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422 American Cruise Lines Cruise Reviews

I chose American Cruise Line because they have a good single traveler policy. The also have single cabins. The entire staff were friendly, helpful, and professional. No complaints about anything Love it. Room was clean and very nice n ... Read More
I chose American Cruise Line because they have a good single traveler policy. The also have single cabins. The entire staff were friendly, helpful, and professional. No complaints about anything Love it. Room was clean and very nice n I have sail with American Cruise Lines 4 times. I will also cruise with them. I think they are the best small cruise line. The dining experience was great. The food was excellent, the service was good and very efficiency. Very professional. The entire cruise was great. It was called the Cumberland River Cruise from St. Louis, Missouri to Nashville, Tennessee. (7 nights, 8 days). I just love small river cruising especially with American Cruise Lines (the best). The Queen of the Mississippi is a riverboat, total 150 passengers. The ship is absolutely beautiful and is run professional and efficiently. Your get your money worth. It is a beautiful cruise. The ship lounges are decorated beautiful. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
My husband hates to travel and hates crowds. Having been on a large cruise with thousands of passengers and lots of "extras" tacked onto the original price of the cruise I wanted something different for our cruise together. ... Read More
My husband hates to travel and hates crowds. Having been on a large cruise with thousands of passengers and lots of "extras" tacked onto the original price of the cruise I wanted something different for our cruise together. American Cruiselines provides a different experience. We sailed with several individuals who have sailed with American Cruiselines repeatedly. The population on the cruise was generally older. It's not a cruise for children. There were two teenagers and two young adults who seemed to enjoy the cruise. The cruise is slower paced and staff worked to make adaptations necessary for anyone with mobility issues. The ship is small but cabins are spacious.The total passengers on our cruise was 172. Our staff commented that there were less than 130 passengers on in the previous week. The atmosphere is intimate. We probably talked with at least 60% of the passengers and the majority of the "front of the house" staff including the various departmental managers, first mate and pilot. There's at least 1-2 excursions that are "complimentary" in each port. We found each of those to be worthwhile. We paid extra for two additional excursions--the raft ride and fishing expedition. Both were interesting and fun. The raft ride was calm and no one got wet. The complimentary excursions were generally informational and related to the history or industry in the port. A naturalist traveled on the boat and gave daily presentations and was available throughout the cruise to take questions or provide additional information related to each port. When in Glacier Bay a park ranger and two Tligit native Alaskans joined the cruise for two days and a night. Both presented additional information and were available for questions and interacted with the passengers. The views were stupendous. We saw seals, sea lions, eagles puffins, whales and bears either along the shoreline or as we walked along various paths. The food was plentiful and well prepared. Service was a little slow probably due to the fact that most of the 172 passengers tended to descend into the dining room at the same time. We would definitely do this again. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
I had always wanted to take this cruise of the Columbia River. The scenery and history was so interesting and the ship was lovely. Being a small ship with 184 passengers, everything was close. The staff was young and very hard-working ... Read More
I had always wanted to take this cruise of the Columbia River. The scenery and history was so interesting and the ship was lovely. Being a small ship with 184 passengers, everything was close. The staff was young and very hard-working and did an excellent job. The food was great and plentiful. The history of the area, following the path of Lewis and Clark, was fascinating and the geology and scenery in the area was so interesting. We loved floating down the river and seeing Washington and Oregon from a different perspective. The shore excursions were mostly included in the price of the cruise. We especially enjoyed seeing Mt St Helen. Most of the ports were in rural areas, which was fine. There’s something interesting to see everywhere. Overall we would highly recommend this cruise. Although the cost is on the high end, it is all-inclusive and we would do it again. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
We went on the Grand New England Cruise offered by American Cruise Lines and enjoyed it very much. The Lobster Bake in Rockland, ME was wonderful...from music to our lobster. In fact, we found every port interesting especially visiting ... Read More
We went on the Grand New England Cruise offered by American Cruise Lines and enjoyed it very much. The Lobster Bake in Rockland, ME was wonderful...from music to our lobster. In fact, we found every port interesting especially visiting the Portland, ME Lighthouse, and the excursions we signed up for (Lobster and Lighthouse in Camden, ME and Schooner Sail in Gloucester, MA). We found the ship and our stateroom very clean. Weather made it impossible to tender at Bar Harbor, but safety of passengers should be the main concern which it was. The food was delicious and we were thrilled with all the seafood offered. The waitstaff, for the most part, was excellent. The crew was very friendly and attentive especially our Cruise Director. We also enjoyed the on board Historian. This was our first cruise experience and would go again with American Cruise Lines. We met some wonderful people and will have great memories. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
My wife and I love the fact the ACL ship has 100 passengers max. The ship is cozy, casual and very well run. The crew, top to bottom, are friendly, responsive and efficient. The cabins are roomy with private balconies. The food and ... Read More
My wife and I love the fact the ACL ship has 100 passengers max. The ship is cozy, casual and very well run. The crew, top to bottom, are friendly, responsive and efficient. The cabins are roomy with private balconies. The food and service is excellent. We have done the big ship cruises (3000+ + passengers, and swore we will never do another big ship again!) We discovered ACL last summer when we did their New England Island cruise, and loved it. We have already signed up for our third cruise with ACL for Nov. 2020. It was fun to be able to mix and mingle and sit with different people at every meal. Since many passengers, like us, were older, retired people, and from a variety of states, cities, businesses and professions, mealtimes were always interesting and entertaining. American Cruise Lines have smaller ships so they can visit more of the coastal and river ports than the big ships, so we you get to see more of the country up close and personal. Landing in port, there are at most only 100 passengers who disembark or go on shore hikes and excursions vs. 3000 people descending on a port at the same time. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
Whale sightings 6 of 7 days, excellent food and service, magnificent views up close of mountain goats, a wolf, hundreds of sea lions, otters, eagles and flocks of birds. Local seafood served as one choice in varied dishes at lunch and ... Read More
Whale sightings 6 of 7 days, excellent food and service, magnificent views up close of mountain goats, a wolf, hundreds of sea lions, otters, eagles and flocks of birds. Local seafood served as one choice in varied dishes at lunch and dinner. Crew was on target, baggage in our room when we arrived onboard after a morning at Mendenhall Glacier to have lunch onboard. We saw multiple types of glaciers. Presentations onboard for identifying whales readily and their habits. Also information from Alaskan native tribe and National Forest Service about what we would see in the 2 days in Glacier Bay. Stops in small towns were different and varied in their purpose. Train available to Yukon up the path taken by miners thru White Pass. Kayaks, rafting, who could want more? Accommodations were spacious, and food too often available as snacks between meals. Hors d’oeuvres and cocktails each afternoon, wine and beer with meals. Services were personalized and consistent. We added an extra day to wander and absorb the flavor of Juneau before boarding which was a good decision. Tracy’s Crab Shack in Juneau is a must for King Crab like a local! Leaving was smooth transition in early morning with assistance of crew to make early flights necessary to get to East Coast. Small ship experience was so much better than what my friends had on larger ships that have less access to places where we went. Now looking for another bucket list destination. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
We chose to arrive in Juneau two days early expecting some cooler temps only to be greeted by 80 degree plus temps in a city that does not have an air-conditioner in any commercial establishment including our hotel, Ramada by Wyndham which ... Read More
We chose to arrive in Juneau two days early expecting some cooler temps only to be greeted by 80 degree plus temps in a city that does not have an air-conditioner in any commercial establishment including our hotel, Ramada by Wyndham which would not be my first choice of a hotel in Juneau except for the very good restaurant connected to it. Embarkation on June 29th was welcome and flawless. Our luggage was picked up at our hotel and we were off for a morning visit to the Mendenhall Glacier. By the time we reached the ship late morning my luggage was in my large clean single balcony cabin. I had good closet and drawer space and there was a personal safe in the room. All the meals were excellent with good choices including vegetarian at every meal. In between meals soft drinks, juices and snacks were always available with warm cookies and 10:00 am every day. Happy hour horderves were delicious and plentiful. On this particular trip we had several multi-generational families traveling together so we had some young school and college age people on board which was nice, and I think even though most of the passengers were 60 + they appeared to enjoy themselves and fit in nicely. The combination of shore excursions and time on the ship in Glacier Bay and Tracy Arm was perfect. Orcas and Humpbacks entertained us, the cultural interaction in Kake informative, and the narrow gage train out of Skagway great fun. The on board lectures were OK, and many enjoyed the "art classes" which were a big hit. Our entertainment consisted on one very talented pianist who was able to play and entertain us with a full variety of music. The Hammer Museum in Haines was interesting for me as my family's antique hammers were on display. The "dock" walk in Petersburg revealed how commercial fishing is big business and the fireworks the night before spectacular. Two of the signature excursions, rafting in Haines, and fishing in Petersburg were limited so some folks were not able to participate. This was my third small ship trip to SE Alaska so my expectations were high, and I was not disappointed. While the American Constellation is one of the larger small ships to cruise SE Alaska, because of her maneuverability she was able to go where the much smaller ships go, I think our Captain enjoyed the sights as much as we did as he was expert in positioning the ship with the assistance of the bow and stern thrusters to permit maximum viewing for all. The ships officers were very professional. The all America, mostly college age, dining/cabin stewards and deckhands were delightful to get to know. Though they were not as experienced as found on ships registered and cruising outside of the United States, they were always eager to please. Our weather was perfect the entire week except for the Juneau heat and the haze from the wild fires up north, and happy hour on deck in the Alaskan sun was fun. Because there wasn't WiFi or phone service except in a couple of places, it was good to disconnect and just enjoy the trip. Many disembarked very early and took to complementary airport transfer early in the morning at 5:15 am. A second transfer was offered at 8:15 am. Because of our late flight out of Juneau we were able to wait in the lounge on board until it was time for our taxi at 10:00 am. I have taken multiple trips with American Cruise Lines, and I am booked on another. I only wish they had more places to go in the US as I'm running out of itineraries. Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
We enjoy river cruises as opposed to ocean cruises. We enjoy the silence of the river, and the history surrounding it. On this Lewis and Clark themed cruise along the Snake and Columbia Rivers in Washington and Oregon, we relived a most ... Read More
We enjoy river cruises as opposed to ocean cruises. We enjoy the silence of the river, and the history surrounding it. On this Lewis and Clark themed cruise along the Snake and Columbia Rivers in Washington and Oregon, we relived a most important part of our nations past, forged in part by these two infamous explorers. Great shore excursions and presentations by the River Historian added to the experience. The hospitality of the ship and crew was outstanding. The food and drink was excellent. It should be noted that the Queen of the West is the line's oldest ship and the rooms and bathroom are smaller than newer ships. But so little time is spent in the room, we found the accommodations to be adequate. The one difficulty was a high step into the bathroom which may be difficult for an elderly person. We enjoyed the entire cruise so much that we immediately signed up for another cruise next year! Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
Doing the Lewis and Clark riverboat Cruise has always been on our bucket list. This seemed to be a good time of the year. Queen of the West is an older boat and is very intimate. Bedroom very small but haven’t spent much time in it ... Read More
Doing the Lewis and Clark riverboat Cruise has always been on our bucket list. This seemed to be a good time of the year. Queen of the West is an older boat and is very intimate. Bedroom very small but haven’t spent much time in it but to sleep. Several places where you can sit, watch the scenery, read or visit with the new friends you meet daily. Crew very attentive and Edgar to please. First morning we boarded at 10:30 AM snakes and open bar has we were oriented to our boat. Meals have been delicious! Who doesn’t like a root beer float or ice cream sundae at 8 PM?? As we travel we learn more about the history of the area we are in. Loved Astoria’s quaint look. Houses on hills like San Francisco but then you seen a doe with her fawn meandering down the street or tucked under a 300 foot fir. Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
I had chosen this cruise because I prefer small ships and I am not as familiar with the New England area of the USA. The boarding process was very smooth. The crew welcomed us aboard and gave assistance to anyone that needed help finding ... Read More
I had chosen this cruise because I prefer small ships and I am not as familiar with the New England area of the USA. The boarding process was very smooth. The crew welcomed us aboard and gave assistance to anyone that needed help finding their way around the ship. Luggage was in the cabin when we arrived. The state room was clean and bright and of a generous size for two people. From the cabin we went on to enjoy a delicious lunch. So much to choose from it was hard to decide what to eat. If you are a dessert lover you will be tempted to try it all from Boston cream bomb to blueberry pie, chocolate torte cake and several flavors of ice cream. Pace yourself as the morning starts with muffins, scones, danish in the lounge area which had fresh brewed coffee at 6am. On to a full breakfast in the dining area. Then at 10am fresh baked cookies in the lounge. This is to tide you over until a full lunch followed by cookies until the start of cocktail hour which featured quiche, crab cakes, asparagus wraps , bacon wrapped scallops and many more appetizers. Dinners were spectacular surf and turf , lobster ravioli, salmon ,and many other choices. Dinner was followed by entertainment and an open bar with cocktails and after dinner drinks. Entertainment was varied from classical music, rock and roll, jazz and patriotic songs depending on evening. Speakers were also part of the program. They spoke about the regional culture and historical influences of the area. Off shore activities were varied from botanical gardens, art museums, famous mansions, architecture. The best was the authentic lobster bake on shore. I enjoyed it all. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
We have been on many, many ocean cruises and wanted to experience the small ship cruise. We chose the American Constellation which had 130 passengers. This was a great alternative to the huge ships - no crowding, large comfortable suite, ... Read More
We have been on many, many ocean cruises and wanted to experience the small ship cruise. We chose the American Constellation which had 130 passengers. This was a great alternative to the huge ships - no crowding, large comfortable suite, easy and smooth embarkation and disembarkation. A Senior atmosphere, very accommodating to the 55+ generation. No kids which was a plus for us - (after our last Caribbean cruise that offered free passage for kids and there were hundreds of kids running and jumping and screaming all over that ship.) The Constellation can go to places the big ships cannot. While onboard, we booked another for next year on Chesapeake Bay. Looking forward to it. The onboard entertainment was very enjoyable. Food was good for the most part. Ports were interesting with well organized excursions. Cruise Director and Hotel Manager were very helpful, cheerful and friendly - as were all crew members. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
While I was born and raised in New York City, my wife had not traveled in this area. She chose this cruise. I found this cruise to be informative and interesting. I liked the personal attention given by the crew and staff to meeting ... Read More
While I was born and raised in New York City, my wife had not traveled in this area. She chose this cruise. I found this cruise to be informative and interesting. I liked the personal attention given by the crew and staff to meeting my needs. I traveled alone with my wife's blessing while my wife remained home and had her gall bladder removed. My role in doing this unexpected solo travel was to "scout out" where my wife and I should go. While I lingered at Mt. Vernon one their shore tour, the boat left without me. I had scanned my card when I left the boat for the Mt. Vernon tour. I called the boat. Traci, the cruise director, arranged to have a limo pick me up and take me to the next stop, Cambridge. Since I arrived in Cambridge before the boat, Traci also arranged for my stay overnight in a hotel. The following morning I rejoined the cruise. On any other cruise I am positive I would have been told to figure out on my own how to rejoin the cruise. This company is outstanding! Basically the folks at American Cruise got all the things to see and do just right and really knows how to take care of its passengers! Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
We explored Portland, OR for a couple of days prior to boarding the ship, which enriched our cruise experience, since the cruise did not include a shore excursion there. Embarkation was very easy, as the ship was docked right behind our ... Read More
We explored Portland, OR for a couple of days prior to boarding the ship, which enriched our cruise experience, since the cruise did not include a shore excursion there. Embarkation was very easy, as the ship was docked right behind our hotel. All our documents and information was well organized. The ship was new, clean and beautiful, less than a year old, and decorated very nicely. Our cabin was spacious and included a private balcony. We were favorably impressed with the size of the bathroom compared to the other cruise we had taken (on a different cruise line). The staff was friendly, helpful and efficient. Food was excellent with plenty of choices, including vegetarian. Our nightly entertainment included some very talented (and funny) people. We had numerous shore excursions to choose from, something to fit everyone's interests and fitness levels. We especially enjoyed Multnomah Falls and Cape Disappointment State Park. We definitely plan to travel with American Cruise Lines again! Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
The American Song is a newer ship, so everything was fresh and new. The staterooms are roomy, with a large bathroom. Plenty of storage, but not a lot of hanging space. The (very) young crew was very professional and tried hard to please ... Read More
The American Song is a newer ship, so everything was fresh and new. The staterooms are roomy, with a large bathroom. Plenty of storage, but not a lot of hanging space. The (very) young crew was very professional and tried hard to please everyone. The food was good, and drinks are included during happy hour, dining and with the evening entertainment. There os no assigned seating, so you can meet many other people this way. The entertainment was ok, two nights were excellent and other nights not so much. The bar closes right after the entertainment, so if you want drinks later that could be a problem. The excursions that were offered were good, and on this cruise along the Columbia and Snake Rivers the scenery was amazing! We went on the jet boat ride into Hell's Canyon, which was a lot of fun. This cruise Line caters to a senior crowd, and wouldn't be suitable for younger families. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
This Cruise Line was recommended to us, We had studied their literature carefully. I use a cane and scooter and was with my husband. It all worked out very well for me. The crew assisted me with my scooter on and off the Riverboat. ... Read More
This Cruise Line was recommended to us, We had studied their literature carefully. I use a cane and scooter and was with my husband. It all worked out very well for me. The crew assisted me with my scooter on and off the Riverboat. This was quite helpful, so I did not miss a thing. We enjoyed meeting new people, many interesting and from all over the USA. We found the group fun and stimulating having shared many of the same experiences in life. The Riverboat,The American Song was new. The furnishing and lounges were quite nice with large windows. This was a Food and Wine Cruise so we raved about the Food Selections and Wines. My husband, in particular had seafood at each meal. I tried other menu selections. We found the lectures interesting and stimulating. We found two of the evenings of entertainment most enjoyable. The entire crew made our experience the Best! The shore excursions were fabulous, the small towns in the Pacific Northwest, the Museums we visited, the magnificent Columbia and Snake Rivers were Wonderful to see. The terrain and locks were so impressive to us having lived mostly in the East, Midwest and South. We are from Atlanta, Georgia and signed on for the Alaska Cruise for next Summer in August 2020. Praises to the American Cruise Line. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
We were seeking a vacation that could accommodate my husband in a wheelchair and chose the river cruise on the Columbia River on the American Song. This new boat is beautiful with lovely cabins and public rooms. The dining room was lovely ... Read More
We were seeking a vacation that could accommodate my husband in a wheelchair and chose the river cruise on the Columbia River on the American Song. This new boat is beautiful with lovely cabins and public rooms. The dining room was lovely and accommodated all guests at once. The cuisine was excellent and locally sourced, and the service impeccable. Since this cruise travels in a fairly rural area, one goes for the scenery and history/ local culture rather than big entertainment. We would recommend an extra day or two to explore the Portland area pre or post cruise. For our needs, the boat was completely accessible. Every room has showers with safety bars. There are also bars in the hallways.The staff were exceptional in all regards. Getting on and off the boat for shore excursions was challenging for my husband, but fantastic staff assistance made it all possible. I would recommend this cruise line to anyone, but especially note its ability to handle someone with mobility issues (assuming an able-bodied companion). Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
~~~April 25th – May 4th, 2019~~~ Yesterday’s flights from Orange County Airport, first to DFW and then on to Memphis, were surprisingly pleasant with little turbulence. Evidently, the flight to DFW was a day after a severe weather ... Read More
~~~April 25th – May 4th, 2019~~~ Yesterday’s flights from Orange County Airport, first to DFW and then on to Memphis, were surprisingly pleasant with little turbulence. Evidently, the flight to DFW was a day after a severe weather day there, and the late afternoon flight on into Memphis followed a morning of severe weather there. So, I lucked out! My flight from DFW to Memphis was delayed almost an hour which gave me sufficient time for a large, delicious Chicken Burrito at Pappasito’s Cantina, along with a Margarita, of course. I was set for the rest of the day. ~~~Memphis. Tennessee, April 25th~~~ Arrival in Memphis was at around 4:35 pm and my one piece of luggage was one of the first to arrive on the carrousel. Following the hotel’s instructions, I used the provided hotel reservation telephone to call the Guesthouse at Graceland for a shuttle from the airport. I was told to go out to the middle island of the parking structure where I immediately located the hotel’s shuttle and was soon on my way. A moderate rain was falling on departure from the airport, but it had stopped by the time we got to the hotel, only a short distance away. Checking in at the hotel was easy since I was expected, a packet of information from American Cruise Lines awaiting me. My room is 625 in the North Tower of this rather large and new hotel, right next to Graceland, the home of Elvis Presley, and is very nice and large. The bath has a huge shower with multiple faucets provided a “rain” of water. Quite nice! Being exhausted from my full day’s travel and early rising, I spent the evening in my room, enjoying the free wi-fi and large flat panel TV, before finally going to sleep at around 11 pm (9 pm PDT) in the large, comfortable king-sized bed. I slept until almost 7 am this morning. After showering under the overhead and side faucets, I changed for my included buffet breakfast downstairs at Delta’s Kitchen. Being on Friday, I found breakfast to be quite crowded but easily served myself to my satisfaction. The fare was rather mundane except for delicious fresh fruit: honeydew, pineapple, cantaloupe as well as cheese-scrambled eggs, bacon and biscuits. Excellent coffee, by the way. ~~~Graceland VIP Tour, April 26th~~~ Meeting other members of Linda’s Group waiting in the lobby for our shuttle bus over to Graceland for the included VIP tour, we were quickly transported at 9:15 am across the Elvis Presley Blvd to the entrance to Graceland, a vast and extremely popular tourist attraction here in Memphis. We were checked in, showing our ID, given our tickets including one for lunch, as well as lanyards and wrist-bands, and then directed to other waiting shuttle busses for transfer back across Elvis Presley Blvd. to the Graceland Mansion. Rather modest under today’s standards, the Mansion tour started first with a visit to the living room and adjoining music room, all protected behind ropes. Then it was a tight fit down a hallway to see one of the bedrooms. Elvis’ bedroom and other personal rooms upstairs are NOT available for viewing. Then it was through the dining room into the kitchen and down a narrow stairway to the basement where first we viewed a TV room containing several vintage TV sets showing period-specific TV shows. Then next door into an elaborate game room with a pool table and fabric-covered walls AND ceiling with dizzying colors and designs. Another narrow stairway leads back upstairs and outside to the mansion’s rear with views of a lush paddock complete with grazing horses. Several other buildings were also visited including a handball court, Vernon’s office (Elvis’ father), and another containing a myriad of Elvis memorabilia. The final attraction was the Garden of Memories with the graves of Elvis and other family members around a spectacular pool with dancing fountains. This was adjacent to the swimming pool for the Mansion. Although our tour could last all day, enough was enough, and we returned to the spot around the rear of the Mansion to which we had been delivered earlier for the return shuttle back across Elvis Presley Blvd. to the extensive complex there including a display of Elvis’ planes, one a converted Convair 880 named “Lisa Marie” after his daughter and the other, smaller Lockheed Jetstar named “Hound Dog II”. Other buildings housed collections of Elvis’ many luxury cars as well as motor cycles and other motor craft. There is certainly enough to see up to one’s personal endurance limits. Mine was easily achieved and I sought out one of the several eateries in which to use my $15 lunch voucher. Glady’s Diner caught my eye and I entered to find many options available; my choice was for the Chicken Alfredo Pizza, receiving a huge quarter pizza for $7.89 along with a 20-ounce chocolate milkshake for $4.95. The pizza was delicious, and I ate every bit of it, enjoying the chocolate shake with it. My $15 meal voucher just paid for it, I was informed. Finally, it was time to call it quits and return by shuttle bus back to the Guesthouse. Tonight, I have planned a trip downtown to the Rendezvous Restaurant for their famous barbecued ribs, taking a pre-paid shuttle at 6 pm provided by the hotel for $10 RT. They are NOT in business for the pleasure! On return to the hotel I purchased a glass of Sauvignon Blanc at a bar downstairs and was charged $15! They do have a captive audience here, but REALLY! That’s all for now. More later on this evening’s dining experience. ~~~My Evening at the Rendezvous in Memphis, April 26th~~~ At 6 pm I took the hotel’s shuttle into the downtown district to the corner of 2nd & Beale Street, next to the Hard Rock Cafe, at the very entrance to the very active entertainment district on Beale Street. Two blocks are blocked off from vehicular traffic, allowing the throngs of merry-makers to roam the street at leisure. My destination was the Peabody Hotel, about three blocks down 2nd; the Rendezvous Restaurant is just down the alley from there. With some difficulty locating the right alley, I finally found the Rendezvous about half way down the alley and entered to encounter stairs down to the basement location which seats over 700 diners. Quickly I was seated at a table for two and placed my order: half rack of ribs with beans and cold slaw, along with a local amber beer. It was incredibly delicious! When finished, I walked back down 2nd to the Hard Rock Cafe, the pickup location to return to the hotel; the next shuttle would not come until 8:30 pm so I went inside the Hard Rock for a beer. At 8:30 pm on the dot the hotel shuttle arrived and soon we were on our way back to the hotel near Graceland. On arrival I returned to my room to repack for our departure the following morning, requiring our luggage to be placed just inside the door to my room, before 7 am the next morning. Then it was to bed. ~~~Embarkation Day, April 27th~~~ The next morning, after a big breakfast at Delta’s Kitchen, I met with others in Linda’s Group in the lobby, awaiting our departure, first for a city tour of Memphis, followed by the trip to the riverboat. Getting on our bus I was surprised and delighted to be recognized by Lily, Cruise Manager for American Cruise Lines, whom I knew from last July’s Grand New England cruise; she was checking the passenger list for boarding. We departed The Guesthouse at Graceland at 9 am. The highlight of our city tour of Memphis was our stop at the Peabody Hotel where we were treated to the 11 am parade of the ducks, down the elevator from the roof - their home – waddling down a red carpet to the fountain in the lobby where they would remain during the day until 5 pm when they would ceremoniously return back to the elevator on the red carpet and back to the roof. There were 6 or 7 ducks who noisily made their entrance, much to the delight of the crowds of onlookers; I went up to the mezzanine for a better view of the events. Then it was back on the bus, and on to the riverboat. At about noon we arrived at the docking location for the America, our riverboat home for the next week, different from the usual location due to high level of the River which had flooded the Beale Street Landing. Instead we found the riverboat docked at a landing on Mud Island, just across from downtown Memphis. Walking down the rather steep ramp to the extended gangway, we all went onboard, crowding the area near the elevators; I chose to bypass them and go directly into the dining room where lunch was being served. I would worry about finding my room and checking in until afterwards. Lunch was delicious along with a glass of cold Sauvignon Blanc wine. Then it was time to find my room, #414 on Deck 4. The crowds around the elevators had disappeared by this time and I quickly found my single room, first door aft of the elevator. The door was open and inside I found my luggage along with a folder of information as well as two door keycards. I then took my boarding pass down to the Office on Deck 2. Security seems almost nonexistent! The riverboat departed Memphis right on schedule at 1 pm, next stop Vicksburg, Mississippi. ~~~Gliding Along the Mississippi River, April 27th~~~ During the afternoon after departing Memphis we glided along the Mississippi River under brilliantly blue skies, enjoying the peace and tranquility of the passing scenery. Occasionally we encountered long barges with several units in tow, plowing their way up or down the River. I found it amazing the length of these barges, some pushing up to 5 or 6 units! How could they negotiate the many bends and turns along the River? At 2:15 pm there was an Excursion Briefing in the Magnolia Lounge where Hotel Officers explained the many different shore excursions offered during our 7-day cruise, most being complimentary with only a few being for a fee. We were given a schedule of all shore excursions and asked to indicate our choices, keeping a copy for our personal reference. Then it was time to unpack! I leisurely did my unpacking and organizing my spacious single balcony stateroom, using only a small part of the very ample storage provided. Being only a week-long cruise, I had packed very sparingly and only used my carryon sized luggage. Soon I was finished and ready to go to the one Happy Hour located in the Sky Lounge, just down the passageway from my room, Aft on Deck 4; another Happy Hour location was in the Magnolia Lounge down on Deck 2 Forward. The Magnolia Lounge is a large room used for many gatherings including the evening’s entertainment. Happy Hours feature open bars with complimentary cocktails of choice besides a large selection of wines, beers, and appetizers; one of the benefits of this rather expensive cruise. Being an American-flagged riverboat, the crew is all American which requires American-level wages, also contributing to the high cost of the cruise. After a couple glasses of my favorite Sauvignon Blanc white wine, it was time to go down to the Dining Room on Deck 1 for dinner. Open seating allows one a choice of places to sit and mine was at a table of several of Linda’s Group, a group of 17. Dinner was excellent with an appetizer or salad followed by an entree, topped off with a delectable dessert. Although there was a banjo player entertaining in the Magnolia Lounge, it was time for bed for me after enjoying two or more glasses of wine. Returning to my stateroom I found my bed turned down and the drapes pulled. There is twice-a-day room servicing aboard. First, I opened up the drapes revealing the passing scenery and then turned on the flat-panel TV to MSNBC, volume turned low, and got into my twin sized bed, and very soon fell asleep. ~~~Vicksburg, Mississippi - April 28th~~~ Although our scheduled arrival time was 12 noon, we actually docked in Vicksburg at around 7 am. Shore excursions would not begin until 2 pm, my choice being the one to the Vicksburg National Military Park. Breakfast is served in the Dining Room from 7:30 am until 9 am and my arrival around 8 am found the Room already fairly full. I had showered in my rather small sized shower stall and then discovered that my Old Spice stick deodorant was almost completely depleted! I had not checked it during my packing. Also, the single purpose razors I had packed must have been quite old as they were almost ineffectual. Some onshore shopping was in order. Back to breakfast, my typical order was a Western Omelet with a side of bacon, along with a toasted English muffin, preceded by glasses of cranberry and orange juices; and delicious coffee, of course! Afterwards it was back to my stateroom to relax before my afternoon tour. My room had already been serviced by then. After lunch, which included my Sauvignon Blanc, it was soon time for our 3-hour tour of the Vicksburg National Military Park, at 2 pm. Being one of the complimentary shore excursions, there were two busloads of us which loaded and departed from alongside the dock and traveled for about 30 minutes through the town of Vicksburg and out to the Park. The countryside was hilly and forested except for the main battlefield where the Confederates had cut down all of the trees on the slopes, placing the trees pointed downhill with barbed wire strung among them as defense against the Union forces. This tactic apparently worked because after repeated attempts, the Union forces failed to prevail. The Union commander, Ulysses S. Grant, then changed his tactic to one of siege, encircling the Confederate forces and attempting to starve them out. It worked and eventually the Confederate commander, John C. Pemberton, surrendered and Vicksburg fell to the Union forces. Our tour was all around these battlegrounds where many monuments are located; northern states’ forces were commemorated: Illinois, Ohio, Maine, Michigan, etc.; as well as southern states’ forces: Georgia, Mississippi, Alabama, Louisiana, etc. Vicksburg, sitting on a high hill on a bend of the Mississippi River was of crucial importance to both the North and South; it dominated traffic along the River. Abraham Lincoln was quoted as saying, “Vicksburg is the key! The war can never be brought to a close until that key is in our pocket.” Our tour included a stop at the U.S.S. Cairo Museum where is located the partially reconstructed Union ironclad warship, sunk in the Mississippi River north of Vicksburg by two Confederate electrically detonated torpedoes (mines). It lay submerged until 1956 when it was rediscovered and, with great effort, recovered and partially rebuilt and is now on display, protected beneath a large canopy. The conclusion of our tour was in the Visitor Center that contains many artifacts of the war. Our return to our riverboat was right at 5 pm, just in time for Happy Hour! That first glass of Sauvignon Blanc sure tasted good! ~~~Vicksburg, Mississippi - April 29th~~~ After spending the night at dock at Vicksburg, breakfast had to be completed early in preparation of our 9 am tours. My usual order was delivered quickly, and I finished in plenty of time to return to my stateroom briefly. At 9 am I went down to catch the shuttle bus up the very steep hill into downtown Vicksburg but evidently got on the wrong bus, the Historic Vicksburg Comes to Life, a two-hour guided walking tour. It did turn out to be a very interesting and informative walk although my poor feet and legs were certainly complaining by its conclusion. We saw many classic homes of the antebellum style, trudged up and down the brick streets, and observed the many churches. The tour ended on a downtown street where is located the original store selling Coca Cola. I easily found a pharmacy where I was able to buy deodorant and another razor and then caught one of the shuttles back down the hill to the docks and our riverboat. It was a relief to return to my room and give my legs and feet some well-needed rest. Lunch would be at 12 noon, just before the America departed Vicksburg at 1 pm. Next stop, Natchez, Mississippi! ~~~Gliding Again Along the Mississippi River, April 29th~~~ Having departed Vicksburg during lunchtime, at 1 pm, we were again gliding down the Mississippi River under brilliantly blue skies. We have been so VERY fortunate with our excellent weather since first arriving in Memphis last Thursday when we encountered a brief shower on the way from the airport to the hotel. Since then it has been absolutely clear and beautiful! During the afternoon in the Magnolia Lounge, members of the staff presented a special presentation of future cruises, both on American Cruise Lines as well as on Pearl Seas Cruises, the sister company of ACL. Future cruises could be booked with a 15% discount plus forgiveness of the port fees and taxes, a considerable savings! Since I had previously booked the 15-day “Canadian Maritimes & St. Lawrence Seaway” Cruise with Pearl Cruises, I was interested in possibly rebooking in order to take advantage of the onboard booking savings. At first, I was told that - once booked, it was not possible to rebook. However, in my discussion with Keaton Jamerson, Guest Services Advisor, he suggested it might be possible to cancel my existing booking, pay the cancellation charge, and then immediately rebook onboard with the above-mentioned savings. He was on the telephone several times with Pearl Seas discussing my situation. There was the possibility that, once cancelled, my coveted choice of Single Stateroom 512 might not be available for my rebooking, and there were no other such single staterooms available. Long story short, Keaton was successful in rebooking that stateroom 512 on the Pearl Mist for me, after I had emailed my cancellation request to Pearl Cruises, and with the 15% discount + port fees and taxes! I saved over $2600! Happy Hour afterwards was especially happy! We arrived at Natchez at 6:30 pm, during dinner, but docked across the River in Vidalia, Louisiana, due the high waters flooding the Natchez docks. At the very base of the large bridge crossing the River, we pulled up to a pretty riverside park area, and let down the gangway for disembarkation, tying up to nearby trees. This was the second time that the high-water level of the River had affected our docking location. After finally getting to sleep, fighting the traffic noise from the nearby bridge, I slept until the morning’s traffic resumption awakened me around 6 am. For such small towns of Natchez and Vidalia, the volume of bridge traffic connecting them was surprisingly heavy. ~~~Natchez, Mississippi and Vidalia, Louisiana - April 30th~~~ Breakfast was my usual Western omelet with bacon, and I had to rush things a bit in order to get to my 9 am shore excursion to the Frogmore Plantation. It was a short bus ride into Louisiana from the park area next to our riverboat’s docking to this very interesting and thorough tour of a working a cotton plantation: During a visit to this historical plantation, visitors will gain an understanding of the complete antebellum lifestyle. This tour compares and contrasts a working cotton plantation from 1790 through today. Visitors learn about slave culture, sharecropping, and modern technology. During this narrated tour, explore the plantation’s buildings, including a rare antique steam gin and the only completely computerized gin in the nation. At the conclusion of the tour, we were all seated on benches facing the porch of one of the buildings, forming a stage of sorts, and were presented with a narration of the history of the plantation, interspersed with a cappella singing by two very accomplished singers, one an elderly white man in period dress, the other a black lady dressed also in period costume. They were excellent! A perfect ending to a memorable experience. Back at the America, it was time for lunch when we returned. There would be a second shore excursion across the River in Natchez at 2 pm. Lunches were always delicious with unique salads, using a lot of spinach leaves, accompanied by sandwiches, pasta dishes, or HUGE hamburgers. Dessert for me became my usual mint-chocolate chip ice cream. AND, of course, my Sauvignon Blanc wine! The afternoon shore excursion was to an antebellum house in the Historic District in central Natchez, the Joseph Newman Stone House, over 140 years in the same family: "Rare antique maps adorn the walls of this unique property, outstanding for its antebellum origins as a private billiard hall built in the style of a Greek temple, as well as for its rare pocket doors with ornamental glasswork. The builder was David Stanton, whose brother built world-famous Stanton Hall, also located in the Downtown Historic District. Acquired in 1877 by Joseph Newman Stone, it has remained in the Stone family for 140 years, now operating as a bed & breakfast, featuring family portraits and antiques. Each fall the house is open to the public during the Natchez Pilgrimage. Additionally, it has won the Historic Natchez Foundation's 2003 Restoration Award as well as TripAdvisor's Travelers' Choice Awards in 2012 & 2013 for the top 25 bed & breakfast inns in the United States. Bed & breakfast accommodations are offered in the Master Bedroom or the Cottage. A full Southern breakfast is served in The Dining Room on antique Limoges china. Guests who stay a minimum of two nights are invited to a 'Soirée Musicale' featuring live piano entertainment with complimentary wine in The Antebellum Music Room, while The Antebellum Billiard Hall showcases a fine antique billiard table. Stone House Musical B & B is found in the Downtown Historic District, an easy walk to many tour houses, antique shops, fine restaurants, other B & B inns or hotels, as well as the famous 200-foot bluffs overlooking the Mississippi River, making it an ideal destination for any vacation on the Great River Road or Natchez Trace." Upon entering we were all seated in the front parlor facing a grand piano in front of large pocket doors containing beautiful glass panels. The owner and great grandson of the original owner, Joseph Britton Stone, greeted us and proceeded to pleasure us with his musical mastery, presenting a concert of four selections of classical music on the 1903 Steinway Parlor Grand Piano. We were all mesmerized by his talent and the ambiance of the setting. We were then given a tour of the several rooms of the house, all spectacularly adorned with family photos and artifacts as well as exquisite furnishings and chandeliers. There was the dining room, with the table set with formal tableware including Limoges china, the billiard room with its antique billiards table, the kitchen, and one of the bedrooms, papered with unusual wall coverings and presenting a high canopied bed. All absolutely gorgeous! Then the owner offered us all our choice of champagne or a select liqueur, served in beautiful crystal glassware. A real unexpected treat! All during our visit, the house puppy, “Precious”, a rare Tibetan Spaniel, mingled and sniffed us all, a very friendly “cohost” of the house. As we departed this treasure of a home, Joseph Stone stood at the door with Precious in arm, bidding us all adieu. It had been a most special visit! By the time we again crossed the River using the bridge back to our riverboat on the Vidalia side, it was almost time for Happy Hour! This company surely does not spare the expense as far as alcohol! The Sky Lounge on Deck 4 was my favorite, preferred over the larger Magnolia Lounge, although it did become quite crowded at times. There was an outside seating area just back of the Sky Lounge where comfortable chairs provided a pleasant place to sit and view the surroundings and our spectacular weather. After dinner this was my one time to stay up late and go to the Magnolia Lounge for the entertainment with tonight’s feature, Judy Davis, a large black lady who was EXCELLENT! Her material was nonstop hilarious, interspersed with vocal selections, also quite good. Her comedy was most enjoyable, and I didn’t regret my choice over another early night to bed. Our riverboat departed our docking at 11:30 pm, next stop Baton Rouge, tomorrow, May 1st. Our time is passing much too rapidly! ~~~Baton Rouge, Louisiana - May 1st & 2nd~~~ Traveling overnight from Natchez, Mississippi, we arrived in Baton Rouge, Louisiana early in the morning of May 1st where, after some expert manipulation in the fast-moving waters of the Mississippi River, our riverboat tied up to a new pier near downtown Baton Rouge. Our location was adjacent to the permanent home of the USS Kidd which is open to the public: "Known as the “Pirate of the Pacific,” this Fletcher-class destroyer is a memorial to the men and women that served in the American armed forces. Take a step back in time on this self-guided tour to see artifacts and aircraft from World War II. This is an experience that will leave you speechless." Our original schedule called for our docking at St. Francisville for our shore excursion to the Rosedown Plantation, but the high-water level of the River had flooded the docks there, requiring our early docking in Baton Rouge and a bus trip back up the River to St. Francisville and the Plantation. This would happen at 2 pm in the afternoon. Breakfast was leisurely with no time pressure, just sitting in the dining room, enjoying my Western omelet with bacon, cranberry and orange juices with coffee and an English muffin, looking out the large windows at the bright clear morning and the stunning skyline of downtown Baton Rouge. The historic Old State Capitol Building was very close, and the tall tower of the new State Capitol Building could be seen in the distance. The rest of the morning was spent in my stateroom relaxing and getting ready for the afternoon’s tour. Soon after lunch was over, at 1:30 pm, we exited the America and walked to the end of the pier, crossed a railroad track, to get to our busses. This being one of the complimentary shore excursions, almost everyone onboard was going, requiring 4 busses; I was on bus #1. It was a scenic ride of one hour back up the River passing through lush green forests and fields. Our arrival at the antebellum Rosedown Plantation then required a short walk from the parking lot up to the main house where our bus group assembled on the large porch, awaiting entry. The lady guide, dressed in a period costume, explained the history of the Plantation and then ushered us inside to the parlor and then past the stairway into the front bedroom. Furnished with authentic items, the feeling of being in the past was overwhelming. We then went up the long stairway to the second floor to other bedrooms and then down the back stairway into the kitchen. Then it was back outside where we encountered the second bus group awaiting their turn. Quite a bunch of visitors to accommodate all at once, but well-handled if I do say so. The exterior of the mansion was fronted by tall white columns, so prevalent in the architecture of the period. The surrounding grounds were carefully manicured gardens with interwinding paths. Then it was time to return to our bus for the short trip into the small town of St. Francisville. We traveled up and down several streets in this small picturesque town, at one point seeing the road down to the flooded docks, until we stopped at a store where we were allowed a shopping break. The place was huge with a wide array of merchandise, mostly very eclectic. Fresh lemonade was freely offered, which tasted fantastic! Bathroom facilities were also available. Then it was back on the bus, back to Baton Rouge and our floating home by 5 pm, just in time for Happy Hour! Many passengers chose to walk off the riverboat and walk into town for shopping, sightseeing and dining, but I chose to stay aboard for the night. Tomorrow we would once again be docked in Baton Rouge with a city tour scheduled for 2 pm. ~~~Baton Rouge, Louisiana - May 2nd~~~ Knowing about my upcoming visit to Baton Rouge, I had previously contacted my friends, Bob and Virginia Bogan, who live here, and invited them to join me aboard the America for cocktails and dinner, an advertised benefit offered to passengers. Virginia had also expressed a desire to join me on the afternoon city tour and, with approval of the manager, this is what happened. There were two different times for the city tour: 9 am and 2 pm, and we had decided on the later. I had given details about the Bogan’s to the staff to facilitate their coming onboard and shortly before 1:30 pm Virginia showed up in Magnolia Lounge where I had been waiting. Virginia is the sister of Jim Innerarity, my dear friend who passed away three years ago; we had spent time together on several occasions while Jim was alive, so I know her well. We went back up to my stateroom for a brief bathroom visit and then back down and off the boat, walking to the end of the pier to the waiting bus. Traveling around the downtown area we passed by the Old State Capitol Building, and later the “New” State Capitol Building, built in the 30’s by Governor Huey P. Long of Louisiana’s notorious fame. We also passed by his “new” Governor’s Mansion which strongly resembled the White House in Washington, D.C. Huey had presidential aspirations also! But he was assassinated before he could pursue that. Further driving around the downtown area brought us to the Capitol Park Museum where we allowed to spend an hour viewing the extensive displays and exhibits portraying the history of Louisiana. It would have taken much longer than one hour to fully investigate this vast collection! By the time we returned to the riverboat it was almost time for Happy Hour and, after a quick trip back to my stateroom, Virginia and I went to the Sky Lounge on Deck 4 to partake of a beverage. Bob and their daughter Jennifer would be joining us shortly for dinner. In fact, just after we sat down, Virginia called Bob on her cellphone and, immediately Bob and Jennifer walked into the Lounge! They had gone to my stateroom and heard the noise down the hall from the nearby Sky Lounge. We all ordered drinks and enjoyed visiting for a while before going down to dinner. Since several of the passengers had chosen to dine ashore, the dining room wasn’t very full and the four of us easily found a nice table by the window. The Bogan’s were all impressed by the menu and, at my suggestion, ordered the Beef Tenderloin (fillet mignon, really); my order was for the Rack of Lamb. Desserts were also enjoyed by all and then it was time for a brief tour of the America before my guests had to depart. Going up to the top deck, we just caught the fading sunset, but the clear evening provided a fantastic view of the skyline of Baton Rouge. They were all very impressed. Then it was time for our goodbyes and the departure of the Bogan Family. It had been a VERY enjoyable and meaningful reunion. Next stop: New Orleans! ~~~New Orleans, Louisiana - "Oak Alley", May 3rd~~~ Traveling the short distance from Baton Rouge, having departed at 11:30 pm, our arrival at the Port of New Orleans was early on the morning of Friday, May 3rd. Today would be the last of our wonderful cruise and the one task remaining was the settling of our onboard accounts, easily done by verifying our charges and authorizing credit card payment. Mine was only $75 for the two shore excursions that were not complimentary. Breakfast was as usual with views of the modern Port of New Orleans Building outside the dining room windows, under sunny blue skies. My order was a Western omelet with bacon, juices, muffin and coffee. It would be hard to say goodbye to our very talented servers, most of whom were college students; they had been most friendly, cheerful and efficient performing their excellent service. There was an early lunch at 11:30 am because of the early departure of the afternoon’s excursion at 1:30 pm to Oak Alley, a magnificent plantation mansion: "The Plantation has been called “The Grande Dame of the Great River Road.” Enjoy the 1/4-mile canopy of 300-year-old live oaks as you make your way to the Greek Revival antebellum home. Take a tour of the Big House, led by guides in period clothing and then spend some time exploring the magnificent grounds on your own. For the full southern experience, don’t forget to take time for a mint julep." So after enjoying one more lunch in the dining room, with time for a quick trip back to my stateroom for a bathroom call, it was off the America and a short walk over to the busses (4) to begin our hour-long drive back up the River to Oak Alley which is located just on the other side of a large River levee. The drive out of New Orleans was enjoyable with views of the downtown high-rise buildings along with the Superdome, so famous from the Katrina disaster. We were on Interstate 10 with heavy traffic for the first part of the journey. Out of the city, the freeway became a series of bridges over a swampy landscape, some classified as being a bayou. No place to have car trouble! Most of us took quick naps during the drive awakening only as we departed the Interstate for a smaller highway that followed along the large levee of the Mississippi River. Finally arriving at Oak Alley, we drove past the legendary entrance walkway through the canopy (alley) of huge old oak trees, but didn’t stop until reaching the large parking lot, provided for the hordes of visitors to this popular tourist attraction. It was then quite a walk from the parking lot into the grounds of Oak Alley, entrance requiring tickets provided by our own guide. We were guided to the front of the Mansion where a cue formed, awaiting limited entrance inside; only a certain number were admitted at a time. When our turn came, we were escorted into the main parlor that was furnished with authentic period furniture and many other items of historic nature. Our guide was a young black girl who spoke clearly and informatively, well versed on the history of Oak Alley. Then we were ushered into the dining room where we found a large dining table all set with china and tableware. Over the table was a large fan-type panel which would have been swung back and forth using a rope by a slave child to provide air flow for the diners. We had seen such apparatus in other dining rooms in other antebellum homes. We were then directed up the long stairway to the second level; “long” because of the very high ceilings of the first floor. Upstairs we toured through several bedrooms complete with high canopied beds; the beds seem to be set quite high off the floor, I thought. In one of the bedrooms we observed a baby’s crib. Our exit was onto the wide second floor balcony that surrounded the entire house with a stunning view down the “alley of oaks” in front, a most impressive view! Then it was back down that long, steep stairway and out of the rear door where we were presented with the wide expanse of shaded park-like setting with many benches for resting. On the other side of this park area was the commercial side of things: a gift shop and the “Spirits” Bar. It was to the bar that I went for my complimentary mint julep! Not waiting very long to be served, I received my drink and then selected a table outside under an umbrella at which to sit and enjoy my first mint julep! It was GOOD! Surprisingly strong with bourbon - for a free drink, l found it to be quite tasty and refreshing. By the time I had finished my drink it was time to start the long walk back to the parking lot and our bus for the long trip back to New Orleans and our riverboat. Needless to say, our ride back saw most passengers dozing. The weather had been phenomenal as I commented to our guide upon leaving the mansion. She responded that it was not always so, as I was later to learn. Arrival back at the America was right at 5:30 pm, just in time for Happy Hour! Funny how this has happened so frequently! My tall glass of cold Sauvignon Blanc tasted good as ever. Several of Linda’s Group were in attendance and eventually we all wandered down to the dining room for our last dinner aboard. And what a dinner it was! “Surf and Turf” consisting of a lobster tail stuffed with crab meat accompanied by a small beef tenderloin (filet mignon). What a finale to an outstanding cruise! The wine also flowed freely, and our goodbyes were given to the crew. It was with great reluctance that I excused myself to return to my stateroom to pack; our luggage was requested to be placed outside our doors before retiring. My packing didn’t take very long; dirty shirts don’t have to be carefully folded! About this time the storm hit with lightning and thunder. Good timing as far as our cruise was concerned, but not too good timing for those of us flying home the next day. Sleep came with difficulty. ~~~New Orleans, Louisiana, Departure Day - May 4th~~~ The storm continued through the night and the next morning was dark and cloudy and rainy. Early breakfast began at 6:30 am and we were requested to vacate our staterooms by 8 am, so with my luggage now gone all I had to carry was my Princess bag contains paperwork and my iPad. I had gotten Keaton of Guest Services to print my AA boarding pass the previous day, not being able to get it done on my own. I had checked in with American Airlines successfully on my iPad, requesting my boarding pass to be emailed to me as a PDF, but when I went to the AA website using the computer onboard, the option to PRINT was not available on the AA website, and I cannot print from my iPad! So, I forwarded the AA email to Keaton and he graciously printed the attached PDF boarding pass for me. Thank you, Keaton! I did order my usual Western omelet with bacon and the other items and finished my breakfast with plenty of time to return to my stateroom to retrieve my Princess bag and then go to the Magnolia Lounge to await our call for the shuttle bus to the airport, scheduled for 8:30 am. Shortly after 8 am the rain had let up briefly and we were called to disembark and proceed to the busses, thankfully parked nearby the riverboat. After quickly identifying my piece of luggage, and watching it being loaded aboard, I boarded the bus just before the rain began again. When all were loaded aboard, our bus pulled out of the parking lot and proceeded to leave for the airport, using the same route out of town that had been used the day before for our drive to Oak Alley. (We had passed the airport on the way to Oak Alley.) The rain continued all the way to the airport although the Saturday morning traffic was mercifully light making our drive uncomplicated. We arrived at the New Orleans International Airport a few minutes after 9 am. Getting off the bus right in front of American Airlines Terminal, I retrieved my one piece of luggage and soon had checked it with the AA Skycap, tipping him, of course. He directed me inside the terminal and to the left towards the Security Checkpoint. Having TSA Pre-check, I quickly proceeded through with no delay and was soon on my way to the appropriate gate for my 11:19 am departure to DFW. It was quite a walk to Gate C12, but I had plenty of time. The storm was still raging outside with frequent flashes of lightning and accompanying thunder so it became increasingly clear that my flight would be delayed. After a while, once a gate agent had arrived and started taking questions, I thought it best to join the line to inquire about my connecting flight in DFW. The line moved painfully slowly but at last it was my time. The agent agreed that I would NOT be able to make my connecting flight in DFW and proceeded to rebook me on a later flight from DFW on to SNA (Orange County); it would arrive at 6 pm, only two hours later than my original flight’s arrival of 4 pm. She even got my seat assignment almost the same as originally booked: 8D instead of 8C! You can’t ask for better service than that! With the projected departure time now delayed until 1 pm, and my rebooking done, I decided it was time for a cold glass of Sauvignon Blanc, and there was a wine bar just down from my Gate C12. The wine I got was superb! I learned that it was from New Zealand, the place known for their excellent Sauvignon Blanc. Then I got the check: $15! Wines are expensive in the South! I enjoyed it never the less. Shortly after 1 pm our flight was called for boarding; the flight had originated in DFW and been held up from departing until the weather had cleared in New Orleans. I boarded - almost 3 hours late, found my Main Cabin Extra Seat 8C, and settled down to an otherwise uneventful one-hour flight to DFW. Once in DFW I had a few hours before my rescheduled flight so, once I had found out my departure gate and trudged the considerable distance to it, I still had enough time to enjoy a delicious BBQ Chicken Sandwich at a nearby Friday’s with delicious onion rings and a glass of Sauvignon Blanc wine, of course. My AA flight 2779 left DFW on time and the 3-hour flight went uneventfully, with my consuming two little bottles of white wine (complimentary), and we landed in Orange County Airport shortly after 6 pm. My luggage had successfully been rerouted and arrived on the carrousel soon afterwards. Then it was out of the airport and over to SuperShuttle where I had prepaid transportation home. The agent told me that it would be 30-45 minutes before he had a van for me and suggested just cancelling my $20.50 SuperShuttle ride for a refund and take a taxi, which is what I did, costing only $23.00 + tip, but I was home! So ends my Lower Mississippi River Adventure, a wonderful experience despite its ending! Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
American Cruise lines is reasonable efficient, and well organized. Ship was relatively new. Excursions were excellent. The entertainment was outstanding. On-board historian was fun to listen to and gave excellent previews/reviews of the ... Read More
American Cruise lines is reasonable efficient, and well organized. Ship was relatively new. Excursions were excellent. The entertainment was outstanding. On-board historian was fun to listen to and gave excellent previews/reviews of the places we would be. Great information (quite enlightening) on the Lewis and Clark expedition. The add on to the Snake River via jet boat was well worth the cost. The scenery on both the Snake and Columbia rivers was spectacular. The few excursions we added on (in addition to the free excursions in each port) were worth the money. Entertainment (the cowboy / sailor comedy singer, Liberace's arranger) were wonderful! The pre-cruise hotel in Lewiston, Idaho was a Quality Inn and lived up to the name. The rooms were excellent, the food wonderful, and the personnel quite helpful. The Indian evening with the Nez Perce Indians was a complete and wonderful surprise with excellent history, speakers, and dancers. This was not part of the cruise but we added it once we were at the hotel. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
This was our second cruise with American Cruise Lines. We especially like the fact that their "small" ships can get into smaller ports than can the larger cruise ships. Docking instead of tendering in makes a huge difference. ... Read More
This was our second cruise with American Cruise Lines. We especially like the fact that their "small" ships can get into smaller ports than can the larger cruise ships. Docking instead of tendering in makes a huge difference. ACL's focus on customer satisfaction borders on obsessive. If your favorite liquor isn't available at happy hour (complimentary) just ask; they'll probably buy it at the next port and have it available the next day. The dining room has a similar focus. Have dietary restrictions (or preferences)? There was the opportunity to meet with the executive chef prior to departure to discuss any requirements or preferences. We opted for the pre-cruise extension since we needed to arrive the day before embarkation since we had to fly in from the east coast. Our bags were picked up from our hotel room, not from the hallway, which is a plus. They were in our stateroom when we arrived on ship. Our only complaint is that by the luck of the draw, the "guide" for our city tour couldn't stop talking, even when she had nothing to say. Unfortunately, the detours she requested of the bus driver resulted in our being so late to the ship that the safety briefing had to be delayed. Many of the ship's staff (dining room and cabin stewards) are students in hospitality or culinary programs. They are enthusiastic, helpful and really enjoy what they're doing. We enjoyed talking with them about their career plans. Onboard entertainment is mostly local talent from whatever port the ship is moored in. It's fair to very good depending on what your particular interests are. Our ship actually made two detours so would could see orcas - something that would have been out of the question on a larger ship. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
We were a little hesitant to sail on the Queen of the West after reading some reviews here on cruise critic and other sites. We spent the night at the Red Lion Inn in Jantzen Beach. Hotel was very nice and the restaurant was as well. ... Read More
We were a little hesitant to sail on the Queen of the West after reading some reviews here on cruise critic and other sites. We spent the night at the Red Lion Inn in Jantzen Beach. Hotel was very nice and the restaurant was as well. The ship was docked within walking distance of the hotel. The crew was so well organized and had our luggage in our cabin by 9:00. We had cabin suite 402. There are only two owners suites on this deck. The cabin was spacious. A Keurig coffee machine is in these suites only. Bring your robe as they do not supply one. Cabin was awesome with views on both Starboard and Portside. There are doors on either side. My advice is to keep your cabin door locked even while you are occupying. We had at least 4 different passengers walk in thinking our cabin was a lounge or the pilot station.??? There is a sign that indicates St. Helen's suite 402. My guess is they were looki loos, not to mention a passenger who used our patio deck as her personal chair. The crew was wonderful. Can't say enough about them. Food is subjective. Some days it was good and some days not so good. This was the first cruise on the Columbia River for the season. The ship had been completely remodeled. It was refreshing to sit on new furniture and duvets. Closet space is ample. They provide umbrellas if needed. Cocktail hour has just about anything you would want and the hordeurves were exceptional. Captain was friendly and mingled with the passengers. My only complaint was there was a lack of communication from the Cruise Director and/or Captain when there were delays. We were delayed twice which shortened our excursions. Entertainment during cocktail hour was loud which prevented us to talk with other passengers. Most of us are 60+ so hearing is impaired somewhat. Lecturer Bill on this cruise was outstanding. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
We were interested in the Charleston-Savannah area--Its history etc. After the we disembarked in Jacksonville we rented a car and went back to Charleston and stayed there for four days. Also we liked the small ship! The staff was very ... Read More
We were interested in the Charleston-Savannah area--Its history etc. After the we disembarked in Jacksonville we rented a car and went back to Charleston and stayed there for four days. Also we liked the small ship! The staff was very good in every way. The entertainment was very well done and varied. Chris Paul was especially outstanding. I would very much like to attend another one of his shows. The food was very good and tasty. The servers went out of their way to do everything they could to make up happy. The cabin was very comfortable and the staff cleaned it daily and more often if requested. The only complaint we would have was the non existent WiFi. I had to increase my data for my phone. Except for the WiFi the cruise was very well done. We must been very satisfied as we signed up for an Alaskan Cruise in 2020. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
This is my second cruise with American cruise Lines. You cannot beat the service by the crew. Everyone greets you when they see you. They ask how you are enjoying the cruise and offer to help. They are very accommodating to everyone no ... Read More
This is my second cruise with American cruise Lines. You cannot beat the service by the crew. Everyone greets you when they see you. They ask how you are enjoying the cruise and offer to help. They are very accommodating to everyone no matter their ability to get around. You truly feel valued on a ACL cruise. They offered activities during the day which included lectures about the area and animals. They also offered art classes. There are tours offered at each port visited or you can explore on your own. The smaller ships and smaller number of guests is very appealing. It’s so much easier to get around and I’ve made friends on both cruises. I wanted to go to the Puget Sound/San Juan Islands area especially Butchart Gardens. The tulip tour was everything I hoped it would be. I have already booked a third cruise for next year. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
I like cruising in North America; no loooong overnight flights to your destination; no mega ships to overwhelm your cruise stops; and lots and lots of things to do. The Puget Sound and San Juans, our last cruise, was a normal ACL ... Read More
I like cruising in North America; no loooong overnight flights to your destination; no mega ships to overwhelm your cruise stops; and lots and lots of things to do. The Puget Sound and San Juans, our last cruise, was a normal ACL cruise. The ship, American Constellation, was clean and tidy, the crew was just great and extremely helpful when asked anything. Our cabin, on the second level, was, like everything on the ship, neat and tidy. The included balcony made the cabin seem larger and on sunny days, was great place to be. ACL has an open dining policy: you sit at any table you want along as there is space. Unfortunately the weather was not always good and some of the excursions were a bit wet. Otherwise they were fascinating and enjoyable; Butchart Gardens is something for a bucket list; the flower arrangements were almost beyond belief! Obviously I enjoyed this cruise; you saw places most Americans never see,and generally had plenty of time for sight seeing and shopping. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
We selected this cruise because it was completing a bucket list item for us - seeing all 50 states of the United States. This cruise exceeded our expectations in most every area. The staff was warm and knowledgeable. They made every ... Read More
We selected this cruise because it was completing a bucket list item for us - seeing all 50 states of the United States. This cruise exceeded our expectations in most every area. The staff was warm and knowledgeable. They made every effort to accommodate our requests. The food was outstanding with regional specialties. We enjoyed the opportunity to order half-portions but think we still added a couple of extra pounds. The on-board historian and musician, Tom Hook, added depth and enjoyment to each day. A pleasant surprise was the series of Watercolor Painting classes with Linda Curtis. To have such a high caliber instructor available each day in entertaining and informative classes, was a real plus. The weather was springtime stormy with the Mississippi River well above flood stage. The ship never even rocked! Unless it was with music. The entertainment was fun and all of the acts were top-notch. We are not Jazz and Blues fans, but thoroughly enjoyed the presentations. The stars encouraged audience participation and there were many laughs and smiles. There were a few minor changes in itinerary due to tornados and thunder storms but the staff reorganized quickly and we still enjoyed all of the excursions. There was a personal touch from the Cruise Director and the many step-on guides at each destination. We enjoyed this American Cruise Lines trip so much that we are already confirmed for a new trip next spring! Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
We decided to try riverboat cruising in the US for our first cruise .Before our cruise we took advantage of the jet boat tour up the Snake River and that kicked our cruise off with some great scenery and knowledge of the river. On ... Read More
We decided to try riverboat cruising in the US for our first cruise .Before our cruise we took advantage of the jet boat tour up the Snake River and that kicked our cruise off with some great scenery and knowledge of the river. On American Song, we were VERY impressed with the food, service, onboard lectures and shore excursions! There is not anything we think could have been done better. This is a new ship and is beautiful inside and out. Our cruise focused on Lewis and Clark and the Corps of Discovery. Our onboard historian, Todd Weber, was a wealth of knowledge regarding the exploration, as well as the Snake and Columbia Rivers we were cruising, and he spoke to us every day and accompanied us on many of the shore excursions. His presentations were VERY well done and entertaining, as well. Complimentary snacks were available at all times, as well as cocktails and appetizers before dinner. No expectation of tipping onboard, so it was nice not to have to pay extra for anything. American Cruise Lines seemed to have good plans in place for all parts of the trip, from meeting us at the hotel prior to the cruise, to sending us off at the end. They won us over, and we had been two skeptical non-cruisers.We booked a second cruise while we were still onboard! Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
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