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Ray in NH

Review of ACL Constitution

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American Revolution Cruise - 06 April 2019

 

Here are some quick reflections of our recent cruise aboard ACL's Constitution.

 

We arrived in Baltimore one day prior to embarkation.  ACL did not offer a pre-cruise hotel package for this particular cruise, so we made our own arrangements for a pre-cruise stay at the Kimpton Hotel Monaco, in Baltimore, about 6-8 blocks from the pier where the ship would be docked.

On Embarkation Day, we had the hotel valet arrange for a taxi to transport us to the pier (about a 8-15 minute ride, in Saturday morning traffic).

When we arrived at the drop-off point, there were some crew members from the ship waiting to accept our luggage and transport it to our cabin aboard the ship.  When we reached the ship to sign in, we were told that our cabin was already available for occupancy.  We were given our ID badges/room keys and a program of the day's events.  This was the first ACL ship where we used our cabin badges (via embedded chip) to also record our leaving/returning to the ship.

 

After boarding, and whilst stowing our carry-on gear, the rest of our luggage was delivered to our cabin.  We then headed to join our fellow guests in the main lounge (Chesapeake Lounge) to enjoy some snacks/refreshments and some musical entertainment -- all prior to about 10:00 AM. 

At 11:45 there was a Mandatory Safety Briefing, which was broadcast over the ship's on-board TV system. This was followed by lunch in the Dining Salon, at one's leisure, between Noon and 13:30.

 

At 14:00 there was a Ship Overview presentation, an introduction of the ship's Hotel Operations Officers and Guest Speakers for the cruise.  This was followed by a presentation of the excursions that would be available during the cruise.  Also, each evening (after dinner) there is a briefing of the next day's events/excursions.  Fortunately for us, all the excursions on this cruise would be complimentary, since we had previously completed three voyages with ACL.

During dinner each evening the ship's "Ship To Shore" paper is delivered to each cabin.  This provides a "run-down" of the next day's schedule and a listing of event times.

 

Oops!! How did I forget the evening Complimentary Cocktail Hour (which actually runs from 17:30 to 19:00), the same time frame as dinner service.  It is not as "choose one or the other" as it may initially sound.  There is ample time to enjoy hors d'oeuvres and a drink (or two/three) prior to heading to dinner, where beer and wine are also complimentary.  Something that has been added since our last previous ACL cruise is a post-dinner "Late Bar" (also complimentary), in the Chesapeake Lounge, after the preview of the next day's schedule.  The "Late Bar" runs throughout the evening's entertainment, in the same lounge.

 

Each day  there were either on-board presentations and/or shore-side excursions.  On this cruise, there was also a resident on-board art instructor doing presentations/classes and demonstrations, at no charge.  At the end of the cruise there was an exhibition of works done by fellow passengers.

 

The excursions we attended were all entertaining and informative -- at least to us,  Some may have seemed extremely short and others exceedingly protracted.  Often the case individually

I guess those descriptions probably vary greatly from person to person.

 

We found the meal service more than adequate.  Yes, there were some "minor misses" and "mix-ups", but nothing that was not immediately rectified.  "Some" of these dining mishaps perhaps are probably the only "problems" we find with ACL cruises.  That may well be the one area that could benefit from some additional training and/or oversight.  Thus far, it has not caused us to consider not sticking with ACL and offering suggestions toward improving (our) "Customer Satisfaction" even further.

 

We hope that this helps anyone considering a cruise with ACL.  We will keep an eye open and hope to meet you on-board one of their ships.

 

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Thank you for the review. I’ll be onboard the Constitution in October with a friend on the Hudson River cruise.

 

 I’m surprised dinner service and the cocktail hour were at the same time. It sounds like ACL is trying something new with the cocktail hour and the Late Bar (which I am sure many like). Were people arriving in the dining room at different times for dinner? What time was the evening entertainment?

 

What were the art class offerings?

 

Where’s your next ACL Cruise? 🙂

 

Thank you!

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9 hours ago, SteelMagnolia9 said:

Thank you for the review. I’ll be onboard the Constitution in October with a friend on the Hudson River cruise.

 

 I’m surprised dinner service and the cocktail hour were at the same time. It sounds like ACL is trying something new with the cocktail hour and the Late Bar (which I am sure many like). Were people arriving in the dining room at different times for dinner? What time was the evening entertainment?

 

What were the art class offerings?

 

Where’s your next ACL Cruise? 🙂

 

Thank you!

 

Hi there,

 

Our next ACL cruise is aboard Song in October, doing the Northwest Pioneers Cruise, on the Columbia and Snake Rivers.

 

As to the dinner service and cocktail over-lapping, that was new to us.  I had some initial concerns about some folks getting appetizers whilst others were getting their main course and others finishing desserts, but it seemed to work pretty well.  They had a few "hostesses" greeting folks and ushering them to tables where the courses could flow more smoothly.  Of course if you wished to join a particular table, that had space, you could do that.  Did not hear any complaints about the staggered seating times.  It may well have put added pressure on the wait-staff, but they seemed to handle it pretty well.  In any event, it was not an annoyance to us.

 

The "Late Bar" seemed to work well and did not seem to cause any disruption to the entertainment.  Folks interested in obtaining drinks during those times chose to sit in areas where they could walk to the bar for drinks (no table service) without disturbing others.  The Chesapeake Lounge has a built in bar away from the "stage" area. It did not seem as though most folks were really interested in additional drinks.  I hope that does not cause ACL to halt this added "benefit".  Also, I failed to mention previously that the evening entertainment is also broadcast over the ship's internal TV system.  So you can watch from the comfort of your cabin, perhaps with a drink from the Late Bar.

 

The evening entertainment followed the "Next Day Briefing" which was scheduled for 8:10 P.M. each evening, so the "real" entertainment usually started at about 8:30.

 

Art Class Presentations were at different times, depending upon ship's placement and scheduled tours/excursions.  The On-Board Artist would demonstrate various "techniques" and styles and offer assistance to those wishing to try their hand at painting, either for the first time, or to improve/attempt to improve a current technique.  We did not attend any, except the final "showing", but a number of folks said they really enjoyed the sessions (especially at the price of $0.00 per session).  They were held in the spacious Sky Lounge on Deck Four.

 

Hope this helps.

 

NRayH

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