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I thought I posted a reply earlier, but it seems to have disappeared into some other sphere of reality???

We have done four cruises on ACL and well over 100 on other cruise lines.  We were a bit apprehensive, before our first venture with them.  No longer apprehensive.

Getting back to your question concerning complex cocktails, and/or cocktail menu,  I do not recall ever seeing an cocktail menu.  The "cocktail hour" usually has a vast array of possible cocktail ingredients.  The staff, whilst not specifically bar employees, have always been more that willing to attempt to fulfill guest's requests.  Perhaps with a bit of coaching, they would be able (and assuredly willing) to concoct your favorite "complex cocktail".

If your favorite drink requires some "special ingredient(s)", you should let them know prior to the cruise, and, I think,  there is a strong probability, the ingredients will be there -- which is always a good start.

Before our first ACL cruise (R/T New Orleans), I posed the question if there might be Abita Springs Beer on board.  It is brewed in that locale and quite popular throughout the area.  I had become familiar with during many "work trips" to the area of southern Louisiana, before I retired.  When we boarded the ship and entered our stateroom there was an ice bucket on the desk with six bottles of Abita, and note from the Hotel Director saying to let him know if I wanted more.

I later discovered, which I had hoped would be the case, that they usually have Abita on board.  I told him "thank you" and that he need not send any more to our stateroom since it was so readily available, throughout the ship.  I would prefer wine with dinner and just have the Abita at lunch.

Please stop back and let us know how your cruise experience did/did not fulfill your expectations.

 

NRayH

  

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NRayH, 

Thanks for your reply.  It sounds like I will be more than satisfied with what is offered.  Funny you mentioned Abita.  We live about an hour from Abita Springs and have made a number of visits to the brewery and several of the Abita beers (TurboDog and Purple Haze) are among our favorites.  

I will post my impressions of the cruise when we return. 

Thanks, 

Mike

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This is a review of our recent cruise on the Independence, April 6-13, 2019. We cruise frequently, most often on Crystal Symphony and Serenity on ocean cruises, but have done river cruises on both Viking and Crystal in Europe. This was our first cruise on a small ship in the USA, although we have done ocean cruises on both the east and west coasts of the USA. We were fortunate to be able to do this cruise with a couple of our good friends, which was one of the few good aspects of this trip.

 

The cruise was a disappointment. The price per day for this cruise was higher than what we have paid for both river and ocean cruises on Viking and Crystal, and the product was much inferior to either of those lines. Even when I include the travel costs to Europe, the cost for this cruise was higher.

 

Embarkation was easy. We were met at the dock by two staff members who were pleasant, cheerfully answered our questions, and directed us on board the Independence. Since we arrived around 10am, our stateroom was not ready and we were guided to the Chesapeake lounge where several other passengers were already gathered. First impression of the Chesapeake lounge was underwhelming. It reminded me of a gathering room in a budget assisted living facility. Some snacks were available, I don't remember what they were. Juice, soft drinks, coffee and water were available, but no champagne (sparkling wine for purists) or mimosas were offered. Our friends soon joined us, and we enjoyed talking with them and meeting some of the other passengers that had already boarded.

 

Before lunch we decided to wander around the ship a bit. We made our way to our stateroom and it was ready with our luggage already in the room. The stateroom was a little larger than other river ships we have been on, about the same size as a normal stateroom on an ocean vessel. There was a desk with desk chair, two sitting chairs, a dresser with a TV sitting on it, and two bedside tables. The bed was two twins locked together, with obvious sagging of each twin bed in the middle. The furniture reminded me of what one would find in a Day's Inn motel. We had a balcony room and the balcony was large enough to sit comfortably. The carpet inside the room at the balcony door was wet, and the room was very humid. Our friends were in a room on the other side of the ship and had the same problem with wet carpet in the room, and on a number of occasions had 2 inches of water standing on their balcony. This was blamed on the front of the ship being weighted heavier than the rear of the ship and the balconies not draining well. No plan for resolution of this problem was offered. The air conditioner in the room worked well, cooled the room off nicely, but as the room reached the desired temperature the fan continued to run blowing more humid air into the room. The TV had around 20 preset channels, news, weather, sports, amc, tbs, tnt, and regular networks. There was not a DVD player or HDMI connection available for playing movies. The bathroom was a normal size ship bathroom, one sink, a toilet and shower with hand held shower head, no bathtub.

 

Time for lunch. The dining room is on the 1st deck aft. It can comfortably hold all the passengers on the ship at one time. The dining tables are round with most tables seating 8 guests. Lunch dining time was 12 noon until 1:30pm with open seating at all meals. This proves a little awkward at times because people at the same table may be served different courses and at different times. It was difficult for the servers as well. We were instructed by our server at that first meal how dining would work. Each morning at breakfast we were given a menu for the day. The menu had the breakfast choices, which included the chef's special, usually some type of eggs benedict dish for breakfast, and regular choices of eggs, waffles, pancakes, and sides. The breakfast choices were good, and for the most part prepared well. Once I ordered waffles, and they were not crisp, but eggs were usually prepared as ordered. A good selection of fruit, pastries and cereal were also offered. On the back of the breakfast menu were the selections for lunch and dinner. We were instructed to mark our selections for lunch and dinner at breakfast, and could choose a ½ portion if desired. I found this a little difficult, because I don't know at breakfast how hungry I will be or exactly what I might want to eat later in the day. I found as the cruise went on that there was some leeway given and I could change my mind at lunch and dinner if the selection was available. There were one or two chef suggestions at both lunch and dinner, and there 4 same choices present daily at lunch and dinner.

 

Since I have started the discussion of the food, I will continue my critique of the food and dining in general. The food for the most part was prepared well, not highly seasoned and sometimes needing salt added. The description of the food did not always match the food. Medium rare did not always mean medium rare, usually more well done. Risotto was not risotto, it was plain rice. Plating and presentation were afterthoughts. Soup was serve lukewarm, and food had some times cooled to room temperature. Because of the open seating, one person at the table may be eating a first course, and another may be asking for dessert.

This created problems for the servers. They could not keep up with what was being served to whom and couldn't keep the orders correct. This resulted in long waits between courses and dining times up to 2 hours.   I talked with one of the servers after a meal and asked him about their training. He said there was no training. They arrived on the ship, within hours were given their assignments and started serving without any prior experience. I was appalled! I paid for a luxury cruise and I am being used to train the servers? This was not the servers fault, this is the fault of a cruiseline pinching pennies at customer's expense. I actually felt sorry for the servers. This is unacceptable from a cruise line who advertises, “Small Ship Cruising Done Perfectly”.

 

Beer and wine were served with the meals if desired. There was no limit on these, and the servers did their best to keep glasses full. The beer selection seemed fairly good, although I am not a connoisseur of beer. I am more knowledgeable about wine, and the selections offered were dreadful. We were served Smoking Loon brand of white and reds. This brand is available at Walmart for 3-5 dollars a bottle. I would be embarrassed to serve it to guests in my home, and American Cruise Lines should be embarrassed to serve it to guests who paid a premium price to cruise. I discussed this with one of the staff members on the ship who agreed with me and said be sure to mention that in the post cruise comments. I did.

 

Moving on. Afternoon lectures were ok, some better than others, but in general not well attended. A highlight of the cruise was Sheena, who taught the art classes. I don't have an artistic bone in my body, but she was able to help even me learn about and paint with watercolor paints. And made it fun! Thanks Sheena for being one of the positives about this cruising experience. Evening entertain was pretty good. Singers/keyboard players/guitarists performed and did well. One night Rebecca (the cruise director) led a Name That Tune competition, and the competitive nature of the cruisers was revealed. A good time was had by all who attended.

 

We went on several shore excursions. The carriage ride in Beaufort was excellent. The St. Simons Island tour could have been good except for a rude tour guide who treated the bus driver bad, was fixated on several actors behinds, and had to have several cigarettes during the tour. The Amelia Island river cruise was excellent.

 

Prior to dinner each evening at 5:30 pm cocktail hour commenced in the Chesapeake lounge. A table was set up and a number of spirits and mixers were available. Staff did their best to mix drinks requested, but no bartender is employed by the cruise line. The selection of spirits was good, but cocktail selection was limited due to knowledge of the staff. An appetizer table was set up and also hot appetizers were brought on trays, but those usually only made it to the first people in the room and not to the entire room. After a few days we realized we could get a drink and go up to the top deck, weather permitting, and that was probably our most enjoyable time and spot on the ship. And it was totally under utilized. Setting up a bar on the top deck and serving appetizers there when weather permits would be a really great idea. Access to the top deck may be a problem for some of the guests.

 

And speaking of access, 2 days into the cruise the elevator stopped working. Water was pouring into the elevator after a rain storm, and it didn't work the rest of the cruise. That did not bother me, I didn't use the elevator any way. But I estimate that ¼ of the passengers had mobility issues using a cane or walker, and going up and down the stairs was very difficult. So much so that a number of passengers had to have meals brought to their rooms because they could not go up or down the stairs. A cruise line that advertises itself as “perfectly” should have made it a priority to fix the elevator, even if it required flying parts and repairmen in overnight. That did not happen. When I disembarked there was still a paper sign on the elevator that said “out of order”. 5 days of a 7 day cruise without an elevator. Those with mobility issues should have there cruise costs partially refunded.

 

Now a word of caution to those who experience motion sickness. (I don't). This cruise is advertised as an intracoastal waterway cruise. We were forced into open water one day by a malfunctioning bridge, and the Captain warned us. And yes, it was choppy and the shipped rocked with a number of the passengers and crew experiencing motion sickness. But at least we were warned. On the last night of the cruise a new Captain joined us, and once again took us out to open water but without any prior warning. And did that right at dinner time. What should have been a night of good food and fun was ruined by rough water. Many of the crew were sick, and passengers as well. Dinner was not well attended. The entertainer was sick but struggled through and did well. I'm sure the captain had a good reason for what he did, but he needs to communicate that to the passengers who are paying his salary. I'm not sure that staying in protected waters for another few hours would have caused any problem, but how would I know? No communication.

 

Disembarkation was fairly simple. A bus was provided for transportation to the airport. On arrival at the airport the bus driver and airport personnel got into an argument about who was supposed to get the luggage off the bus. After 10 minutes or so the passengers that were able got into the luggage compartment on the bus and offloaded it. “Cruising Done Perfectly”.

 

Will I cruise on American Cruise Line again? No.

This is my personal opinion and observations, and everyone has to make their own decisions about what they like and dislike. I will not argue with anyone about opinions, everyone is entitled to one. There are many different cruise lines and we are all free to make our own choices.

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We are also experienced ocean and European river cruisers, interested in ACL's Hudson River cruise, but are hesitant due to reviews like yours, seadays10. Your experience, especially for the cost of the cruise, gives us pause. We may do it one day, but with low expectations, I'm sure.

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Has anyone booked a cruise on PEARL SEAS CRUISES while on board an AMERICAN CRUISE LINES cruise and have you gotten a discount?  Thanks in advance for the information.

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On ‎4‎/‎17‎/‎2019 at 7:00 PM, jklc123 said:

We are also experienced ocean and European river cruisers, interested in ACL's Hudson River cruise, but are hesitant due to reviews like yours, seadays10. Your experience, especially for the cost of the cruise, gives us pause. We may do it one day, but with low expectations, I'm sure.

Good Day,

I'll not try to change your mind.  After all we all need to determine what we think is best utilization of our travel funds.

I personally am reluctant to make an (often-times expensive) decision on only one opinion, especially from someone whom I do not know.

We have done well over 100 cruises (ocean and river -- U.S. and international).  Most have been worth our time and investment (time and/or money).  Some did not meet our expectations, whilst others have vastly exceed our expectations. Even when on those cruises where other folks had vastly different experiences than us we all, hopefully, found something to enjoy.

We have now completed five cruises with ACL.  Have they all been perfect?  No, they haven't, but none have given us cause to not repeat with them.  We have just completed a Revolutionary War themed cruise on the Chesapeake Bay and have another scheduled for the Columbia and Snake Rivers (Washington and Oregon) later this year.

I think, on just about every cruise (on all cruise lines) we have taken, there was something that could have been presented more perfectly/efficiently, but that is just the way "life" is.  Change what you can and persevere through the rest.

The Hudson River Cruise is on our "someday" list, especially after the wonderful tour of the Naval Academy at Annapolis.  The Hudson River Cruise stops at the Military Academy at West Point.

Best of "Cruising" whatever itinerary you choose.

 

NRayH

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Ray, I think I totally take your point. I've read several ACL reviews, with positives and negatives. The negatives seem quite consistent, and worse than any of the (very few) negatives we have experienced on other lines. However, we are itinerary-driven in our choices of cruises, and love not having to change hotels frequently and traveling on a small ship while seeing areas of interest to us, so we probably will give ACL a try. Maybe we'll have the same "someday" on the Hudson!

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On 4/20/2019 at 9:38 AM, jebhoward3 said:

Has anyone booked a cruise on PEARL SEAS CRUISES while on board an AMERICAN CRUISE LINES cruise and have you gotten a discount?  Thanks in advance for the information.

We took a Pearl Seas Cuba cruise in Feb(just in time!).  Many of our fellow cruisers had taken ACL cruises and strongly recommended them.  We booked  an ACL cruise with next cruise discount and saved $3,000

Operator: American Cruise Lines
  Tour Name: Northwest Pioneers Cruise (Portland to Clarkston)
 
Ship Name:  American Song
  Pre-Tour Hotel Check in: September 24, 2020 (1 night)
  Hotel Name: Complimentary Portland Hotel (TBD)
  Tour Begins September 25, 2020
 

Tour Ends: October 5, 2020

 

DW and I  liked the small ship atmosphere

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On 6/16/2019 at 8:59 PM, Tom47 said:

We took a Pearl Seas Cuba cruise in Feb(just in time!).  Many of our fellow cruisers had taken ACL cruises and strongly recommended them.  We booked  an ACL cruise with next cruise discount and saved $3,000

Operator: American Cruise Lines
  Tour Name: Northwest Pioneers Cruise (Portland to Clarkston)
 
Ship Name:  American Song
  Pre-Tour Hotel Check in: September 24, 2020 (1 night)
  Hotel Name: Complimentary Portland Hotel (TBD)
  Tour Begins September 25, 2020
 

Tour Ends: October 5, 2020

 

DW and I  liked the small ship atmosphere

Sounds as though we will be doing the same itinerary, only we are scheduled to do it this October (10-21).  I will try to remember to post our impressions after the cruise.  This will be our sixth cruise with ACL.  As you may have surmised, we enjoy the product.  No, they are not perfect, and could improve certain aspects -- but then again I look in the mirror and come to the same conclusions.

Happy Cruising,

 

NRayH

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Thanks NRayH.  We hope to meet you sometime.

 

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On 6/19/2019 at 5:54 PM, Ray in NH said:

Sounds as though we will be doing the same itinerary, only we are scheduled to do it this October (10-21).  I will try to remember to post our impressions after the cruise.  This will be our sixth cruise with ACL.  As you may have surmised, we enjoy the product.  No, they are not perfect, and could improve certain aspects -- but then again I look in the mirror and come to the same conclusions.

Happy Cruising,

 

NRayH

NRayH,

 

We plan to do the Snake River cruise next year in August/September on the Song. I look forward to hearing your impressions.

 

Deb

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