left the ship in Yonkers two days before the end of the cruise. I spoke with both the Cruise Director and the Hotel Director prior to our departure from the “American Constitution”. While the Cruise Director was both interested and concerned about our reasons for leaving, her boss, the Hotel Director, did not seem to be, instead projecting an attitude best-described by the phrase “don’t let the door hit you on the way out”. With both of them, I quietly conveyed our concerns making it clear I was not angry, just disappointed. In addition, I e-mailed ACL's East Coast Hotel Director, Christopher Nailon, and ACL's owner, Charles Robinson, with my comments as noted above. After two weeks and one week, respectively, I've had no response. We think American Cruise Lines has a long way to go to truly fulfill its slogan of “Small Ship Cruising Done Perfectly”. In the meantime, save your money and avoid major disappointment. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2018
I had a wonderful time on the initial cruise on the American Song. The food was like a 5 star restaurant and there were plenty of choices available. The staff was friendly and very interested in making sure your every need was met. The ... Read More
I had a wonderful time on the initial cruise on the American Song. The food was like a 5 star restaurant and there were plenty of choices available. The staff was friendly and very interested in making sure your every need was met. The accommodations were first class and they addressed any concern immediately. The cabins were spacious and it had a surprisingly large bathroom. We took this trip as our honeymoon! Our honeymoon was celebrated by the staff by sending us champagne and chocolate covered strawberries. The onboard entertainment could use some improvements, but was adequate. I was extremely impressed that the owner and his sons visited us while we were onboard. He spoke to the group, addressed any concerns and agreed that they are working on improving the onboard entertainment. I was very impressed with this river boat cruise line. I hope to sail with them again and would recommend this cruise line to my friends and family. Read Less
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