Sail Date: December 2017
We chose American Cruise Lines for the second time to continue to see America from our great rivers. This lower Mississippi River cruise had outstanding entertainment and lectures on board. We looked forward each night after dinner to ... Read More
We chose American Cruise Lines for the second time to continue to see America from our great rivers. This lower Mississippi River cruise had outstanding entertainment and lectures on board. We looked forward each night after dinner to being entertained by some very talented people. Each port visited was a mini history lesson on that part of the river and the people who founded it. The dining was first class with the many food choices enhancing our experience by representing the area of the country we were touring, starting with a pre board dinner at Antoine's in New Orleans. The entire crew made it possible for even those with limitations to enjoy shore tours.They were extremely helpful not to mention cheerful, at all times. A most pleasant week. The best part was visiting with others who had come from all over this amazing nation. That was almost a tour within a tour. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2017
We took this cruise in order to get away from the histle and bustle of the real world. Everthing was very enjoyable. We even discovered that Rachel the port lecturer will be on the New England Islands cruise we are taking this coming ... Read More
We took this cruise in order to get away from the histle and bustle of the real world. Everthing was very enjoyable. We even discovered that Rachel the port lecturer will be on the New England Islands cruise we are taking this coming summer. The food and dining woom service was outstanding. One thing we enjoyed was that there is one dining room so everybody dines at the same time. There is no assigned seating so one gets to meed a variety of people. The ship was kept in an immaculate condition. The crew was constantly cleaning, polishing, etc. to keep the ship in immaculate condtion. People have commented that the price of the cruise aooears to be high but we have found that the old saying "you get what you pay for" is certainly true in this case. Great food, complimentary soda, beer and wine all day, open bar cockatil party every afternoon before dinner with hors d'ouvres -- what more could one ask for!! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2017
My friends and I wanted a short-duration cruise with everything included. The America is a wonderful ship and small enough to really enjoy seeing some of the same people at different meals and excursions. The accommodations were excellent; ... Read More
My friends and I wanted a short-duration cruise with everything included. The America is a wonderful ship and small enough to really enjoy seeing some of the same people at different meals and excursions. The accommodations were excellent; each of the four of us had single cabins across from each other. We had balconies, but the scenery along the lower Mississippi isn't exactly "picturesque." The food was excellent at all the meals and happy hours...so plan on gaining some weight! Soft drinks, coffee, juices and snacks were available all the time in one of the lounges. Beer, wine and mixed drinks were available with meals and at happy hour everyday and we're included in thenprice of th cruise. Part of the cruise package included a night at a nice hotel in New Orleans the night before the cruise. "The more adventurous" could have enjoyed getting to see parts of the city. The excursions (which were included) were very interesting and the tour guides were excellent. The ladies I was with weren't really able to do the amount of walking required to walk up the berms along the lower Mississippi River as well as to walk to Oak Alley Plantation. There were golf carts available for part of the distance to the plantations, but the climb up the berm was still a problem. The plantations themselves required a lot of walking as well, but they were all well worth the time and effort to see! There was a bus tour of Baton Rouge, but there wasn't enough time (45 minute) to really see the Louisiana Museum to do it justice. After the cruise, we did add a bus tour of New Orleans since we had time before our flight home. The price was reasonable and included transportation back to the airport. We did stop and go through one of the unique above -ground cemeteries on the tour. The entertainment was really wonderful and everyone seemed to enjoy the entertainers. Overall, it was an excellent trip and I would take another American Cruise Lines cruise again! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2017
On October 24th we took an American Cruise Line (ACL) trip on their America from St. Paul to New Orleans. Then on December 4th, we took the American Queen Steamboat Company (AQSC) cruise on their American Duchess, round-trip, ... Read More
On October 24th we took an American Cruise Line (ACL) trip on their America from St. Paul to New Orleans. Then on December 4th, we took the American Queen Steamboat Company (AQSC) cruise on their American Duchess, round-trip, Nashville-to-Nashville. Though both these paddle-wheelers are similar in many ways, we also found numerous differences. (The comments below apply to ACL's America, unless otherwise indicated.) FOOD: All meals were superb, with many selections available. Everyone had to arrive at the same time, but we could sit wherever we wanted. Most of the tables were configured for 6 persons or more. The food servers were all college-age kids, enthusiastic, and inclined to joke with the passengers. On only one occasion did their inexperience result in a problem when our food arrived much later than it should have. (On AQSC's Duchess, food was even better, with many selections available for starters, appetizers, main courses, and deserts. Their tables were configured for 4 people; a few would seat 2. We could come to a meal at any time of our choosing; the staff would ask if we would mind sharing a table. If we said "no," we would be seated with another couple, or seated at a new table and another couple would later join us. The waiters, all male, were a professional but reserved lot, and seldom smiled.) Bottom line: Service slightly better on America, selection slightly better on Duchess. A tie. DRINK: Wine and beer were provided at lunch, at an hour-long happy hour before dinner, and readily throughout dinner. The wine was of mediocre quality, but we could ask for a better substitute, and it would be readily provided. (For Duchess, there was no free alcohol for lunch. For dinner, one white and one red wine were provided, also of mediocre quality, but with no option for a substitute. Higher-quality wines were available at steep prices. After we had consumed about half our glass, the staff would appear and refill the glass. After that, no further servings were volunteered, but if we asked for more, it was willingly brought.) Bottom line: Clear advantage to ACL's America. DRINK PRICES: Wine was between $6 and $8 a glass, with no surcharge. (On Duchess , wine was between $8 and $10 a glass, to which a 15% surcharge was added. Beer was slightly less.) Bottom line: ACL's America was slightly cheaper. DINING ROOM CAPACITY: The ACL America cruise was at about 50% capacity; they had some place out of sight to store the unused tables, so the dining room seemed very spacious. (On Duchess, the outer 2/3 of the main dining room was an impressive two stories high, with very large windows. The middle 1/3 was only one story high, as the upper story was taken up by the Lincoln Library mezzanine. That cruise was at about 70% capacity; we were always seated on the outer sides, with the middle tables set, but unused. Duchess has a second dining room, with a much smaller seating capacity, and reservations here were required. With no carpeting, it was much noisier, but the tables were farther apart. It opens to an outside dining area, but was closed on our cruise due to cold weather. Bottom line: AQSC's Duchess has slightly better dining arrangements. DRESS: Not formal. A few folks wore jeans, and did not seem out of place. Several wore sport coats and ties, and also did not seem out of place. The overwhelming majority wore casual wear. (We found the same dress code on Duchess.) CABINS: Our cabin, #202, was the cheapest having a balcony. (America does have a few inexpensive interior cabins, but they are few in number, and are on the 1st deck, mingled amongst the crew.) Our cabin was roomy, had extensive storage space, and everything in the cabin and the bathroom worked perfectly. The TV monitor included channels for a bow camera and a GPS map. The cabin speaker could be switched off or left on to hear announcements and the Riverlorian talks. (Our Duchess cabin, #213 was an inside cabin, on the 2nd deck. The boat has a large number of these relatively inexpensive cabins. Our cabin seemed a little claustrophobic, with minimal storage. The bathroom was fine, but oddly situated 10" above the cabin floor. Not so hard stepping up, but very awkward stepping back down. The cabin had a speaker, but it had no controls and was never on. The TV had no bow camera or GPS map.) ENTERTAINMENT: On ACL's America, entertainers were local groups from each stop, performing in the main lounge. Some groups were excellent, some not so much. (Duchess has a small house band and a troupe of professional entertainers, who perform in a theater-style lounge with an elaborate lighting and sound system. They were very versatile -- shows ran the gamut from Broadway to Country & Western to 50's Rock & Roll. Their performances were consistently excellent. Bottom line: AQSC's Duchess has the better entertainment. TOURS: With ACL, there is one tour starting time, and all the buses leave the ship at the same time, and everyone returns at the same time. The tour guides were knowledgeable. We were provided with excellent maps of the town if we wanted to walk around on our own. The day before, the Riverlorians would always have a session to explain the upcoming tours and the historical significance of the stops. (AQSC uses a "Hop-On/Hop-Off" system, which worked great. Three buses ran a continuous route covering several stops. Each bus had a local tour guide in addition to the driver. The guide would explain the first stop, then let those who wanted to do that stop get off (that was usually most of the bus). Then the guide would explain the second stop to those remaining, and so on. Having three buses and only a few stops meant that no-one had to wait very long for the next bus. Very explicit maps were provided for the tours, and each stop was marked with a prominent placard -- very hard to get lost. There are staggered start times and a kiosk reservation system, so that the entire ship isn't out there waiting for the first bus to leave.) Bottom line: The AQSC system is far more flexible. COMFORT: The weather was cold, but all the common areas of America were kept at a very comfortable temperature. (Our biggest gripe with Duchess was...it was SO DARNED COLD! The two dining rooms, the Lincoln Library, and the theater were OK, but all the common areas averaged around 60 degrees F (my estimate). The "Perks" snack bar was frigid, as were all the hallways and common areas. The only places to sit when not eating or attending a stage show were in these cold common areas.) Bottom line: More comfortable on ACL's America. VIEWING THE SCENERY: America features three well-appointed large lounges -- one facing forward, two facing aft --featuring 270-degree views of the outside in each lounge. (On Duchess, there was virtually no place where one could sit and watch the scenery glide by (other than at mealtimes). None of the common area seating had windows, except for the snack bar, which had two. Outside, there were only a few rocking chairs, without cushions -- of course, on our cruise, it was too cold to go out there. The top deck was closed, and the outside part of the second restaurant was too, most of the time. Yes, those with balconies could see out, but only a narrow slice of view straight to the side.) Bottom line: Better viewing on America. Riverlorians: The America had several Riverlorians -- two were also theatrical performers, and one was the great-grandson of Jefferson Davis. All gave superb lectures. (Duchess had one full-time Riverlorian, who also performed as a musician, plus one Riverlorian-in-training. For the most part, the lectures were excellent.) Bottom line: Better Riverlorian experience on America. CLEANLINESS: Our room on America was thoroughly cleaned early each morning. We also noticed that the common areas were constantly being dusted and swept. One day I discovered that an oily soot (presumably from the exhaust) had just appeared on the upholstered furniture on the upper decks. After attending a lecture, I returned to find that all the soot had been removed. (I didn't notice any problems in the common areas on Duchess; our cabin, most of the time, was well taken care of.) GLITCHES: Everything on America worked perfectly, from embarkation to daily newsletters and everything in between. (Initial Duchess reviewers reported numerous problems in ship operations. However, we saw no problems; apparently their "shake down" bugs have been eliminated.) DISCOUNTS FOR CRUISES BOOKED WHILE ON BOARD: ACL offers one of the biggest discounts I've seen: 15% plus elimination of port charges. (AQSC offers a relatively meager $200 for booking on-board.) OVERALL: The spaciousness and quality decor of AQSC's Duchess is impressive. And had the ship been at 100% capacity, I think it would not have seemed crowded. But if ACL's America had been at 100% capacity, I think it would have seemed very crowded, at least in the main lounge. Still, considering the excellence of the ACL lectures, happy hour, and the overall "comfortability" of the ship, I would have to give the edge to ACL's America. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2017
Roomy cabin (#303); excellent food, entertainment, common areas, staff & excursions. Very clean, quick to accommodate special requests of any type, New ship (April 2016). All common areas are very clean, attractive, inviting and ... Read More
Roomy cabin (#303); excellent food, entertainment, common areas, staff & excursions. Very clean, quick to accommodate special requests of any type, New ship (April 2016). All common areas are very clean, attractive, inviting and beautifully furnished, as was our stateroom.Food was plentiful, delicious, attractively presented, with lots of choices, excellent service. Variety of entertainment, always good. Definitely most all passengers age 60+ but very active. Very nice, but limited fitness room. I used it several times as there is no outside deck to walk laps all around the ship. Nice 6 hole putting green. All staff friendly and upbeat. We did the upper Mississippi River cruise - relaxing, beautiful scenery, saw lots of bald eagles up close We definitely made the right choice of ship and itinerary. We arrived in St. Louis 3 nights early to explore that city. Drury Plaza Hotel was excellent and in a great location for walking to several sights. Everything including embarkation and disembarkation went smoothly. Highly recommend! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2017
Lovely ship, excellent meal and room service, interesting tours (we did the upper Mississippi River). There was a wide variety of entertainment with something different provided each night. Dancing was encouraged, but the wooden floor was ... Read More
Lovely ship, excellent meal and room service, interesting tours (we did the upper Mississippi River). There was a wide variety of entertainment with something different provided each night. Dancing was encouraged, but the wooden floor was very sticky for whatever reason. Very efficient embarkation and disembarking as well. Ship was built last year, 2017, and was lovely. Shore tours were included and very well done. We honestly could have spent a full day at each port, but these tours did a great job of exposing one to new areas of interest. In our opinion, this ship was not the place for children. There were many seniors, the average age for certain. Rooms were spacious and had ample room for clothing. The food was most elegantly presented and very good. Nice to actually be a passenger on a ship built in Salisbury, MD and whose crew was entirely American-a first for us of our 20 river and ocean cruises worldwide. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2017
WE spent 7 wonderful days and nights on the America. We enjoyed learning and seeing more about the MS River, including the 24 locks and their operation, everchanging scenery and wildlife, especially the high bluffs in Minnesota and the ... Read More
WE spent 7 wonderful days and nights on the America. We enjoyed learning and seeing more about the MS River, including the 24 locks and their operation, everchanging scenery and wildlife, especially the high bluffs in Minnesota and the bald eagles there. We started in St Louis, Missouri and finished in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Trip included a precruise night at the Drury Plaza Hotel, located right at the St Louis Arch which made touring the day before very easy and interesting. We went on a Mark Twain themed cruise so we had the pleasure of 2 nights of entertainment by Richard Garey as Mark Twain plus a walking tour in Hannibal Missouri. River experts were on board with us to point out interesting places as we went up the River. They also had several interesting presentations about the" Great River" and life and industries along it. Towns along the way that we visited included Davenport Iowa, Dubuque, Iowa, Red Wing, Minnesota and La Crosse, Wisconsin. Onboard food was superb and was served by a young,enthusiastic and very personable staff. Other shipboard personnel and managemenet were terrific, too. Staterooms are spacious and well appointed and the bathroom is roomy. Great cruise! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2017
We've always wanted to enjoy an upper Mississippi River cruise aboard a stern wheeler and particularly looked forward to the Mark Twain themed experience. Having enjoyed ocean and destination sailing under our own command, a small boat is ... Read More
We've always wanted to enjoy an upper Mississippi River cruise aboard a stern wheeler and particularly looked forward to the Mark Twain themed experience. Having enjoyed ocean and destination sailing under our own command, a small boat is a must for us and "America" fit our needs perfectly. With about 160 passengers, she was small enough to provide a sense of being in a boat rather than a floating hotel and she was also large enough to provide wonderful service, cabins, lounges, decks, and cuisine. Ours was a deluxe veranda on the fourth deck, starboard side. This deck provides not only a wonderful observation area with assorted seating forward but also the beautiful "Skylight Lounge" and observation deck aft. The latter was our go to place for cocktails and hor doerves before dinner. There are no add-on expenses aboard "America". An open bar with top shelf spirits and reasonable wines before dinner was a prelude to the wines and beer available at all meals. The food exceeded my expectations: daily "Eggs Benedict" options included salmon, crab, and crayfish. At both lunch and dinner, the chef offered three choices for main courses all of which we found beautifully presented, more than ample in quantity, and of high level restaurant quality. The service was plentiful and enthusiastic, the entertainment both educational and enjoyable, the excursions well planned and worthwhile. Richard Garvey was our on-board "Mark Twain"; his presentations were fabulous offering not just Mark Twain as entertainer, but also Mark Twain as an astute observer, humorist, cynic, and citizen of the world. This was an adult only cruise; we met many wonderfully interesting and interested fellow travelers and would definitely consider another ACL cruise in the future. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2017
Timing and route. couldn't fault the staff and ship. Everything worked. Superb hard working crew and cruise director. Food as good as it gets and we have done 60+ such cruises since retiring 20 years ago . We did several optional pay ... Read More
Timing and route. couldn't fault the staff and ship. Everything worked. Superb hard working crew and cruise director. Food as good as it gets and we have done 60+ such cruises since retiring 20 years ago . We did several optional pay extra excursions and thought some over priced. additionally,would like to have heard more commentary on the "passing parade" given that we sailed more than 1600 miles amongst one of the great waterways of the world. note this is just a suggestion, not a criticism on what was truly a wonderful travel experience , great ship and superb all- american crew who looked after we guests who were allseniors as if we were family. After dinner musician entertainers were mostly themselves seniors who played the stuff relished by our own generation. as a former muscian i rate most of what i heard as "intrumental virtuoso". Well done american cruise lines. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2017
Terrific cruise of “COMPLETE MISSISSIPPI” – August 4th thru 26th From New Orleans to Saint Paul MN (8 states in 22 days; 21 nights) on the paddle wheeler (fake) “America” operated by American Cruise Lines ... Read More
Terrific cruise of “COMPLETE MISSISSIPPI” – August 4th thru 26th From New Orleans to Saint Paul MN (8 states in 22 days; 21 nights) on the paddle wheeler (fake) “America” operated by American Cruise Lines (ACL); launched in 2016; has 185 passenger capacity but we had only 137 passengers on board. The Cruise Critic's professional review (https://www.cruisecritic.com/reviews/review.cfm?ShipID=1182 ) was spot on but I would add my observations and opinions: • The itinerary was FANTASTIC for us (a photographer and an American history buff). DW shot about 300 photos on her phone and more on her professional camera (numerous eagles, herons, pelicans, cormorants, and others plus wonderful antebellum houses). Every port had interesting aspects; some were stunning! I loved the discussions (lectures) and the ports. The excursions were well done with very good local tour guides and with a Cruise Director or an Asst. CD accompanying on the buses (with restrooms). • Clientele is “older”! We had maybe 2 under 60 and several over 90. Many with mobility issues; the staff handled the situations well. Clientele was also “well-heeled”, well-traveled and congenial. • The formal entertainment was very enjoyable. The on-board “Riverorians” were terrific (better than Smithsonian’s lecturers on Regent Seven Seas Cruises) – discussions were about the Louisiana Purchase, cotton/slavery, Civil War, steam boats, immigration to the West, and controlling the Mississippi River water via dam/locks and dredging. Discussions were held in a spacious, comfortable, family room-like venue. The after dinner entertainment (about an hour) was music (jazz, Dixieland, blues, country, and “oldies”- that had some fantastic performers). • Cabin was best that we had on a river cruise – spacious, quiet, bright, with lots of storage drawers and a small but adequate closet. Bathroom is “cozy” but well-lit and well-ventilated with adequate storage and a nice shower with instant hot water. • Food (of course subjective) for us was good; baked goods were SUPERB, per my wife the baker and me the taster. Breakfast was better for me than what I had on "Luxury" cruises. Lots of complimentary wine (mostly California) and beer (some local) during lunch, “Happy-hour”, and dinner service. • Downsides? Yes! -The staff is American college “kids” for which service is surely not going to be a career. We came to expect at least one gliché per day in either dining or house-keeping. -The cruise is “pricey” as it is an American- registered boat that must meet all U.S. maritime regulations. - There is no Doctor or Nurse aboard. Read Less
America Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 5.0 4.7
Dining 4.0 4.8
Entertainment 4.0 4.3
Public Rooms 4.0 4.8
Fitness Recreation 1.0 3.5
Family 1.0 3.5
Shore Excursion 4.0 4.5
Enrichment 5.0 4.4
Service 4.0 4.7
Value For Money 4.0 4.3

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