Our misadventure on America Cruise Line’s America started when, instead of boarding in St Paul and cruising to our first port, Red Wing MN, we were bussed to Red Wing. The tour of Red Wing on Sunday was far too short to really see what we hoped for because we had to set sail for the next port, Winona, MN, at noon. Winona was not originally on our agenda but we were told it would be substituted for another port due to high waters down river. Winona was a nice town to walk around in but it was Monday and many shops were closed and most folks we talked to did not seem to know we had docked riverside the night before. We had to be back by Noon again to set sail for La Crosse, WI. La Crosse is a beautiful vibrant town and it was fun to explore but we were again back by 1230 to set sail for Dubuque IA. Dubuque hosts the National Mississippi River Museum and Aquarium. It is an incredible place to visit but because we had to set sail by 1230 we had scant time to fully appreciate the wonders of the many exhibits. Davenport has many historical sites and amazing history. We chose to visit the John Deere Pavilion because this company has played such a significant role in American farming. We would have loved to see more of the city but again we set sail at noon. On our way to Hannibal on Friday we encountered the major obstacle to our trip. The river was too high for us to pass under the Railroad Bridge North of Hannibal so we turned around and surprised the residents of Quincy IL with our presence. There is not much to do in downtown Quincy as businesses have moved to the suburbs but we did get to see the town square. Last bus from the town square back to the ship was at 430 but it never came so 15 of us were stranded in town. Calls to the numbers provided by the ship on the first day went unanswered. Eventually one enterprising passenger called the ACL 800 number where he was eventually forwarded to a customer service representative. He explained our situation and she told us she had additional numbers for the ship and she put him on hold. When she returned she said transport was on the way. Thirty minutes later with no shuttle in sight he called the number customer service had provided and read them the riot act. Soon a Salvation Army van arrived and the weary, hot, and tired passengers were taken back to the riverboat. The next day the Hannibal tour was accomplished by bussing everyone to Hannibal from Quincy. The Itinerary called for an overnight stay in St Louis to allow us to do as we pleased. We planned to visit the St Louis “Gateway” arch, tour the museum beneath the arch, visit the 150 year old St Louis Courthouse, part of the Gateway Arch National Park, and dine in one of the famous restaurants close to downtown. High water kept us in Quincy so passengers were bussed to St Louis for a tour of the city. The tour, plus the five hour roundtrip bus ride replaced the overnight in St Louis and eliminated any chance of seeing the real sights of St Louis. Finally we are on our way down river but alas we still cannot fit under the bridge so we tied up by a grain elevator just north of the bridge and spent the day and night in limbo. I wish we had gone back to Quincy so we could get off the ship for a while. We have spent Friday, Saturday, Sunday and now Monday waiting. Tuesday and we are under the bridge but we will sail by Hannibal and St Louis. Our next stop is Memphis. In the meantime we are out of items such as butter and running low on water. Passengers are asked to conserve by not asking for clean towels or doing laundry. Garbage is being stored on the aft landing of deck three. The great happy hours before dinner are out of some brands of liquor and water at dinner is served in small bottles. The after dinner entertainment now consists of the movie “Splash” rather than enjoying live bands. Memphis is now in sight and excursions consist of either a tour of the Memphis highlights or a “Deluxe Graceland Signature Tour”. We chose to see Graceland and, while no fault of ACL, it just complimented the entire cruise. Tickets were printed with the original date for our visit and had to be reprinted so we lost an hour waiting on the bus. This left us less than three hours to see the mansion and all of the various exhibits. To cap off our visit Graceland lost power so many of our passengers were left in limbo for more than an hour trying to get back to the buses. By the time we finally departed we were 1 ½ hours late and our sailing delayed. Our next stop was Vicksburg. We spent the entire day there. The battlefield tour was scheduled for 230 and when everyone returned we set sail for our next port, Natchez, MS. Home to more than a dozen antebellum mansions. Alas we sailed past Natchez and the advertised “southern-inspired” dinner was nowhere to be seen. Surely we will stop at Baton Rouge. It is the state capital and has the tallest state capital building in the US. The Governor’s Mansion is a replica of the White House and has been used as such in numerous movies. Yes, we did stop in Baton Rouge but not to tour this amazing city but rather to board buses with our luggage so we could again be bused—this time to New Orleans. Luggage was placed near the road and passengers had to drag their suitcases across the railroad tracks to the bus. Our plan was to disembark In New Orleans and drop our luggage at our hotel and immediately go to the World War II Museum. Nope, not gonna happen. The bus trip included a three hour tour of New Orleans. A nice tour but when it ended it was almost noon and the drop off point was in front of the downtown casino. Once again we dragged our bags, this time to the front of the casino hotel to get a cab to our hotel. It was too late to spend any meaningful time at the museum so we used the remainder of the day to simply recover from our trip. The Good. The America is fairly new. The bathrooms are larger than on most cruise ships. In room coffee is from keurig pods. The public spaces are large and well lit and the cocktail hours were well attended. The lectures are informative. The crew were both friendly and competent. The Bad. There were no alternate plans when we became marooned north of Hannibal. Dinners were bland in keeping with the fact that the average age of passengers was 70+. Sailing time was almost always at noon or 1230. At first I thought that was because they only traveled the river during daylight but that turned out to not be the case as we sailed at night the last several days. There seemed to be no good reason to spend so few hours in every port. We missed many ports of call and when asked if ACL might offer some sort of recompense or discount for a future cruise, like so many cruise lines do when plans go astray, we were simply told that the river height was an act of God, no future discounts. All in all, this was the most expensive cruise we have ever been on and the worst.

Our Grand Misadventure

America Cruise Review by wickenburg_man

Trip Details
Our misadventure on America Cruise Line’s America started when, instead of boarding in St Paul and cruising to our first port, Red Wing MN, we were bussed to Red Wing.

The tour of Red Wing on Sunday was far too short to really see what we hoped for because we had to set sail for the next port, Winona, MN, at noon. Winona was not originally on our agenda but we were told it would be substituted for another port due to high waters down river.

Winona was a nice town to walk around in but it was Monday and many shops were closed and most folks we talked to did not seem to know we had docked riverside the night before. We had to be back by Noon again to set sail for La Crosse, WI.

La Crosse is a beautiful vibrant town and it was fun to explore but we were again back by 1230 to set sail for Dubuque IA.

Dubuque hosts the National Mississippi River Museum and Aquarium. It is an incredible place to visit but because we had to set sail by 1230 we had scant time to fully appreciate the wonders of the many exhibits.

Davenport has many historical sites and amazing history. We chose to visit the John Deere Pavilion because this company has played such a significant role in American farming. We would have loved to see more of the city but again we set sail at noon.

On our way to Hannibal on Friday we encountered the major obstacle to our trip. The river was too high for us to pass under the Railroad Bridge North of Hannibal so we turned around and surprised the residents of Quincy IL with our presence.

There is not much to do in downtown Quincy as businesses have moved to the suburbs but we did get to see the town square. Last bus from the town square back to the ship was at 430 but it never came so 15 of us were stranded in town. Calls to the numbers provided by the ship on the first day went unanswered. Eventually one enterprising passenger called the ACL 800 number where he was eventually forwarded to a customer service representative. He explained our situation and she told us she had additional numbers for the ship and she put him on hold. When she returned she said transport was on the way. Thirty minutes later with no shuttle in sight he called the number customer service had provided and read them the riot act. Soon a Salvation Army van arrived and the weary, hot, and tired passengers were taken back to the riverboat.

The next day the Hannibal tour was accomplished by bussing everyone to Hannibal from Quincy.

The Itinerary called for an overnight stay in St Louis to allow us to do as we pleased. We planned to visit the St Louis “Gateway” arch, tour the museum beneath the arch, visit the 150 year old St Louis Courthouse, part of the Gateway Arch National Park, and dine in one of the famous restaurants close to downtown.

High water kept us in Quincy so passengers were bussed to St Louis for a tour of the city. The tour, plus the five hour roundtrip bus ride replaced the overnight in St Louis and eliminated any chance of seeing the real sights of St Louis.

Finally we are on our way down river but alas we still cannot fit under the bridge so we tied up by a grain elevator just north of the bridge and spent the day and night in limbo. I wish we had gone back to Quincy so we could get off the ship for a while. We have spent Friday, Saturday, Sunday and now Monday waiting.

Tuesday and we are under the bridge but we will sail by Hannibal and St Louis. Our next stop is Memphis. In the meantime we are out of items such as butter and running low on water. Passengers are asked to conserve by not asking for clean towels or doing laundry. Garbage is being stored on the aft landing of deck three. The great happy hours before dinner are out of some brands of liquor and water at dinner is served in small bottles. The after dinner entertainment now consists of the movie “Splash” rather than enjoying live bands.

Memphis is now in sight and excursions consist of either a tour of the Memphis highlights or a “Deluxe Graceland Signature Tour”. We chose to see Graceland and, while no fault of ACL, it just complimented the entire cruise. Tickets were printed with the original date for our visit and had to be reprinted so we lost an hour waiting on the bus. This left us less than three hours to see the mansion and all of the various exhibits. To cap off our visit Graceland lost power so many of our passengers were left in limbo for more than an hour trying to get back to the buses. By the time we finally departed we were 1 ½ hours late and our sailing delayed.

Our next stop was Vicksburg.

We spent the entire day there. The battlefield tour was scheduled for 230 and when everyone returned we set sail for our next port, Natchez, MS. Home to more than a dozen antebellum mansions. Alas we sailed past Natchez and the advertised “southern-inspired” dinner was nowhere to be seen.

Surely we will stop at Baton Rouge. It is the state capital and has the tallest state capital building in the US. The Governor’s Mansion is a replica of the White House and has been used as such in numerous movies.

Yes, we did stop in Baton Rouge but not to tour this amazing city but rather to board buses with our luggage so we could again be bused—this time to New Orleans. Luggage was placed near the road and passengers had to drag their suitcases across the railroad tracks to the bus.

Our plan was to disembark In New Orleans and drop our luggage at our hotel and immediately go to the World War II Museum. Nope, not gonna happen. The bus trip included a three hour tour of New Orleans. A nice tour but when it ended it was almost noon and the drop off point was in front of the downtown casino. Once again we dragged our bags, this time to the front of the casino hotel to get a cab to our hotel. It was too late to spend any meaningful time at the museum so we used the remainder of the day to simply recover from our trip.

The Good. The America is fairly new. The bathrooms are larger than on most cruise ships. In room coffee is from keurig pods. The public spaces are large and well lit and the cocktail hours were well attended. The lectures are informative. The crew were both friendly and competent.

The Bad. There were no alternate plans when we became marooned north of Hannibal. Dinners were bland in keeping with the fact that the average age of passengers was 70+. Sailing time was almost always at noon or 1230. At first I thought that was because they only traveled the river during daylight but that turned out to not be the case as we sailed at night the last several days. There seemed to be no good reason to spend so few hours in every port. We missed many ports of call and when asked if ACL might offer some sort of recompense or discount for a future cruise, like so many cruise lines do when plans go astray, we were simply told that the river height was an act of God, no future discounts.

All in all, this was the most expensive cruise we have ever been on and the worst.
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Cabin Review

Cabin 322
The cabin was roomy and comfortable. Small closet but large bathroom. Coffee maker in the room was Keurig with ample pods.

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews