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American Melody Review

-- / 5.0
Editor Rating
21 reviews

Mississippi River Cruise from New Orleans to Vicksburg

Review for American Melody to the USA
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2-5 Cruises • Age 70s

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Public Rooms
Fitness & Recreation

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Sail Date: Aug 2021

There are few things I like to do more than travel, and cruises are my favorite way to go. Unfortunately, our seven day vacation (theoretically from New Orleans to Vicksburg Mississippi and back) was one of the most stressful, disappointing, and unpleasant cruises I have ever experienced. It wasn’t the ship…it was new and spacious, staff were hard at work trying to keep it clean, the food was excellent, and the COVID protocols were enforced. Our complaint is with American Cruise Lines and the decisions made at the corporate level when our departure date and Hurricane Ida both hit New Orleans at the same time. ACL executives knew, or should have known, well in advance about the dangerous storm bearing down on New Orleans but they chose not to notify passengers and give us the option of cruising at a different time. Instead, when we arrived at the dock, we found everyone scrambling to get out of New Orleans before the Category 4-5 hurricane arrived on Sunday morning. Virtually all of the scheduled stops along the river were boarded up and closed down, and with the projected path of the storm following the Mississippi River, it is fair to say that we were EXTREMELY worried about what would happen if the eye of the storm went over us as predicted as we were moored in Vicksburg for two days, unable to leave the ship. Beyond that, we had no idea how we would be able to return home at the scheduled conclusion of the trip with the New Orleans airport closed and the entire city without electricity. The onboard staff worked hard to keep us entertained, but our “cruise” was halfway over by the time the eye (barely) curved to the east of us and there were few options for shore excursions. More importantly, there was no information on how we would be able to return home on Friday. In addition to two days stuck on a muddy beach near Vicksburg, our only other stop was four days in Natchez with little to do. This cruise was very expensive compared to other options…more than twice what we paid to explore the fjords of Norway on our last cruise. I understand that American Cruise Lines can’t control the weather, but they CAN control how they respond to passengers who felt cheated and disappointed. They get an F for communicating with passengers while we were on board, an F for putting their profits above our safety, and an F for follow through to give us the trip we paid for. We made phone calls, sent emails, mailed letters (as did our travel agent) and got absolutely NO response from anyone. A form letter told us that we could have a 25% discount due to our “troubles,” which is the same discount we would have gotten had we booked a second cruise while we were on board. It wouldn’t have cost American Cruise Lines a cent to have done the honorable thing since their cruises are not full, and they would have gained loyal customers eager to travel with them again. We were able to rebook our flights from Jackson, but the two dozen or so couples who had left their cars in a car park in New Orleans had to endure a lengthy bus ride back to New Orleans where they were told they would disembark at the dock. When they begged the ship’s crew for an alternative, since there was still no electricity, hotel rooms, water or gasoline available anywhere in New Orleans, the crew just had to tell them that their hands were tied…it was what the corporate office had instructed them to do. The measure of how good a company is is not how they treat you when everything is going smoothly. It is what they do and how they react when emergencies occur.

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