My wife and I did the three week Complete Mississippi cruise with American Cruise Line on August 3, 2019 and we were greatly disappointed. We spent two nights at the Intercontinental Hotel in New Orleans prior to the cruise which were fine. The reception staff was very helpful and friendly, especially Sarah. When we arrived on the boat, the entranceway and corridors smelled of must and mold. We also found mold and general filth in our room (#216). The bathroom had mold all around the counter, vanity, the shower and the floor was dirty and moldy. When we turned on the faucet, the water leaked through the vanity from a hole in the sink. We notified the head of housekeeping about the issues who said he didn’t know anything about the room being like this. How could he not know? Don’t they check the rooms and make sure they are fully cleaned and prepared for passengers before arrival? As his response was unacceptable, we called the hotel manager, Marcus, who took one look at the room, said the condition was inexcusable and moved us to another one (#417) for the duration of the cruise. When speaking with other passengers, many had similar, if not worse, conditions in their rooms and had also been moved to other rooms. We were lucky the boat wasn’t full as it’s hard to imagine what would have been if the boat had been full. The disgusting smell in the hallways on all decks remained throughout the cruise. There were cobwebs in the various lounges, carpets were faded, walls needed painting and the whole boat was dated. For a three year old boat, it was not well maintained at all. They were totally disorganized and unsure of what to do in a given situation. The hotel manager, Marcus, and the assistant manager, Dylan, were professional and hardworking and knew what needed to be done. The servers were, for the most part, good. They were respectful and courteous but some were young and inexperienced. The housekeeping staff assigned to our room was horrible. We had to tell her to vacuum, replace toilet paper, toiletries, towels and even change the sheets. When she finally changed the sheets after ten days, she did not change the pillow cases so we had to tell her that needed to be done as well. She was genuinely surprised when we asked her to do these things. She really didn’t know that they needed to be done. The food was pretty good for the first 12 days but then we got a new captain, the chef and some of the more experienced servers left to prepare for a cruise on a new boat. The food became mediocre and repetitive and more inexperienced servers arrived. Why should the passengers who paid a lot of money for this cruise have to settle for mediocrity because they were launching a new boat in the middle of our cruise? I was on a lounger on the upper deck when I was woken up by paint fumes. They were painting the outside railings on the decks using oil based paint. It was the fumes that were making me nauseous. The fumes from the paint were also coming inside the boat whenever anyone opened an outside door. They didn’t seem to care how it would affect their passengers. I complained to the hotel manager. He assured me that there would be no more painting on the boat while their passengers were on board. Why isn’t that type of maintenance done while the boat isn’t in use? The next day the painting resumed but he said he specifically told them not to paint and then it finally came to an end. The cruise director, Courtney, was incompetent. She didn’t have a clue as to what the duties of her job entailed and did not connect or involve herself with her passengers. While Dylan, Marcus and other managers made the rounds of tables during meals, Courtney was nowhere to be seen. The only time we saw her was right before the entertainment when she read the next day’s itinerary which was left in everyone’s room. She was more excited to inform us how many times she had to change her shirt that day because of the heat. She neglected to provide us with important information such as whether a destination would be closed on that day. This happened much too often and we found out from the tour guides on the way there. While she was not responsible for organizing the itinerary for the cruise, it was her responsibility to make sure she had all of the pertinent information.
She could have called and made special arrangements, to work something out, but she didn’t make any attempt to do anything in these situations. Why didn’t American Cruise organize their cruise to coordinate that we would be in the respective ports on days they were open? It’s not like this is the first time they have done this itinerary at this time of year. The gift shop was closed on Sunday when we visited St Jude’s Children’s Hospital which we found out on the way there, a small port that was a ghost town with two small open museums and no people on the streets was a total waste of a day and port, the Trail of Tears tour had exhibits in the visitor’s center of Native American artwork but the guide told us as we were approaching the center that it was closed on Tuesdays (it was Tuesday). There was another excursion that day and we would have done that if we had known this information. The exhibits were the reason we chose this excursion. These were just a few examples. The cruise director actually joined us on that excursion and said she didn’t know it was closed. It was her responsibility to know and she wasn’t doing her job. The shore excursions were okay or wasteful. Most were simply bus tours with photo stops. Getting on the buses was done in a very disorganized manner and wasted a lot of time. The passengers should have known should have been given the bus assignment when the itinerary is given to us each night instead of waiting on a line for someone to tell us which bus as we are going on the excursions. The guides did not know how many people were supposed to be on their buses nor did they know when, or if, someone was missing. They could easily been given this information. They also know that many of their passengers have mobility issues, so how do they not arrange to use buses that have handicap accessibility? We waited almost an hour on one excursion when we were missing one person, only to find out that person changed to the other bus. It seemed the other tour guide informed our guide about this but she forgot about this important fact.
At least 15-25%, if not more, of the passengers had some kind of mobility/health issues and seemed satisfied with these inactive excursions. More active passengers were bored and there was no balance in the activities, or anything else for that matter As a result, it took much too long for passengers to get on and off the buses which caused many delays. Even the use of shuttle buses to go into towns was done in a disorganized manner. In Memphis, we walked into town on our own and saw people were still waiting for the shuttle when we came back about an hour later. You couldn’t be sure where or when the shuttles would arrive. The shuttle driver in Natchez was the driver in a few towns with us and was excellent as was the one in Fort Madison. The entertainment was good for the most part but performers were confined to end by 9:30 (very early) and everything closed down for the night. The entire cruise (excursions and on board activities, even the times for entertainment, etc.) were designed for people with issues. I am 69 years old, my wife is 66 and we felt we were too young for this cruise. We agree with a review where the passenger described the cruise as a “floating nursing home”. They pride themselves on their motto “small ship cruising done perfectly”. They better take another look at what they are selling, and how. They are disorganized, activities are poorly planned, the ship is badly maintained and some of the housekeeping staff and our cruise director need to be retrained in the responsibilities of their jobs. They need to step up their game before they can use the words “small ship cruising done perfectly”. Until they do, we will continue to use the cruise companies we have used before that truly know what the slogan means and follow through. Research thoroughly before you decide to cruise with them and check those reviews. As compensation, corporate offered me a 30% discount on a future cruise. I responded by telling them that there is nothing they could do that would entice me to take another cruise with them.
The size of the rooms and balcony were fine. For a three year old boat, the decor and furnishings were dated. There was no safe or refrigerator in the room. The closet was small but there was ample drawer space. The size of the bathroom was okay but not maintained. The shower is very small with an accordion door.