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John Zangerle

Age: 67

Occupation:retired

Number of Cruises: 2

Cruise Line: American Cruise Lines

Ship: American Star

Sailing Date: 2009-10-21

Itinerary: Hudson River

We just returned from a six-day cruise on the Hudson River. This is our second cruise with American Cruise Lines. The overall experience was terrific. The boat holds less than 100 passengers which allows an informal atmosphere. The on-board staff is very responsive. Our on board guide was especially knowledgeable about the area. The shore stops were very interesting and well organized. We picked this cruise line because we like the itinerary which puts you ashore every day. The emphasis on the history and architecture of the area was also very appealing to us. Even though New York state is an area we are familiar with, everything looks different from the river.

Overall the food was quite good. There is always a choice of 3 dishes and the kitchen will try to meet individual requests. No one misses the complimentary cocktail hour with hors d'oeuvres before dinner. Wine and beer is complimentary with lunch and dinner. Complimentary coffee, water, pop, and snacks are always available in the lounge. Passengers try to be around for the cookies in the lounge in the late morning.

The size of the all the staterooms is very generous. The bathroom is especially roomy for a ship. All rooms have at least a large window and many have a small balcony. There is satellite TV service and we had a flat screen TV on the Star. Even though you don't spend much time watching TV it was nice to catch the news or weather. We were very comfortable and loved being able to unpack once, but still be somewhere different each day.

The cruise focuses more on shore excursions than on board activities, but one of the best parts of the cruise is the local guests and information each evening about the area you will be visiting. The programs are entertaining as well as informative. There is an excellent selection of books and materials available about the area as well as fiction books, current magazines and local newspapers. Puzzles and card games are available if you are interested. We especially liked the remote screen of the GPS chart from the bridge that is in the lounge.

We participated in most of the shore excursions. The staff is very good about explaining the destinations and excursion options so that you can decide what suits you. Fredrick Church's home, Olana, was a special treat as was the FDR home and museum in Hyde Park, NY.

Our trip was a re-positioning cruise for the Star and a special treat was coming around Manhattan from the East River, past the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island and up the Hudson on the west side of Manhattan at 3:00 AM. Even at 3:00 in the morning about a third of the passengers were in the lounge for this special treat. We cannot say enough about our experience on this cruise as well as the New England Islands cruise last summer. We plan to do the Maine cruise with them next summer.

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