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We leave in a couple of days and then will spend some "post-cruise" time in New Orleans. I will "try" to send some up-dates from the boat (but no promises here). After we return home I will put together our impressions of the cruise.

 

NRayH

 

Hopefully you are having an awesome cruise since we have not heard from you since sailing.;)

 

Mike:)

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Hopefully you are having an awesome cruise since we have not heard from you since sailing.;)

 

Mike:)

 

Hi Mike, and others,

 

WE are currently back in New Orleans, after disembarking America earlier today. We had an absolutely wonderful time -- some of the excuse for not posting during the cruise. The "on-board" internet is not very fast. It did we not interfere with our enjoying the cruise experience, but did keep us from sharing as freely as we what hoped to be able to do. We will be home on Monday, and then hopefully, I will be able to share some more of our cruise experience.

 

As I previously stated we had a very pleasant experience. So much so, that we booked two more cruises, for next year (the rest of this year is already planned -- cruise wise).

 

Pre-cruise we stayed at the Intercontinental Hotel (as Part of our cruise reservation). The hotel was O.K. But somewhat less than I had been expecting, based on past experience. For one night it was fine, especially since it was included in the cruise fare. Post-cruise, we are staying two nights at Chateau LeMoyne, in the French Quarter. The Quarter is very crowded, this being St. Paddy's Day (Irish) and St. Joseph's (Italian) feast days.

 

 

I will try to get some more cogent thoughts together by mid-week.

 

 

NRayH

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Thanks Ray! So glad you guys had a great time!

 

Question? Were they offering a $1500 (or similar) incentive for booking subsequent cruises while onboard?

 

Looking forward to your full review.

 

Thanks again,

 

Mike:)

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Thanks Ray! So glad you guys had a great time!

 

Question? Were they offering a $1500 (or similar) incentive for booking subsequent cruises while onboard?

 

Looking forward to your full review.

 

Thanks again,

 

Mike:)

 

Hi Mike,

 

Yes they are still offering a discount for booking on-board. It is 15% discount of the listed price and also they are making the "Port Charges and Fees" complimentary. A very nice "incentive".

 

 

NRayH

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NRayH,

 

Thank you for responding to Mike's questions! I am very much looking forward to your review as we leave in a month to sail with American Cruise lines. I am happy to hear you had a great experience and would love to hear everything! Waiting patiently.......

 

 

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Hi All,

After over 100 ocean cruises (and two European River Cruises), we wanted to see more of the United States, via our preferred mode of travel (cruising). We originally booked with a different river cruise company, before doing due diligence information gathering. The more we learned, the more consideration we gave to American Cruise Lines (ACL), before finally casting our lot with them.

 

We finally settled upon the seven night, round trip itinerary offered by ACL, aboard the paddle wheeler America. Here are some of our findings/opinions.

The folks at ACL's Connecticut Home Office are extremely knowledgeable and easy to work with. We received quick, timely and (as we learned) correct answers to our questions, without being shuttled to different folks for complete answers. All the information we received proved to be "spot on"

 

We chose to book and schedule our own air transportation (creatures of habit). Not even sure if there was an option to book through the cruise line. We did choose, and enjoy, the complimentary pre-cruise night at the Intercontinental Hotel in New Orleans. The included complimentary transfer from hotel to boat was handled efficiently and without any major snafus. We found the on-board cabin accommodations very comfortable and space efficient, not in the least bit cramped. The housekeeping was very thorough and efficient, without being at all bothersome (sort of magically invisible).

The dining experience was excellent. We had absolutely no complaints concerning the quality of the menu choices, nor the quality of the service. Granted, these are very individualistic observations/gradings, but seemed to be echoed by most, if not all the other passengers we discussed them with. Another seemingly popular aspect was the complimentary beer, wine and soft drinks offered at lunch and dinner seating.

The boat seemed immaculately clean at all times, and the entire crew were extremely friendly and helpful throughout the cruise.

This was a Civil War themed cruise, so there were a number of lectures/talks presented on that period of history. Additionally, there was a resident Riverlorian aboard giving daily (and a few extra) presentations on the historical impact of the river upon travel, commerce, exploration and development of this part of the country, and the overall history of the United States.

There were three lounges (on this boat) for passenger use, when other events were not scheduled in them. Two of these had complimentary pre-packaged snacks (chips. cookies and such) as well as beverages: coffee, tea, sodas, juices, water -- available 24/7.

Additionally, there was entertainment each evening provided by on-board entertainers, and also some local artists brought aboard at various ports of call. All were very entertaining and enjoyable -- again, from our personal perspective.

Each evening, in specified lounges, before dinner, there was a complimentary cocktail hour, offering varied hors d'oeuvres, and beer, wine, assorted spirits and cordials, sodas -- as well as the coffee, tea and juices that are available 24/7. Most folks seemed to enjoy this opportunity to mingle, meet, and chat with fellow passengers, and various members of the crew and staff. There was also a Library which had two computers and a printer for passenger use. Boat-wide Wi-Fi was also available (complimentary).

There was at least one complimentary excursion at each port of call, and sometimes additional specialized excursions were offered, at an additional cost.

We were so impressed with the overall experience that we booked two additional cruises with American Cruise Lines, and have placed a few others on our "possible to do" list.

Booking future cruises onboard also offers some nice incentives. On this cruise the benefits were a 15% discount off per-passenger pricing, plus making the "Port Charges and Fees" complimentary.

Sorry for the length of this. I hope you find this useful. If there are any specific questions, I will try to respond to those also.

NRayH

 

Edited by Ray in NH

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Ray, thanks for your awesome review of your recent ACL cruise.

 

I must say we had the same experience on our first ACL Historic South and Golden Isles cruise and also booked a subsequent cruise while onboard.

 

After many years as a loyal Princess cruiser (always in suites) we were quite impressed with the hospitality of the crew and have taken our last big ship cruise.

 

We have never experienced better food in any of our previous cruises.

 

Thanks again,

 

Mike:)

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Ray, thanks for your awesome review of your recent ACL cruise.

 

I must say we had the same experience on our first ACL Historic South and Golden Isles cruise and also booked a subsequent cruise while onboard.

 

After many years as a loyal Princess cruiser (always in suites) we were quite impressed with the hospitality of the crew and have taken our last big ship cruise.

 

We have never experienced better food in any of our previous cruises.

 

Thanks again,

 

Mike:)

 

Hi Mike,

 

Thank you for the kind words.

 

We also thought the food and service was awesome. While we are not yet ready to completely close the door on ocean cruises (usually in suites). We will still look to Holland America, Celebrity or Royal Caribbean, based upon itineraries, for fulfilling our "ocean going" fixes.

 

Having said that, ACL has surely upped the ante for the ocean cruise lines getting our cruise dollars.

 

NRayH

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Thanks so much for your most inclusive review!

 

We likewise compared ACL's literature and reviews to the other line offering American river cruises and likewise decided ACL appeared advantageous. We also know a couple who has used this company for numerous vacations and highly recommended them to us.

 

Since we are well seasoned travelers (ninety-seven countries and all seven continents), we have purposely saved our American river cruises for later on and concentrated on a few other foreign ones first, along with a numerous other group country tours before booking this river cruise. Generally, our traveling is done independently with much research and car rentals. We have visited all of our 50 states during our eight two month drives on different routes across America. Our 29 other cruises were all done purely by itinerary, never favoring any line in particular, as our prime purpose was to expose ourselves to new counties, cultures, native foods and etc. So this will be a much anticipated cruise for us.

 

Thanks again, for taking the time to give us your opinions!

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Ray, thanks for your awesome review of your recent ACL cruise.

 

I must say we had the same experience on our first ACL Historic South and Golden Isles cruise and also booked a subsequent cruise while onboard.

 

After many years as a loyal Princess cruiser (always in suites) we were quite impressed with the hospitality of the crew and have taken our last big ship cruise.

 

We have never experienced better food in any of our previous cruises.

 

Thanks again,

 

Mike:)

 

We will be on our first ACL cruise in August, and also greatly appreciate each of you who are reviewing your recent ACL experiences. The ACL experience sounds lovely!

 

Mike, you might want to look at Silversea for Ocean cruises. We LOVE their small ships and "luxury" approach.

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Ray,

 

Thank you very much for taking the time to write your review of ACL. I must say I am now more excited after reading it. We leave in 3 weeks on the Historic South and Golden Isles!

 

MIke, any suggestions on must sees in any of the ports, excursions, restaurants? We arrive in Charleston a day early, still not enough time to see much. Where to start?

 

Thank you everyone for keeping this tread alive! I of course will return the favor when we return from our cruise.

 

Brumagin1, I am excited to hear all about your August trip. Where are you going on ACL?

 

Carol

 

 

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We stayed at the Hyatt for a couple of days pre-cruise and there was an excellent seafood restaurant located in an old bank (The Ordinary) which was just steps from the hotel.

 

Pretty much we just walked up and down King St. as it was loaded with neat shops and dining venues.

 

The horse drawn carriage in Beaufort was interesting as well as a trolley tour we took in Savannah. Sapelo Island is completely off the grid and seeing the people there and the way they live was mesmerizing. I would say Hilton Head was the least interesting of any place we docked. In Savannah everything is super convenient since you will dock right on River St.

 

Please come back and give us a review of your experience.

 

Bon Voyage!

 

Mike:)

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Mike,

 

Thank you so very much! I will definitely check out that seafood restaurant (My favorite food). King street is on the to do list. I'm thinking of just doing a city tour to get an overview and then just walking about to enjoy the city.

 

The horse drawn carriage sounds great. I'm wondering if it will be to bumpy as we are traveling with our 101 year old aunt.

 

I had no idea about Sapelo Island, sounds like I need to do some reading before our trip!

 

Did you do anyting in Hilton head or just stay in the ship?

 

I am most looking forward to Savannah and haven't decided what to see first there are so many possibilities!

 

Does anyone here have any knowledge Beaufort? We will be there on Easter Sunday. Will everything be closed?

 

Thank you again,

Carol

 

 

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The Hyatt is located on King St and is super convenient.

 

For quick, good eats and cocktails don't miss HOM which is a designer burger joint a few steps away from the hotel as well.

 

In Beaufort it was pretty much dead until the afternoon when a few shops opened up. We had a great lunch at a sandwich shop called Plums.

 

Your aunt will have no problems on the carriage ride as there is plenty of help to assist her on and off and the ride itself is very smooth and slow.

 

Hilton Head is so commercialized that we found little else to do there other than shop, shop and shop.

 

Mike:)

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Mike,

 

Your so kind to answer so quickly. I thank you for the first hand knowledge which I find valuable! Looking forward to trying out your recommendations. Have a great night!

 

Carol

 

 

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NanaBanana3,

 

We are taking the New England Island Cruise.

 

I hope you will love Charleston. It's a beautiful historic city. We enjoy a carriage ride, there are several routes (to which you are assigned randomly most of the time), and all are interesting for an overview of the city. Wondering on foot ALWAYS is fun with many interesting things to see. The Aquarium is very nice if that is your thing.

 

Check out these restaurants on tripadvisor. We like all of them: Peninsula Grill, 82 Queen (Southern cuisine, we enjoy lunch there and love the courtyard atmosphere), Anson, Slightly North of Broad, Magnolia (longtime favorite of many), Hank's Seafood. I usually choose seafood at any of them and love it.

 

Hilton Head is very busy, but if you view it as a resort destination it is a beautiful spot. You might enjoy Harbortown in Sea Pines. The harbor is filled with Luxury yachts, the Lighthouse offers lovely views of the area, and the shops are fun to explore with some uniques gift ideas. There are several restaurants for a nice lunch. If you enjoy the beach, the wide, white sand beaches are some of the best. The golf courses are great!

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NanaBanana3,

 

We are taking the New England Island Cruise.

 

I hope you will love Charleston. It's a beautiful historic city. We enjoy a carriage ride, there are several routes (to which you are assigned randomly most of the time), and all are interesting for an overview of the city. Wondering on foot ALWAYS is fun with many interesting things to see. The Aquarium is very nice if that is your thing.

 

Check out these restaurants on tripadvisor. We like all of them: Peninsula Grill, 82 Queen (Southern cuisine, we enjoy lunch there and love the courtyard atmosphere), Anson, Slightly North of Broad, Magnolia (longtime favorite of many), Hank's Seafood. I usually choose seafood at any of them and love it.

 

Hilton Head is very busy, but if you view it as a resort destination it is a beautiful spot. You might enjoy Harbortown in Sea Pines. The harbor is filled with Luxury yachts, the Lighthouse offers lovely views of the area, and the shops are fun to explore with some uniques gift ideas. There are several restaurants for a nice lunch. If you enjoy the beach, the wide, white sand beaches are some of the best. The golf courses are great!

 

When are you doing the New England Islands cruise? We are scheduled for that itinerary next March.

NRayH

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We are going the end of August.

 

We are going the second week of September so be sure and come back to let us know how your cruise was.

 

Mike:)

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We are going the end of August.

 

We are going the second week of September so be sure and come back to let us know how your cruise was.

 

Mike:)

 

Along with Mike, we will be looking for your comments on this itinerary.

NRayH

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We just returned from our American Cruise line Historic South Golden Isle one week vacation. We have mixed reviews of the trip.

 

A quick overview of the ship itself. We cruised aboard the Independence. We had a lower level room 114 with large opening window. The room is quite spacious with plenty of room to unpack and get comfortable. The bathroom is large compared to any other cruise we have taken. There is also lots of storage. The shower has great water pressure. We felt the decor is somewhat dated and could use a freshening up. I had read that comment a few times before our departure and now whole heartedly agree. Having been on A few European cruises with Viking and there is no comparison in luxury. Traveling with an American crew can not be compared. They were fun, happy and attentive but lacked the professional European flair.

 

We flew into Charleston and stayed at the Holiday Inn Riverview. We enjoyed this hotel very much. There was a free shuttle bus into town and the driver was quite knowledgeable. There is a decent restaurant on the top floor with a gorgeous view of the harbor. We took a cab to the cruise ship for 5$ each. While in Charleston we took a carriage tour and were a bit disappointed as the routes are randomly chosen for you and we missed highlights we had hoped to see. We then hired a pedicab to take us about to see a few of them. They charged 5.50 every ten minutes but a delightful way to see the city up close. We had a wonderful lunch at Hymans seafood restaurant. Oh my is was delicious. Be warned the line to get in can be very long but we felt worth it.

 

Beaufort. We took a bus tour with American cruise lines. This was a wonderful tour. One of our very favorites. The guide was such a delight, she was an amazing storyteller. Every tour we took left at approx. 9 am with a return to the ship in time for 12:30 lunch.

 

Hilton Head. I loved this beautiful resort location. We rented bikes on our own and rode all around the area exploring. The bike paths are easy to navigate and wide. We went to the beach, a golf resort, Heritage farms, and out to the lighthouse. On our return to town we had a lovely lunch at the Crazy Crab. Very good. There were quite few shops right by the harbor.

 

Savannah. Our excursion was a trolley tour and we relay enjoyed it. It gave you the ability to hop on and off after our lunch back at the ship. We went back to the market area for a few souvenirs. The ship was docked at a great location for strolling the Riverview with restaurants and shopping

 

Sapelo island. We felt this was a wasted stop. The ship anchored with nothing in sight except the small dock to tender over to. The only excursion offered was a school bus tour of the area followed by an oyster roast. No one in our group took the tour so I can not give any feedback on it. We took the time to just relax top deck and read.

 

Jekyll Island. The excursion was a tour of the turtle rescue followed by a tram ride narrative tour of Jekyll Island. We thought the two excursions could have been offered separately and charged a lesser fee. We were not interested in the turtle rescue but found the Jekyll island tour fascinating.

 

Amelia Island. We had to tender into town and spent the day strolling around sightseeing with a bit of shopping. A quaint pretty yet touristy area.

 

The food was excellent and some of the best I've had on a cruise. The chef came out and visited every table to ensure satisfaction.

 

About half way through the the cruise about a dozen or more people got very sick. With vomiting and diarrhea. My husband being one of them. The crew were busy bleaching everything and putting out hand sanitizer. It was evident at dinner with all the empty seats how many passengers it effected. Luckily it only lasted about 24-36 and didn't run the course of the entire trip.

 

All in all we had a lovely vacation and loved touring the historical south. My honest opinion of the cruise is it is overpriced for experience. I guess we like the European professionalism and flair. It is just a matter of opinion. We will stick to Viking in the future.

 

 

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We just returned from our American Cruise line Historic South Golden Isle one week vacation. We have mixed reviews of the trip.

 

A quick overview of the ship itself. We cruised aboard the Independence. We had a lower level room 114 with large opening window. The room is quite spacious with plenty of room to unpack and get comfortable. The bathroom is large compared to any other cruise we have taken. There is also lots of storage. The shower has great water pressure. We felt the decor is somewhat dated and could use a freshening up. I had read that comment a few times before our departure and now whole heartedly agree. Having been on A few European cruises with Viking and there is no comparison in luxury. Traveling with an American crew can not be compared. They were fun, happy and attentive but lacked the professional European flair.

 

We flew into Charleston and stayed at the Holiday Inn Riverview. We enjoyed this hotel very much. There was a free shuttle bus into town and the driver was quite knowledgeable. There is a decent restaurant on the top floor with a gorgeous view of the harbor. We took a cab to the cruise ship for 5$ each. While in Charleston we took a carriage tour and were a bit disappointed as the routes are randomly chosen for you and we missed highlights we had hoped to see. We then hired a pedicab to take us about to see a few of them. They charged 5.50 every ten minutes but a delightful way to see the city up close. We had a wonderful lunch at Hymans seafood restaurant. Oh my is was delicious. Be warned the line to get in can be very long but we felt worth it.

 

Beaufort. We took a bus tour with American cruise lines. This was a wonderful tour. One of our very favorites. The guide was such a delight, she was an amazing storyteller. Every tour we took left at approx. 9 am with a return to the ship in time for 12:30 lunch.

 

Hilton Head. I loved this beautiful resort location. We rented bikes on our own and rode all around the area exploring. The bike paths are easy to navigate and wide. We went to the beach, a golf resort, Heritage farms, and out to the lighthouse. On our return to town we had a lovely lunch at the Crazy Crab. Very good. There were quite few shops right by the harbor.

 

Savannah. Our excursion was a trolley tour and we relay enjoyed it. It gave you the ability to hop on and off after our lunch back at the ship. We went back to the market area for a few souvenirs. The ship was docked at a great location for strolling the Riverview with restaurants and shopping

 

Sapelo island. We felt this was a wasted stop. The ship anchored with nothing in sight except the small dock to tender over to. The only excursion offered was a school bus tour of the area followed by an oyster roast. No one in our group took the tour so I can not give any feedback on it. We took the time to just relax top deck and read.

 

Jekyll Island. The excursion was a tour of the turtle rescue followed by a tram ride narrative tour of Jekyll Island. We thought the two excursions could have been offered separately and charged a lesser fee. We were not interested in the turtle rescue but found the Jekyll island tour fascinating.

 

Amelia Island. We had to tender into town and spent the day strolling around sightseeing with a bit of shopping. A quaint pretty yet touristy area.

 

The food was excellent and some of the best I've had on a cruise. The chef came out and visited every table to ensure satisfaction.

 

About half way through the the cruise about a dozen or more people got very sick. With vomiting and diarrhea. My husband being one of them. The crew were busy bleaching everything and putting out hand sanitizer. It was evident at dinner with all the empty seats how many passengers it effected. Luckily it only lasted about 24-36 and didn't run the course of the entire trip.

 

All in all we had a lovely vacation and loved touring the historical south. My honest opinion of the cruise is it is overpriced for experience. I guess we like the European professionalism and flair. It is just a matter of opinion. We will stick to Viking in the future.

 

 

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Thank you for sharing your impressions. We agree that the level of professionalism of the dining room staff has been higher on Viking River Cruises, but the service on America was still very nice, and quite acceptable. We are more than willing to repeat on either cruise line.

NRayH

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Thanks for your review on the Historic South and Golden Isles.

 

I assume Jonathan was still head chef on your cruise and we have never had better food on a ship than he prepared.

 

I'm sorry you missed the Sapelo Island tour and oyster roast as we found it very interesting seeing how the 40 families that occupy Sapelo have evolved over the years being cutoff from the mainland.

 

Most everyone seems to complain about the decor being dated and a little worn so you would think that ACL would take the initiative to upgrade their cabins.

 

We do love the American crew and relaxed atmosphere offered by ACL and have another trip with them in September.

 

Mike:)

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We are going the end of August.

 

I have a question about our upcoming cruises.

 

Do you know if the ship will return to Providence on the last evening of our cruise? We only have a choice of a 0600 or 1700 flight home and don't want to have to spend the day waiting for a late flight.

 

On our Historic South and Golden Isles we docked the evening before so leaving really early on the final day was no problem.

 

Thanks for any information,

 

Mike:)

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