This was my first cruise with ACL. A friend invited me to join her and I gladly accepted. All my other cruises had been ocean cruises so I was excited about this new, river experience. We boarded the ship on July 4th in Memphis. I was immediately impressed by the beautiful décor and the friendliness of the staff. We were served a delicious lunch and set sail that afternoon. The first disappointment came when no tribute was made to our nation. We did have an Elvis impersonator perform that night, which was average at best. All day the 5th we cruised and were treated to delicious food and mediocre "historical" presentations. The gentleman who was the cruise historian had very limited knowledge of all the topics I heard him present. He was tied to google and most of the his presentations were read and nothing that I couldn't have read myself. I finally quit going to the presentations. We docked in Paducah, Kentucky late the afternoon of the 5th and, I spent a very pleasant day (July 6) in Paducah and returned to the ship, happy and ready to move on down the river.
July 7th we passed from the river into Lake Barkley in Kentucky. Around 1:30 pm, the ship veered from the well marked channel and ran aground on a sandbar. No explanation was ever given as to why we ended up in this situation. The rest of that day our "excursion" was watching tug boats try to figure out how to push or pull us out. All night long the engines vibrated, trying to remove us. It made for a sleepless night. By noon on the 8th we were ask to conserve water and not take showers because water had been drained to try to make the boat lighter. Around dinner time, the subject of removing the passengers was finally addressed. We were told to pack our bags and leave them outside the door for pickup during the night. We were leaving the boat early the next morning. Friday, July 8th, we were told to take our bags to our room . We had to return to our rooms, staying away from all windows. Meanwhile, the boat was pulled and pushed as tugs tried to remove it from its muddy home.
Late the afternoon of the 8th, we were removed from the ship on pontoon boats during a very frightful thunderstorm. Rain, wind and lightening accompanied us to shore. There was a bus ride to Nashville, lousy hotel food and an attempt at a tour of Nashville which were all terrible.