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We're just back from our second trip with American Cruise Lines, sailing their 'Deep South' itinerary from Jacksonville to Charleston (first was on the Mississippi), and I'm surprised not to see an ACL section among all the other cruise lines (I would have thought it warranted a section ahead of other niche lines like Bahamas Paradise and Imperial Majesty).

 

Is there anyone else who's cruised with ACL, or might be interested in them? I've gone back through several pages (dating back to Nov 2013) and am not seeing any reference to them at all. Am I just looking in the wrong place or do people think ACL might be too 'old hat'?

Edited by Host Kat >^..^<
thread moved to River Cruising forum

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We haven't sailed that far with ACL but, from what we've seen, their onboard product is pretty consistent and they are pretty unique for what they do (hence the high price point).

 

What reservations do you have, lawbob? Perhaps we should start our own American Cruise Lines thread here!

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My DH and I are planning on an Upper Mississippi cruise on this boat in October. We will depart from St. Paul and end in St. Louis. We have never sailed with American Cruise Line but have sailed on the old Mississippi Queen, lower Mississippi, while she was under Delta Queen Steamboat Co. Then American Queen, Mississippi & Ohio River; and Queen of the West, Columbia & Snake River, while they were under Majestic America. Then the American Queen, Upper Mississippi going north, while she was under American Queen Steamboat CO. We do like the paddlewheelers. Any info specific to Queen of the Mississippi and/or American Cruise Line would be appreciated.

Thanks,

Joyce

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We cruised aboard QotM during her maiden season and were very impressed, albeit it is a far more modern style than the classic vessels of the Delta Queen ilk. The public rooms are beautifully decorated and the staterooms are all extremely generous in size (quite a difference!), but there is none of the overt period style of the old timers. Food was very good and the modern kitchen probably has a lot to do with it. The paddle-wheel is largely for show but does add a nice period touch, as does the calliope, and the onboard entertainment continues in the same vein as the Delta Queen boats, although without the larger-scale saloon style. The Riverlorian tradition is maintained by ACL and they also had a few of the staff from the Delta Queen company.

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We´ve done the QotM in 2013. I really liked the product, nice large cabins, good food, mainly local entertainers (but good ones - came onboard for the evening) - although the boat does not have a real paddlewheel and no steam calliope (she has Z-drives and the paddlewheel can add a bit to the speed). Unfortunately my review is in German but you can check out the pictures and those by my DH.

 

We´ve cruised the Delta Queen, Mississippi Queen and American Queen quite a few times but haven´t had a chance to cruise the Amercian Queen under the current company yet.

 

We were supposed to cruise St. Paul to St. Louis but due to low water we were rerouted to Cincinnati - St. Louis.

 

steamboats

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Oops. I guess I'll just re-post my review here. I put in in a wrong thread:

We've recently sailed on American Eagle from New Orleans to Memphis. It was not a pleasant experience though:

First of all and the most important: if you ever been on a river cruise in Europe/Asia with let’s saying Viking, AmaWaterways, Tauck, Avalon etc…- do not take this cruise: you’ll be vastly disappointed. But first let me briefly describe our trip:

We stayed at a hotel next to the French Quarter, in the morning got to the New Orleans port and had a smooth on time check-in. For an unknown reason musicians already stopped the embarkation entertainment and all welcome drinks were gone. It was a first call something is wrong, but we realized it later. So here is what we experienced during this cruise and what defers it from let's say an ordinary Danube cruise:

- Same people (mostly college students on a summer break) work as a housekeeping stuff and serve dishes in the dining room. That’s the source of all service issues.

- Very limited breakfast selection and by menu only. So expect to spend twice much time than if there was a buffet.

- No barbecue on top deck in spite of a mostly nice weather.

- Overall very limited food selection: only American food. No such things as thematic dinners: let’s say French, Italian etc…

- Mostly “Gallo family” wines used. (the cost is around $3 in our local Walmart store).

- Minor thing but no wine service in the dining room: need to pour glasses by ourselves. Wine is already on a table.

- The acoustic in the dining room is terrible.

- Our cabin was never vacuumed

- Many cabins have dampness issues. Shame for a new ship and whoever designed it!

- Slow wireless internet disappearing at the same time as your cellphone service.

On top of that the American Cruise Lines did not even fulfill what was promised with no explanation given: we never visited Oak Alley Plantation as advertised in the day by day schedule on their website.

Overall it was a 1 start cruise for us but thanks to the entertainment and included tours which were pretty good I am giving it 2 stars.

Here is the summary: I'd recommend this cruise only if you absolutely do not care about the service you receive, your kin is impatiently waiting for your death and tons of money under your bed still needs to be spent.

I rarely come to this forum but try to answer questions if there are any...

Edited by Urum

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Urum,

 

Sorry to hear that you did not enjoy your cruise experience.

 

Yes, it´s true, the service staff has double duties as severs and stateroom attendants and they are all college students working on the boats for about 12 weeks. Sure service was not top notch - but acutally I´ve been on a lot of river cruises in the US and even with well trained staff I never had a dining room service which is comparable to a 5 star hotel restaurant in Europe. But I didn´t expect this. The staff was super friendly and alway had a helping hand regarding the fact that the main target group are elderly passengers (I´m not in their main target group for a couple of years). BTW American Queen Steamboat Company did hire lots of "experienced" staff and the service problems in the dining room were even bigger (at least in the beginning).

 

No, you can´t compare a European river cruise with a river cruise in the US. It´s a totally different experience.

 

I didn´t have any problem with the breakfast selection. There was a small table buffet style and all the rest was freshly prepared in the galley.

 

I wonder why you complain about the American food on an American river cruise? As a European I do expect true American food. Sorry, but I don´t want Italian food prepared by an American chef. I don´t need that in the US. If I want Italian food I go to Italy (or the next Italian restaurant here back home in Munich). It was Southern food and I really liked it. For all who want to see the food, I took pictures of nearly everything I had on this cruise (and also my family) including the menus. You´ll find those photos in my review linked earlier in this thread.

 

Slow (free) WiFi? It´s not a sattelite connection but the same connection you have via your cell phone. So of course it disappears in the same way your cell phone connection is disappearing. It´s the same on European river cruises.

 

steamboats

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We are cruising the Historic South and Golden Isles onboard the Independence next March.

 

Haven taken many cruises on Princess this will be our first small ship cruise and we are excited about it to say the least.

 

No security screening hassles, no casino (which will save me money) and I was told to bring my own liquor. (more $$ savings)

 

Does anyone have experience with the Independence and ACL?

 

Mike:)

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Oops. I guess I'll just re-post my review here. I put in in a wrong thread:

We've recently sailed on American Eagle from New Orleans to Memphis. It was not a pleasant experience though:

First of all and the most important: if you ever been on a river cruise in Europe/Asia with let’s saying Viking, AmaWaterways, Tauck, Avalon etc…- do not take this cruise: you’ll be vastly disappointed. But first let me briefly describe our trip:

We stayed at a hotel next to the French Quarter, in the morning got to the New Orleans port and had a smooth on time check-in. For an unknown reason musicians already stopped the embarkation entertainment and all welcome drinks were gone. It was a first call something is wrong, but we realized it later. So here is what we experienced during this cruise and what defers it from let's say an ordinary Danube cruise:

- Same people (mostly college students on a summer break) work as a housekeeping stuff and serve dishes in the dining room. That’s the source of all service issues.

- Very limited breakfast selection and by menu only. So expect to spend twice much time than if there was a buffet.

- No barbecue on top deck in spite of a mostly nice weather.

- Overall very limited food selection: only American food. No such things as thematic dinners: let’s say French, Italian etc…

- Mostly “Gallo family” wines used. (the cost is around $3 in our local Walmart store).

- Minor thing but no wine service in the dining room: need to pour glasses by ourselves. Wine is already on a table.

- The acoustic in the dining room is terrible.

- Our cabin was never vacuumed

- Many cabins have dampness issues. Shame for a new ship and whoever designed it!

- Slow wireless internet disappearing at the same time as your cellphone service.

On top of that the American Cruise Lines did not even fulfill what was promised with no explanation given: we never visited Oak Alley Plantation as advertised in the day by day schedule on their website.

Overall it was a 1 start cruise for us but thanks to the entertainment and included tours which were pretty good I am giving it 2 stars.

Here is the summary: I'd recommend this cruise only if you absolutely do not care about the service you receive, your kin is impatiently waiting for your death and tons of money under your bed still needs to be spent.

I rarely come to this forum but try to answer questions if there are any...

 

Urum it pains me to say this, but we had the same experience on ACL on their Columbia River: Lewis & Clark cruise on the Queen of the West. We were supposed to sail at 1 p.m. and at 11 a.m. got a phone call in our hotel room, which was at the dock where the ship sailed from, asking if we were still planning on sailing. We were waiting for someone to come for our bags, but took them ourselves down to the ship and boarded. There was no one to greet us or help us with the luggage; all the welcome aboard people and drinks were put gone and the introductory tour talk had already started! The excursions were wonderful but the calliope was out of order and the dining room was absolutely horrid. At breakfast we were met with a cold breakfast table that had milk, cottage cheese and yogurt on a table by the door. The dairy products were not refrigerated and the table was right in the front by the door to the dining room. I asked for chilled cottage cheese and berries and waited 45 minutes before it was brought to me. This was not a one time thing, it happened every blessed day. I will never cruise with them again and I cannot in good conscience recommend them to anyone else. :(

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HydroKitty... Was there anything good about this cruise? My husband really wants to do this one and I've been stalling (very costly!!). When did you travel? How were the accommodations?

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HydroKitty... Was there anything good about this cruise? My husband really wants to do this one and I've been stalling (very costly!!). When did you travel? How were the accommodations?

 

My husband did too and I'm not sorry I did it, I just wish I could have done it with someone else! The shore excursions were all fantastic, especially Mt. St. Helen's and jet boat on the Snake River with the best meal of the trip served at the half-way point....seriously, I asked the cook if we could take him back to the ship!!! He said he gets that a lot.Tthe college student staff worked very hard and kept the room clean. I forget what class cabin we had, but we did have a private balcony. The room was comfortable and I would recommend the balcony. My problem was the dining room, and I should probably clarify that to say dining room management. The food was ok, but cannot compare to river or ocean cruise food. The menus for lunch and dinner were on the tables at b-fast and we were asked to order both meals at b-fast, which is no problem....but we were also told that we could order lunch for dinner or vice versa and if we wanted something that was not on the menu to write it in and they would prepare it if the food was available. The problem was no one looked at the menus! When I requested the lunch hamburger for dinner I waited over an hour to get it and that was only because I stormed out of the dining room and complained to the tour manager that 1 hour wait for a hamburger was totally inexcusable. Really, everyone else at our table was finished with their dessert before I got my dinner. Same at b-fast when I asked for cottage cheese and a small bowl of blueberries. Again, everyone else was on their coffee before I got cottage cheese and berries...how long does it take to scoop cottage cheese and blueberries into a bowl?? 45 minutes, is what it took. Now, I went in 2013 and I understand they have retired the Queen of the West and replaced it with a new boat. It is a pricey trip, and if you can get past the dining room fiasco, it was worth it....I just wish we could have eaten our meals off the ship! :D

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I was on the Queen of the Mississippi last fall, New Orleans to Memphis and had a wonderful trip. Here is the link to my review which I posted in the Solo Cruisers forum:

 

http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=2142713

 

I enjoyed my cruise so much that I booked a second cruise for the Columbia & Snake Rivers this October. It is a wine themed cruise. Leaving in a few days!

 

If I enjoy this cruise, I will likely book a third one, probably the Historic South and Golden Isles cruise (Charleston to Jacksonville).

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We've been interested in the ACL Hudson River Fall Foliage cruise for some time but are hesitating to book due to some of the comments on CC. I suppose if you know what to expect, it might be ok if you are mostly interested in the itinerary. Would be interested in any comments about this particular cruise.

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I just returned from ACL's Columbia & Snake Rivers cruise, Oct. 3rd -

Oct. 10th, Clarkston, WA to Portland, OR. I loved the cruise! On a 1-10 scale, I would rate the cruise a 9. I will book another cruise with ACL again. This was my second cruise with ACL.

 

I was happy with the service, food, my cabin (non-balcony), enrichment activities, entertainment and the shore excursions. I would recommend this cruise and will answer any questions.

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My husband did too and I'm not sorry I did it, I just wish I could have done it with someone else! The shore excursions were all fantastic, especially Mt. St. Helen's and jet boat on the Snake River with the best meal of the trip served at the half-way point....seriously, I asked the cook if we could take him back to the ship!!! He said he gets that a lot.The college student staff worked very hard and kept the room clean. I forget what class cabin we had, but we did have a private balcony. The room was comfortable and I would recommend the balcony. My problem was the dining room, and I should probably clarify that to say dining room management. The food was ok, but cannot compare to river or ocean cruise food. The menus for lunch and dinner were on the tables at b-fast and we were asked to order both meals at b-fast, which is no problem....but we were also told that we could order lunch for dinner or vice versa and if we wanted something that was not on the menu to write it in and they would prepare it if the food was available. The problem was no one looked at the menus! When I requested the lunch hamburger for dinner I waited over an hour to get it and that was only because I stormed out of the dining room and complained to the tour manager that 1 hour wait for a hamburger was totally inexcusable. Really, everyone else at our table was finished with their dessert before I got my dinner. Same at b-fast when I asked for cottage cheese and a small bowl of blueberries. Again, everyone else was on their coffee before I got cottage cheese and berries...how long does it take to scoop cottage cheese and blueberries into a bowl?? 45 minutes, is what it took. Now, I went in 2013 and I understand they have retired the Queen of the West and replaced it with a new boat. It is a pricey trip, and if you can get past the dining room fiasco, it was worth it....I just wish we could have eaten our meals off the ship! :D

Hydrokitty,

I am a fan of yours, and I was shocked that the food had not gotten better from the cruise we took in 2008! All the people at our table wrote "Fire the chef" on our comment cards.

Our best meals were the ones we ate off the ship.

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Hydrokitty,

I am a fan of yours, and I was shocked that the food had not gotten better from the cruise we took in 2008! All the people at our table wrote "Fire the chef" on our comment cards.

Our best meals were the ones we ate off the ship.

 

It's such a shame too because it's an absolutely wonderful trip and everything about it was fantastic, except the dining room. There is absolutely no excuse for putting out dairy products without any form of refrigeration....for not having a first aid kit on board (passenger fell, cut her arm, needed stitches, went on her own to local druggist who drove her to walk-in clinic and then returned her to the boat) or for the delays in serving food items that are on the menu!!! I think everyone at our table wrote the same thing on our comment cards!!! :D

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We took an American Cruise Line river cruise from Jacksonville to Charleston and couldn't wait to get off the ship. Absolutely the worst cruise we have ever experienced. The cabins were sparce, with no phone, no way to call for help if needed, no safe, and not to mention unattractive. The college students who served meals also cleaned the toilets and complained much of the time. The excursions were expensive, and one was on an old non air-conditioned school bus to watch 3 folks shuck oysters! We have taken river cruises in Europe which are less expensive than this one, and 100% better in every way in our opinion. The average age was about 80, and we met some delightful folks. But, other than that the $10,000 trip was a waste of money.

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We took an American Cruise Line river cruise from Jacksonville to Charleston and couldn't wait to get off the ship. Absolutely the worst cruise we have ever experienced. The cabins were sparce, with no phone, no way to call for help if needed, no safe, and not to mention unattractive. The college students who served meals also cleaned the toilets and complained much of the time. The excursions were expensive, and one was on an old non air-conditioned school bus to watch 3 folks shuck oysters! We have taken river cruises in Europe which are less expensive than this one, and 100% better in every way in our opinion. The average age was about 80, and we met some delightful folks. But, other than that the $10,000 trip was a waste of money.

 

Welcome to Cruise Critic.

 

Would you mind sharing when you took this cruise?

 

Also I don't understand the need for a phone when cell phones work quite well on these cruises usually. The ship can certainly be in contact instantly in case of an emergency.

 

Other than the lack of a telephone and an over priced excursion was there any other problems with the ship/cruise?

 

It has been our experience that most crew do everything from making up your bed to cooking your breakfast.

 

Mike:)

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I should have been more clear about the phone. I meant that there was no way to contact the staff from our cabin. We had to get dressed and go to the central desk, and sometimes no one was manning the desk. With so many elderly passengers, I would think there would be some type of communication available from inside the cabins. The lack of a room safe was also surprising because there were many well-to-do couples on the cruise with items that I'm sure they would have liked to keep locked when not using or wearing. Our cabin was not cleaned one day until we contacted housekeeping late in the afternoon, and the one excursion I mentioned was just one example of disappointing ones. We took this cruise this year, 2015.

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We took an American Cruise Line river cruise from Jacksonville to Charleston and couldn't wait to get off the ship. Absolutely the worst cruise we have ever experienced. The cabins were sparce, with no phone, no way to call for help if needed, no safe, and not to mention unattractive. The college students who served meals also cleaned the toilets and complained much of the time. The excursions were expensive, and one was on an old non air-conditioned school bus to watch 3 folks shuck oysters! We have taken river cruises in Europe which are less expensive than this one, and 100% better in every way in our opinion. The average age was about 80, and we met some delightful folks. But, other than that the $10,000 trip was a waste of money.

 

I had forgotten that there were no phones in the room....We were on the Lewis & Clark tour... the rooms were quite comfortable(we had a balcony cabin) and the college kids who did both dining room and housekeeping worked like dogs, but were always cheerful and nice. Unlike you, our shore excursions were outstanding with the same bus and driver throughout. But the food and dining room management was horrendous. And you're right about the money.....way over-priced for the product they deliver.

 

Welcome to Cruise Critic.

 

Would you mind sharing when you took this cruise?

Also I don't understand the need for a phone when cell phones work quite well on these cruises usually. The ship can certainly be in contact instantly in case of an emergency.

 

Other than the lack of a telephone and an over priced excursion was there any other problems with the ship/cruise?

 

It has been our experience that most crew do everything from making up your bed to cooking your breakfast.

 

Mike:)

 

Hi Mike...I took the ACL Columbia River trip in 2013. You're right of course that the ship can contact the police but if you fall in the shower and break a leg would you really want to lay there while your spouse runs all the way down to the purser's office to ask for help? I'd rather he be able to pick up the phone and dial O.

 

My biggest complain was the dining room management and some of it was really noteworthy. Like at breakfast when dairy products were displayed on a table by the dining room entrance without any form of refrigeration for the 3 hours the dining room was open. It was July and I wouldn't leave cottage cheese on the counter in my kitchen for 3 hours and eat it. Also we were told you could order lunch for dinner or anything you wanted, within reason. I asked for just salad for lunch and a hamburger for dinner (you ordered lunch and dinner at breakfast) and it took them 1 hour to bring it to me. Everyone at the table was on dessert and coffee before I got a hamburger!

 

I've taken 8 river cruises and 3 Celebrity Cruises and have never seen the same person cooking my breakfast and making my bed. In fact, I've never seen anyone from housekeeping IN the dining room.

 

The shore excursions on the trip I took were outstanding. We had the same bus and driver/guide follow the boat to each port so each group (2) had the same bus/driver and people. The trip itself was outstanding, but for what ACL charges they should work a lot harder to provide a better product.

Edited by Hydrokitty

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The cabins were sparce, with no phone, no way to call for help if needed, no safe, and not to mention unattractive. The college students who served meals also cleaned the toilets and complained much of the time.

 

Which ship are you talking about? On the Queen of the Mississippi there was a phone (for communication on the ship only) plus a big red button for medical emergencies.

 

Yes, the college students have double duties. That´s how it´s been since they´ve started out. As they need to have US staff on an American flagged ship they either can hire people with long contracts (and then the Unions jump in...) or those college students who have only a 12 weeks contract (and no Unions involved).

 

steamboats

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This thread is very interesting as my husband and I were talking today about a USA river cruise, preferably one that included New Orleans.

 

We're currently on the AMALegro (Paris to Normandy) which has been A + so (admittedly) we're spoiled. We've also done lots of ocean cruises preferring smaller, higher end, all inclusive lines.

 

I'm not at all familiar with any American riverboats.I s there a recommendation that is more similar to the excellence and inclusiveness of AMA ? We are not at all snobbish but ACL sounds a bit hit and miss, and disorganized and may not be a good fit. Are there other choices?

 

Thanks very much.

Edited by petlover

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Marcie,

 

Crusing the US rivers is totally different to the European river cruises. It´s definitely not comparable - neither ships nor service nor inclusiveness.

 

There are only two companies right now:

 

American Cruise Lines

American Queen Steamboat Company

 

Definitely give it a try and do not try to compare!

 

I think AMA once partnered with American Queen Steamboat Company. But anyway it´s a totally different experience.

 

steamboats

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