Okay, my first time to post a review: We went on American Cruise Lines New England Islands trip. The cruise was a disappointment in these areas: Accommodations: the furnishings in the lounge, our room, and small public areas looked very motel-like. The sheets on our bed were worn and rough and they were not changed for the entire week. Our room was not vacuumed all week (a bottle cap was in the same place all week).
The dining room experience: First of all, if we were moving and the ship's motor was on, it was very loud in the dining room. Then add almost 100 people talking and we found ourselves talking very loud to be heard and it was darn hard to hear others at our table. Secondly, the food was inconsistent. Some things were delicious but others were a big miss - and this opinion was shared by most on board (I'm not a picky eater). The wait staff consisted of young people who were very nice and really tried hard to please but many were clearly inexperienced. We had one kid who told us he'd never waited tables or worked on a cruise ship and he actually left the ship mid-week. The young woman they hired to replace him appeared also to never have waited tables before.
The programs: We had adequate lectures and some entertainment each night. The passengers: Very nice people, average age I'd say was 75. I'm 60 and was just about the youngest person on board. No children.
Hotel staff: There were three introduced to us as the "hotel staff". All were very young and the young man who was the head staff member appeared to be uncomfortable with the passengers. They seemed to be trying to "figure things out" as we went along. For instance, a woman was left in port and they reversed the ship to return to the dock for her. Afterwards, several passengers suggested to the hotel staff that a prominent sign needed to be posted at the door we all disembarked from to call our attention to the time we must be back on the ship.
Overall: My husband said it best: "We paid for business class and got coach instead." We paid a little over $8,000 for the two of us (standard room w/small balcony). We could have cruised for far less on a larger ship but we thought we were getting a first class, luxury cruise with an exclusive, small group of people and we were willing to pay for that. If we'd paid less for the cruise, our expectations would have been lower.
I hope they'll make some changes because we love the idea of small ship cruising.