The worst cruise we have taken. Starting from the beginning:
The American Cruise Line brochure says you can board the ship anywhere from 10:30 to 12:30 and the ship departs at 1:30. Our train from Boston got us to the ship at 12:15. When we boarded they had already given all the security and boarding information.
From the minute we stepped on the ship there was a disconnect with the staff. The new Hotel Manager was constantly apologizing for the fact she had just arrived and needed to work on some "things". Why weren't these "things" addressed before she arrived or maybe that's why she was put on the ship. She kept saying please give me a few days to get things organized. On her behalf, by the end of the week, things were running smoother.
Some of these "things" were ....
Arriving at breakfast 15 minutes before it closed and nothing left on the buffet.
The staff was rude and rushed, but we found out it was because most of them were new and just learning their jobs. The staff rushes through breakfast and then run to change their shirts to clean the cabins and then back for lunch. It's not the crews fault. They are very over worked and exhausted.
I waited over an hour for hangers and a light bulb. Never came until turn down later that night.
There was a power outage which resulted in two ovens being unusable for two days.
Somehow they didn't get their ice cream order for four days and they ran out of plain yogurt.
Food came out cold. How does that happen when they advertise everything is cooked to order?
The very worst was when everyone started getting violently sick. They told the first lady who got sick it was caused by her dramamine, but then someone else got sick and then it ran rampant through out the ship ... they blamed it on everything but what it was... a nori virus. Neither the Captain or the Hotel Manager made an announcement about how they were handling it or told us what to do. It was like it didn't exist, except they did have two of their staff leave the ship so they didn't spread it. After my husband got sick I emailed our travel agent to tell her how unhappy and sick we were. She immediately emailed the home office and included my comments that said I was going to post the situation. That night two home office people magically arrived to asses the situation.
Picture everyone getting sick and hogging the bathroom in their cabin and there was only one other unisex public bathroom on the whole ship. That bathroom wasn't even on the floor where the dining room is. Not pretty!
The Independence was built in 2012 and is already tired out. The public sofas are dirty and the fabric has glaring holes. The staff is very poorly trained or possibly not trained at all. One very strange thing is there is no bar. They set up a folding table at 5:30 and close it at 6:30 when dinner starts. Its wonderful they don't want to nickel and dime the passengers and offer complimentary cocktails for an hour and wine and beer at lunch and dinner, but there isn't anywhere cozy to sit and get a drink other than from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. They say you can eat anytime from 6:30 to 7:30, but if you want to relax and go in at 7:00 everyone else is eating and it seems to be a struggle for them to accommodate latecomers. The good news is the wine is decent and does flow freely.
There is nothing warm and cozy about this ship from the table decorations that are a few sea shells, to nothing in the cabins. There isn't a refrigerator or ice, a flower, a fruit basket or even a tiny piece of chocolate. They don't even offer bottled water in the cabins.
The food is only mediocre at best. The melon the entire week was never ripe. The only good news is when I complained that the vodka choices were not premium the new Hotel Manager went out and purchased a bottle of Grey Goose for me. Another passenger on the ship told me that if you request something before the cruise they will provide it but that is not advertised.
We paid for the owner's suite. Hmmm. If I were the owner of this cruise line, I wouldn't want to stay in it. A very small tired love seat and chair are just lined up along the wall. The bed is mediocre and there is no headboard. The bathroom is small to say the least for an owners suite. Now I understand why they didn't show pictures of the four large suites in either the brochure or on line. Ok so the snob in me is coming out...today's bathmat should probably be downgraded to a rag and I can't find any slippers or a robe anywhere:). No one even puts a little chocolate on my bed at night:(
One day when going ashore I asked the steward at the Gangway how they knew if everyone was back on board before they sailed, and he said "we don't"! No one checks in or out so they have no idea of who is or isn't on board.
There are no phones in any of the cabins. I asked what we would we do if there were an emergency. I found out after my husband was so sick and I was racing throughout the ship looking for someone, that we were to use our cell phone (if we had one) to call the cell phone of either the Hotel Director of the Cruise Director. Apparently that was listed somewhere in the daily paper. I missed it. What if someone didn't have a cell phone?
There is no room service.
The best part of the cruise was the off ship lobster bake. Absolutely yummy lobster and mussels.
In addition to everything else the elevator broke so everyone who needed it had to take the stairs or at least the ones who could. One elderly gentleman in a wheelchair had to have his lunch brought to him. Not sure whether he could get off all afternoon.
In the end, the final dinner everyone told me was delicious. Steak and lobster with fresh cooked carrots. Nothing came out of a bag for this meal. Sadly I couldn't eat it because I came down with the virus. The staff did improve, but it was too late for our cruise.
My final comment is this is a very casual cruise. The home office suggested a jacket for my husband. It was a waste of room in our suitcase. Also, if you want to work out, the only equipment is rusted out equipment on the top deck.
I'm terribly sorry I can't be more positive about our cruise:(
FYI, when complaining to customer service I didn't get an answer for almost three months!!!