This paper presents a summary of cellular and dendritic morphologies resulting from the upward directional solidification of Al – Ni alloys in a cylindrical crucible. We analysed the coupling of solid-liquid interface morphology with natural and forced convection. The influence of natural convection was first analyzed as a function of growth parameters (solute concentration, growth rate and thermal gradient). In a second step, the influence of axial vibrations on solidification microstructure was investigated by varying vibration parameters (amplitude and frequency). Experimental results were compared to preliminary numerical simulations and a good agreement is found for natural convection. In this study, the critical role of the mushy zone in the interaction between fluid flow and solidification microstructure is pointed out.