I was a passenger on the Louisiane river boat on a 14 night cruise from New Orleans on 26 October to Nashville. I had to leave the boat after 1 night as a result of catastrophic plumbing failure. The boat owner and operator, FRENCH AMERICAN LINE (FAL) HAVE REFUSED TO CONTRIBUTE ONE DOLLAR TO OUR REFUND. Our travel insurer has refused to pay because the Louisiane boat “was not fit for purpose”.
I have been forced to go to court in the UK and claim a refund from Kevin Griffin, a Director of FAL.
When my wife & I arrived at the Gretna dock after lunch on 26 October, we discovered our sailing had been delayed but the terminal building had no toilets, no seating, no refreshments, no water and no where to safely store our cases. We wasted a day that we could have used exploring New Orleans.
When we finally boarded the boat hours in the evening for our special drinks party, we had to drink sparking wine from cardboard cups because there were not enough glasses. Then we all had to leave the boat and queue up on the dock again because the crew had failed to record the names of passengers when we first boarded contrary to the maritime regulations.
Shortly after we entered our cabin the wardrobe door fell off and it was obvious that the boat refurbishment had been rushed and not properly finished. When I flushed the toilet it flowed continuously & very noisily. I reported the fault twice but the engineer was too busy with other problems to help us. The toilet flushed continuously all night making it difficult to sleep. Other passengers reported toilet problems so it was not surprising that the sewer tank overflowed, flooding the lower deck.
We tried to use the elevator but that was not working – we are senior citizens who would not have used this boat if we known the elevator was unreliable.
The boat looked beautiful from a distance but this was not the quality four star experience shown in the FAL adverts and brochures. The staff were helpful but obviously inexperienced and had received limited training.
We want give a special thanks to Regina Charboneau who opened her home to the passengers on the first 2 evenings away from the boat. She provided us with fabulous food and hospitality at short notice in the true southern spirit – the highlight of our holiday.
Advise staying at least 2 nights in New Orleans to explore the city as we did. A good time of year to visit - dry, warm and not too humid.
Will be good when refurbishment is complete. Wardrobe door fell off. Exposed light bulbs in bathroom because cover of light fitting missing. Most of the ‘luxury’ items that we were promised were missing from our stateroom cabin – no iPad, no phone, no TV, no safe, no robes, no slippers, etc.