Independence Cruise Review by BEE021: MEDIOCRE CRUISING
Give American Cruise Lines marketing staff an A+---but the hype is very close to fraud, based on my recent experience. Where do I begin to tell you of all the disappointments---first, the Rolls Royce stabilizers were nowhere to be seen, about 2 hours out of Portland, just as we finished lunch, and the ship started rocking side-to-side (so much that it was impossible to walk without weaving and stumbling)---2/3rds of the passengers got seasick (including my travel companion---but not me) and upchucked their lunch; only 1/3 of the passengers made it to dinner that night, and only 10 of us were able to come to the lounge at 8:15 for the talk by the naturalist. When the ship started rocking, there was no storm, and the waves didn't look that big to me (I'm a sailboat owner). When we got into bays and on rivers, there was no rocking. There are no phones in the room---even for intra-ship/room communication---no ice,no refrigerator, no bottled water (the bathroom faucet has potable water). More
The 2nd floor lounge, where all meetings are held, and tables are set up for one hour each day to serve as a bar, has an ice-machine, a cappucino/hot water dispenser, tea bags (but if you go to the lounge in the afternoon for a cup of tea, and the dispenser has no water in its tank, there is no phone or communications system for the passenger to ask a staff member to come and fill the tank). The first day there was a bowl of fruit on the counter, which was not refilled during the cruise, and midway through, there were flies hovering around the rotted fruit in the bottom of the bowl! There were warm cans of soda (and a sink/faucet with potable water). The only public restroom (unisex) on the ship is also on the second floor; the dining room is on the first floor. There is a small elevator (4 thin people max) on the ship. The fourth floor deck has chairs for sunbathing, but no staff member assigned to wipe the morning dew off of them; no bathtowels; no beverage or food server; no room service at all on the ship. Wine and Beer are available at lunch and dinner, and liquor available at the makeshift bar from 5:30-6:30 only; the hors d'oeuvres were minimal, and one night, featured COLD quiche passed by one of the young servers (several of them told me that they were recent high school graduates and had not had server jobs before).
I identified each of the staff members (including EVERYBODY, but the captain) as having at least two jobs; for example, immediately after breakfast, the servers started cleaning the staterooms (on a seven day cruise,beginning on Saturday, they change the sheets and vacuum on Wed. of each week---other days, they make the beds and clean the bathrooms (there is a sign in the bathroom asking you to use your towels more than once if possible---but if you put them on the floor, they will give you dry, clean ones).
Now, moving on to the food---this had been billed as a 'lobster cruise', and we seldom had any lobster, however, that may have been for the best, since the cook did NOT know how to cook lobster, which astounded all of us---the one night that they served a whole lobster, the people at my table couldn't figure out why the carapace was so hard and blackened (did he bake/broil/boil them rather than steam them??) and the meat dry and tough!**!! Then, the last night, we had 'stuffed lobster tails' and beef tenderloin----once again, the lobster had been overcooked, AND the tail meat not loosened or removed from the shell----the stuffing just perched on top...most of us did not each the lobster---but we enjoyed the tenderloin.
We had excellent lobster OFF THE SHIP at a shore excursion 'lobster bake', ($35) where a caterer had steamed the lobster---YUM! Except at breakfast, there was no fresh fruit or vegetables to be found on the ship---and both my traveling companion and I had been cheerily assured by the marketing rep in Guilford, CT. that they catered to special food requests (I had requested fresh vegetables and fruit), and that meals were cooked to order---SO MISLEADING! This cost of this 7 day cruise was $5,000. Most of the passengers were over 65 (there were two couples that had adult children in their 30s with them); many were in their 80s, and one deflightful set of sisters were aged 90 and 92! I talked with a dozen couples for whom this was a celebration of 50 years of marriage. Less
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