We had been wanting to visit Butchart Gardens and found this to be an opportunity to visit the Gardens and take a small ship cruise at the same time. It was all we had hoped for. Small ship cruising is wonderful if you're older and love to be pampered. ACL did everything possible to make our trip amazing. Attendants were ready to unload our bags and put them in our stateroom when we first arrived. Food was outstanding. All dietary concerns by other passengers were met and as we had no dietary restrictions we were able to enjoy all they offered, which was more than generous. Every meal had numerous selections and we didn't find any that weren't delicious. You couldn't go wrong. Service was by young people very obviously training for the hospitality industry. If they made a mistake, which was rare, it was promptly and pleasantly corrected. On board entertainment was more than adequate, very enjoyable. Quite a bit of jazz music but of good quality. We would have loved to hear a little gospel or country music interspersed, but what we did have was very good. So, just a personal preference, sure others were completely satisfied with onboard entertainment.
Amy, the onboard naturalist was outstanding. Shared all her knowledge with us in an informative yet very understandable and NOT boring manner. Excursions were well worth taking, all of them, even the freebies!! This was a tulip themed cruise and the tulips were gorgeous. The few complaints we heard onboard were from the same people each time...you know those people that no one can please. The captain mingled with the guests and was a joy to be around. Cruise director extremely helpful and immediately took care of any needs. Only recommendation we might give is to take a long a few extra hangers. There were 12 in our closet and they probably would have furnished us more if we had asked, but we were glad we'd brought some. Do think it was a little "pricey" but there also were no gratuities to the onboard staff...basically prepaid...love that. Snacks in the lounge area were the best we've ever seen. Plenty of sodas, coffees (even decaf), fruits and packaged snacks + hot cookies every morning. We're going again. Can't wait. Met 3 other couples that we're going with. Enough said!
We were late making our reservations so there were no balconies available, which we were used to on large ship cruising. However as cool as it was, sitting on the balconies was not really much of an option so we didn't miss it at all. Our cabin was very large and the bathroom was roomy. What a joy compared to large ships. It was also spotless all the time...most important to us! + was comfortable, not "fancy", but roomy, clean, and comfortable. Had comfortable chairs to sit in. TV reception was great most of the time with numerous channels, including Fox News and ESPN. Noise of any kind was not a factor, just be sure to place your "Do Not Disturb" sign on your door at night or they might want to make it up a little early.