U.S.-flagged ship cruises in Maine, Historic South
Large cabins, many with private balconies
Small ship has stabilizers for smoother ride
By Jodi Thompson, Cruise Critic Contributor
American Cruise Lines introduced the 104-passenger Independence in 2010. While the passenger capacity is roughly the same as the 100-passenger American Star and American Spirit, Independence is larger, giving more space to the interior areas, including the cabins and balconies. Unlike Star and Sprit, Independence is also fully stabilized, with Rolls Royce stabilizers, allowing for smoother sailing.
The ship spends the summer sailing roundtrip from Portland, Maine, trawling Maine's coast and harbors. In the fall, it offers a handful of leaf-peeping cruises on the Hudson River before heading south for a series of "Historic South & Golden Isles" cruises from Jacksonville and Charleston.
Activities onboard are tied into the destination, and may include a visit with a local lobsterman in Maine. Or, while on southern sailings, costumed antebellum characters may entertain cruisers.
The casual atmosphere is intended to foster camaraderie between fellow passengers, and all meals, which feature fresh meats and seafood, and in-season fruits and veggies, are taken open seating. Open decks and glass-in observation lounges allow for views of the passing scenery.
Some 75 percent of Independence's cabins have balconies, and all have flat-screen satellite TV's and DVD players. The ship has seven cabins for solo travelers.
Passengers tend to be senior Americans, with few, if any, families or children.
My husband and I thoroughly enjoyed ourselves on this cruise. The ship is small enough so that you feel you are on your own private yacht with many of your friends. It was easy to meet our fellow passengers during the nightly cocktail/social hour ...continue
We have cruised on the "megaships" and really appreciated the smaller, more intimate and friendly cruise. From my first phone call for a reservation to disembarking, everything was in order. Minor problems were handled in a very professional and ...continue
The interior of the Independence, which was put into service in 2010, looks like the 60s. I assume the interior was designed to look like Americana, but it just looks tired with soiled and worn upholstery, and tacky carpets and furnishings. Some ...continue