We chose to arrive in Juneau two days early expecting some cooler temps only to be greeted by 80 degree plus temps in a city that does not have an air-conditioner in any commercial establishment including our hotel, Ramada by Wyndham which would not be my first choice of a hotel in Juneau except for the very good restaurant connected to it.
Embarkation on June 29th was welcome and flawless. Our luggage was picked up at our hotel and we were off for a morning visit to the Mendenhall Glacier. By the time we reached the ship late morning my luggage was in my large clean single balcony cabin. I had good closet and drawer space and there was a personal safe in the room. All the meals were excellent with good choices including vegetarian at every meal. In between meals soft drinks, juices and snacks were always available with warm cookies and 10:00 am every day. Happy hour horderves were delicious and plentiful. On this particular trip we had several multi-generational families traveling together so we had some young school and college age people on board which was nice, and I think even though most of the passengers were 60 + they appeared to enjoy themselves and fit in nicely.
The combination of shore excursions and time on the ship in Glacier Bay and Tracy Arm was perfect. Orcas and Humpbacks entertained us, the cultural interaction in Kake informative, and the narrow gage train out of Skagway great fun.
The on board lectures were OK, and many enjoyed the "art classes" which were a big hit. Our entertainment consisted on one very talented pianist who was able to play and entertain us with a full variety of music. The Hammer Museum in Haines was interesting for me as my family's antique hammers were on display. The "dock" walk in Petersburg revealed how commercial fishing is big business and the fireworks the night before spectacular. Two of the signature excursions, rafting in Haines, and fishing in Petersburg were limited so some folks were not able to participate. This was my third small ship trip to SE Alaska so my expectations were high, and I was not disappointed.
While the American Constellation is one of the larger small ships to cruise SE Alaska, because of her maneuverability she was able to go where the much smaller ships go, I think our Captain enjoyed the sights as much as we did as he was expert in positioning the ship with the assistance of the bow and stern thrusters to permit maximum viewing for all. The ships officers were very professional.
The all America, mostly college age, dining/cabin stewards and deckhands were delightful to get to know. Though they were not as experienced as found on ships registered and cruising outside of the United States, they were always eager to please. Our weather was perfect the entire week except for the Juneau heat and the haze from the wild fires up north, and happy hour on deck in the Alaskan sun was fun. Because there wasn't WiFi or phone service except in a couple of places, it was good to disconnect and just enjoy the trip. Many disembarked very early and took to complementary airport transfer early in the morning at 5:15 am. A second transfer was offered at 8:15 am. Because of our late flight out of Juneau we were able to wait in the lounge on board until it was time for our taxi at 10:00 am.
I have taken multiple trips with American Cruise Lines, and I am booked on another. I only wish they had more places to go in the US as I'm running out of itineraries.
Great mid-ship single cabin with balcony.