My wife and I selected this cruise simply to relax in pleasant weather exploring a new part of Florida for us. We arrived the day before the start of our cruise with an overnight stay at the Hyatt Regency Jacksonville Riverfront allowing us to enjoy the pleasant weather and St. Patrick Day activities at Jacksonville landing and good seafood at Benny’s Steak and Seafood Restaurant on the St Johns River. This also allowed for a short five minute walk to board our American Cruise Lines (ACL) ship, the American Star, for embarkation which was simply a matter of showing your photo ID and walk on to the ship.
During the week the American Star cruise up the St Johns River (south as the river flows north) with stops in Palatka FL and Green Cove Springs FL returning down river (north) to pass thru Jacksonville and travel south on the intercostal waterway to St Augustine FL than north stopping at Fernandina Beach/Amelia FL than on to Brunswick GA before cruising back to Jacksonville FL for disembarkation. My favorite time onboard was spending time on the Sun Deck while cruising, enjoying the great weather (highs in the seventies with lows at night in the high fifties and no rain the entire week), watching the scenery go by and spending time with our pleasant travel companions while learning about the wildlife, history and key sites from our guide Charlie Petrocci and Captain Dennis Stokowski.
Our cruise Director Jim Leary did an excellent job handling all of our shore excursions with my favorite of the trip and one of the best I’ve experienced being our Lady Jane Shrimp Boat Tour which took us trawling through the Marshes of Glynn, south of St Simons Sound (near Brunswick, GA) learning about the shrimping industry and our catch from our three, fifteen minute trawls consisting of shrimp, blue crabs, spider crabs, puffer fish, horseshoe crabs, skate, amberjack and various other sea creatures. Also memorable was the Alligator feeding at the Alligator Farm & Zoological Park in St. Augustine FL and the Carriage Tour in Green Cove Springs, FL.
Cabin was larger than those generally provided on other cruise ships at the same category. Bathrooms are spacious which is definitely a plus.