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705 American Cruise Lines Cruise Reviews

We wanted to cruise over the holidays. and didn't want to fly. We live within a two-hour drive of Baltimore, and read good reviews of American Cruise Lines and its 2018-built ship Constitution. We had been to every port on the ... Read More
We wanted to cruise over the holidays. and didn't want to fly. We live within a two-hour drive of Baltimore, and read good reviews of American Cruise Lines and its 2018-built ship Constitution. We had been to every port on the itinerary, some multiple times, so thought it would be relaxing. Food ranged from fair to very good. Some of the best entrees were the lobster mac and cheese for lunch, and pot roast at dinner. Steaks were pretty good. Christmas buffet, the only buffet, thankfully, was mediocre. Lots of choices, but the roast turkey was a processed salty turkey roll, and the roast prime rib was tough. The side dishes and desserts were excellent. The young staff went out of its way to please. The wait staff was friendly and efficient. We got to know them all. Complimentary cocktails were served every evening at 5:30, along with hors d'oeuvre. Brand names were used - Makers Mark, Tanqueray, Beefeater, etc. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
We choose this cruise #1 because it sailed Christmas week. This was our 8th cruise on American Cruise Lines (ACL). The Harmony was launched in 2019. It had many lounges small and large to use. The ship was decorated beautifully for ... Read More
We choose this cruise #1 because it sailed Christmas week. This was our 8th cruise on American Cruise Lines (ACL). The Harmony was launched in 2019. It had many lounges small and large to use. The ship was decorated beautifully for Christmas. The management team was great, always accommodating and always smiling. Courtney was our cruise director and she was always smiling no matter the time of day . . . and they put in long hours. She had events going all the time . . . decorating gingerbread houses, making holiday cards, ugly sweater contest, White Elephant gift exchange, etc, etc. ACL gave all passengers lovely gifts throughout the week and brought "sweet treats" to our stateroom every day. Many shore excursion choices. Entertainment was excellent! Food choices were abundant and yummy. Happy hour every night with appetizers before dinner. It was a fun-filled way to spend Christmas. 194 passengers maximum. These ships are built in the USA with an all American crew and mature passengers 50 and up. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
Wonderful Christmas Cruise, boat decorated for the holiday season. Cruise was up the lower Mississippi River to Vicksburg MS to see the battle fields between the Union and Confederate soldiers of the civil war, history river boat cruise ... Read More
Wonderful Christmas Cruise, boat decorated for the holiday season. Cruise was up the lower Mississippi River to Vicksburg MS to see the battle fields between the Union and Confederate soldiers of the civil war, history river boat cruise had a historian commentator on board for the whole trip. Visited cotton and sugar Plantations. All meals had 3 choices on the menu, a lot of times could not make a choice, all 3 were very good. The cabin rooms were spacious and laid out nicely, all cabins had a sliding door out to the balcony. The bathrooms excellent, glass door shower with real soap, not liquid, spacious and a lot of shelf space, cabinet with drawers, there was no step up to enter the bathroom. Entertainment was at the cocktail hour prior to open seating dinner, there was night time entertainment along with cocktails, excellent. Service through out the boat was outstanding, waiters, cabin stewards, house manager, tour director were always asking if you need anything, very friendly crew and friendly passengers. Had a Yankee swap on Christmas day, fun time. Pay one price, everything included, tips, shore excursions and beverages. Excellent Cruise, will do another river cruise. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
American Cruise Lines has been updating their fleet and the new American Harmony is gorgeous! It has an amazing amount of public space for a small ship, large staterooms, beautiful decorating, excellent food and a wonderful crew. The ... Read More
American Cruise Lines has been updating their fleet and the new American Harmony is gorgeous! It has an amazing amount of public space for a small ship, large staterooms, beautiful decorating, excellent food and a wonderful crew. The public space included outside decks, which are not so useful in December, but there were also multiple large lounges plus small lounges behind the elevators. Great design. We were warned that, sailing with ACL over the holidays, we should take an extra suitcase. We left one half empty, but it was full when we came home and we bought nothing on the trip. They gave out incredible gifts almost every night (raincoats, fleece jackets, thermal mugs, etc). Other specials in December include better shows and bigger discounts on future cruising. We have been on 85 ocean cruises and 10 river cruises so we have many adventures to compare to. This was one of the best ever. We were so impressed we booked 6 more segments while onboard. This was just lower Mississippi, but they made each stop exciting and all Shore Ex was complimentary. Definitely suggest cruising with ACL in late December. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
This was our 9th cruise with American Cruise Lines so we are obviously satisfied with their overall performance. There have been some cruises where they failed to live up to their motto: "Small ship cruising done perfectly". That ... Read More
This was our 9th cruise with American Cruise Lines so we are obviously satisfied with their overall performance. There have been some cruises where they failed to live up to their motto: "Small ship cruising done perfectly". That is a very high standard that they have set for themselves and they have, on occasion, failed to meet it. Their Customer Service team has been slow to address our comments on these occasions. This cruise on the American Star, which we have been on several time before, was up to our expectations. The ship interior looked to be in good shape but the exterior was in need of some work. Immediately after our cruise, the ship went to dry dock for some needed work. The management on board was excellent. Our Hotel Manager, Michelle, and our Cruise Director, Annisse, could not have been more professional and customer oriented. They were everything that professional cruise management should be. They entertained us throughout the trip and immediately took care of a major problem that we had with booking our next trip, which will be out tenth cruise with ACL. They were always friendly and concerned about their customers and were anxious to be helpful in any way they could. Can't praise them highly enough. The wait staff and the household staff were helpful and cheerful and seemed to be genuinely interested in our well being. They took good care of us in a professional and cheerful manner, which we have come to expect from the wait and housecleaning staffs. They went out of their way to accommodate any requests that we might have had. For example, one evening, I wanted s specific brand of wine which I had had the previous evening. Our waitress, Jocelyn, said they no longer had that brand in stock so she brought me a glass of their top of the line wine instead. My only disappointment for this trip was that the brochure said that we would visit Lake George and spend a day there observing the on-shore wildlife. We expected it to be a carefree and relaxing day and we were looking forward to observing any wildlife in the state park on the shore of Lake George, but we did not go to Lake George. We were told, by two different people, that the St Johns River had silted up and that there was nothing to do there. This destination continues to be printed in their brochures and we were not notified beforehand of the change. One of the reasons we take river cruises is to enjoy the passing scenery and relax. We do not have to be kept busy every single second. Some of our best cruises on this line have been when we were able to sit topside on the top deck while cruising the river and enjoy the passing scenery on shore. We have already booked our next trip with ACL which will be our tenth. We have signed up for a Chesapeake Bay cruise on one of their newer cruise boats. This will be our first trip on one of the newer boats and we are looking forward to it. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
First time ever on a small-ship cruise as well as one just in the U.S. Price included being put up at a nice hotel pre-night with breakfast the next morning, transportation from hotel to ship and from ship to airport after the cruise ... Read More
First time ever on a small-ship cruise as well as one just in the U.S. Price included being put up at a nice hotel pre-night with breakfast the next morning, transportation from hotel to ship and from ship to airport after the cruise ended. Never been part of an embarkation or debarkation so seamless. Greeted by staff and crew with friendly smiles from the get-go, which were genuine and did not diminish over the course of the cruise. Ship was gorgeous and spotless the entire time, cabins and balcony very spacious, with nice size bathroom and all amenities you could want. All-balcony cabins and a couple of big suites, and they have a couple of single balcony cabins, which is great. The public areas are lovely and inviting. Regionally inspired cuisine, with other choices if you weren't a fan, and the food was excellent. Beer and wine with lunch and dinner, happy hour every night, and wait staff were super great, as were the rest of the crew and officers onboard. The all-American crew that work on this ship, as I suspect on others of the fleet, work their butts off, and many of them serve one or more roles. They aim to please, and take the time to engage with those onboard. Special shout-outs to Alexis and West in the dining room, whose tables we got to sit at most of the time, Rick and Big Mike and Brittani were lovely when we got to sit where they were, but observing other tables, the wait staff always seemed to take time to engage with the people at their tables and from what we could see, gave great service. Bill and Laura were wonderful, and we'll plan future cruises around when they'll be onboard. A great team, they're as nice as could be, providing entertainment during happy hour and many evenings, and Bill's talks truly brought history alive and provided an invaluable perspective and foundation for some of the places visited during tours. We could have sat and listened to him endlessly, a sentiment echoed by everyone we talked to. If he'd been our history teacher, many of us would have become history majors and/or teachers. It added tremendously to the whole experience - can't say enough about Bill and Laura. Other notable entertainment - Judy Davis, storyteller and comedian, was superb, and great jazz musicians one night. Did not miss the "fancy floor shows" of big-ship cruises one bit. The crew was great, as were the housekeeping staff, security people, and everyone who worked onboard and who we came in contact with. Very friendly and genuine. Had never been to New Orleans, and even though we only spent the one morning exploring before boarding the ship, we want to go back and see more. Heads up on the itinerary - this route is a must-do for Civil War and American history buffs and highlights highlights the importance of the Mississippi in history, industry and trade, then and now, but it's not the prettiest part of the river and you pass a lot of industrial complexes, oil refineries and who knows what else, sometimes overwhelmingly so, along the parts of the route. Do not expect bucolic river scenes a la Huckleberry Finn - if you're used to or were expecting a less developed environment or were picturing endless stretches of pristine river banks, you may be disappointed. Despite that, there were some spectacular sunsets (and likely sunrises, had the weather cooperated), a surprising number of different birds including pelicans, cormorants, egrets, ducks and more, and it was beyond cool sailing under the many bridges and seeing the constant marine traffic along the way. Must be a great place to be a tugboat captain. If you're a photographer, there are a lot of different things to make you happy and we got some great shots. American Cruise Lines caters to mature adults, and there is a lot of accommodation for those that may not be as mobile as they used to be or who have some physical limitations, but who want to get out there and experience things. Golf carts were always available to assist in getting people from ship to the tour bus if where we docked was too hard for people in wheelchairs, or who needed other assistance walking. Some people expressed frustration with the internet connection, which was spotty and didn't seem related to whether you were in a less or more developed area along the route. Personally I wasn't bothered because cell phone service and texting worked fine when we needed to be in touch, maybe it's deliberate because the cruise line is trying to encourage people to unplug, get off their damn devices and just experience the trip, but they may need to up the bandwidth or boosters or whatever, especially if they're trying to broaden the clientele to include a broader demographic and/or people who may still be working or just feel the compulsion to stay in touch more. Overall, we think American Cruise Lines knows what they're doing. They know their market, they have a solid product, and I totally get it why they have such a high repeat clientele. It was a fantastic vacation, and we hope to go on a future cruise with them again. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
Love American Cruise Lines and their small ships. We got to know all the passengers and most of the crew. The embarkation and disembarkation went smoothly. The activities director and the historian were excellent. The excursions were ... Read More
Love American Cruise Lines and their small ships. We got to know all the passengers and most of the crew. The embarkation and disembarkation went smoothly. The activities director and the historian were excellent. The excursions were well planned and organized. So much planned, you had to choose which activity to go to. One day my husband went to one and I to another. We then shared our experiences at dinner. We enjoyed the holiday themed activities. The food was tasty and the dining room staff accommodated our requests outside the planned menu. I requested a hand- held shower in our bath. It was added within 24 hours with an apology for taking so long! My husband forgot our charging cord to our Apple computer on the ship. He called the director of housekeeping ( the number was listed on the daily news letters) requesting it be mailed. It arrived within a week! The only negative was the weather. It rained for most of our trip. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
We selected this cruise becasue we wanted to see more of the US. This is a new ship with all American crew. So much exceeded our expectations ... the size of the cabin, the onboard entertainment and activities, the shore excursions and, ... Read More
We selected this cruise becasue we wanted to see more of the US. This is a new ship with all American crew. So much exceeded our expectations ... the size of the cabin, the onboard entertainment and activities, the shore excursions and, of course, the fabulous food. NOTE: There was lots and lots of storage space in the cabin. Tons of drawers and good-sized closet. Also, a large bathroom with nice amenities. The cruise included a pre-night hotel stay in New Orleans. We boarded before noon, and had a fabulous seafood buffet with the most incredible desserts! We knew our waistlines were in trouble!! Each port had included shore excursions that were both interesting and informative. The onboard entertainment and enrichment programs were extremely well done. Loved the size of the ship ... enought lounges and places to sit and enjoy, while being intimate and easy to meet fellow travellers. This is NOT a cruise/ship for children. Another reason we selected it. Would we go again ... ABSOLUTELY! Would we cruise with American Cruise Lines again ... ABSOLUTELY! Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
We had cruised once before with American Cruise Lines and enjoyed it very much. This cruise was even better. The Constitution was only a year in services as opposed to the Queen of the West and it was all clean and sparkly. The food was ... Read More
We had cruised once before with American Cruise Lines and enjoyed it very much. This cruise was even better. The Constitution was only a year in services as opposed to the Queen of the West and it was all clean and sparkly. The food was delicious and varied with emphasis on seafood available fresh from the Bay, it seemed. The wait staff in the dining room were warm, welcoming, and efficient. The excursions were very informative though one was overlong. Our historians gave informative talks along the way. I learned so much about our American history. My one complaint was that sometimes the talks over lapped the excursions and I had to miss talks I would have appreciated seeing. Perhaps they could have recorded the talks and made them available via our TV's to watch as we were able to. The room was lovely and I didn't feel cramped. It was definitely a cruise experience with primarily older folks but older folks with a lot of travel experience who are very loyal to American Cruise Lines. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
This was our second American Cruise Line experience, after loving our first cruise. But this time was definitely not as good. The ship was lovely and our cabin very comfortable. It was the uniformed officers, or managers, on the ship that ... Read More
This was our second American Cruise Line experience, after loving our first cruise. But this time was definitely not as good. The ship was lovely and our cabin very comfortable. It was the uniformed officers, or managers, on the ship that were the issue. They did not know the itinerary very well and did not properly answer questions. They alway had their heads in their phones. There were many issues with the kitchen from very slow service that caused us to be late for excursions to running out of many things. How do you forget to chill the wine then think it's OK to serve it on ice? Really? The wait staff and housekeeping were excellent - they really worked hard to try to make everything right to the best of their ability. In one port the tide was so low that it was extremely difficult to exit the tender and this company cater to an older crowd. They should have known to bring an extra set of steps to make this better. They have offered us a 20% discount if we book our next cruise by March, but after spending $15,000 on this past experience, I'm not sure I'm willing to try again. These are NOT budget cruises, therefore expectations are high and were definitely not met. There were many repeat travelers on this cruise and they were equally disappointed. It got to the point where at every meal the conversation was about what went wrong that day. That gets old real fast. This is a new relatively new ship. The sounds system for the entertainment was frustrating the speakers/entertainers as well as the audience. Aside from the Kenny and Kat, the entertainment was poor, especially compared to our first cruise where the entertainment was excellent! The dining room wait staff was great. Even with the many kitchen problems (slow, wrong order) they remained cheerful and accommodating. We had a very nice trip - it just was not "Small Ship Cruising Done Perfectly" as advertised and as the price would suggest. It was just "done OK". I will be shopping around before we book another cruise. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
Being seasoned cruisers on ocean sailing lines, we were interested to try out the American Cruise Line's style of cruising the inland waterway enabling us to visit seaside towns that we'd never otherwise see on a big ship. ACL ... Read More
Being seasoned cruisers on ocean sailing lines, we were interested to try out the American Cruise Line's style of cruising the inland waterway enabling us to visit seaside towns that we'd never otherwise see on a big ship. ACL charged a much higher price but offered a lot less for the money. We already were prepared for a smaller ship with less amenities but found it even more lacking in service, activities on board, and shore tours. Yes, we're used to crew from all over the world, many from countries where they rely on tips from good service to feed their families but it was downright disappointing in how lacking this all American crew was. There were a few exceptions like deckhand Sean and waiter Kevin but for the most part it was seriously lacking. There were several meals where I'd get something other than what I ordered and/or something as routine as chocolate ice cream or bagels was out of stock. Routinely we'd have slow dining service to the point that ice cream ordered for dessert sat on a tray melting into soup while our waitress chatted. I was on this cruise with someone who'd previously sailed on ACL but when he tried to request the referral credit for use on this sailing, they couldn't figure out how to apply it. Their first solution was to give it as a credit toward another sailing but that was unacceptable since there was no way of guaranteeing we'd want to come back for another sailing. It took reaching out to a supervisor who learned that their first offer was because the computer had closed out our reservation having paid in full and no one knew how to get back in to apply the credit. We happily accepted the supervisor's offer of comping the referrer's tours for this voyage instead. First leg of the cruise, we get a bill for not only both of our tours but also for ones we never took! The hotel director cleared the charges once we showed the supervisor's confirmation. Second leg of the cruise, we get a bill for both our tours again and joined a line half the ship long only to show the hotel director the same confirmation. She cleared the new charges after that as well. Several activities on board were either scheduled and never happened or scheduled for times when passengers were off on tours. Other days, the tours were the only thing scheduled for the bulk of the day. Yes, this was the cruise director's first time handling this itinerary but she was majorly misinformed about the ports we were visiting. Rather than tell a passenger that she'd look into the answer to their question, she'd tell them an answer only to say the opposite later on. There were days we'd be told there's no shuttle for those just wanting to head into town on our own. Then hours later she's announcing that the shuttle will be departing in 20 minutes. Upon arrival at one port, the local tour guides and our cruise director were telling us about all these places to check out on our tour. Come to find out during our tour that half of the places promised to visit are closed because they are always closed on Mondays. It'd be one thing if it was simply bad timing because the places were closed due to construction or repair but to be suggesting something every other local we talked to knew was closed on the day we'd be in port? Yorktown - visited Williamsburg on a ship tour. Nice tour with guided building visits and then free time to explore on our own. Norfolk - Naval Station & MacArthur Memorial. Was a group of 10 but our local guide was used to a group of 40 so every step we were rushed only to have a ton of time left at the end with nothing to do but return early to the ship. MacArthur Memorial was closed because it was Monday so a church was substituted. We listened to a local parishioner talk about the church's history and our guide made him talk even longer than he'd planned because we had extra time to fill. The Nautilus Center the cruise director and the local guides hyped up visiting when we returned to the ship was also closed on Mondays. People from the area I talked to later said right off the bat "oh too bad you were in Norfolk today. The Nautilus Center is a great place but it's always closed on Mondays." Hey ACL, you should have known that and not offered such a tour on ships that dock there on Mondays. Kitty Hawk - Interesting visit to the Wright Brothers Museum/Memorial. A little mix up in that our guide walked us around and gave a brief history before letting us explore on our own until the ranger talk that was to give more history. Time for ranger talk kept getting pushed back until we were told by our guide that we'd have to leave right after the ranger's talk. Ranger came out and talked about staying on the marked path in the grassy areas to avoid bugs and a lecture on staying safe in riptides and that was it. Heard from other passengers who'd visited here before that there's normally a lot more to the ranger's talk. Our guide reacted well and gathered us up for a bus ride up to the plane memorial on the hill since we'd already walked around the outdoor exhibits the ranger led everyone else to after her talk. Beaufort, N.C. - Had booked a city tour on a double decker bus for the afternoon but after taking a shuttle into town in the morning (the one that wasn't going to be supposedly) and riding that shuttle back with a full van of passengers who'd bailed on the morning city tour complaining about the lack of things to see, we cancelled. Wilmington - Booked what we misunderstood to be a hop on/hop off trolley but it turned out to just be a shuttle into the center of town. Tried to board a true HOHO trolley we saw advertised while in town after looking up their times to stop at this intersection finding that it was about 15 minutes from our arrival. Their posted arrival time came and went so after 45 minutes of waiting after that to see if they'd show, we tried walking around the shops in town. Returned to the meeting spot to pick up the shuttle trolley and his promised return every 15 minutes was another 45 minutes of waiting. Charleston, SC - Overnight stay and also the port where those only doing the second leg boarded. First day we took the ship excursion to visit Fort Sumter. Lucky to have ended up with the nice shuttle driver because dinner mates in the next shuttle told us they feared for their safety given how he peeled off despite being told to wait and follow our driver. Then proceeded to drive erratically and dangerously to the Fort. Our guide at the Fort told us that she was going to get the ferry tickets and to wait for her by the stairs. We got worried when the ferry started boarding and she hadn't returned to the stairs so we got in line expecting to have to explain our lack of tickets. Once we reached the front of the line, we spotted our guide who'd instead come down from the ticket office and went straight to the ferry ramp. When we asked about being told to wait for her by the stairs (not in sight of the ramp until we were at the front of the line), she said "well I told people they could follow me if they needed a restroom." When I continued to question it, she said "Well, you're here now so you didn't miss anything." Charleston, SC - 2nd day in port - took advantage of the shuttle into town in hopes of finding a local tour to pick up on the spot. Turns out it was the same drivers as yesterday and we ended up with the rude driver who insisted we had to be back within 2 hours because he was stopping the runs at 11:30AM even though they were contracted until noon. We asked for directions to the nearest drugstore/grocery store and he insisted there was nothing nearby. We toured the shops over several blocks including the famed City Market. We passed an opportunity to book a carriage ride but opted against it since we had one planned through the ship later. Back waiting for the shuttle and this time it was the nicer driver who told us "What do you mean there's nothing? There's a grocery store 5 minutes away!" He went out of his way to detour and drop us at the grocery store after we promised to be able to get what we needed (eye drops) and be back out in the 15 minutes it would take for him to drop everyone else back at port. When he came back (later than planned because a parade redirected traffic), we were the only ones left to shuttle so he took us on an impromptu tour of the city when we mentioned being unable to see anything with the short time frame given by the other driver despite not having to be back onboard until 3PM. Beaufort, SC - Tours offered by the ship that required multiple sessions like today's carriage ride were arranged in shift groups by the cruise director. We were assigned to the last ride of the day and it was actually a blessing in disguise. Toured the shops in town during the morning and enjoyed lunch in a local restaurant that had service above and beyond our ship experience. The last carriage ride of the day was so nice and peaceful with the setting sun and a great guide named Charlotte. Hilton Head, SC - our one tender port though if you asked our cruise director a few others were to be tender ports but then weren't. We booked a dolphin tour and again had to be given shifts. It was delightful to see such dolphin activity even from the ship and it only continued during the tour itself. After the tour I climbed the Hilton Head lighthouse, a passion of mine whenever there's a lighthouse in a port. Savannah, GA - Took the morning trolley tour which was a full city tour and visit to the Massey School. Having formerly worked with children in the classroom, seeing the first public school in the area was very informative. Taking this tour also gave me a free pass to ride the HOHO trolley system the rest of the day so after lunch on the ship I used the trolley to move all over the city checking out the local charm and famous landmarks. Brunswick, GA - Sea Turtle Rehab Center and Jekyll Island ship tour. Jekyll Island felt like touring a ghost town or abandoned movie set but the Sea Turtle Center was fascinating for an animal lover like myself. Fernandina Beach FL - missed due to storm and being unable to anchor so we sailed into Jacksonville early. The first half of the trip there was an art teacher on board who ran a class every day. I only got to attend the first two classes because of the tour scheduling and was berated by both the teacher (for my lack of art skills) and her husband (to anyone who chose to watch from their seat when she demonstrated or left their brush sitting in the water cup). Second half of the trip, the cruise director ran one art class and organized a couple bingo sessions for the entire 7 days. The first bingo session no one showed because it was during tours. I would have happily offered to run a class or teach a craft if I knew ahead of time and could have gotten materials. Highlight of the trip was visiting the pilothouse (or bridge on the big ships) as this was a much more common thing to offer on the smaller ships. First time we missed because it was scheduled same time as tour. Second time we got the guide to rush us back early to make it only for it to get cancelled due to unfinished maintenance. Third time we finally got to see it. Our cabin steward Emma started out great and we were glad to see our room being tended to so quickly each morning. Especially since there wasn't much else to do after breakfast but return to the room. As the cruise went on, we started noticing how our room was suddenly not getting done until the early afternoon. A much more pressing annoyance when your cabin is the only available bathroom! When we asked Emma about the delay, she said that passengers on deck 2 complained that their cabins weren't getting done first so she has to do their cabins first now. There's no priority in cabins on this ship. Why is deck 2 getting special service? Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
Entertainment is an interesting historian and an excellent musician. All the typical choices at breakfast along with a fresh fruit buffet, 3 main choices for lunch or dinner. The food was good, better than the larger cruise lines, ... Read More
Entertainment is an interesting historian and an excellent musician. All the typical choices at breakfast along with a fresh fruit buffet, 3 main choices for lunch or dinner. The food was good, better than the larger cruise lines, just less choices. House wine was Woodbridge, so you might want to bring your own or buy. The staff was always helpful, cheerful, and really wanted you to enjoy your trip. There were one or two included tours at each stop and in most cases you could take the morning and afternoon tours if you wanted too. Graceland tour is WAY overpriced. Maybe because it was a cold day and the place wasn’t busy, there were no lines to get ahead of. Walked through all the displays, not crowded. Touring the mansion is chaotic in a small space. You only see the basement and main floor, upper level is off limits. The WiFi was terrible, it was either really poor reception or non-existent. Unless they get this adjusted, don’t plan on iPad entertainment. TV reception was always good. The crowd is definitely senior so if you are looking for party, party call Carnival Cruise lines. If you are looking for laid-back, nice accommodations, and meeting some interesting people, this is a cruise for you. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
We chose this cruise as we were hoping to be at the peak of fall foliage - it was moderate in most ports but you can't control the time of year when the leaves change! It was a very smooth sail - some very nice scenery and some ... Read More
We chose this cruise as we were hoping to be at the peak of fall foliage - it was moderate in most ports but you can't control the time of year when the leaves change! It was a very smooth sail - some very nice scenery and some really good tours. I could have skipped Albany and the docks are dismal. It was painful spending so much time there. We would have liked more time at Sleepy Hollow especially during the height of the Halloween season but for the most part it was very nice. Staff in general needs more information to be helpful and informative when passengers go into town(s) on their own~ Good food and staff- they go above and beyond with the information they have (hotel manager Michelle is a true professional) but many are inexperienced and overworked - Rooms are ample in size and the private balconies are a plus. Cocktail hour could be more organized but all in all, it was a great experience~ Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
Pre-cruise at Red Lion Jansen beach hotel,$ 40 cab ride from airport ,very large hotel,nice rooms ,good restaurant,boat docks at hotel,free breakfast on day of embarkation.Some confusion on day of embarkation.Onboard welcome and lunch on ... Read More
Pre-cruise at Red Lion Jansen beach hotel,$ 40 cab ride from airport ,very large hotel,nice rooms ,good restaurant,boat docks at hotel,free breakfast on day of embarkation.Some confusion on day of embarkation.Onboard welcome and lunch on boat,crowded. Had room 404 on deck 4 forward,large room, quiet,nice veranda,small but,usable.Was liformed by others that lower deck cabins were noisy at times.Breakfast in morning good,lunch also good ( see menu pics) beer and wine with lunch.Dinners also good,service and food started at level 8,but slipped to level 4or 5 by day 3 of cruise.Some servers inattentive at times,find a good one and stay with them,crew all young and nice and friendly. Food fine first 3 days,but started to be served cold quite often after that,not sure if this was a service problem or cooking one.Snacks available in all lounges all day,cookies,chips soda coffee,tea and specialty coffees. Sometimes beer and wine setup in the Sky lounge after 1:00pm.Lounges very nice,Paddlewheel cuttest,but noisy while under way,Sky lounge best,could move inside or outside as mood or weather dictates.Fith deck nice in good weather.Happy hour in Cascade lounge at 5:30 pm,any drink you want,and interesting appetizers,shrimp,crab claws,cheese ,smoked salmon ,also two servers with other appetizers.Late bar with intertainment,same drink set up ,intertainment ok ( we’re not show people) Shared boat with group from Smithsonion society,nick named them THE ROYAL FAMILY.Had their own section of dining room,own buses,left boat first,etc discouraged from associating with the second class citizens,although some broke the rules.be aware this can happen,enough said.Excursions,some additional charges not mentioned in brochures,Astoria,Fort Clatsop,if you have nothing better to do,Cape Disappointment,beautiful,well worth it,great views,Mt St.Helens very nice ,long bus ride,worth it,Multnomah falls very nice ,beautiful,Bonneville dam interesting,The Dalles ,small town,rest day for us.Cascade Cliffs winery ,small,but nice. Helles canyon boat ride was excellent.saw mule deer,rocky mountain sheep.excellent lunch,long ride ,but fascinating.Scenery on trip beautiful,be aware all lock transitions are at night or early in the morning and can be noisy at times,we could touch the lock wall from our veranda. Transfer to the Spokane airport good,Garden inn by Marriott one mile from airport free shuttle too and from hotel,very nice restaurant across parkin lot,short walk,nice hotel Biggest challenge is flying,no surprise there. in summary a good trip, but expensive compared with an ocean cruise,two or three times as much .Not for young people ,at 70 was one of younger people on board Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
We love American Cruise Lines and delighted to sail on newest boat Harmony. Absolutely fabulous boat, superior crew and service. Our fourth trip on this line and we signed up for another ACL destination in 2020. Seamless operation from ... Read More
We love American Cruise Lines and delighted to sail on newest boat Harmony. Absolutely fabulous boat, superior crew and service. Our fourth trip on this line and we signed up for another ACL destination in 2020. Seamless operation from embarkation until disembarkation. Spacious and well appointed cabins, excellent entertainment, service and all around fun time. Immaculately maintained at all times. Crew seemed to enjoy being aboard. Love open seating with cocktail hours and dining left to each passenger. We felt pampered by crew and cannot wait to sail again on ACL. We enjoy fun and casual atmosphere and lack of forced organized activities. Each passenger is addressed by name and crew takes pride in individualized treatment. Our very favorite cruise line by far. Perfect vacation and cannot wait for our next journey. ACL prides itself justifiably on "small boat cruising done perfectly". This is absolutely true and not an advertising ploy. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
Loved our cruise to the San Juan Islands with American Cruise lines. The staff was friendly, very young and tried to please. Our onboard naturalist was a big plus. A lot of onboard activities to keep us busy. The food was plentiful and ... Read More
Loved our cruise to the San Juan Islands with American Cruise lines. The staff was friendly, very young and tried to please. Our onboard naturalist was a big plus. A lot of onboard activities to keep us busy. The food was plentiful and good. The excursions were well planned. I thought the concurrent “Happy Hour” and dinner was a bit strange. Enjoyed both, though. Sometimes you’d joking others who were almost finished with dinner. The menu was varied. Soups were outstanding. Having alcoholic beverages included was quite a plus. Our room was very spacious and comfortable. Service was perfect. Didn’t take advantage of Room Service. The other passengers were friendly and interesting. From all over, which made it interesting. Although the crowd was mostly older, there were quite a few fairly young people. We totally like the casualness of the ship. A very good trip. Looking forward to Alaska next summer. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
Northwest Pioneers Columbia & Snake Rivers Cruise October 9 – 21, 2019 Portland, OR – Wednesday - Monday, October 9 - 14 Just to catch up a little, today (Monday) we are back in Portland for the day, returning from our ... Read More
Northwest Pioneers Columbia & Snake Rivers Cruise October 9 – 21, 2019 Portland, OR – Wednesday - Monday, October 9 - 14 Just to catch up a little, today (Monday) we are back in Portland for the day, returning from our trip down the Columbia River on Friday to Astoria, spending the night and all-day Saturday. This ship, American Song, is only one year old and is absolutely beautiful, carrying only 185 passengers. My single balcony stateroom 409 is quite large and comfortable; this is one of the main reasons for choosing this cruise line, their availability of single staterooms. The food is exceptionally good and the wine flows freely; every afternoon there is Happy Hour in the lounges where an open bar dispenses whatever your heart desires! Saturday in Astoria I took two different shore excursions, one in the morning and a second in the afternoon. A three-hour tour out to Fort Clatsop started the day; this is the location where Lewis and Clark wintered in 1805/6 on their legendary excursion of discovery from St. Louis to the Pacific Ocean. Having been rebuilt several times, the present structure is an authentic reproduction of their meager housing. Then in the afternoon I took a tour across the Columbia River to Cape Disappointment which is located high above on a bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean and the 5-mile wide mouth of the Columbia River and the legendary Columbia Sandbar, the “Graveyard of the Pacific”. It was here that Lewis and Clark first gazed on the object of their trip across the West. Both locations visited were equipped with excellent visitors’ centers. Then yesterday we journeyed back up the River to the town of Kalama where in the afternoon we traveled for an hour and a half to a visitors’ center near Mount St. Helens and the view of the absolute devastation that occurred when this volcano “blew its top“ on May 18, 1980. Of course in the 40 years since, the destruction has disappeared to a small extent with new growths of trees, but it is still clearly evident of the total destructive effects of the gigantic blast when the volcano blew, leveling forest for up to 19 miles away and loosing over 1300 feet of its elevation. Unfortunately, we could not view the snow-covered peak because of a cloud layer but from our observation point at the visitors’ center, the expanse of the destruction is still quite evident. A truly awesome view to behold! Returning to our riverboat we then cruised the remaining distance up the River back to Portland where we again spent the night moored next to the Red Lion Hotel, where I spent two nights preceding the beginning of this cruise. My flight from Orange County Airport on Wednesday afternoon was a quick 2-hours and, after a rather lengthy and expensive taxi trip from the Airport to the Red Lion Hotel, I was pampered in a huge room at this new hotel and convention center, just across the Columbia River from Vancouver, Washington. Breakfast was included but I also enjoyed dinner on the two nights before boarding our riverboat that was moored just adjacent to the Hotel. So, the trip has started out quite good with good cool but clear weather so far; rain is forecast for later in the week, unfortunately. Tomorrow we are in Stevenson, Washington, where we will pass through our first set of locks on the Columbia River. Portland, OR - Monday, October 14th Our full day again in Portland for me was one of leisure since the previous two days had been so active. I decided NOT to take advantage of the boat’s free shuttles into downtown Portland where the main attractions seemed to be Powell’s Bookstore - the nation’s largest, and the International Rose Rest Garden. On the first day of the cruise we had listened to a presentation of shore excursions available to us during our 10 days and were then asked to fill out a sheet listing our choices, some complimentary and others for a fee. Lists were checked at the departures of shore excursions and only those participating were actually charged for those at a fee. My two previous days’ shore excursions in Astoria were both for a fee. One unusual feature of our docking on Sunday at Kalama, WA, for our 1 pm trip to Mount St. Helens was HOW we docked, face into the shore with the bow of this new ship, the American Song, raised up to reveal an entrance/exit into the ship! Most unusual! The first time I have seen such a feature on any riverboat. After departing the boat, we just walked up the slope to the waiting buses. Stevenson, Washington - Tuesday, October 15th Docking this morning in this rather small town, there was nothing much that interested me ashore, so I remained aboard until late afternoon when I walked off and up into their Main Street where I found a bar open and enjoyed one of the 28 different kinds beers. Then it was back aboard. The big activity of the day was a presentation at 11 am of the “American Experience” where was discussed the variety of future cruises offered by American Cruise Lines and also their sister company, Pearl Seas Cruise Lines. By booking aboard during a cruise one would receive a 15% discount plus waived port charges and fees, anywhere from $300 to $500. A substantial savings from the usually rather expensive fares! The one remaining cruise offered by ACL in which I was interested is the “Grand Puget Sound” cruise, 11-days, RT from Seattle, so I expressed my interest in such. Upon checking, the Cruise Director Courtnay discovered ONLY ONE available Single Stateroom 312 on this cruise for the ENTIRE YEAR of 2021! So, I grabbed it! God knows if I will still be around by then, however! Also, of interest on this day was the second of our Guest Lecturer Ian’s “Lewis & Clark” lectures. These have been both enjoyable and informative. Ian is from Australia and is an excellent speaker. His talks always draw a full house audience. Hood River, OR - Wednesday & Thursday, October 16th & 17th Having spent the night docked in Stevenson, we departed at 5:30 am headed farther up the Columbia River to Hood River, OR. Again, I decided to skip the morning tour to the Western Antique Aeroplane & Automobile Museum, which I learned later were really interesting. Oh well... My choice of today’s tour was back to the Bonneville Dam which we had earlier passed, traversing through the enormous locks. Built in the 1930s primarily for river navigation and electrical power generation, it is the largest water impoundment project of its time, and this tour was both extensive and tremendously interesting to me. We were permitted inside the giant chambers containing the power generators, original except for occasional upgrades and additions. On Thursday in Hood River after remaining at dock overnight, the highlight tour of the cruise was to the Multnomah Falls at 9:15 am. This is Oregon’s tallest and most picturesque waterfall, all 620 feet of it, via a 45-minute motor coach ride. Fed by rainwater and snowmelt, the Falls’ steady stream runs year-round. It is the second highest year-round waterfall in the United States. A short walk from our bus, beneath the highway and up a slight rise, we soon came in view of this magnificent scene. There are actually two separate falls, the taller one falling into a pond at the base of the high Benson Bridge across the canyon beneath which a second falls drops into a lower pond. It is a stunning sight to behold! Returning to the American’s Song by noontime, it was time for lunch. Then later in the afternoon at 4 pm was the final session of Ian’s lectures, this one about the return trip of Lewis & Clark from their two-year long trip of discovery from St. Louis to the Pacific Ocean in 1805-6. The room was packed as usual for his last most interesting talk, finishing to a thunderous applause. Our riverboat departed Hood River, OR for The Dalles, OR, arriving there at 7:30 pm, remaining at dock overnight. The Dalles, OR - Friday, October 18th Again, I did NOT avail myself of the shuttles into town to the various museums but waited until after lunch at 2 pm for our tour to the Cascade Cliffs Winery, arriving there after a 30-minute motor coach ride. Being a relatively small family-owned winery, it is set in the stunningly beautiful and scenic Columbia River Gorge, surrounded by extensive vineyards. Upon arrival we were each given a fine monogrammed glass of white wine, “Symphony”, the glass for us to use for additional samples and to keep afterwards. Then family members proceeded to give a very thorough explanation of their winery, established in 2011, as well as offering more samples of the wines - mostly red. Also explained was the fact that they did NOT market widely, only selling their wines through a subscription method, although we were given the opportunity to purchase from them directly on this tour. I bought a bottle of the white wine “Symphony” at a discounted price of $24! NOT cheap! They also purchase grapes from neighboring vineyards. We were then given a tour of the processing area as well as the bottling area, all very impressive for such a small winery. Overall, a very interesting and enjoyable tour! Umatilla/Pendleton, OR & Richland, WA - Saturday, October 19th On Saturday morning we docked briefly in Umatilla to disembark those of us taking the all-day tour to Pendleton, OR. The American Song would then proceed on to Richland, Washington, where we would again rejoin the riverboat about 5 pm. After a 60-minute motor coach ride, we arrived in Pendleton accompanied by strong, cold winds and blustery rain. Our first stop was a tour of the Pendleton Underground, a below-the-ground transit through interconnected basements of downtown businesses, popular in the past as locations of speak-easies and other activities of questionable repute. A guided tour, it was quite interesting to see the various rooms and the many antiques housed therein, AND to be inside from the outdoor conditions. Once this tour was completed, we were directed to walk down the street for a couple of blocks to the Hamley Steakhouse for our included lunch. As most of the passengers had opted for this tour, requiring three buses, the large Steakhouse was completely filled. Lunch consisted of a salad followed by a huge, delicious pulled-pork sandwich, served with potato chips. For drinks, I ordered a glass of Sauvignon Blanc, and then another, not realizing I would be charged. When a bill was presented and I reached into my empty pocket for my wallet - safely stowed in my room in the riverboat, I panicked! A nice lady at my table graciously loaned me $20 to pay my check! (I immediately repaid her on return to our riverboat!) We then loaded back on our three buses for our next stop, the Pendleton Woolen Mill. Being on Saturday, the Mill’s operations were closed, and our “tour” consisted of being ushered through their extensive showroom where highly over-priced merchandise was on sale. Even with the “discount” we were to receive, the prices were still outrageous! Also, on the majority of clothing I checked were labels “Made in China” or in Mexico, Salvador, ... I bought NOTHING! Evidently the Mill produces only the cloth and then sends it elsewhere to be fabricated. Then it was back on our nice warm bus for the trip to our last stop, the Tamastslikt Indian Visitor Center. Located out some distance from the town of Pendleton, on the top of a hill in a very impressive new structure, near a new Indian Casino, the “Wild Horse”, it was quite nice and informative about many of the local tribes with many exhibits and artifacts on display. All very well organized and presented. Our hour and a half drive back to Richland, WA, and the American Song seemed endless! But we finally arrived and then our driver, Dwayne, had to hunt for where the riverboat was docked because another riverboat was occupying our spot. By the way, my favorite bus driver was Dwayne who had followed our boat all along the Columbia, providing bus transfers as needed. He was EXCELLENT! Always giving interesting and information narration, he was always ready with a groaner of a joke. Several times his jokes brought down the entire bus load of us! Finally, our boat was located, and after quite a walk, we were back aboard, exhausted! Just in time for Happy Hour, of course! I slept well that night! Clarkston, WA - Sunday, October 20th On the last day of the cruise, our arrival at the dock in Clarkston, WA was at 11 am, just in time for the Hells Canyon Jetboat ride up the Snake River. Near Richland we had passed into the Snake River from the Columbia River, although I was not aware of just when we did. Across the Snake River from Clarkston, WA is the sister city of Lewiston, ID. CLARKston, LEWISton. Get it? Again, with almost everyone aboard choosing to take the jetboat, there were actually three jet boats required. I was able to be seated in the first one, next to my new friend Mary from Philadelphia. On many of our bus rides I had also shared a seat with her, also traveling alone. Another single lady I often shared seats with was Carolyn, from Ohio. There were two drivers, each taking turns at steering. They explained the propulsion system of the jetboats and were very good with their timely narration. Once past Lewiston, the Snake River became narrower and narrower, and more and more shallow with increasing turbulence and rapids. The hills alongside the River became steeper and steeper and it became clear why this Hells Canyon is renowned to be the deepest canyon in the United States, even deeper than Grand Canyon. At one point on the River we pulled up to the bank and docked, next to a “Ranch” where we all enjoyed a buffet lunch of roast pork, barbecue beans, potato salad, and rolls with drinks. It tasted wonderful! Then back on the River, now becoming a real boating experience. Finally, we reached a point where progress was becoming more and more of a challenge - at least for a jetboat full of tourists. So, we turned around and proceed DOWN the River, at first experiencing no less of the turbulence. It was one of the more exhilarating experiences I have ever had! Once in New Zealand I took one of their jetboat rides which was equally exciting. Returning to our riverboat at dock in Clarkston, it was just in time for Happy Hour - of course! Also just in time to get ready for our final dinner aboard, “Surf & Turf“ with delicious steak and lobster. A perfect end to a fabulous cruise! Then, the most unpleasant of any cruise - packing up to disembark. After dinner I got my carry-on size suitcase all packed up and placed in the hallway by 10 pm, and then tried to get some sleep before my early rise in the morning. Clarkston/Spokane, WA - Monday, October 21st Breakfast was served in the MDR starting at 5:30 am and I had packed up my Princess tote bag with my iPad, etc., so I was ready. My usual breakfast was a Western omelet, side of bacon, English muffin, with cranberry juice and coffee, of course. Returning to my room for the last time to retrieve my Princess bag, I realized that my passport had been packed in my luggage. Fortunately, I found my luggage still in the foyer and was able to open it and retrieve my passport! Just before 7 am we were instructed to disembark and claim our luggage ashore near the buses, and it was total confusion. With almost everyone aboard taking the ship’s shuttle to the Spokane Airport, the pile of luggage was substantial. Luckily, I found my one piece fairly quickly and was directed to the first (of three) buses where I indicated my airline as Alaska Airlines, got on board and took a second-row seat. Slowly other passengers successfully located their luggage and it was placed aboard the same bus they were to ride on to Spokane. Shortly, Carolyn came aboard, and I asked her to sit with me. So, our LONG ride of two and a half hours to Spokane Airport began! At first quite interesting, as we climbed up and up out of the Snake River Valley, once on top of the hills, the scenery became very boring with nothing but hill after hill of wheat fields - almost all the way to Spokane! Sleep came easily to me on several occasions and the time finally passed, and we were at the Spokane Airport. Fortunately, Alaska Airlines was our first stop, and I was the first off, saying my goodbyes to Carolyn. Unfortunately, my luggage - being the first on, was the last off! Since my flight was not until 1:40 pm and it was only about 9:30 am, I did have plenty of time! Quickly I passed through Security since I have TSA Check, and my self-printed baggage label put me through check-in also very quickly. I was soon at my departure gate. Spokane Airport has free internet and I spent my wait time on my iPad, checking email, updating the iOS on my iPad, and playing Solitaire. Soon it was time for my flight to depart. Although I had paid for Premium Economy Seat 7C, after families with small children had boarded along with others requiring extra time boarding, I immediately followed suit. After all, I AM 81! Comfortable in my seat, I awaited the rest of this full flight to Seattle to board, and then we were off for the less than an hour flight. Unfortunately, our arrival in Seattle was met with complications getting access to our gate, and what’s worse; our arrival gate was in the North Terminal, requiring their shuttle train to reach my C20 departure gate in Terminal C. I made it okay, but just barely! My flight on to Orange County was delayed about 10 minutes, which helped. Again, I was seated in 7C and, as luck would have it, the middle seat remained empty. My flight on to Orange County lasted only a couple of hours and our arrival, after two glasses of Chardonnay wine, was right on time with very little air turbulence. Overall, a very satisfactory flight. My luggage arrived right on schedule, and after a trip to the men’s room, I was out the door towards the SuperShuttle dispatcher. At first, he told me it would be awhile for a van to Corona del Mar, and I complained that this was the third time that I had arrived to the same story. Whatever, my van soon arrived, and I was off for home, arriving around 7:30 pm, tired but happy to be back home! Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
CABIN: see "Cabin Review" below "Raitings" DINING: If you are a foodie, expect to be disappointed. The food was generally good and the quantity sufficient. The service was inconsistent and often sloppy. Mostly ... Read More
CABIN: see "Cabin Review" below "Raitings" DINING: If you are a foodie, expect to be disappointed. The food was generally good and the quantity sufficient. The service was inconsistent and often sloppy. Mostly young adults who work long hours and try hard, but do not have adequate training and supervision. EMBARKATION: The usual cattle car of moving us from the hotel to the boat (there being by tradition no "ship" on an inland waterway in the USA). When we got to the ship we were left to ourselves to find our own cabin. ENRICHMENT ACTIVITIES: The lecturers were generally knowledgeable. They often doubled as the evening's entertainers. ENTERTAINMENT: Appropriate for the size of the vessel. They brought aboard some fun acts. FITNESS & RECREATION: There is a small but reasonably well equipped exercise room. Other than back-n-forth in a passageway, there is no place to do walking laps of any significant distance without incorporating staircases. ONBOARD EXPERIENCE: Their slogan is "Small ship cruising done perfectly." My wife and I have cruised on HAL, Oceania, Regent, NCL and Sebourn. This set a high bar for "done perfectly" that our experience aboard did not come anywhere close to achieving. The staff was mostly young, often well-educated young adults, at least several of of whom are working the job to make more so they could return to school. They generally had a pleasant, helpful attitude, but the experience they delivered was inconsistent. For example, we ordered a fairly basic breakfast (generally yogurt, fruit, English muffin, bacon and juice) in our cabin about six times during the course of the cruise. It was delivered by at least four different staff members. Not once was everything we ordered with accompanying items (e.g. one day there was no bowl into which to pour box of cereal). And on one occasion our order got misplaced so we received no cabin service. On balance, we are not foodies. We would rather have friendly, well-intentioned service than snooty, precise service. What was most important to us was seeing cruising the river. While major itinerary changes (discussed further down) were a significant disappointment, the boat itself is a great platform on which to tour the American heartland. It's ability to nudge up again the shore and drop its bow gangway so that we could go ashore was excellent. It was wonderful to watch the shoreline scroll by. Had we been trapping under cover by bad weather the experience would have been a serious disappointment, but like high water on the Mississippi, that is beyond ACL's control. PUBLIC ROOMS: The boat has three not counting the dining room. In particular, the one on the second deck aft was cozy. On both the second and forth deck aft there was always an assortment of snacks, iced water, ice and soft drinks available. The public space on the fourth deck aft also made a coffee maker for cappuccinos, lattes, etc. that worked about 50% of the time. SERVICE: (Read ONBOARD EXPERIENCE above.) Again, most of the staff was young and seemed inexperience, but was friendly and wanted to be helpful. I can forgive a lot of technical mistakes in exchange for a friendly, can-do attitude. SHORE EXCURSIONS: We did several. As with tours the world over, they varied depending on subject matter and guide. My wife went on one tour she described as awful. Talking to people at dinner who had been on two other buses, they had enjoyed the same tour. None of the tours were 'special access' or anything we could not have done on our own if we had been land-cruising in our car. VALUE FOR MONEY: This was an expensive trip. Our expectations of it were set high both by the original cruise itinerary and ACL's assurance of "Small ship cruising done perfectly." The shortfall in the latter having been covered above, I will focus on the former. Our cruise itinerary was badly compromised by the high level of water in the upper Mississippi River. During the first week of our two-week trip, new bits of bad news were rolled out to us almost daily. This was not done well, nor were the solutions for cancelling three ports on the Mississippi imaginative, instead turning the boat into a very expensive hotel by elongating our stay in a couple of cities. Intellectually I can appreciate to logistical issues ACL faced, but in the end what saved the trip was good weather so that we could enjoy our top priority of seeing the river. - - - - - When I think about the numerous trips we have taken all over the world, my primary metric is the overall experience from the time we leave our home until the time we return. There are always good and bad components. Some of each involve arrangements we have made ourselves that are totally beyond the control of the primary service provider - in this case American Cruise Lines. In this review I have tried to remove such influencers from my review to distill out what was within ACL's reasonable control. - When booking the trip, we wanted to arrive at the hotel from which we would embark a day early. Unlike any other cruise line we have ever worked with, ACL categorically refused to help with extending our stay. We were advised to make our own reservation, then ask the hotel not to move us to a different room for the pre-embarkation night. - Six days before our embarkation, I got an e-mail message advising us that the embarkation point had changed from St. Paul, MN to Louisville, KY and we should change our travel plans accordingly. When my wife called to ask if ACL could help extend our stay at the Louisville hotel, she got the same answer - NO. On the plus side, during the course of our cruise I was advised that ACL had arranged for us to be reimbursed by the hotel for our additional night. - Had I not seen the e-mail about the new embarkation point, I can only speculate about ACL's actions to communicate the change to me. I do know for a fact that the message came with not request to acknowledgement of receiving it, so ACL had not idea of who had read the e-mail making me wonder whether some passengers literally missed the boat. - As the itinerary continued to dissolve, some leadership from the captain would have been re-assuring, but we heard little from him. I speculate that in Memphis we had a change of captain, but I cannot be sure because he never said a word to us over the PA system. - Two of the itinerary changes - Cape Girardeau and St. Louis - were surprising in that they were announced at the last minute. It struck me as sufficiently odd that ACL did not have shore-side intelligence to keep them better informed of local situations. It was not as though river high changes overnight, yet in the case of Cape Girardeau, ACL would have us believe that no one knew we could not do a port visit until AMERICA was steaming along the city's flood wall. - With the numerous itinerary changes and lack of imagination in a revised itinerary it was difficult not to devolve into conspiracy theories. These were exacerbated by things such as having to be back aboard in Natchez after only a half-day there, yet arriving at our next port at 10 PM that night. Why couldn't we have spent the whole day in Natchez and cruised to the next port later into the night? I have prattled on enough for the reader to get a sense of our cruise, so I will stop. There are no doubt some spelling and grammatical errors above, but I've run out of time to edit them. Hopefully they do not interfere with the points that I have tried to make. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
This was our 5th cruise with American Cruise Line and was the most disappointing as far as services provided and the lack of knowledge of the program director, Chelsea. On our tours, there should have been an american cruise personnel on ... Read More
This was our 5th cruise with American Cruise Line and was the most disappointing as far as services provided and the lack of knowledge of the program director, Chelsea. On our tours, there should have been an american cruise personnel on each tour. In fact, on one tour a passenger handed out the lunches! The staff was very disorganized and unavailable. Our waiter, Kurk was exceptional and the food was prepared well. The entertainment on board was just satisfactory. The tours were good but not exceptional. We were disappointed with the cleanliness of our stateroom. In the future, we tried to book another tour on board which no one was able to help us with. We tried to booked a future cruise on board, and when we went to leave a deposit we were told that the room was no longer available. We are disappointed with the staff and the Home Office has not been satisfactory with helping us book this new trip. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
This cruise was completely not organized. Room problems, food problems, tour problems, plus bus problems. It appeared on one bus trip that the driver must not of been licensed to drive. I thought we were going to go over a cliff several ... Read More
This cruise was completely not organized. Room problems, food problems, tour problems, plus bus problems. It appeared on one bus trip that the driver must not of been licensed to drive. I thought we were going to go over a cliff several times. Several crewmembers walked off the ship in the middle of the cruise. From what I heard the cruise director was fired and left the ship. All tours set up pre-cruise had to be booked a 2nd times on the ship. I have a second cruise booked with the mayor and will cancel on my return home. There is also a problem with American’s website. American seems to be very late and updating the website and many things I missing regarding your particular cruise. Tour times changed from what was originally stated and tour times change. One evening while we were cruising the deck divider that dividing our cabin from the neighbor cabin blew open. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
We arrived in New York City 5 days prior to the cruise so we could explore the city as we hadn't been back there for almost 15 years. Stayed at Embassy Suites Midtown, great location for walking and taking the subway. Embarkation ... Read More
We arrived in New York City 5 days prior to the cruise so we could explore the city as we hadn't been back there for almost 15 years. Stayed at Embassy Suites Midtown, great location for walking and taking the subway. Embarkation was easy and quick. Just dropped off the bags and they had pedi-cabs to take us to the ship around the corner. We had an AC cabin with balcony. Had nice amount of space, and of course small bathroom (no bathrooms are big on ships). Food was excellent with lots of lobster, scallops, shrimp even thought this wasn't a New England cruise. The entertainment was low key, with local singers, comedians brought on board as we cruised. Service was excellent and crew really tried hard. The "river historian" or whatever the overall guide is called had emergency gall bladder surgery so didn't show up, can't blame her! In mid cruise we had a new guide, Robert who was excellent. Lots of background on the places we were going and very entertaining. All of the shore excursions were excellent. We did FDR's mansion, Vanderbilt mansion, West Point, Sleepy Hallow and lots more. Good guides throughout. The only negative with this cruise is the price. It's an American built ship, two years old, American Crew, and good American food. So everyone gets paid American wages instead of the low paid crews of the international ships. This was the most expensive one week cruise we've ever done, and we did it for the itinerary. Most all of their other routes, we've done either as a land vacation or big ship experience, so we didn't book a future cruise. We had a very enjoyable time. If you can afford it, we'd recommend the experience. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
I chose this cruise because the ship was brand new!!! It was beautiful, spacious, clean and the crew was fabulous. All food was great except for a few times. The cabin was large. The entertainment was pretty basic and I would have liked ... Read More
I chose this cruise because the ship was brand new!!! It was beautiful, spacious, clean and the crew was fabulous. All food was great except for a few times. The cabin was large. The entertainment was pretty basic and I would have liked more band music for dancing, more, more, more. One entertainer was on 3 nights which was too much. She was good but more variety would have been better. Singing by an on board person was not great. They should have listened to her before they let her sing two numbers. Very amateur. The service was always top notch. Shore excursions climbing over the levies was hard for some people, rough walking. The Plantation tours were wonderful but the town shuttles were a little bit less than I had anticipated for things to see and do in each town. The towns were small so guess I couldn't expect a lot more. Again, the crew, fabulous!!! Thank you. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
I have never been on such a disorganized cruise that lacked vital communication. Despite the fact that engine trouble caused us to miss 2 ports and be stuck in the dock, most of the crew was brand new, only began 2 weeks prior and it ... Read More
I have never been on such a disorganized cruise that lacked vital communication. Despite the fact that engine trouble caused us to miss 2 ports and be stuck in the dock, most of the crew was brand new, only began 2 weeks prior and it didn’t seem they had much training. The food was 5 out of 10; a great disappointment. If you like being lectured, that was the primary entertainment although a Mark Twain imitator was a very good storyteller. Our suite was very nice and the highlight. On and off was easy. Even though the food was lackluster, I liked the idea that we could order 1/2 orders. I am a light eater and hate to waste food so saw this as something other cruise lines would be smart to emulate. The decor in the public areas is beautiful and comfortable, however, when it rained, none of the cushions were removed from the rain therefore they were “unsittable” for quite some time. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
I chose this cruise line because they had the itinerary we were interested in. The seaside towns and islands visited were quaint and picturesque. Everything we were hoping for. The ship, however, was horrible. I found the crew to be ... Read More
I chose this cruise line because they had the itinerary we were interested in. The seaside towns and islands visited were quaint and picturesque. Everything we were hoping for. The ship, however, was horrible. I found the crew to be uncaring and lazy. I brought our issues to the attention of the hotel manager early in our cruise, and while she was friendly, and said she would correct our issues, she did not. Our cabin steward did not clean our bathroom, and it was disgusting. I had requested our ice bucket be filled daily, and was told I could fill it in the lounge. The dining room was a total fiasco. The quality of food was deplorable. I suspect the food is prepared and frozen food that is simply re-heated. Not acceptable at all. Service was slow, and totally inept. Not a single order was correct. Not a single meal was hot. Items that should have been cold were lukewarm. When brought to the wait staff's attention they either ignored our requests or in one case, pitched a hissy fit and left the dining room. One explanation for cold food was that the food is prepared when the dining room opens, and then "just sits back there until it is served". WOW! One day the assistant dining room manager argued with a fellow passenger about whether or not her coffee was hot. I was appalled that a crew member would argue with a passenger about anything! The gangway crew did not know where we were docked, how to get into town, how long the shuttles were running, where we could find a map of the port, etc., etc., etc. The cruise director did not appear to understand what her job is. I don't know if this cruise line trains any employees before they cruise. Do yourself a favor, and book a European river cruise. THEY do small ship cruising perfectly, especially Grand Circle Travel. American Cruise Lines should be ashamed of their shoddy service! CEO Charles Robertson - CLEAN UP YOUR CRUISE LINES! So disappointing. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
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