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American Splendor (formerly America) Review

4.0 / 5.0
Editor Rating
132 reviews

Mixed experience

Review for American Splendor (formerly America) to North America River
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zxty
10+ Cruises • Age 80s

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Sail Date: Oct 2021
Cabin:

PRE-CRUISE -- This bucket list cruise was from Red Wing Minnesota to New Orleans, the entire Mississippi River. There was an included pre-cruise Hotel night at the St. Paul Hotel. The hotel was great! However, we were responsible for our own airline tickets and our transfer from the airport to the hotel. We each then had a Covid swab test prior to boarding the next day. The hotel concierge was great! Not only did he suggest a great Japanese restaurant for dinner, but he helped us find a store where we could get a power cord for my wife's computer that she had forgotten. The included breakfast was very good. If only the rest of the cruise had been as good as the hotel stay.

THE SHIP -- Leaving the hotel for the trip to the cruise ship (about 45 minutes away in Red Wing, MN) was fine. American Cruise Lines (ACL) has their own busses which traveled along the river and met us at each port. The boarding process at Red Wing went well for both us and our luggage. The room was OK. It was a bit smaller than the rooms we usually reserve on Regent Seven Seas (our perferred ocean cruise line) and not as luxurious, even tho price per day is comparable to Regent. The room had a Missippi River theme to it, which was fine. The bathroom, while on the small side, had a decent-sized shower (much larger than the showers on Princess but smaller than the showers on Regent. There was no tub (to be expected) and one sink. Workable, but not special. The room had a comfortable bed and pillows, a writing desk and a dresser that could hold a week's worth of clothes (a week's worth is all you need as there is a free self-service laundry available). A TV sits on the dresser. There are also a couple of chairs. It was clean and well maintained during our 15 day cruise.

After we had boarded the America, we were told that an electronic control for either an engine or the steering (I forget which) was not working properly and we would be delayed while it was fixed. None of the passengers had a problem with that. Speaking of safety, there was no safety drill and life jackets were not available in the cabins. I asked about it and was told that the deepest part of the Mississippi is only about 9 feet, so even it the America was to sink and rest on the river bottom, the majority of the boat would still be above the water. Unfortunately, the crew was not able to fix the electronic control, and we were told that a part and a technician would be boarding a flight in Portland Oregon to fly to Minneapolis to fix the boat. This was on Saturday. We did not get underway until Monday, and missed two of the ports. To their credit, ACL had a tug boat follow us to St. Louis to provide help in case the control went bad again. Fortunately, we did not need to tug's help. Later during the cruise, ACL gave each passenger a letter explaining that, due to the delay, we would receive a 25% discount on a future cruise. Every passenger that I talked with believed that was fair compensation for our delay. Then, later in our cruise, we all sat thru a presentation about the Eagle Society, ACL's program for repeat cruisers. This was a stock presentation given to everyone on every ACL cruise. This presentation offered a 15% discount on any future cruise booked prior to the end of the current cruise. So I added up the 2 discounts -- a 25% discount for our delay plus a 15% standard discount for booking during the current cruise and came up with a 40% discount! That is a good deal indeed, so my wife and I went about choosing our next ACL cruise! Alas, ACL lied to all of us. The maxium discount was only 25%! 15% for booking on this cruise, plus only an additional 10%, not the stated 25%, as compensation for our 2 day delay. I sent an email to the hotel director, but it was ignored. When I confronted him, he claimed to have never received it. Right. I resent it and waited while standing next to him until he received it. I asked him to send it to and discuss it with ACL Management ASAP. Again, I did not receive a response. Needless to say, I will not ever cruise with ACL again.

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