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America Cruise Review
4.0 / 5.0
Cruise Critic Editor Rating
107 Reviews

Disappointing Yet Expensive!

America Cruise Review by Hawaiian Mongoose

1 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: Oct 2018
  • Destination: North America River

We chose this cruise because it was an opportunity to cruise the entire Mississippi River. That did not happen. The river levels were high all summer long, and we understand that itinerary changes caused by weather are routine.

However, ACL started notifying us of a change of the embarkation port from St Paul MN, to Memphis TN only 4 days from departure.

Instead of attempting to put our thoughts in a narrative, I will instead provide the pros and cons in an abbreviated list.

The only compensation offered was repayment of additional travel costs and $2,000 credit towards a future cruise. We of course will not be cruising with ACL in the future.

PROS:

Very good meals, always fresh, lots of variety, minimal repeated menu items, good regional selections, and great pastries/breads/desserts

Great dining room service

Cabin service very good

Beer, wine, happy hour very well done

First guest lecturer excellent, both educating AND entertaining

Guest musicians very good to great

Memphis pre-embarkation Hotel (Peabody) excellent

Ship generally very clean with many public areas

Really enjoyed the limited daylight sailing time on the river

CONS:

Highest per night price paid in our 60+ cruises

ACL definitely did NOT live up to slogan “Small Ship Cruising Done Perfectly”

Bad Business practices at corporate:

Embarkation changed from St Paul to Memphis due to high water levels

However, Mississippi River levels were high all summer

Per Tour Director on board, ACL did only one cruise between July & October to Upper Mississippi River

Therefore, change at the very last minute was unnecessary. It could have been done sooner.

ACL began itinerary notification just 4 days before cruise start, notification process haphazard at best, no details provided, no assistance offered

Few notified as late as 24 hours before embarkation, at least one cabin never notified (they caught up on their own half way through the cruise)

Suspect late notice to minimize cancellations and insurance payouts

Many further last minute itinerary changes once on board although river conditions remained unchanged (high)

Disappointing choices of alternative ports

Missed St Paul & Red Wing MN, Dubuque & Davenport IA, La Crosse WI, Hannibal & St Louis MO

Added New Madrid MO, Chester Il, Paducah KY, Greenville MS, Houmas House LA

Cape Girardeau added and dropped

No ACL representative at Memphis airport/hotel, no information provided on pre-embarkation times or meeting locations

Guests from two ships (ACL & American Queen) staying at Peabody and hotel staff not informed about ACL guests

As you can imagine, the timing and manner of the last minute change was a steady conversation subject throughout the cruise

Corporate Hotel Director Steve Benson sailed with us for three days, yet he only spoke to scattered groups of guests during that time, and he took NO NOTES

Promises made by corporate telephone sales staff never transmitted to ship, sales staff requested our drink choices, kept information in folio, but never passed on information, also said on board staff would do guest laundry, they don’t

On board Hotel Director/Cruise Director/Tour Director staff inexperienced, unresponsive, unprofessional, untrustworthy, unable to make decision without asking corporate

High on board staff turnover, many visibly unhappy

Poor inventory management aboard, on 14 night cruise, with daily port stops, ran out of butter, cream cheese, bananas, yogurt, selected beers, etc.

Shipboard Wi-Fi service very slow, even in port

Embarkation poorly done, check in handled while guests waited aboard three coaches by only ONE staffer, using paper listing and checking off names with pen

No muster drill

Guests could not start safety video on TV

Tours disappointing or non-existent:

Most frequent were shuttles from levee into town and coach tours to plantations/museums, many done on our own

Did not dock in St Louis, and 90 minute each way coach tour did NOT include Gateway Arch or time to visit on our own

Graceland tour poorly handled, passing out mansion tour tickets resembled a rugby scrum

Disembarkation poorly handled, luggage collected on pier only partly covered by tarps in heavy rain

City tour/drop off coach guide unprofessional, and made inappropriate political remarks & moral/social observations

Luggage unloaded at drop off and not secured, guests kept from leaving bus to maintain visual contact with luggage


Hawaiian Mongoose's Full Rating Summary
Cabin
Onboard Experience
Enrichment Activities
Value For Money
Embarkation
Dining
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Entertainment
Shore Excursions
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Cabin Review

We had a balcony cabin on deck 4. It was equivalent to a ocean balcony cabin, not as big as a mini-suite. Bathroom was adequate but not large, balcony was the same.


Port & Shore Excursion Reviews


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