A few years ago our family decided to rent a RV to travel throughout the National Parks in Colorado. We decided that renting a RV with Cruise America was the most convenient RV rental company due to its Cincinnati location and the fact that I was able to take advantage of one of Cruise America’s “Hot Deals” rental specials which offered 50% off the nightly rate for our three week itinerary. While this deal is not offered often, there are usually other rental discounts listed online. Due to our family size, the 30 foot Large RV which sleeps up to 7 was our only option so we booked early and got excited planning for our trip. It seemed that renting a RV through Cruise America was going to be an amazing experience!
We got busy planning which parks we would visit. Our road trip itinerary is mapped here and the entire trip was about 3,200 miles.
While we had a fantastic vacation in our rental RV, it wasn’t perfect. I will highlight the good, the bad, and the worse than bad renting a RV with Cruise America…
Renting a RV With Cruise America
First off, The Good-
1. It is very convenient to pull into camp, park, and be pretty much set up.
2. When you have an entire RV at your disposal, packing is easy since you can pretty much take anything you want.
3. We could camp in areas with known bear activity without worry that the kids had snuck a snickers bar into their tents.
4. We camped at several parks with no bathroom/shower facilities but we still were able to shower in the RV.
5. It is great to have a full kitchen (even a Fridge!) to cook meals.
1. Driving and parking a large RV is work and not at all relaxing. We had some pretty tight squeezes at a couple of campgrounds.
2. While in motion, it is not the most comfortable experience for passengers as the bench seats got pretty uncomfortable and the air didn’t circulate well.
3. The gas mileage! At only 9-10 miles to the gallon, gas is a major expense for long trips!
4. The noise- it is noisy inside when driving and we had to talk loud to each other in order to hear ourselves while driving.
5. Speed- Traveling takes longer in a RV because they are just not meant to travel very fast.
The Worse than Bad–
I tend to be an optimistic person, and so I just breezed over the portion of the Cruise America contract which told us what to do if it broke down so we were scrambling to figure it out when we did indeed break down just west of Limon, Colorado in what felt like the middle of nowhere. Only able to go a couple of miles at a time before stalling, we inched our way back to Limon and checked in at the Limon KOA while we tried to contact Cruise America. They sent us to a local truck/RV repair shop so we were stuck while the fuel filter was repaired. Feeling optimistic, we hung out at the truck stop since Limon is not a hotbed of activity and we had no way to get anywhere anyway. Finally on our way to Estes Park the next day, imagine our surprise when we broke down again on I-270 in Denver right in the middle of rush hour. It was absolutely terrifying to be stuck in the middle of zooming traffic in a stalled RV and I was ready to head to the airport and ditch the whole RV trip. We called Cruise America from the middle of the highway and got some promising news. As luck would have it, a major Cruise America rental and sales center was just a couple of miles away. Once again we inched our way down the road and rolled into the Cruise America parking lot. Heading inside, Dave negotiated with the somewhat abrupt lady working the counter before a manager was finally called in. Hearing our story he offered this solution, we could trade out the RV we were in for a new model and we would be credited for the day we lost in Limon. Worked for us. Only problem was the store was closing in 30 minutes and we had to finish transferring our stuff by then. Pulling the RVs next to each other, we worked liked crazy to transfer all the groceries, pots, pans, clothes, bedding, toiletries, bikes and on and on to our new digs.
By the time we were finishing up we were exhausted from the drama, work and heat. Dave and I were just packing up the last of the bathroom supplies when all of a sudden we felt the RV moving and we were rolling into the street. Thinking one of the kids had accidentally put the RV in gear, Dave started roaring STOP!! STOP!! and tore through the cabin to put the brakes on. I imagine the Cruise America worker who had hopped in to move us was more than a little surprised. Good lord, would this day never end?
Finally, we were finished transferring our stuff and we were on our way once again to Estes Park. From there on out the RV was great and we had no other problems. I definitely would rent an RV to travel again and maybe even from Cruise America but I wonder what our solution would have been if we weren’t near a major rental store? In any case, if we ever do rent an RV again I will do one thing differently. Due to the low gas mileage and slower travel speeds, instead of driving across the country in the RV I would either fly or drive in our car to the general area and then travel throughout the region in it. All in all it was a great road trip and one we will never forget. As how things always are, the breakdowns and meltdowns while renting a RV with Cruise America are one of the things we remember and laugh about most when reminiscing about the trip.
Have you ever rented an RV for a Road Trip? I’d love to hear how it went!
– At this time, not a chance I would return as a customer –
A) 1.5 Hour wait to get started on the rental after making an appointment for a specific time to pickup earlier in the day, the person that does rentals was “At Lunch” at the time he had set for pickup, 3:30PM.
B) Reasoning for the 3:30 pickup time was due to needing to fix a broken bathroom door, upon pickup of the vehicle it had a broken bathroom door..it was never fixed
C) Generator won’t operate more than 20 minutes at 85-90F, 2-5 minutes at 91F+, this caused a last minute change of plans while on the road due only being able to stop at locations with line power to stay cool and sleep. Below 80F the generator would work non-stop
D) Refigerator pilot light would extinguish itself at highway speeds, this caused a good amount of food to be wasted.
E) Passenger side mirror shakes erratically at highway speeds, unusable
F) No charges are noted for return, cost to return without filling gas, propane, extra miles, etc..None of the information is noted on “Page A” of the contract.
G) Upon contacting CruiseAmerica customer service, and noting the above, I did not request compensation, I expected however upon verification of said problems at least some proposed compensation. Any offer would of been great, toward a future rental, I don’t care what is offered, just some kind of offer to re-assure me any future business with CruiseAmerica will be pleasant and problems understood.
This sounds terrible!! So sorry this was your experience.
If you are interested in renting an rv, try private websites like rvshare.com or outdoorsy.com. They are kind of like Airbnb for RV rentals! You will be using a privately owned rv, so the owners have a lot of pride in keeping it clean and maintained. There is also insurance and roadside assistance for the unexpected. Just another option to consider.
Love this! Thanks for letting me know.
We are a family of 5 who saved money for years to afford a 22 days vacation accross the USA in a camper van. We chose cruise America guided by their advertising about the quality of their vans and services. We picked up pur camper van in cliffwood NJ and immediately realized that the quality wasn’t absolutely what we expected. The van was dirty, beds and seats full of spots and stains and 70.000 miles on the clock. Immediately after we started passing 40 mph on the first highway the van started shaking and bumping becoming almost uncontrollable putting our lives at serious risk. We decided to stop at the first campground and contact the emergency number. After 40 of waiting finally someone responded and told us to find a tire shop to solve the issue. And so we did. Back to the campground I discovered that the electrical shoreline had the external insulation ripped apart and the wires were exposed to a high risk of fire. Even the waterhose was unserviceable and had to buy a new one. Still we believed that our dream holiday was on, until we met our final nightmare. At the first rainy day water was flowing into the van from everywhere, forcing us to find a hotel room for the night changing our strict schedule again to go the next morning to the cruise America facility in Orlando. There the manager didn’t want to listen to our complaints pretending to fix the van in 20 minutes by spreading sylicon all over the roof. Cruise America didn’t acknowledge our concerna after several phone calls (35-40 minutes on hold each). Back at the campground, rain again and water everywhere. Another forced stop and another hotel room. The next day finally we achieved the goal of having another van. We got another on, this time with 80.000 miles, more stains, beds in terribile conditions and a waterleak on the rear bed (we realized than why the rear bed is the one with a plastic cover). Please AVOID this company if you don’t want your vacation ruined by non professional behaviour and inconsistent customer care. Photos and videos available contact me for any other information. This message will be spread out everywhere to male the more people aware.
We used to be a repair facility for them. Then they tried to do it in house. did not work to cut costs they sublet there work out to smaller shops for less than 38 dollars an hour for repairs. As you can see they are losing more money and more customers.
Raymond- I’m sad to hear that. It’s such a great experience to explore in an RV, but not if they aren’t dependable!
We picket up our 30 foot RV at Kingwood in Houston, TX. Randy who is responsible for that pick-up location is a very nice person. Less nice was the condition of the RV and the worst we every experienced (it was the 4th time we rented an RV in the US): kitchen cabinet above sink could not be locked; black and grey water tank were overflowing almost immediately when not fully hooked-up; dishes was dirty and so was the whole RV; no small broom; RV was only filled up 1/4; RV smelled of dog; one of the two cigarette lighter (needed for navi and loading the cells) did not work; fride worked poorely.
That sounds like a nightmare! Did they give you any compensation for your bad experience?
I just got back from vacation using a Cruise America RV. The bathroom couldn’t be used, the grey water tanks leaked and the refrigerator wouldn’t work on electric. It was a great vacation but I would never rent from them again. At this point I feel lucky that all my problems were water related.
As I’m considering renting an RV to traverse the desert Southwest in the next few months, your article answered all the prying questions I had, thanks for the input!
Welcome! Have fun!
We are looking at renting the same thing from CruiseAmerica. While I know their model section is different within the class, would you say a Pack-n-play could fit in the kitchen area at night for out 1 yr old to sleep in?
I think it would fit, but would be tight. Have fun!
CRUISE ACROSS AMERICA NIGHTMARE!!
HORRIBLE COMPANY, HORRIBLE EQUIPMENT, HORRIBLE CUSTOMER SERVICE!
IF YOU DECIDE TO RENT AN RV GET A MECHANIC TO MAKE SURE IT WILL MAKE IT THERE AND WORK SO IT DOESN’T RUIN YOUR VACATION!
I was given a Truck with SEVERE Alignment Issues, Broken Generator, only 1 working Charge Port, NO Electricity or Outlets, Non-Working Fridge that spoiled our food, No AC or HEAT (in mountains at night), and truck infested with ANTS!
READ BELOW TO SEE MY NIGHTMARE! I AM NO SUING THEM!
I have never in my life dealt with such an UNPROFESSIONAL company that had NO REGARD for the Safety of their Customers. I rented a Cruise America Truck for 21 Days (5/28 to 6/18). I am a Disabled person that was really looking forward to spending time in a low stress environment out WEST away from the East Coast. Our plan was to go to Yellowstone National Park for 4 Days, and then Montana, Idaho, Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Lake Powell Utah, and then stop in Colorado for a couple days then back to NJ. Little did I know that I was in for the worse time of my life! Due to the negligence of Employees failure to show the inside of the truck, and follow protocol, and failure to have them give us a SAFE Truck and truck that had a working Generator, charging portholes for cell phones and GPS (we had only one that worked), and failure to show that there was a HEATER that ran off of a BATTERY and not Generator, and because of this I had mild hypothermia waking up at 5am at 22 degrees outside in Yellowstone National Park (due to my meds I take I didn’t awaken from the extreme cold and could have died!) When this happened I tried to turn heat and Generator on, and got yelled at by other campers that had ZERO bags they were sleeping in! Due to the horrible COLD nights in the mountains we had to cut our stay at Yellowstone 2 days short, re-route our trip, and cut it short and go South to Utah, and once in Utah (in the middle of nowhere) the Generator Broke, so we had NO Air Conditioning or Electricity! This is when I saw a thermostat by the bathroom door that said “use this thermostat for heat for up to 2 hours off the battery!!!” I could not believe this because if we WERE SHOWN THIS by Cruise American Employees, this we would have never changed our plans! Then in Green River Utah in a Parking Lot RV Park we trouble shot for 3 hours with the “Road side Assistance” of Cruise America with first Pat and then Donna. They could not fix it and then had the nerve to try to get us to drive to ARIZONA to get it fixed! We told them NO WAY, and I told them about the issues with the Ants, Electrical Ports, Heater Off Battery, Alignment Issues, Refrigerator Broken spoiling food, and asked for Customer Service and they said they had no Customer Service! I was near I-70 and lived in Colorado for 10 years and asked them the closest place in Colorado to exchange out the disgusting truck. I told Donna at Road Side Assistance that I could not drive due to the fact that my Disability and the Stress from Cruise America being so horribly RUDE, and showed NO Empathy for our situation. So it took us a day that included one night in a Hotel to get to drop the truck off. In addition, we got in traffic by Vail due to construction, so we detoured and once out of mountains we got caught in a horrible Storm with TWO Tornados in Berthoud Colorado, and due to evacuations we could not find a place to stay! We finally found a Marriot Residence in to Stay in (we called Donna and told her we would not make it in time due to the storm and my health condition) and all she kept saying is that we would be charge, and then charged a fee for drop off! She showed no empathy!! By this time I was done with them! Due to the fact we had SO MUCH luggage for Camping for RV we had to get a TWO Bedroom Room. It took over 5 Trips to get the stuff to the room, because Donna demanded that the truck be Cleaned and Wiped down! During the Storm we only got a few bags up, and we waited in our rooms until the raining started the next day, and finally took another 3 hours bringing luggage and incidentals up to the room. We called Donna and told her we would get there as soon as we can. By the time 4pm came the rain let up, and it was safe to DROP the truck off (I told them I was done with them and not exchanging). While driving there we got stuck in Traffic, so we called the Federal Heights location to let them know we were going to be 10 minutes late, and to please stay open, because we were not comfortable driving this vehicle any longer. Much to our surprise the woman working there said they would not stay open for us, and they would lock the gates, and if we left it there it would get towed!! When I found this out I told her I was going to sue her because I was so upset! She finally said to drop the vehicle off with the car storage lot with the Man named Sam who owned the property Cruise America is on and we would have to pay $45 to leave with him. I have a video of him saying he does it all the time, and because we were videotaping he said that he didn’t like that! He then had his ROOSTER attack me and called me a DYKE!!! I Called the Police and have a police report on this entire situation with videos and photos to support everything! The police made him take the truck, and he drove us to a safe place and called a cab for us to go get a rental car. We got the Rental car to drive us around for 9 Days in Colorado, and then after a 5 days to to the fact the Hotel was full we had to move ALL OF OUR LUGGAGE and Stuff again to the Omni Hotel in Broomfield. (Two Rooms attached to fit everything). It took us 3 Trips (20 minutes away) to get all of our stuff there. Then once there after getting settled it was time to leave, and we had to rent a ONE WAY SUV for $1,300 back to NJ so it could fit all of our stuff. This is where we hit another horrible storm in Nebraska, and Tornado AGAIN. (We would have never been in Nebraska if we didn’t have to re-route our trip). Regardless, we somehow made it home ALIVE! We are both EXTREMELY exhausted from this EXTREMELY Stressful trip that was RUINED by Cruise America Employees, Services, Equipment, and “Customer Service”. This trip was supposed to be a 21 day Adventure of relaxation and Nature, and it was anything but that. I have been going from Doctor to Doctor to get my Pain Condition under Control since being back, and I am still feeling the exhaustion. I have filed a complaint with the BBB ( complaint# 10680858 ). I am still waiting on an answer on what is getting done to compensate me for all the money I lost, and time lost, and vacation ruined. I have more photos and videos, that I am still slowly finding and downloading.
Again this is my minimum expectation so I do not forward this to attorney and get compensated for pain and suffering, time spent moving all of our stuff all around Colorado, flare up PAIN from my Disability due to no regard for my condition. Loss of income due the loss of electricity and broken Generator, due to the fact we were stuck in the middle of now where with no power. Trauma from running running someone off the road in Minnesota (Police saw everything) due to the truck. Then finally getting attacked by a ROOSTER and called a DYKE by the nasty man that I was told to go to by the Cruise America Representative at the Federal Heights location. I have police reports for this as well. (AND VIDEOS AND PHOTOS).