13 American Cruise Lines America Cruise Reviews

CABIN: see "Cabin Review" below "Raitings" DINING: If you are a foodie, expect to be disappointed. The food was generally good and the quantity sufficient. The service was inconsistent and often sloppy. Mostly ... Read More
CABIN: see "Cabin Review" below "Raitings" DINING: If you are a foodie, expect to be disappointed. The food was generally good and the quantity sufficient. The service was inconsistent and often sloppy. Mostly young adults who work long hours and try hard, but do not have adequate training and supervision. EMBARKATION: The usual cattle car of moving us from the hotel to the boat (there being by tradition no "ship" on an inland waterway in the USA). When we got to the ship we were left to ourselves to find our own cabin. ENRICHMENT ACTIVITIES: The lecturers were generally knowledgeable. They often doubled as the evening's entertainers. ENTERTAINMENT: Appropriate for the size of the vessel. They brought aboard some fun acts. FITNESS & RECREATION: There is a small but reasonably well equipped exercise room. Other than back-n-forth in a passageway, there is no place to do walking laps of any significant distance without incorporating staircases. ONBOARD EXPERIENCE: Their slogan is "Small ship cruising done perfectly." My wife and I have cruised on HAL, Oceania, Regent, NCL and Sebourn. This set a high bar for "done perfectly" that our experience aboard did not come anywhere close to achieving. The staff was mostly young, often well-educated young adults, at least several of of whom are working the job to make more so they could return to school. They generally had a pleasant, helpful attitude, but the experience they delivered was inconsistent. For example, we ordered a fairly basic breakfast (generally yogurt, fruit, English muffin, bacon and juice) in our cabin about six times during the course of the cruise. It was delivered by at least four different staff members. Not once was everything we ordered with accompanying items (e.g. one day there was no bowl into which to pour box of cereal). And on one occasion our order got misplaced so we received no cabin service. On balance, we are not foodies. We would rather have friendly, well-intentioned service than snooty, precise service. What was most important to us was seeing cruising the river. While major itinerary changes (discussed further down) were a significant disappointment, the boat itself is a great platform on which to tour the American heartland. It's ability to nudge up again the shore and drop its bow gangway so that we could go ashore was excellent. It was wonderful to watch the shoreline scroll by. Had we been trapping under cover by bad weather the experience would have been a serious disappointment, but like high water on the Mississippi, that is beyond ACL's control. PUBLIC ROOMS: The boat has three not counting the dining room. In particular, the one on the second deck aft was cozy. On both the second and forth deck aft there was always an assortment of snacks, iced water, ice and soft drinks available. The public space on the fourth deck aft also made a coffee maker for cappuccinos, lattes, etc. that worked about 50% of the time. SERVICE: (Read ONBOARD EXPERIENCE above.) Again, most of the staff was young and seemed inexperience, but was friendly and wanted to be helpful. I can forgive a lot of technical mistakes in exchange for a friendly, can-do attitude. SHORE EXCURSIONS: We did several. As with tours the world over, they varied depending on subject matter and guide. My wife went on one tour she described as awful. Talking to people at dinner who had been on two other buses, they had enjoyed the same tour. None of the tours were 'special access' or anything we could not have done on our own if we had been land-cruising in our car. VALUE FOR MONEY: This was an expensive trip. Our expectations of it were set high both by the original cruise itinerary and ACL's assurance of "Small ship cruising done perfectly." The shortfall in the latter having been covered above, I will focus on the former. Our cruise itinerary was badly compromised by the high level of water in the upper Mississippi River. During the first week of our two-week trip, new bits of bad news were rolled out to us almost daily. This was not done well, nor were the solutions for cancelling three ports on the Mississippi imaginative, instead turning the boat into a very expensive hotel by elongating our stay in a couple of cities. Intellectually I can appreciate to logistical issues ACL faced, but in the end what saved the trip was good weather so that we could enjoy our top priority of seeing the river. - - - - - When I think about the numerous trips we have taken all over the world, my primary metric is the overall experience from the time we leave our home until the time we return. There are always good and bad components. Some of each involve arrangements we have made ourselves that are totally beyond the control of the primary service provider - in this case American Cruise Lines. In this review I have tried to remove such influencers from my review to distill out what was within ACL's reasonable control. - When booking the trip, we wanted to arrive at the hotel from which we would embark a day early. Unlike any other cruise line we have ever worked with, ACL categorically refused to help with extending our stay. We were advised to make our own reservation, then ask the hotel not to move us to a different room for the pre-embarkation night. - Six days before our embarkation, I got an e-mail message advising us that the embarkation point had changed from St. Paul, MN to Louisville, KY and we should change our travel plans accordingly. When my wife called to ask if ACL could help extend our stay at the Louisville hotel, she got the same answer - NO. On the plus side, during the course of our cruise I was advised that ACL had arranged for us to be reimbursed by the hotel for our additional night. - Had I not seen the e-mail about the new embarkation point, I can only speculate about ACL's actions to communicate the change to me. I do know for a fact that the message came with not request to acknowledgement of receiving it, so ACL had not idea of who had read the e-mail making me wonder whether some passengers literally missed the boat. - As the itinerary continued to dissolve, some leadership from the captain would have been re-assuring, but we heard little from him. I speculate that in Memphis we had a change of captain, but I cannot be sure because he never said a word to us over the PA system. - Two of the itinerary changes - Cape Girardeau and St. Louis - were surprising in that they were announced at the last minute. It struck me as sufficiently odd that ACL did not have shore-side intelligence to keep them better informed of local situations. It was not as though river high changes overnight, yet in the case of Cape Girardeau, ACL would have us believe that no one knew we could not do a port visit until AMERICA was steaming along the city's flood wall. - With the numerous itinerary changes and lack of imagination in a revised itinerary it was difficult not to devolve into conspiracy theories. These were exacerbated by things such as having to be back aboard in Natchez after only a half-day there, yet arriving at our next port at 10 PM that night. Why couldn't we have spent the whole day in Natchez and cruised to the next port later into the night? I have prattled on enough for the reader to get a sense of our cruise, so I will stop. There are no doubt some spelling and grammatical errors above, but I've run out of time to edit them. Hopefully they do not interfere with the points that I have tried to make. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
Even though the weather the beginning of March was not optimum, we enjoyed this cruise. Unusual cold front and towns we visited had temperatures only in low to mid 50's. Certainly not American cruise lines fault. A little rain and ... Read More
Even though the weather the beginning of March was not optimum, we enjoyed this cruise. Unusual cold front and towns we visited had temperatures only in low to mid 50's. Certainly not American cruise lines fault. A little rain and overcast. But it was a sightseeing cruise not a beach one. Weather didn't cancel anything (except a little too chilly to sit on balcony). Pre-cruise night was spent on ship instead of hotel. It was Mardi Gras time in New Orleans. Hotel didn't want to put ships passengers up. We got an extra day on ship with meals and entertainment. Food was good. Variety on menu adequate. It was suggested we preorder lunch and dinner at breakfast. We never did this. Always had room service breakfast. Never a problem for us at lunch or dinner not preordering. Wait staff was excellent as were everyone else who worked on the ship. Top rate. Can't praise them high enough. Cabin was a nice size as was the bathroom. It was clean. Only problem was the balcony, there were a few balconies with drains (if I knew i would have requested one). Because of all the rain a few days before the cruise, the balcony had at least an inch of water on it. Maintenance came twice to sweep it out. But as I stated previously, it was a little too cold to sit out on the balcony anyway. Entertainment was good. Beer, wine, soft drinks included with lunch and dinner. Open bar and cocktail hour with appetizers at 5:30 p.m. in lounge before diner. Open bar again at 8:00 p.m. before entertainment in lounge that continued till about 10:00 p.m. Then everyone (including us) went with last drink in hand to cabins. You weren't chased out of lounge. Could have stayed there. People just didn't. As for the age group of the passengers. We are both retired in our 70's, mobil without use of cane or walker. I would say the majority of the passengers were like us. Our dinner table was comprised of six people. Youngest was 63. Oldest was 83. Other four 70ish. So passengers were seniors, but a dancing bunch (had bands with dancing two nights) who also wanted to enjoy themselves and not sit home and vegetate. The few with walkers (I think I saw two wheelchairs) were at the cocktail hours and entertainment. There were very interesting lectures about the civil war and the Mississippi River. Art classes, card games. A small fitness room. Ellipticals, bikes, other exercise equipment. It was lacking a treadmill. On the review I gave to the cruise line, i told them my one complaint was no treadmill. one was needed. Actually it is my only complaint. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
Recently returned from a Mark Twain theme cruise from Minneapolis/St. Paul to St. Louis. Cruise line great for seniors as excursions are low key requiring very little effort. Food and menu choices are very good. Service by an all American ... Read More
Recently returned from a Mark Twain theme cruise from Minneapolis/St. Paul to St. Louis. Cruise line great for seniors as excursions are low key requiring very little effort. Food and menu choices are very good. Service by an all American crew is excellent; and tips are included in the cruise cost. Entertainment was marginal at best except for the Mark Twain portion. This is our second ACL cruise and we will be taking more in the future. Overall experiences: Embarkation and disembarkation very smooth; stay at Hotel for one night prior to sailing included and St. Paul Hotel is 1st Class. Cabin size adequate for two very well laid out with plenty of room for your "stuff". Dinning times flexible with good food and great service although sometimes slow. Excursions okay, suitable for most any senior but not very exciting unless one likes looking at buildings in mid-western towns. John Deere Pavilion and St.Louis Arch were highlights of this trip for us. Overall service from our all American crew was excellent. The entire staff did not know how to say no! TV reception and internet access/speed not good and needs improvement. Port stops were rushed so that no or little time was available to explore port cities on foot after shore excursions were completed. Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
I just got back a few days ago from a cruise on the America. I was on the four night Highlights of the Mississippi, which is a round trip out of New Orleans to Baton Rouge. I will do this in sections: I’m a solo traveler, not a ... Read More
I just got back a few days ago from a cruise on the America. I was on the four night Highlights of the Mississippi, which is a round trip out of New Orleans to Baton Rouge. I will do this in sections: I’m a solo traveler, not a foodie, who was looking to this trip to simply relax. Not really into excursions and certainly not a foodie. I have the taste buds of 12 year old. The room: I had a single balcony. Compared to rooms on standard cruises, it was a palace. It was larger than a standard stateroom. For those who share my coffee addiction, the room had a Keurig to make your own coffee in. The walls are thin though, so if you are the “early to bed” type, bring some decent ear plugs. For those of you used to regular cruises, the bathroom will be a pleasant surprise. It was a decent sized and had a real shower with a glass door. I had read how unreliable the wi-fi was, but had good luck with it except for one morning. The boat: It was nice, and plenty of comfortable places to relax. With only around 180 people on the boat, no place was ever crowded and if you wanted solitude you could find it. There were 2 lounges which the staff did an excellent job of keeping stocked. Coffee, soda, juices and snacks (Sun Chips, peanut butter crackers, breakfast bars, that type of thing), and an ice machine. The ship had laundry facilities – 2 washers, 2 dryers, Tide pods and dryer sheets. Exercise room. 2 bikes and 2 elliptical machines, plus 2 other machines for weight training. The food: This was the only negative for me, and there isn’t much to do about it. There is only one choice on the ship, and that is to eat in the dining room. I did miss being able to choose just having a quick lunch at the buffet or the deli on a regular cruise. When you eat on the boat, you are making a commitment to typically 60-90 minutes as you have an appetizer, entrée and dessert to get through. Each evening dinner was at 6:30 p.m. and at 5:30 you could get drinks and snacks in one of the lounges. At dinner, there was a bottle of white wine and a bottle of red wine on the table. You can bring whatever alcohol you like on board. They don’t have any place to purchase drinks. The food itself was OK (I’m not a foodie). You typically had 2 choices for the appetizer, 4 for the entrée (one being Vegan), and 2 choices for dessert. The wait staff worked hard. You could get room service breakfast, and I never did that so can’t speak to it. Usually an hour before breakfast in the dining room, they put out muffins and juice in the lounges, so that ‘s what I ate. I only did breakfast in the dining room once. I was very concerned about the dress code, and some people did dress up for dinner in the dining room, but not everyone. Where what makes you happy. The hotel before the cruise: I stayed at the Intercontinental in New Orleans. Very nice hotel and a great experience. When I checked in I was given a packet with my cruise information. I could get into my room right away, and there was even a fruit plate, a bottle of water and a piece of chocolate waiting for me. Not sure why as no one else seemed to get this (maybe left from the previous guest Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
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
Sail Date October 2017
Stress free time. Very low effort excursions (primarily nicely narrated bus trips). Pretty ship, with comfortable cabin. Food was well made and tasty; single seating meals at open seating tables for 6 or 8. We sat with a different group ... Read More
Stress free time. Very low effort excursions (primarily nicely narrated bus trips). Pretty ship, with comfortable cabin. Food was well made and tasty; single seating meals at open seating tables for 6 or 8. We sat with a different group within the 120 passengers every night. Guests skewed a bit older than most cruises - probably because of the cost, itinerary, and ship - but enough in their 50s and 60s to provide a good mix. Entertainment was single, duo, or trio musical acts. Some for two nights in a row. One show nightly. The ship pretty much closes down at 9 PM when the entertainment is finished. A surprising caution is that this line did not provide options for passengers disembarking who had mid-afternoon flights in St. Louis ... other than taking the one bus to the airport at 8 AM and spending 6+ hours at the airport. We decided to go up in the Arch, heading to the airport closer to 11 AM, and even storing our luggage for that period of time was a bit of a challenge. Read Less
Sail Date July 2017
My dad chose this cruise for our family. He has traveled extensively and taking a river cruise on the Mississippi has been something he has wanted to do. He made it possible for the 14 family members to go on this trip. This was my ... Read More
My dad chose this cruise for our family. He has traveled extensively and taking a river cruise on the Mississippi has been something he has wanted to do. He made it possible for the 14 family members to go on this trip. This was my husband and my first small cruise ship experience. The smaller ship experience allows you to get to know the staff better and your fellow passengers. Our experience in the dining room was so personable with our dining stewards and the hotel managers. The cuisine was excellent and the pastry chef went out of her way to make our 2 six year old nieces kid friendly desserts. The other chefs made peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, chicken strips, chocolate milk surprises for the kids. We were all impressed at their creativity and desire to make these girls trip a good one. You'll never go hungry on this cruise. There aren't too many options for excursions on the lower Mississippi so what was available was nice. The history lessons we received from these excursions were interesting. Overall a very nice experience Read Less
Sail Date May 2017
I always wanted to visit the birthplace of Rock 'n Roll, Memphis, and this seemed the ideal way to get there from another of our favourite spots, New Orleans. From the time we checked out of our pre cruise hotel we were very well ... Read More
I always wanted to visit the birthplace of Rock 'n Roll, Memphis, and this seemed the ideal way to get there from another of our favourite spots, New Orleans. From the time we checked out of our pre cruise hotel we were very well taken care of by one one the American Cruise Lines hostesses who escorted us onto our transfer bus and from there we were welcomed aboard with a glass of "Bucks Fizz" and music from a small jazz combo. From there on it was all fun, good food, drink and entertainment. Every member of the staff was warm and friendly, the stops and tours were most interesting, backed up by Bill, an interesting "Riverlorian" who told tales of that river and the history of the civil war. He really was a first class entertainer. The highlight if each day was the cocktail hour at 5.30 every day where one could drink any kind of beverage for an hour and nibble away at delicious hot and cold snacks. Indeed, so good were the snacks it sometimes made it difficult to do justice to the excellent fare on offer for the evening meal at 6.30. As Europeans we found cocktails and dinner were served a little earlier than we were normally used to, but as they say "When in Rome do as the Romans do!" It wasn't that much of a hardship, in fact all the meals were excellent, good sized portions, well prepared food and drinks included in the package. It really was an all inclusive trip. The only small criticism we had was that it was sold to us in the UK as "Jazz Themed Cruise" and although there was some jazz it somehow got changed to a "Music Cruise" which was a little disappointing, though a comedienne/singer called Judy Davis was the outstanding star of the week. It was my 80th birthday during the week and again all the waiting staff went out of their way to ensure that I had a truly memorable dinner. In summary we would rank it as one of the best holidays we have taken. Thank you American Cruise Lines. Read Less
Sail Date April 2017
We [retired couple] took the cruise because we wanted not only to visit NOLA again, but also see the Mississippi and environs along the lower river which we have never visited. That it was a paddle boat and recently built was a plus ... Read More
We [retired couple] took the cruise because we wanted not only to visit NOLA again, but also see the Mississippi and environs along the lower river which we have never visited. That it was a paddle boat and recently built was a plus [although the paddle is just window dressing :-)]. Having the day ahead in New Orleans was terrific [we added a few more days ahead of time too, American Cruise Lines did a great job coordinating], but the transfer by them from hotel to boat was one of the more disorganized efforts I've experienced in moving people from one place to another. They need to work a lot on that. The trip itself, visiting the cities and venues, the food, service and side trips included were really great. We were more than satisfied and would cruise with them again. One note, on this boat stay away from cabins 201 - 206: right next to entertainment lounge and PA system for entertainment usually from 8 to 9:30 pm and in the afternoons could be heard in those rooms: muted, but still heard. Read Less
Sail Date March 2017
We wanted to see America in a pleasant, relaxed atmosphere. We wanted no long flight. We wanted good food, good company (The passengers were interesting, active, and well educated.), and interesting sights. (The plantations were quite ... Read More
We wanted to see America in a pleasant, relaxed atmosphere. We wanted no long flight. We wanted good food, good company (The passengers were interesting, active, and well educated.), and interesting sights. (The plantations were quite interesting and the grounds were impressive. The guides were excellent.) We got all of those. It is a lovely, new boat, which is very easy to get around,with a great historian that had excellent presentations about the Mississippi, good entertainment and well seasoned and beautifully presented food. (The dining area is noisy.) The cruise needed some polish to details, like specific details for embark and debarked and the wait staff was under trained. We suggest you ask lots of questions especially if you are a first timer cruiser. We enjoyed seeing The Mississippi River and its small towns. I plan to sit down and do a cost comparison to other cruises so I can decide if extra cost one sees equals hidden cost of other cruises. We got what I wanted. Some might be disappointed because of cost. Each traveler should know what they want. Relaxed, small verses lots of choice, big. I like both. We are going on NCL Escape for New Year. Read Less
Sail Date November 2016
This was our third American Cruise in less than 2 years. This spring we cruised Puget Sound, and the year before the Florida Rivers. The only disappointment this time was the lack of sound proofing between our room, 511, and a crew ... Read More
This was our third American Cruise in less than 2 years. This spring we cruised Puget Sound, and the year before the Florida Rivers. The only disappointment this time was the lack of sound proofing between our room, 511, and a crew member. We were awakened each morning by his alarm clock, 527am, 447am, etc. We could almost hear what was being said on his TV. On the other side of us we could hear the neighbors voices and their TV. We hadn't experienced that on the other ships. America is a brand new ship, and didn't expect that, especially in a premium room. Very disappointing. I had gotten the idea from other passengers that they didn't hear anyone. Also, I thought the ship was full or I would have mentioned it to the Colin, the Hotel Manager. When I did tell him at the end of the cruise, he was sorry I hadn't come to him sooner, because he could have moved us. I was sorry too. The other disappointment was the din in the dining room. At a table for six I was unable to hear the person across from me without leaning way into the table, and I don't have a hearing problem. It was constant, and during the cruise there were others complaining about it. We are taking the Chesapeake Cruise on the maiden voyage of the Constellation next May and hope this problem will not occur again. We love your crews, food, itineraries. Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
This trip was all that we expected and we enjoyed it very much. The America is a beautiful river boat. We found the boats tours very good--they gave us a good overview of life in the South along the River in the in the 1800's and ... Read More
This trip was all that we expected and we enjoyed it very much. The America is a beautiful river boat. We found the boats tours very good--they gave us a good overview of life in the South along the River in the in the 1800's and now. We stayed at the Roosevelt in New Orleans for a couple of nights pre-cruise and The Peabody in Memphis post-cruise which also added a lot to our trip. Don't miss the World War II museum in New Orleans and Graceland in Memphis. Some have written about the quality of service in the dining room--these are mostly college age young people and what they lack in experience they make up for with enthusiasm. We found the food very good and to American tastes. We are experienced ocean cruisers and found river cruising very enjoyable. If you reserve another cruise while on board they give you a 15% discount. We enjoyed this enough that we signed up for a 14 day East coast inland waterway cruise this Spring. Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
The pace on the river was perfect. The mix of day light and night time cruising was very good. Lots to watch along the shore including a variety of birds. Staff was very friendly and available. Cabins were comfortable and there were ... Read More
The pace on the river was perfect. The mix of day light and night time cruising was very good. Lots to watch along the shore including a variety of birds. Staff was very friendly and available. Cabins were comfortable and there were lounges and deck chairs if we wanted more space. Boat was new and very clean. Given the newness of the boat I was surprised the beds were sunken toward the middle. Food was very plentiful and always very tasty. Several options were provided for each meal, including half portions. Presentation was excellent. They were very open to special requests and accommodating to passengers with handicaps. There was always snack food and drinks available between meals. Selection of evening musical entertainers could have been better. Educational presentations were interesting, but not necessarily a match for the area we were cruising, nor were they entirely accurate. Excursions left promptly. Shore time was limited to 4-5 hours and could have been extended a bit. Some tours seemed rushed. Overall, I enjoyed the cruise very much and would recommend them to others looking for a relaxing trip. Read Less
Sail Date September 2016
America Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 5.0 4.4
Dining 4.0 4.3
Entertainment 4.0 4.0
Public Rooms 4.0 4.4
Fitness Recreation 1.0 3.2
Family 1.0 3.2
Shore Excursion 4.0 4.1
Enrichment 5.0 4.1
Service 4.0 4.4
Value For Money 4.0 3.8

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