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1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2019
We wanted to tour the Great Lakes on a small ship in style. To start our days, the breakfasts were always excellent with a nice variety. The portions at each meal were just right. We enjoyed the open seating at each meal. The cabin and ... Read More
We wanted to tour the Great Lakes on a small ship in style. To start our days, the breakfasts were always excellent with a nice variety. The portions at each meal were just right. We enjoyed the open seating at each meal. The cabin and bathroom were a good size with a nice shower. The cabin steward was very attentive and friendly. The ship was well maintained and clean. We appreciated the overnight laundry service. The cruise director and her assistant were always available and on top of everything. They were very informative about the next day's activities. The entertainment duo had a good variety of music and vocals with changing themes night to night. In summation, our goal for this cruise was to familiarize ourselves and learn more about the beautiful Great Lakes. We learned about the people past and present and the surrounding towns/cities. Also, our goal was to have an enjoyable vacation with people with the same interests. We achieved our goals and enjoyed ourselves very much. We will be looking forward to cruising with Pearl Seas again. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2019
My husband wanted to see the Great Lakes and he loves cruising. We read the reviews and all said “older” passengers. Somehow we didn’t imagine that meant most would be mid 70s to 90s. At 62 that meant we were a whole lot younger than ... Read More
My husband wanted to see the Great Lakes and he loves cruising. We read the reviews and all said “older” passengers. Somehow we didn’t imagine that meant most would be mid 70s to 90s. At 62 that meant we were a whole lot younger than most of the passengers. There were possibly 10 passengers around our age or younger. We had cabin R303 - a nice large stateroom . Because of the odd layout however we did not have a couch only 2 semi comfortable chairs. The tv and air conditioner worked well. We had a lunch very balcony w rocking chairs. The meals were good but I’m not really a fan of the group tables. The wait staff ran hot and cold as far as personality. My biggest complaint is the lack of activities on the ship. The 2 large lounges were nice and they had snacks and beverages all day. However if the Lounge was being used for a talk or presentation you had to leave. The entertainment was really geared to older people. A presentation was on “The Golden Age of Radio.” The excursions were lacking. Local historical societies or WWII activities. The day spent at Mackimac Island was wonderful but we missed lunch at the Grand Hotel due to a scheduling issue as the ship was late leaving the previous port due to a late food delivery. The trip was relaxing for us and we got a lot of reading done but I would have loved something to do on the ship while in port. The older passengers seemed to enjoy the choice of excursions more than we did. For the hefty price tag I found this cruise lacking. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2019
We went on the Grand New England Cruise offered by American Cruise Lines and enjoyed it very much. The Lobster Bake in Rockland, ME was wonderful...from music to our lobster. In fact, we found every port interesting especially visiting ... Read More
We went on the Grand New England Cruise offered by American Cruise Lines and enjoyed it very much. The Lobster Bake in Rockland, ME was wonderful...from music to our lobster. In fact, we found every port interesting especially visiting the Portland, ME Lighthouse, and the excursions we signed up for (Lobster and Lighthouse in Camden, ME and Schooner Sail in Gloucester, MA). We found the ship and our stateroom very clean. Weather made it impossible to tender at Bar Harbor, but safety of passengers should be the main concern which it was. The food was delicious and we were thrilled with all the seafood offered. The waitstaff, for the most part, was excellent. The crew was very friendly and attentive especially our Cruise Director. We also enjoyed the on board Historian. This was our first cruise experience and would go again with American Cruise Lines. We met some wonderful people and will have great memories. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2019
My wife and I love the fact the ACL ship has 100 passengers max. The ship is cozy, casual and very well run. The crew, top to bottom, are friendly, responsive and efficient. The cabins are roomy with private balconies. The food and ... Read More
My wife and I love the fact the ACL ship has 100 passengers max. The ship is cozy, casual and very well run. The crew, top to bottom, are friendly, responsive and efficient. The cabins are roomy with private balconies. The food and service is excellent. We have done the big ship cruises (3000+ + passengers, and swore we will never do another big ship again!) We discovered ACL last summer when we did their New England Island cruise, and loved it. We have already signed up for our third cruise with ACL for Nov. 2020. It was fun to be able to mix and mingle and sit with different people at every meal. Since many passengers, like us, were older, retired people, and from a variety of states, cities, businesses and professions, mealtimes were always interesting and entertaining. American Cruise Lines have smaller ships so they can visit more of the coastal and river ports than the big ships, so we you get to see more of the country up close and personal. Landing in port, there are at most only 100 passengers who disembark or go on shore hikes and excursions vs. 3000 people descending on a port at the same time. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2019
1. Wanted to see the area via a cruise 2. Very poor food quality. In fact it became so poor that they brought in quality chef for two days mid crew. 3. Poor dining room service 4. Attention to detail was sorely lacking. While the ... Read More
1. Wanted to see the area via a cruise 2. Very poor food quality. In fact it became so poor that they brought in quality chef for two days mid crew. 3. Poor dining room service 4. Attention to detail was sorely lacking. While the wait staff was congenial they were mostly new and seemed like as though they were in a training aspect. 5. The cost of the cruise was outrageous. The cost was $9200 for the two us and we have been on quality cruise lines so we just trusted that this would be just the same. At the best, the cruise would be only worth somewhere in the area of $2100/guest. 5. The cabin # 219 and it was very poor. It smelled of crude engine oil.I was near an exit opening where the crew went in and out 24/7. The furnishing was dated to the 1960’s and 70’s. The window shades were cheesy and didn’t work well. When we docked on two occasions our windows were at the level of the dock and walkers could see in privacy was all but absent. 6. We complained on the cruise to the cruise director and the hotel manager: but rather fell on deaf ears. We filed a lengthy complaint which we would be happy to share with your Editor-in-Charge. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2019
We chose this cruise because of its itinerary (which was unique and they were good ports that we enjoyed). Unfortunately due to the very poor quality of the ship and crew we were not pleased with the cruise overall. There was poor service, ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of its itinerary (which was unique and they were good ports that we enjoyed). Unfortunately due to the very poor quality of the ship and crew we were not pleased with the cruise overall. There was poor service, marginal food, dirty and unkept ship and cabins. A couple of people left the cruise after the first 24 hours apparently due to the underwhelming conditions. They do have good marketing skills because their brochures describe a luxury 5 star cruise and they charge 5 star prices. The ship is designed well for what it does (small ports) but it was not built as a 5 star luxury ship. The entertainment was marginal, but we were not going on this cruise for the entertainment. Some of the lectures were good but most were not. By far, the service was the most disappointing. We always ordered two glasses of ice tea or water, because they rarely came by to provide refills. We usually had to wave down a waiter to come take our order and sometimes waited 45 min to get the meal. The crew was inexperienced and simple jobs like docking and tying off the tender were laughable. The best laugh was when a crew member let a wheelchair roll off the dock and into the water (they tried using a grappling hook, but they never found the wheelchair). Unfortunately American Cruise Lines is just not up to par. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2019
Cruised several times on American Queen boats and loved each of those. Wanted to try their new acquisition, Victory Cruise Lines and their Great Lakes itinerary. As with the Queen and Duchess, we weren't disappointed. The ship is a ... Read More
Cruised several times on American Queen boats and loved each of those. Wanted to try their new acquisition, Victory Cruise Lines and their Great Lakes itinerary. As with the Queen and Duchess, we weren't disappointed. The ship is a small version of an ocean going cruise ship. 200 passengers, very intimate, easy to navigate. The ships decor is beautiful, very updated and did not experience a single problem or issue. The cabins are small, but very well designed with a lot of storage space. We found that by separating our beds, we had much more space and the cabin seemed larger. Beds very comfortable. Bathroom is very nice with ample storage, small shower, but we've had smaller. We call it a one person bathroom unless one of us was in the shower. Dining in the large dining room or the smaller casual Grill buffet. Never crowded and food was very good. Menu items displayed in the hallway entering the dining room for dinner. Nice to be able to see what you might want to order. Also 24 hr. coffee machine in the main lounge and coffee and ice cream machines in the Grill. Public areas are: the 1) main lounge where we met before dinner for cocktails, talks on next day's activities, daily activities, nightly entertainment and afternoon teas: 2) tavern with a pub type atmosphere behind the lounge with a bar and tables: 3) two separate seating areas on the top deck (note: the elevator does not go to the top deck. The itinerary and excursions were awesome. We were on all 5 Great Lakes with beautiful scenery and wonderful ports of call. The excursions were well planned, seamless in execution and all guides were interesting. Nightly entertainment was a three piece band made up of a piano player (also the cruise director), drummer and a guitar/trumpet player. They were very talented and played popular songs that we know and could sing along or dance to. Different theme each night. The staff aboard Victory I were excellent, hard working and their service was impeccable. This was right up with the best service we've ever experienced. If you're looking for a relaxing cruise on a great small ship with wonderful food, service and excursions, in or close to America, this would be a great choice. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2019
We wanted to experience the Great Lakes and thought this cruise was a good way to do it. The crew was well trained, friendly and happy but the ship itself was a disappointment. It was rather shabby and in need of a refurbishment. The ... Read More
We wanted to experience the Great Lakes and thought this cruise was a good way to do it. The crew was well trained, friendly and happy but the ship itself was a disappointment. It was rather shabby and in need of a refurbishment. The furniture was well worn with nicks and scratches and most of the carpeting needed cleaning. The lounges were set up like an old fashioned parlor and not appointed well at all. Afternoon Tea consisted of a coffee/tea machine, paper cups and a few hors d’oevres. We only went once. The food was very good and presented well but don’t order breakfast in your cabin. It always came out wrong. Several other people said the same thing. We did enjoy the entertainment very much. Kenny and Kat were very good and enthusiastic. But the entertainment ended at 10pm and you couldn’t even get a drink after that. We had a good enough time but wouldn’t use this ship again. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2019
This was my first small cruise, determined not to go on a ship with a thousand other people. Overall I found it relaxing. However, though I had anticipated a small single cabin as not being very large, to call it small would be an ... Read More
This was my first small cruise, determined not to go on a ship with a thousand other people. Overall I found it relaxing. However, though I had anticipated a small single cabin as not being very large, to call it small would be an understatement. What was particularly galling was the ship I was told, was designed for 80 persons and many of the double cabins were empty, as there were only 38 passengers on board. I could easily have been upgraded along with the other singletons to a larger cabin. The Ac was very noisy and erratic. My sleep was constantly disturbed. For this reasons regarding the cabin I would not go on another Blount cruise. Furnishings in the room were a bit shabby. Most of the other passenger were pleasant and friendly, except for one or two who expressed their right-wing opinions loudly. One could sit with different people at meals. Food was served plated and there was always two choices, including fish,for dinner. We had fresh lobster twice. The kitchen was always willing to make accommodations for me as I am pescatarian. Over all the food was very good. One could bring your own tipple on board and wine and beer were served at lunch and dinner at no extra cost. Excursions were very overpriced. All in all, was a bit expensive for what was provided cabin wise. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
We enjoy river cruises as opposed to ocean cruises. We enjoy the silence of the river, and the history surrounding it. On this Lewis and Clark themed cruise along the Snake and Columbia Rivers in Washington and Oregon, we relived a most ... Read More
We enjoy river cruises as opposed to ocean cruises. We enjoy the silence of the river, and the history surrounding it. On this Lewis and Clark themed cruise along the Snake and Columbia Rivers in Washington and Oregon, we relived a most important part of our nations past, forged in part by these two infamous explorers. Great shore excursions and presentations by the River Historian added to the experience. The hospitality of the ship and crew was outstanding. The food and drink was excellent. It should be noted that the Queen of the West is the line's oldest ship and the rooms and bathroom are smaller than newer ships. But so little time is spent in the room, we found the accommodations to be adequate. The one difficulty was a high step into the bathroom which may be difficult for an elderly person. We enjoyed the entire cruise so much that we immediately signed up for another cruise next year! Read Less
Sail Date: June 2019
We just returned from an 11 day American Cruise Lines cruise of New England. Overall this is an average cruise with a very above average price. There were both pros and cons: Pros: 1. The food was excellent, although the selection ... Read More
We just returned from an 11 day American Cruise Lines cruise of New England. Overall this is an average cruise with a very above average price. There were both pros and cons: Pros: 1. The food was excellent, although the selection was quite limited. 2. The staff were very friendly and helpful. We got to know two staff people in the dining room and enjoyed interacting with them (Ike and Marquita). They provided very good service. Some of the other dining staff were not as engaging or as talented, as in all cruise ships. 3. The Cruise Director and her direct report were very accommodating to me to provide me with Wifi service on our cruise, they let me use an I-Phone from the ship to use as a "hot spot" source for Wifi. This was above and beyond the call of duty to help correct a serious flaw in American Cruise Lines Wifi issues. (see below). 4. Overall the ship was clean. 5. The stops on the cruise were nice. We had not been to New England before so it was enjoyable seeing this part of the country. Cons: 1. The Wifi is a serious problem on American Cruise Line ships. This ship is only a year old so this should not be an issue, but it is. Its understandable to have sketchy Wifi access when out at sea, but this problem persisted when we were in port. I was unable to download email or access websites despite my phone and laptop stating that I was connected. In talking with the crew this is a known problem that has not been corrected yet. This is serious flaw for those who need dependable Wifi on their trip. 2. The clientele on this cruise line is VERY elderly. I would estimate that the average age on our cruise was in the low 80's. Most of the passengers were very friendly and it was nice to get to know some of them, but it really felt like we were vacationing in an elderly retirement community. A large number of folks were unable to ambulate easily with many using canes and some with walkers or motorized carts. This was a factor in the tours we went on. It took a fair bit of additional time for people to get on and off tour buses as you can imagine. There were some who had difficulty understanding basic instructions related to the tours. We are in our 50's and throughout the cruise we were identified as the "youngsters"! I think its great that these folks are getting out and enjoying life and I say more power to them, but I'm looking for a different environment for our vacationing. 3. The entertainment was average, I think mainly due to the clientele the cruise line is catering to. 4. Although the ship was clean overall, our stateroom had some issues. The bathroom had a urine smell. There was half a cookie on the carpeted floor with associated crumbs that was left under the desk. There were some small paper wrappers on the floor that were left. At this price range this was unexpected. 5. The dining area is cramped. There are 8 people at the majority of tables, which is a bit overcrowded for the table size. You are unable to eat a meal with just you and your spouse. This can be enjoyable or not depending on who sits with you since its open seating. I noted that in their official pictures the tables show 6 places at each table, this is inaccurate. 6. This is an expensive cruise line. Our 11 day cruise up the New England coast with a one night stay in Boston before the cruise cost around $18,000. We opted for the pre-cruise package in Boston which cost us $900. This is not worth it. Its one night at the Four Seasons, breakfast, a 90 minute bus tour of Boston, and dropping you off at the ship. It was nice, but very overpriced. 7. The tours are very sedentary, pretty much all bus tours. There is opportunity in several of the ports to explore on your own, but again, its an older crowd that this trip is geared toward. 8. The ship had an exercise room but all it contained were a couple of free weights and a few recumbent exercise bikes. In summary, overall it was nice seeing New England, but we would not use American Cruise Lines again. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
We wanted to cruise the Snake and Colombia Rivers to trace the last part of the Lewis and Clark expedition. The route was very good and the onboard historian added immeasurably to the cruise. The cabin was roomy for a river cruise but the ... Read More
We wanted to cruise the Snake and Colombia Rivers to trace the last part of the Lewis and Clark expedition. The route was very good and the onboard historian added immeasurably to the cruise. The cabin was roomy for a river cruise but the bed was in need of upgrade. The cabin was astern on the second deck so it was noisy when underway. Ports were interesting and tours offered mostly interesting. The tour to Mt Saint Helens was a long bus ride for a short time there. The port of Astoria was interesting because it was at the mouth of the Columbia River and Lewis and Clark’s first encounter with the Pacific.. The final port of Portland was worth staying for a post cruise day.. The precruise port of Clarkston would have been more interesting for us if travel delays prevented us from doing the Hells Canyon jet boat tour. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2019
We selected this cruise as we were traveling with 2 other couples who live on our street. This is not the best of the ships in this line but selected as one couple needed a lower cost cruise. Rooms small and cramped and flooded during ... Read More
We selected this cruise as we were traveling with 2 other couples who live on our street. This is not the best of the ships in this line but selected as one couple needed a lower cost cruise. Rooms small and cramped and flooded during rains. Employees who work hard were up at 5am pushing rainwater off deck, but the problem, aside from the noise, was that water was pushed inside the cabin. Cabins not soundproof as next door phone conversations could be heard regularly. Awful fumes noticed inside cabin. The Hop On Hop Off buses do NOT have tour guides onboard in the afternoon so if you are not an early bird you are out of luck. Excursions booked through the cruise line were not as advertised,, and when a complaint was made to the excursion director, Alex, it was totally ignored. On the last day of the cruise, which disembarking the ship, we inquired about our concern and were told nothing would be done as it was not a cruise line excursion: BS! We booked with the ship. Forget the Elvis Graceland adventure through the ship and get a better deal with a local tour company. Our friends who had a problem with their swamp adventure were given a g=credit for the problems they had. Their excursion, like ours, was booked through the ship. Nothing is worse than being lied to by a ship representative. Room service on several occasions failed to deliver our order completely; this was for breakfast only. Dining room selection of food and service was excellent. All but one waiter (Kathisa) was fantastic. She was one who refused us a table for 2 at lunch when many tables were available and finally seated us at a table with no view---we declined it and asked for a different table. After a bit of attitude we were seated properly. Patio restaurant closes at 2 pm which is a problem when returning late from a morning excursion. You are left which a choice of hot dogs or hot dogs. Laundry machines broken at times and no hot water for showers on the last day. We had the beverage package and service varied a the different bars. Brian on deck 5 was excellent as was bartender outside the patio restaurant. The pre-cruise hotel,, The Sheriton in Memphis was less than satisfactory; air-conditioning problems and issues with door locks. We had to have a room change analog with one of our friends. Definitely not a 4 star hotel. Entertainers very enthusiastic and shows enjoyable. The band was great. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
My wife wanted to cruise the Great Lakes and i found this ship that was sailing from Toronto, ON Canada through the Great Lakes and Georgian Bay ending in Milwaukee, WS . The ship's facilities were very good but cabins and rooms are ... Read More
My wife wanted to cruise the Great Lakes and i found this ship that was sailing from Toronto, ON Canada through the Great Lakes and Georgian Bay ending in Milwaukee, WS . The ship's facilities were very good but cabins and rooms are dated. The crew members were excellent and very attentive to passenger needs and requests. Entertainment and activities are geared to retired (60+) and service was excellent as was the dining. Shore excursions were good and ports, for the most part, were very easy and efficient. WiFi didn't seem to work when you needed it most and was very spotty to say the least. TV reception (for NBA tournament) was also hit and miss, although some passengers had it on their phones. The disembarkation port was too small though and this made getting off the ship awkward and time consuming. Not good planning on the part of the cruise line. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
Our 44th cruise was with a river boat company, American Cruise Lines, but it was not on a river. We sailed around Puget Sound and the San Juan Islands, aboard the American Constellation for 10 nights and 11 days. It is a very nice boat, ... Read More
Our 44th cruise was with a river boat company, American Cruise Lines, but it was not on a river. We sailed around Puget Sound and the San Juan Islands, aboard the American Constellation for 10 nights and 11 days. It is a very nice boat, quite new and offering a good range of river boat amenities, a hardworking and a very pleasant crew. But we felt it was overpriced, and had some weak points. Embarkation We boarded shortly before noon at a marina in Seattle, and the check-in was very fast. We were handed names tags on a ribbon and encouraged to wear them all the time. We were given the usual room key, but were not asked to provide a credit card imprint – a first in our experience. The Captain was there to greet us; and helped with the luggage. We had a snack in the main “Cascade” Lounge on deck three and then went to our cabin. The Stateroom, This is a quite new ship, and the stateroom was in excellent condition. It was quite roomy for a river boat with plenty of drawer space and a small but adequate closet. The bathroom was about the same size as on most cruise ships. The verandah has a sliding glass door, two chairs and a small table. The walls were painted a nice beige shade. There were two armchairs as well as a desk with its chair. Almost all the staterooms were the same, the price differential was according to location. We were on Deck 2, but since it is a small vessel, it was not inconvenient. We were just a few steps from the center of the boat. The Ship If you are on a cruise ship, you are told to call the river vessels “boats”. But American Constellation really looks like a small cruise ship with six decks and a sharp prow. It was built for sailing on open waters, and, as we saw on our visit to the bridge, is controlled by a navigation system that matches the oceangoing vessels we have been on. The top deck is open, with a small putting green. Deck 5 has the “Owners Suites”, a fitness room and a rear sun deck. Deck 4 has staterooms with a library/computer room and the Sky Lounge aft with an open deck. Deck 3 has the main Cascade Lounge forward and staterooms as well as a lounge. Deck 2 is all staterooms except for a lounge. The Main Deck has the Office and Dining Room, as well as some rooms without verandahs. All the decks except the top deck were connected by two roomy elevators in addition to a stairway. The Crew The crew, with one exception, was entirely American. Captain Brown had served in the Coast Guard for many years. He was most pleasant and helpful for the entire cruise. The Cruise Director, Annie was also outgoing and helpful, and most of her comments on the ports were accurate. The wait staff in the main dining room was cheerful and tried their best, but still lacked the skill of those found on the major cruise line. The only non-American on the whole ship was the pianist, from England, appropriately named Jon England. Fellow Passengers As noted, all our fellow passengers were from the United States. We were actually provided with a list of everyone’s names and staterooms. Those who had sailed with American Cruise Lines had their names marked with a star. While the ship would carry up to 175 passengers, we only had 112 on board. Of these 73 had sailed with the cruise line before. Since the company has only been around for a few years, this shows a high degree of loyalty. Since it is easy to forget the names of one’s fellow passengers, the list was quite helpful. As usual, virtually all our fellow passengers were of “a certain age”. The meals were all with open seating, but after a day or two we found a small group with whom we usually ate. The name tags and passenger list did help with recalling people. By and large we were a cheerful lot, and happy to share our differing port experiences and past cruising histories. Dining This was the first cruise in which all meals were served by the wait staff. Each diner was provided with an individual menu, and the back side asked for our choices for lunch and dinner. There was a partial buffet for breakfast, but the hot items were obtained only by ordering them. Actually the breakfast had the widest selection of “main” servings. The lunches were somewhat inadequate in term of choices offered; but it was possible to order items not on the menu. One of our table regulars always had chicken tacos for lunch. I tried them, but this Arizonan with a wide experience in Mexican food, found the Constellation version to be lacking in true south of the border flavor. The dinners were generally pretty good, although no boat this size can match the cuisine on a cruise ship; even smaller ships like the Oceania Regatta or the Crystal Serenity and Symphony. In fact, these smaller cruise ships, including Marina and Riviera as well as the Viking ocean going vessels, set the mark for cruise dining. But the efforts on our trip were commendable, with three main dinner entrée choices plus a vegetarian option for my wife. Desserts were limited, but the baker did an excellent job, and treats were available almost all the time all over the boat. One nice feature was the ability to order half-size portions. As we noted in the “Crew” section, the inexperience of the wait staff led to some mixed-up orders, and on one occasion, a delay of half an hour in getting the lunch main meal served after the appetizers. Shipboard Entertainment This facet of the trip was not bad for a riverboat. We had three pretty good female singers and a five piece band in addition to Jon England and his piano offerings. There was supposed to be a Dixieland band the final night but they did not make it. The Ports Ports and their excursions are normally the highlight of “river” cruises. However the options offered in the Puget Sound area were somewhat limited for first time passengers and the complimentary excursions very restricted, unless you were a prior passenger. We received a one page “Captain’s Sailing Instructions” sheet which detailed all our various arrivals and departures. As on all river cruises, there was a session in the main lounge each night with Annie going over all the shore options for the following day. We had already received a printed sheet of these choices in our cabins after dinner in the daily “Ship to Shore” sheet. We had also been provided on arrival with three pages of all the off-ship offerings and another document showing the prices. Many of these options were too strenuous for me, but the ones we took we did enjoy. Our highlights included a visit to an alpaca farm in Friday Harbor, and a “game farm” near Port Angeles where we fed a variety of large animals such a bears, llamas, bison and deer from the bus. Anacortes, north of Seattle, was our first stop with an interesting history and some tours. We arrived at 8:00 P.M. the first day after a 1:30 P.M. sail-away, stayed all the next day and sailed the following morning west for a two hour trip to Friday Harbor. Whale watching was offered there twice a day, in addition to the alpaca farm, but only the afternoon group saw more than one kind of whale. Friday Harbor is on San Juan Island, one of the San Juan group of islands which are actually northeast of Vancouver Island and Victoria, B.C. The islands became part of the United States after a long running dispute with Canada. It was here we did a tour of the island which included a delightful visit to Krystal and her alpaca farm, where we got to feed and pet the alpacas. We also had a visit to a lighthouse and the town of Roche Harbor. We stayed overnight at a small harbor nearby and then sailed south the next day to Port Angeles on the Olympic Peninsula arriving in the afternoon. There we enjoyed a view of the snow covered Olympic Range. The following day was spent in Port Angeles, because this was the spot from which people could take a boat to Victoria and visit Butchart Gardens, a somewhat pricey trip requiring a passport. Since we had seen the gardens a few years prior to this cruise, we skipped this adventure and instead enjoyed the visit to the game farm in nearby Sequim [which should always be pronounced “Skwim”]. We left Port Angeles early the next morning and sailed east to Port Townsend, which is at the northeast corner of the peninsula, arriving at 10:00 A.M. and again spending the night there. Not too much was offered there by way of excursions except a complimentary walking tour. We sailed early the next morning to Paulsbo, just off Puget Sound, where we tendered ashore on a small ship’s launch and visited the Squamish Museum and Chief Seattle’s grave site. This is a small but very well done museum containing a great deal of history concerning the Native American tribes which inhabited this area. We left Paulsbo in the afternoon and sailed south, arriving in Tacoma at 6:00, spending the night and the next day there. This is a good sized city, but the ship offered only a complimentary excursion and two museum tours. The excursion was by bus and was enjoyable. We left the next morning, sailing north to Bremerton on the west side of Puget Sound. We arrived at noon and left at noon the next day. The only item of any interest in Bremerton is the Puget Sound Navy Museum (free), and that is a somewhat limited venue. Annie had said there was a nice shopping area, but one of our table companions who visited the area said most of the shops were closed. We had a small rain shower here, the only bad weather we encountered on the cruise until our return to Seattle the next day. Back there in the afternoon we took a complimentary bus ride (with a very inexperienced bus driver) to the Pike Place Market area, which was of some interest. We returned to the boat for the final evening and packing. The next day we simply got aboard a complimentary bus (with a much better driver) to the airport and home. We had received our statement the night before with three excursions, and no other charges on it. They have just today appeared on my computer credit card listing. Overall As we noted at the beginning of this review, we felt this cruise was very expensive for what was offered. We have been on some higher end cruise ships; but felt that we got our money’s worth on them. Not so on this cruise. The simple fact is that the food selection was not up to that of an ocean going ship, and it never can be on a riverboat. The entertainment was also far short of what one gets at sea. A friendly crew is nice, but this is true on ships in which the skill and experience of the crew is far better than what we experienced on this cruise. The fact that we were at small ports limited our on shore options. It is also true that most American ports offer fewer tours that can be booked on linethan overseas venues. We noted on our European river boat trips that the vast majority of shore excursions were complimentary, with only a few trips carrying small extra charges. All this being noted, did we enjoy this cruise. Yes, we did. American Constellation is a very nice boat with lovely staterooms, a delightful crew and very attractive small towns on its itinerary. The food was quite good, and the entertainment not bad. We are glad we took this cruise and would recommend it. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: May 2019
About us - my husband and I are in our early 40s, no children, spending time with my well and healthy but aging parents on this cruise. Initially concerned about the expense, average age of the cruisers (65 and older) and if we would be ... Read More
About us - my husband and I are in our early 40s, no children, spending time with my well and healthy but aging parents on this cruise. Initially concerned about the expense, average age of the cruisers (65 and older) and if we would be bored. Parents are not footing the bill so to speak. My husband and I have hectic, stressful jobs from which it is hard to obtain this amount of time off. This is our first river cruise. Pre-cruise hotel: Red Lion Inn, Jantzen Beach. Clean, large, and with great views of the Columbia River. Hotel restaurant had good food but service was slow. Surrounding area with a Target and other convenient stores (ie. liquor and pharmacy) within walking distance or very short Uber/Lyft ride. Embarkation: Not a great first impression as they asked to be in a meeting room at a certain time and let us sit for over 30 minutes without word from a cruise representative on why things were running late . There was also not enough seating in the room especially when many had disabilities. My husband, parents and I stood for most of the time allowing others with disabilities to be seated. My husband and another younger (in his 50s) passenger went and got additional seating from outside the meeting room for those without seats. Hotel staff, after 30 minutes, arrived and finally provided more seats. Embarkation finally proceeded after 45 to 60 minutes of waiting if memory serves correct. Initial impression of the boat: clean, well kept in all general population areas. All staff was very friendly and rarely did you walk by a staff member without being greeted through out the cruise. Dining: excellent. Fresh fruit at breakfast everyday - loved! Lunch and dinner always with an appetizer (soup or salad), three different choices for entrees (two meat options, one vegatarian) and dessert. My husband is a big guy and a big eater and he was never hungry after a meal. Snacks are available 24/7 including Coke products, Chex Mix, Sun Chips, granola bars and cookies. We were glad that we did bring our own insulated cups for consuming beverages in our room. Cups were small plastic cups in general areas and standard Styrofoam coffee cups in the room. Serving staff and chef's would do their best to satisfy every dietary need. We brought our own snacks and liquor just in case but overall they were not needed. We ate a small amount of our snacks when the on board snacks did not appeal. We barely touched our own liquor. Happy hour and "late bar" were open bars and generous. We'll just say my rum and coke did not taste like coke. Entertainment/Enrichment: We did not attend many as they are "age" appropriate - bingo, music talent sang mostly older songs. The lecturer on board was a naturalist which was interesting but many things were held inside and my husband and I did not want to miss the scenery and cool weather therefore much of those times we spent on our balcony or on the 4th and 5th decks. Ports/excursions: Our favorites were Mount St. Helens, WAAAM and the Hells Canyon Jet Boat (definitely worth the extra money). Many of the ports are small towns/cities and are walkable (we averaged about 2 to 5 miles per port). Thoroughly enjoyed going through the many locks on the river. Disembarkation: went smoother than embarkation. Spent the extra for the Spokane shuttle -pro: off the boat at 7 am and at the airport by 9:30 AM; con: costly and our flight wasn't until 2 pm so had a long wait at the airport. If we had do it over, we probably would have rented a car, gotten a hotel in the Clarkston, Lewiston or Spokane area and explored then left the next day instead of the on the day of disembarkation. In summation: we were concerned about the cost at first, but now we are glad we went and feel the cost was worth it. Were we bored? No. Although many things are tailored for an older population, we still enjoyed the quiet, leisurely and slow pace. Would not recommend for children, there is a lot of down time that only adults would enjoy. Recommendations: take binoculars for bird watching and better views of the scenery; take a few DVDs with you - there were times that the satellite TV did not get good signal and one night we did end up using the DVD player; make sure you have a large data plan on your phone if you need to check e-mail etc. - the WiFi on the boat never worked for us. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: May 2019
ATV outdoor shore excursion at Natchez was the highlight for us! Well done to David and the Team for putting this outdoor adventure together. Civil War battleground tour at Vickisburg was also excellent. Our particular thanks to the ... Read More
ATV outdoor shore excursion at Natchez was the highlight for us! Well done to David and the Team for putting this outdoor adventure together. Civil War battleground tour at Vickisburg was also excellent. Our particular thanks to the thoroughly informative speakers/guides - especially the gentleman who dressed and acted the part of a soldier of the day - he really made a difference! Plantations at St Francisville were amazing - such informative guides at Rosedown and host at Catalpa willing to share her home - such wonderful hospitality! The food and the service on board the American Queen has been second to none! All of the waiters & staff have gone out of their way to make us comfortable & have the most amazing honeymoon of a lifetime! We feel truly special that we've been able to join this cruise and spend it making friends for life! We will definitely take another cruise again! Thank you & a special mention to Ambrose & Brian - the most deserving of recognition out of a truly exceptional crew Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: May 2019
We chose the cruise of the San Juan Islands because we were wanting pure relaxation, not non-stop activities. This cruise was definitely relaxing. Embarkation and disembarkation were very smooth. The ship has plenty of room for the ... Read More
We chose the cruise of the San Juan Islands because we were wanting pure relaxation, not non-stop activities. This cruise was definitely relaxing. Embarkation and disembarkation were very smooth. The ship has plenty of room for the passengers to not feel crowded. Each floor has a small midship lounge to read, play puzzles, or gather with friends. The 3rd floor has a large lounge where everyone could gather for evening beverages and entertainment. The 4th floor lounge was my favorite. It's at the back of the ship and has both indoor and outdoor seating. Snacks and beverages are available here 24/7. The chairs are comfortable and warm cookies are delivered here twice daily. The crew was always friendly and helpful. Meals were outstanding. Breakfast is a self-serve buffet of cereals, fruit, and yogurt (sometimes salmon as well). Then you sit down to order what you'd like- omelets, quiche, made to order eggs, pancakes (try the banana ones!), French toast, oatmeal... just about anything you can think of. Lunch and dinner are 'ordered' at breakfast time so the chef can prepare enough of each dish, however, he makes extra so if you change your mind it's ok. There are two or three appetizer and main dish choices for each meal. Don't be afraid to request substitutions. The chef handled special requests beautifully. Shore excursions were satisfactory. The Puget Sound/San Juan Islands offers several museums, cider tasting, city tours. We didn't find most of these too enticing and ended up doing our own walking tour of most of the cities. The main exception was in Port Angeles, where we took the tour to Butchart Gardens in Victoria. It involved a 90-min. ferry ride and a 30 min. bus ride. The bus ride was narrated so we were able to learn a bit about Victoria and Butchart. The Gardens are spectacular. Don't miss this tour! We had a room on the 3rd floor, near the elevators. Elevator noise was never a problem, but we could hear the evening entertainment from down the hall. It never went later than 9:30pm, so it didn't bother us. There is a self-serve laundry room (2 washers/2dryers) on the 5th floor. Detergent and dryer sheets are provided. There is a small "gym" with bikes. Water and towels provided. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: May 2019
We have been on many, many ocean cruises and wanted to experience the small ship cruise. We chose the American Constellation which had 130 passengers. This was a great alternative to the huge ships - no crowding, large comfortable suite, ... Read More
We have been on many, many ocean cruises and wanted to experience the small ship cruise. We chose the American Constellation which had 130 passengers. This was a great alternative to the huge ships - no crowding, large comfortable suite, easy and smooth embarkation and disembarkation. A Senior atmosphere, very accommodating to the 55+ generation. No kids which was a plus for us - (after our last Caribbean cruise that offered free passage for kids and there were hundreds of kids running and jumping and screaming all over that ship.) The Constellation can go to places the big ships cannot. While onboard, we booked another for next year on Chesapeake Bay. Looking forward to it. The onboard entertainment was very enjoyable. Food was good for the most part. Ports were interesting with well organized excursions. Cruise Director and Hotel Manager were very helpful, cheerful and friendly - as were all crew members. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
We wanted to take a cruise of the Puget Sound. We took a 10 day cruise on the American Cruise Line Constellation. Prior to that we spent a few days in Seattle where I had never been before. We have taken many cruises and the crew on ... Read More
We wanted to take a cruise of the Puget Sound. We took a 10 day cruise on the American Cruise Line Constellation. Prior to that we spent a few days in Seattle where I had never been before. We have taken many cruises and the crew on this cruise was the most friendly and helpful. The ship caught fire in Tacoma WA. All passengers were evacuated at breakfast time and were able to get back on board for dinner. The ship was docked in Tacoma for three days before the Coast Guard gave permission to leave. At no time did we receive any information about the cause of the fire or reassurance that it would not occur again. American Cruise Lines never contacted passengers regarding the fire or made any offer of compensation for not completing the cruise itinerary. The most interesting excursion was to Victoria Island and the beautiful Butchart Gardens. We had the most expensive cabin. The walls were paper-thin. When the cabin next to us turned on it’s TV we could hear every word as if there not a wall between the cabins. The food was mediocre. I would not recommend American Cruise Lines to anyone. I would advise anyone considering American Cruise Lines to get the Coast Guard report on the fire on the Constellation in Tacoma. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: May 2019
While I was born and raised in New York City, my wife had not traveled in this area. She chose this cruise. I found this cruise to be informative and interesting. I liked the personal attention given by the crew and staff to meeting ... Read More
While I was born and raised in New York City, my wife had not traveled in this area. She chose this cruise. I found this cruise to be informative and interesting. I liked the personal attention given by the crew and staff to meeting my needs. I traveled alone with my wife's blessing while my wife remained home and had her gall bladder removed. My role in doing this unexpected solo travel was to "scout out" where my wife and I should go. While I lingered at Mt. Vernon one their shore tour, the boat left without me. I had scanned my card when I left the boat for the Mt. Vernon tour. I called the boat. Traci, the cruise director, arranged to have a limo pick me up and take me to the next stop, Cambridge. Since I arrived in Cambridge before the boat, Traci also arranged for my stay overnight in a hotel. The following morning I rejoined the cruise. On any other cruise I am positive I would have been told to figure out on my own how to rejoin the cruise. This company is outstanding! Basically the folks at American Cruise got all the things to see and do just right and really knows how to take care of its passengers! Read Less
Sail Date: May 2019
We chose this cruise because of the new ship and the destinations. This was our fifth cruise with ACL. This one was good but not up to ACL standards as we experienced them before. The ship was nice, clean, and user friendly, with elevator ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of the new ship and the destinations. This was our fifth cruise with ACL. This one was good but not up to ACL standards as we experienced them before. The ship was nice, clean, and user friendly, with elevator service (a big plus for seniors). The staff was polite and personable, although some needed more training or experience. E.g., we had to ask for fresh towels on two occasions, and on one the towels did not arrive until 5:30 pm. Our main issue was that we were not allotted enough time to fully take advantage of the excursions. For example, the stay in Yorktown was not long enough to accommodate a full visit to the American Revolution Museum and the Jamestown Settlement. The Jamestown excursion involved a lot of walking in crowded conditions and too much info from the guide. Could have been shorter. The excursion to Mt. Vernon was too short to accommodate a full visit to the GW Museum and the mansion. The Military Aviation Museum was so-so. Washington DC excursion was good. The food was inconsistent and there did not seem to be as many choices as before and too many repeats on the menu. We did not like the new overlapping HH/Dinner, because we were with a group of seven (which formed on board), and it was often difficult to find a table after HH, because earlier diners did not clear out as fast as they should have. Special kudos to server Olivia Wilbur, who could not have been more friendly and efficient, and to historian Bertram Hayes-Davis for informative presentations re Revolutionary War history. The above said, we still have faith in ACL and have signed up for another cruise in fall 2020 (Hudson River Fall Foliage). Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: May 2019
My husband was interested in historic stops and I wanted to relax and be pampered. We both got what we wanted. I was able to stay on board while he went site seeing. Our cabin was small but had everything you could want. Our bed was ... Read More
My husband was interested in historic stops and I wanted to relax and be pampered. We both got what we wanted. I was able to stay on board while he went site seeing. Our cabin was small but had everything you could want. Our bed was very comfortable and the room was clean. Housekeeping stopped by twice a day to freshen up. Bathroom was larger than expected and plenty of hot water for showers. Any questions were answered thoroughly and quickly. The Hop On and Hop Off bus was just what we wanted. If we wanted more to see and do that was an option or we could just take a round trip and get back on board. Food was plentiful and delicious. Staff were very helpful and friendly. The boat is "small" so you got to meet lots of people since you would see the same people at meals or out walking. This encouraged friendliness. Truly delightful. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2019
We were seeking a vacation that could accommodate my husband in a wheelchair and chose the river cruise on the Columbia River on the American Song. This new boat is beautiful with lovely cabins and public rooms. The dining room was lovely ... Read More
We were seeking a vacation that could accommodate my husband in a wheelchair and chose the river cruise on the Columbia River on the American Song. This new boat is beautiful with lovely cabins and public rooms. The dining room was lovely and accommodated all guests at once. The cuisine was excellent and locally sourced, and the service impeccable. Since this cruise travels in a fairly rural area, one goes for the scenery and history/ local culture rather than big entertainment. We would recommend an extra day or two to explore the Portland area pre or post cruise. For our needs, the boat was completely accessible. Every room has showers with safety bars. There are also bars in the hallways.The staff were exceptional in all regards. Getting on and off the boat for shore excursions was challenging for my husband, but fantastic staff assistance made it all possible. I would recommend this cruise line to anyone, but especially note its ability to handle someone with mobility issues (assuming an able-bodied companion). Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
The wait staff was superb, extremely accommodating. The cleaning crew did a superb job. Kristen, the EMT, and Kashawna, the Purser, went above and beyond to arrange an oxygen concentrator when "Special Needs" failed to provide a ... Read More
The wait staff was superb, extremely accommodating. The cleaning crew did a superb job. Kristen, the EMT, and Kashawna, the Purser, went above and beyond to arrange an oxygen concentrator when "Special Needs" failed to provide a working concentrator. I am extremely thankful and forever in their debt. Without their service, I might have been unable to complete the voyage. Two days without oxygen was challenging for me since I have a very severe case of Sleep Apnea that requires an oxygen concentrator and a CPAP machine. I am forever in their debt for the extraordinary service they provided for me. Their extreme care made this a successful vacation. It is heartwarming to know that the cruise line was here to accommodate my every need, but these two workers were unabelievably accommocating. I am so grateful for their care. They successfully arranged a concentrator and a backup to be delivered after we had already set sail. After two days without oxygen I was beginning to wonder if I would have to discontinue my cruise. Thankfully, they rectified the problem. I look forward to taking another excursion on the American Queen Steamboat Company,. Read Less

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