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What happened to the Napa Valley Cruises?


CruiseMob
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I noticed yesterday and today that all staterooms for the Napa Valley Cruises are sold out. This appears to be every cruise even into 2025. Anyone have any idea what is going on? I have a hard time believing these are all sold out since just a week ago there was lots of availability. Is it possible they are going to cancel these cruises?

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I do. I was on the Independence this week and tried to book the Napa Valley Cruise onboard. I was told to call customer service and the ACL representative told me ACL had been denied permission to come into San Francisco and they were no longer taking bookings for that cruise. If you have booked this cruise, call ACL as it is canceled.

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16 hours ago, SteelMagnolia9 said:

The ACL representative told me ACL had been denied permission to come into San Francisco and they were no longer taking bookings for that cruise.

 

12 hours ago, CruiseMob said:

Oh no! I haven't booked yet but have been watching it as I really wanted to do it. Oddly Nov 4th 2024 is still available but all other cruises say sold out for every cabin.

This is the second time I have been through this (see the "American Jazz in the Delta" thread for April)!

 

Booked this trip when it was "San Francisco to San Francisco" -- got cancelled, then reconfigured to "Sacramento to Sacramento" and I got rebooked.  That itinerary involved no docking at SF whatsoever, so ACL rep is flat wrong about that.  Then...all THOSE cruises got cancelled.  Same as now, suddenly all cruises "sold out."  Called ACL, they rebooked me yet again, this time for...Nov 4, 2024.  Strange, isn't it, that this is the only one not "sold out."  Checked my ACL Account, and the cruise still shows up there.  Have to call yet again, but I think I'm giving up on Jazz and California much as I wanted to do this.

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Thanks DaveinCharlotte! This is discouraging. The Nov 4th cruise was the one I was looking at, but I didn't want to book until after I had my cancer "all clear" in November. Normally, I would just book, but ACL's cancellation policy charges $250 regardless of how far in advance you cancel. I didn't want to risk that in case I can't go after all. Well I guess I'll cross my fingers and hope there is still single cabins on the Nov 4th 2024 at the end of Nov this year. 

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I'm going to wait a while before calling in.  Last time, after all all the cruises went "sold out," first they all disappeared then then all reappeared as bookable a short time later.  Still a long time in the future, so I don't have to get this straightened out just yet. Will post back when I do.  Yes, "discouraging" is the right word.  We've done (or have booked) almost all of the other ACL cruises, so was looking forward to this new one.

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Sent an e-mail to Customer Service this morning asking if our booking was still valid.  Got a phone call an hour ago saying all Napa Valley cruises were cancelled, and unlikely that they would ever be reinstated.  Asked the rep why.  Not a clear answer; something to the effect of "California regulatory requirements that could not be met." He transferred our deposit to another booking.  Guess that settles that.  Too bad, seemed like a nice itinerary.

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Thanks for the update DaveinCharlotte. This is so disappointing. This cruise had all the perfect aspects for my first solo back to cruising trip if I receive my "all clear". Oh well I guess I won't be able to try ACL as none of the other itineraries fit my specific needs. At least not at this time, maybe someday in the future. 

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  • 7 months later...

Waking up this old thread to report what our Cruise Director on Glory said about this.  He seemed knowledgeable about goings-on at the home office.  He held a Q&A and someone asked him about this issue.  His response:

 

Problem # 1 was with the Longshoremen union at San Francisco.  They complained having the ACL deckhands transfer luggage between the ship and dock competed with them, and insisted ACL pay them hundreds of dollars per passenger.  So ACL abandoned San Francisco and shifted to Sacramento.

 

Problem # 2 was with the California equivalent of the EPA.  Despite American Jazz's modern waste treatment equipment, they said that wasn't good enough and the ship could not continue to sail anywhere in the Bay area.  At that point, ACL threw in the towel.

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On 2/15/2024 at 9:12 AM, DaveinCharlotte said:

Waking up this old thread to report what our Cruise Director on Glory said about this.  He seemed knowledgeable about goings-on at the home office.  He held a Q&A and someone asked him about this issue.  His response:

 

Problem # 1 was with the Longshoremen union at San Francisco.  They complained having the ACL deckhands transfer luggage between the ship and dock competed with them, and insisted ACL pay them hundreds of dollars per passenger.  So ACL abandoned San Francisco and shifted to Sacramento.

 

Problem # 2 was with the California equivalent of the EPA.  Despite American Jazz's modern waste treatment equipment, they said that wasn't good enough and the ship could not continue to sail anywhere in the Bay area.  At that point, ACL threw in the towel.

Not sure why either of these things would come as a surprise to ACL.

 

ACL's crew are unionized, and their unions would not allow competition with another union, the Longshoremen.  This is basic labor relations.

 

The California "no discharge zone" that includes San Francisco bay area and the Sacramento river and delta, has been in effect for about 12 years.  It is well known that even with the most effective "advanced waste water treatment plant" that is available to cruise ships today, that treats waste water far better than most municipalities, to near drinking quality, that you still cannot discharge anything when in these "no discharge areas".  Ocean going ships have to hold their waste water, whether treated or not, until outside the area.  This means ACL would need to have holding tanks, and pump out contracts at the various stopping points along the cruise, as they are within the "no discharge zone" for the entire cruise.

 

While Viking ran into similar misconceptions when they started their US flag river cruises, a longtime US flag operator like ACL should have been well aware of these conditions before offering the cruises.  Just want to shake my head.

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2 hours ago, DaveinCharlotte said:

Did not know that.  Do you know which Union the crew is in?

Deck and Engine officers are in American Maritime Officers (AMO).  Deck and Engine crew are in Seafarers International Union (SIU), and hotel crew are in Seafarers, Entertainers, and Associated Trades Union (SEATU), an SIU subsidiary union.

 

Technically, all crew on all cruise ships are "unionized".  Deck and Engine departments are typically represented by the maritime unions in their home countries, and the hotel staff are represented by the "crewing agencies" that have a "collective bargaining" agreement with the cruise line, from the crew's home countries.  I use quotes here because for the hotel staff, the "union" is more like a job placement agency than a true union.  If crew had no "union" representation, then union longshoremen would not handle the ships in port.

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Typically, the American cruise lines ships do not dock at the major cruiseports with the “big cruise ships”. They embark and disembark in such places as Alton, Illinois, Redwing, Minnesota, Hayden, Island, Oregon, Amelia Island, Florida,. Most of their docking locations have a single dock, or docks that serve the general public boats. Doubtful there are any longshoreman at most of these locations. Maybe the San Francisco area cruises had a different situation. Many times, when  on the river, the ship will just  pull into the side of the river, open up its bow entrance, and let the passengers exit the ship. In those situation’s, all docking and line handling is handled by the ships deckhands.

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9 hours ago, DaveinCharlotte said:

I'm wondering, though, why this problem doesn't crop up at ACL's major ports, where I would think there would be a union presence.  For example, New York City, Boston, New Orleans.

It may be because there are different longshoremen's unions between the East Coast and West Coast.  It may also be what piers that ACL is using on the East Coast.  If they are using "private" piers (not owned by a state or municipal entity), then the longshoremen would not have any contract at those piers, much like how oil companies own their own docks and terminals and don't use longshoremen, and what ACL does at smaller ports.

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3 hours ago, chengkp75 said:

It may also be what piers that ACL is using on the East Coast.  If they are using "private" piers (not owned by a state or municipal entity), then the longshoremen would not have any contract at those piers.

OK, I bet that's it.  In further thinking about exactly where ACL docks at each of these major ports, I see that in each case they do not dock where the big cruise ships dock, but at a separate pier nearby.

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