After a long travel hiatus due to COVID restrictions, we four retired teachers splurged on a Mississippi River cruise with #AmericanCruiseLines at a cost of $25,000. We were promised the opportunity to see plantations, military battle fields and historical sights between New Orleans and Vicksburg. What we got was two nights moored to a muddy beach on the Yazoo River near Vicksburg, unable to leave the ship, and four more nights at a similar dock in Natchez. We arrived in New Orleans on August 26, with no forewarning that Hurricane Ida was less than 60 hours away. ACL had not warned us, given us an option of traveling at a later date, or addressed the impending hurricane in any manner. People in New Orleans assured us they had known about Ida for more than a week. But ACL chose money over the lives of their passengers and crew. Very little info was shared with passengers as we bypassed planned stops and hurried inland. There was an absolutely forgettable two hour bus ride through Baton Rouge where everything was closed and we had to deal with traffic jams as the locals scurried to exit the city, and that was pretty well it for the remainder of the journey. Half of the passengers left midway (we couldn't get a rent car or we would have done the same). The rest of us were bussed to Jackson where we scurried to find new flights, and those unlucky enough to have driven to New Orleans were on the bus another five hours before being dumped on the dock in a city with no gasoline, no power. And what did ACL offer in recompense for our stressful, disappointing experience? 25% off a future cruise, the same discount as we would have gotten if we had booked a second cruise while onboard. They wouldn't respond to emails or phone calls. The cruise director told me to call their customer service number, and Diane answered, telling me she was in sales and didn't know OR care about what had happened on the cruise. She refused to let me talk to anyone else. The experience and ACLs lack of response was beyond disappointing.
The cabin was comfortable with good storage for clothing. The beds were new, although we were not that impressed by the quality. The maid service was excellent and the room was very clean. There was a slight smell of sewer gas throughout the ship, and was especially bad on the first floor and in some of the common areas. Crew told us that the smell was especially bad in their cabins, and they hadn't figured out the source. Our friends had the only handicapped accessible room on the ship, but had to change after the first night because the sewer smell was overwhelming. Because it was the inaugural voyage, many of the finishing touches (like the exercise room) were incomplete. The crew did their best to make up for the deficiencies we encountered while traveling.