Last week my wife and I took our first cruise in the United States. It was aboard the Independence, one of the ships of American Cruise Line. It was a great experience, and we hope to sail on the same ship again next year.
We did a lot of research before the cruise, reading reviews, searching the website and speaking with the cruise lines' sales people. In all of my queries one thing which I had not truly discovered before boarding, but which was thrilled by was that when they say AMERICAN Cruise Lines, they mean it. The ships are built in the USA (on the Atlantic coast I think), and everyone working on the boat is english speaking. It was wonderful being able to have cordial chats with the employees. The ships just feel American: simple, solid, comfortable and roomy. Our room had everything we wanted and had a king size bed. On other riverboats we have been on, the kings size beds arent really king beds, but this one was. The room also had comfortable reading chairs and a balcony which we didnt use much on account of it being rather cold.
The Intra Coastal Waterway was a unique experience. The cruise sailed out of Charleston,a dn we got the a day early to do some sight seeing. We explored Middleton Plantation, a sprawling mansion that offers two views of the early days in the South - one from the view of the wealthy planter and one from the viewpoint of a slave. It appropriately deals with this blemish on American history and is worth visiting. During the cruise we stopped in Hilton Head, which was enjoyable. Wisely the cruise line only spends a few hours there, as the whole town can be seen in a few minutes - while you are there be sure to go up in the lighthouse. Savannah was our favorite. We did the trolley tour organized by the line and enjoyed it very much. Our favorite part was all of the park squares.
We will be back with AMERICAN Cruise Line - they have a brand new ship on the MS River and we want to see the American heartland. We are going to go form St. Louis to Memphis.