First, the cruises offered by ACL are geared towards mature audiences - 60's and up, although there very people much younger on this cruise. Actually who's on the cruise really doesn't matter to me, as long as people are enjoying their experience.
I have taken 7 ocean cruises and on rivercruise (20 years ago). If you are expecting in your face activities and craziness, pick something other than a river cruise.
This was a celebration cruise for my husband and I, and when greeted when boarding the boat, we were congratulated and on the second day, after returning from a shore excursion, we found champagne and strawberries in our cabin!
Every crew member is there to serve you and extend extraordinary customer service, which was evident every minute of the day (we had to ask someone to thread a needle, and they did so with a smile!). When crew members say they love their jobs, that says something about a company!
Because the river was running high, a last minute change of itinerary was made and I thought it gave us an even better experience; also, Because we were in the height of Mardi Gras season, instead of staying in a hotel pre-cruise (part of your fare), we stayed on the boat - we were greeted by a lovely buffet and drinks. We were not able to dock at Houmas House or Oak Alley, but those excursions were changed to days when we were in Baton Rouge and New Orleans. We cruised up to St. Francisville instead on the first day, and had the choice of three additional excursions (only 2 of the many offered were premium at an extra charge, by the way...). Also in Baton Rouge, which is not the most exciting stop, they added a walking tour by their river guide, which made is all worth while. And because we returned to New Orleans a half day early, excursions to the WW2 museum and a French Quarter walking tour were added! I think this was all handle exceptionally well!!!
On the ACL cruises, beer and wine are included at Lunch, cocktail hour, dinner and during the evening entertainment, so you are not running up a tab. The food was excellent and you could request half portions. There were also snacks, coffee, tea, fruit, juice and soda always available in two of the lounges.
My husband had never cruised before and I knew that an ocean cruise was out of the question - he thoroughly enjoyed this and we are considering other itineraries in the future.
The cost seems high at first, but when I compared it to an ocean cruise with similar accommodations (balcony), and considering that there is no charge for adult beverages, no tipping, free excursions, free WIFI, the cost is comparable.
Our cabin was a balcony cabin on the 2nd deck. The cabin was spacious, had a "real" bathroom - hot water all the time, excellent quality of the shampoo, etc. Cabin was serviced twice a day, and if you needed anything, you just had to ask. Due to the weather being a little chilly, we did not use the balcony as much as we would have liked - you can order room service breakfast, also,
Added at the last minute due to the change of itinerary. They did a great job and it seemed seemless. Took the excursion to Rosedown, Tami the tour guide and Stanley the driver were a hoot! Stopped in town for a "gift shop" break. In the afternoon, took the excursion to the Myrtles. There was also a continuous shuttle from the boat into the town.
First thought was "why would you stop here?" Most attractions are closed on Sundays and Mondays. We took the USS Kidd tour, and then the last minute added "Meander with Mike" walking tour which was an excellent addition. He is the on board historian and took us through two beautiful neighborhoods you would never know existed. This defintiely changed our opinion of this port. A bus tour to Houmas house was also offered (one of the orignal ports we could not get to because of the high waters).
We arrived back in New Orleans about a half day early. They offered the tour to Oak Alley and also a walking tour by Mike of the French Quarter and the WWII museum.