This was our 11th cruise with American Cruise Lines so we are clearly fans of the concept and experience. You have to understand what you are buying into - same price as Silversea, etc. but a totally different vibe. Yes, wine and beer at lunch and dinner, but nothing high end and very limited selection. One day the bulk chardonnay was not unpacked and the next day it was not chilled. Yes, some top shelf spirits at 5:30 cocktail hour. You book this cruise line for a domestic cruise experience without international airports, very small ships, the opportunity to socialize with other well traveled adults, and get acquainted with the robust young American staff. We will go again - already booked for September in New England - but there were some niggling problems this trip which made my overall rating Very Good instead of Excellent. The chef on this trip was excellent and the food was wonderful. Beverage service, i.e. water and coffee was slow and sometimes we had to ask multiple times for refills or even first cup of coffee with dessert. Pastry chef was great - don't miss the chocolate fudge layer cake, now seems to be a weekly American Cruise Lines tradition on any trip. We picked the same waitress at most meals and she was sweet but undertrained and we had to ask several times for butter, hot sauce and other things which should have been on the table. Ports were small southern towns and there was lots of scenery and quiet traveling. The musical entertainment every night was special and professional - we loved the Victory Belles and the Dan Knowles/Eddie Coffey duo. A real plus this year was extra golf carts in the ports for transport over rough terrain (river levees) to the tour buses - a much needed benefit for a somewhat older traveling crowd.
Cabin was spacious with plenty of drawer space. Closet is tiny with few hangers; I always bring hangers from home. Bathroom is small but our shower had been remodeled with a glass door instead of a shower curtain; other cabins still had the curtain. Our cabin steward did a great job refreshing the cabin twice daily.
The bus tour we were on was extremely disorganized and we arrived a various stops at the wrong times for our appointments. Waited 45 minutes to see the ducks at the Peabody Museum - what a waste. Plus the speaker's voice was awful. Should have stayed behind for morning cookies and relaxing on the boat.
We stayed at the Intercontinental (courtesy of American Cruise Lines). It was wonderful. We ate right across the street at Luke and it was a great dining experience with terrific food and service.
We did a self guided walk through the plantation and skipped the house tour this time because we had seen it before. We got a complimentary mint julep and I was able to take one back to my dad on the boat, since he can't walk very far. This was a very generous experience.
Almost missed our bus for city tour because lunch was running late. Later on we walked around ourselves and got a private tour - from the valet parking guy! - of a beautiful hotel created in a historic bank building complete with bank vault. The highlight for me was finding three friendly cats in a landscape architect's garden. Next trip I'm packing some cat treats just in case.
We enjoyed the Rosedown Planation and tour. It was fun to see the local housing but the shopping stop at Grandmother's Buttons was a waste.
We went to the JN Stone House and it was lovely to hear the history of a home which has been in the same family for many generations. The owner's piano concert and music history lesson was interesting and we enjoyed meeting his friendly little dog. We also took the shuttle around the little town and then did some walking on our own. The murals on the waterfront are beautiful and worth studying.
The local guide on the Vicksburg shuttle was friendly and interesting. The trip was Vicksburg Military Park was a long uncomfortable bus ride with a speaker who clearly knew a lot, had a lot to say, and packed the narration to tightly with facts that my head was spinning and my neck was sore from trying to look in all directions as we passed the various monuments at breakneck speed. Even so we were almost last back to the boat for sailing (although they never would have left without a full bus load of guests) - I grabbed the cruise line's Cruise Director at the last stop and reminded her of our sailing time so she cut the tour guide off and gathered us up to return to the boat.