Being seasoned cruisers on ocean sailing lines, we were interested to try out the American Cruise Line's style of cruising the inland waterway enabling us to visit seaside towns that we'd never otherwise see on a big ship. ACL charged a much higher price but offered a lot less for the money. We already were prepared for a smaller ship with less amenities but found it even more lacking in service, activities on board, and shore tours. Yes, we're used to crew from all over the world, many from countries where they rely on tips from good service to feed their families but it was downright disappointing in how lacking this all American crew was. There were a few exceptions like deckhand Sean and waiter Kevin but for the most part it was seriously lacking. There were several meals where I'd get something other than what I ordered and/or something as routine as chocolate ice cream or bagels was out of stock. Routinely we'd have slow dining service to the point that ice cream ordered for dessert sat on a tray melting into soup while our waitress chatted.
I was on this cruise with someone who'd previously sailed on ACL but when he tried to request the referral credit for use on this sailing, they couldn't figure out how to apply it. Their first solution was to give it as a credit toward another sailing but that was unacceptable since there was no way of guaranteeing we'd want to come back for another sailing. It took reaching out to a supervisor who learned that their first offer was because the computer had closed out our reservation having paid in full and no one knew how to get back in to apply the credit. We happily accepted the supervisor's offer of comping the referrer's tours for this voyage instead. First leg of the cruise, we get a bill for not only both of our tours but also for ones we never took! The hotel director cleared the charges once we showed the supervisor's confirmation. Second leg of the cruise, we get a bill for both our tours again and joined a line half the ship long only to show the hotel director the same confirmation. She cleared the new charges after that as well.
Several activities on board were either scheduled and never happened or scheduled for times when passengers were off on tours. Other days, the tours were the only thing scheduled for the bulk of the day. Yes, this was the cruise director's first time handling this itinerary but she was majorly misinformed about the ports we were visiting. Rather than tell a passenger that she'd look into the answer to their question, she'd tell them an answer only to say the opposite later on. There were days we'd be told there's no shuttle for those just wanting to head into town on our own. Then hours later she's announcing that the shuttle will be departing in 20 minutes. Upon arrival at one port, the local tour guides and our cruise director were telling us about all these places to check out on our tour. Come to find out during our tour that half of the places promised to visit are closed because they are always closed on Mondays. It'd be one thing if it was simply bad timing because the places were closed due to construction or repair but to be suggesting something every other local we talked to knew was closed on the day we'd be in port?
Cabin was as expected for a smaller ship and a regular balcony cabin. Balcony had room for two straight chairs and a small table. Room had two beds, two nightstands, a desk and chair, dresser, and two regular chairs. Small closet so we mostly just hung pants and coats keeping the rest in drawers. Bathroom was typically small for a cruise ship with a walk in shower. Surprised at how few towels we were given. Major downside was the lack of bathroom cleaning we noticed. Some days we never had our bathroom cups replaced. Every couple days we'd find hairs still on the floor or in the shower. At one point, Dad developed a blister on his foot and would unknowingly leave marks on the floor as he walked out of the shower. Those marks remained on the floor. Repeatedly, we had ants crawling along the baseboards and around the floor of the bathroom. A couple times even coming out of the shower drain.