This was my first cruise. We choose American Cruise Lines since we wanted a small intimate cruise line, and weren't sure how we would handle the larger ships or seas. Also living in Florida, we only had to drive to St. Augustine to catch this cruise, which had as its itinerary, the major southern ports and cities, arriving at Charleston.
We certainly made the right decision. The ship was perfect for our needs. There were 85 passengers on board, all with various and interesting backgrounds: congress persons, state senators, foreign service officers, actresses, etc. which made for most interesting dinner and other social interactions.
Our cabin was very spacious. I had heard that cabins on ships were small, but this wasn't the case. The bathroom was also ample with walk-in shower, commode and sink. But the best part of the cruise other than the ease of getting in and out and off of the ship at the various ports, was the helpfulness and friendliness of the staff. They couldn't be more accomodating to your every need.
I had also heard that " you were stuffed with food" on cruises. My wife and I thought that the portion control was just right. In fact, you signed up for your future meals off a checklist menu for the next day, so you got just what you wanted. There was a cocktail hour each day before dinner, and a guest lecturer on board who would give a talk the night before the next day's excursion. He and the cruise director both went on the tours with the group and were very helpful. We also had beautiful weather which made the top sun deck a valuable asset. One day, when there was ample wind, we each flew colorful kites off the deck. Another morning, champagne and mimossa's were served. In the evenings, various types of local entertainers came to board.Ample wines and drinks were available at lunch and dinner, along with ice cream floats in the evening.
All in all, a great experience for my first cruise, and am looking forward to future cruises aboard ACL to explore more of America's waterways, especially the Mississippi aboard their new paddlewheel boat.