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My overall experience was great. Staterooms are spacious and comfortable. Staff and Crew were extremely helpful, polite and professional. This is my first small ship cruise and won't be my last. I felt like a guest and not a number. Everything was convenient to get to, not like the large ships where there is no personal touch. I will never take a large ship cruise again. Soft drinks, coffee, tea and snacks are available 24 hours a day in two very inviting and comfortable lounges. My only negative was that the food in the dining room was over-salted. The food was delicious and well presented.
As far as excursions go, I enjoyed all of them. However, when we docked in Natchez, the shuttle took us to town where we shopped for gifts, etc. When we asked one man where the best place to shop was, he suggested the Trading Post on Canal Street. The shuttle didn't stop there so we walked to it. It was the best place to shop and we were greeted with coffee and hot chocolate when we went in. Their prices were good, sometimes half the price of other gift shops, and they have a large selection of truffles, pralines, gifts, souvenirs and local food stuffs. I highly recommend American Cruise Lines.
This was our first cruise on ACL, and we honestly cannot express how wonderful this cruise was, nor how attentive the crew (from the Captain on down) was throughout our time on Board! We were so impressed, that before leaving the ship we booked a follow-on cruise on the lower Mississippi River! We have been on a host of large cruise ships, as well as, a number of small river boat cruises throughout Europe. All these have been great, but the experience we enjoyed on this ACL riverboat cruise was really exceptional!
The entire crew (from our very outgoing & engaged Captain, to his Department Heads, to the gracious Dining Room staff, to our very committed stateroom attendants, to the dedicated deck and engine room staff) were all absolutely focused and committed to customer service. Our stateroom accommodations were perfect; the food was superb and wonderfully varied throughout our time onboard; and the excursions and nightly entertainment offered were awesome! Within 10 large & small ship cruises under our belt -- this cruise was clearly our best cruise experience to date!
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This past October I took my 7th cruise with ACL - their Cumberland River cruise from Nashville, TN to St. Louis. Due to river flooding north of St. Louis our final port was at Chester, IL. However, ACL took us by coach to St. Louis for a tour of the city with a stop at the magnificent Basilica. On the way back, since we would not arrive in time for lunch on the boat, we stopped at the Blue Owl restaurant in Kimmswick. It was terrific. Dining was excellent although a little slow (hence 4 stars), and excursions were interesting. Anyone expecting "young people" entertainment on these cruises has not done their homework as the clientele is mostly retired age. I've met some wonderful people on these cruises, and accomodations have been top notch. I much prefer the small boat experience over large ships where you are an afterthought.
ACL does an excellent job, and that's why I keep coming back for another cruise. Next, the New England Islands this summer. Previous cruises are Maine Coast & Harbors (favorite), Historic South (#2), Snake & Columbia River, Upper MIssissippi, and Ohio River. Some complaint about the itinerary being changed due to river conditions - folks, this is completely governed by the weather and rivers. ACL has done an excellent job of adding new stops or altering the excursions provided both times I have had a trip altered by river conditions. Yes, their price is a little higher than other cruise options, but remember you're on a small boat with a more personal experience. I have yet to have a bad experience with them.
Our experience was fabulous from the pre-cruise hotel to the disembarkation in Portland. The ship was christened in 2018 and is in A-one condition. Our room (AAC) was a bit small but nicely decorated and comfortable. The lounge areas were beautifully decorated and comfortable. The onboard historian Bill Wiemuth was terrific. He and his wife Laura Sable used video and audio to enhance his lectures on the Lewis and Clark journey and the Oregon Trail. We looked forward to each presentation as did the other passengers. Unfortunately, due to the World Series and NFL football, we did not take advantage of the after dinner entertainment, but all the daily excursions (a few at extra charge) and onboard activities such as art classes, cooking classes, mixology demonstrations with sampling, trivia games, movies with popcorn were well organized.
We enjoyed the putting green on the fifth deck. No one could complain of boredom. The dining room service, décor and menu were fine. We didn't love everything we chose, but for the most part we were pleased. The Porch Café aft on the fourth deck was a good alternative with hotdogs, burgers and pizza if passengers did not want a formal dinner. We had beautiful weather which probably influenced our pleasure. Expecting drizzle and rain, we enjoyed ten days of clear, blue skies. The ship had an all-American staff, and tipping was included in the initial cost of the trip. We have booked another cruise with American Cruises for next fall.
This was our first cruise with American Cruise Lines. We were very pleased with our experience from the booking process several months ago to check out on the final day of the trip. Our ship, American Spirit, was well appointed and our cabin very functional and comfortable. Our fellow cruisers were friendly and fun to get to know. Cocktail hour was great with an open bar and tasty appetizers. We enjoyed the locals brought in for the evening entertainment and found it a relaxing way to end the day. The meals were well prepared and offered a variety to choose from each day. Dining room service could be improved with a bit more polish e.g. some wait staff could not describe the menu items, water glasses needed refills, removing our plates while we were still eating. However, all the waitstaff were very polite so perhaps they just need a bit of coaching.
We participated in several excursions. The Whale Watching Cruise was outstanding- Captain Pete and the two naturalists were very knowledgeable and shared fascinating information on the many orcas and other wildlife we saw. The Deception Pass Jet Boat excursion was fun and and a perfect way to appreciate the enormity of the Bridge. Our energetic 80-year-old guide made the Heritage Port Angeles Experience very entertaining. My husband and I agreed he enhanced this walking tour more than any of the others we participated in. Although we did not take in the Butchart Garden tour we heard from others that it was fabulous.
We chose to wander around Victoria on our on and enjoyed this Canadian part to the trip very much. We felt the SeaBear Salmon Tasting tour was mainly a sales-pitch as the store clerk spent at least 10 minutes telling us how we could have these products shipped to our homes, etc. before we were allowed off the bus. All in all we enjoyed our American Cruise Line Tour of this area especially since we are experienced sailors and love being around sailing destinations. We also took advantage of the discounted offer and before leaving booked an Alaskan Cruise for 2020!
American Cruise lines canceled May 3rd Lower Mississippi cruise!! I attempted to cancel my attendance due to age 78 and COPD. IN March.. American Cruise lines stated I accepted their offer and I DID NOT... I FIRMLY REQUEST A REFUND AND WAS TOLD NO. American Cruise lines is NOT customer FRIENDLY OR LOYAL to past customers!!! The queen bed was 2 twins attached with a crack and uncomfortable. Food was warmed over Sysco... Only breakfast was great
Bagel & lox... Bagel chunk as large as a thumb with salty lox fingernail size. Showerhead fixed in a small shower and uncomfortable. Internet very very poor.. On USA rivers... Much better on the Volga in Russia with Viking Cruise lines...
Potential customers and especially those new to ACL need to be aware of the lack of transparency-indeed a misrepresentation because of the words used-in the ACL Cancel for Any Reason Protection Plan. It is NOT travel insurance of any nature, it is a cancellation fee waiver program. Real travel insurance protects if health or other reasons beyond your control requires you to cancel a trip even the day before.
In this plan, if you have to cancel up to 9 days before sailing, you get 90% back less a cancellation fee of $250. Less than 9 days you get 80% cruise credit towards another cruise. Given the situation of the pandemic, even that would be better for older clients that to opt for accepting a voucher for another cruise, which was offered in the very early stage of the Covid 19 problems. When offered, the prospect of a complete shutdown of all cruises for many months was not on the horizon.
The voucher negated the terms of the plan, so those accepting the voucher no longer have any ability to get any money refunded whatsoever. That means that clients in their 80s, who are being told by their doctors to never take another cruise in their lifetimes, are out of tremendous amounts of money. ACL says that’s too bad, those were the terms of the voucher. It is evident that customer satisfaction is not in their vocabulary. I will certainly not hesitate to spread the word of their lack of consideration for the clients they so like to appeal to.
Staff were nonresponsive to concerns. Cabin had issues - cleanliness, door that didn't lock, etc. Reported issues several times to no avail. Several months after returning home received a call from cruise line giving 25% off next cruise thru end of the year.
Nice sized staterooms and bathrooms with King beds. The food was OK but not great and food service lacking as no one would come to check if everything was good. Excursions were mostly very disapointing.
My wife and myself were watching a program on the history of the Mississippi river that featured a riverboat and the option to explore the river on it. After doing some research, we decided to take the cruise on the Lower Mississippi on a paddle boat. We were NOT disappointed. From the early communication to the ease of the entire booking process, we set sail. The staff was the most personal we have ever experienced (not our first cruise-but 1st on a smaller craft). The food was five star. The entertainment was authentic, and the excursions were once in a lifetime. We ended up exchanging numbers with other quest and even booked our next cruise while on the boat. This was a life changing experience for both of us. Top notch all the way around. You can stay as active as you want, or relax the entire time. We chose to have a balance. We are so happy we experience the south and the history rich Towns. Looking forward to the next one. Thank You!
American Cruise Lines author review by Michelle Baran
Established in 1991 in Guilford, Connecticut, American Cruise Lines specializes in U.S. river and small-ship coastal cruises. Its ships carry 50 to 150 passengers.
Various U.S. regions: The regions American Cruise Lines sails are Alaska, the Pacific Northwest, the Mississippi River, the Northeastern United States and the Southeastern United States. Cruise themes include Lewis and Clark and fall foliage cruises.
Shore excursions: Shore excursions such as city tours and mansion visits appeal to a wide range of interests and ages. There are both daily included tours as well as optional excursions for an additional fee.
The Eagle Society: The company rewards repeat guests with free membership to The Eagle Society. Benefits include special offers and personalized service.
Fees: While fees do not include port charges and optional excursions, they do cover meals, live nightly entertainment and other amenities.
Solo travelers: The company actively welcomes single travelers.
American Cruise Lines Company Information
- Company Name:
- American Cruise Lines
- Year Founded:
- 741 Boston Post Road, Suite 200
- Postal Code:
- United States
- (800) 460-4518