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1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: November 2016
We wanted to stay in the states. Had never heard of American Cruise line but we booked the Baltimore to Jacksonville trip. Even with some hurricane damage the great was great. Cabins very large in comparison to the European river cruise ... Read More
We wanted to stay in the states. Had never heard of American Cruise line but we booked the Baltimore to Jacksonville trip. Even with some hurricane damage the great was great. Cabins very large in comparison to the European river cruise rooms. Beds didn't pull down from wall. Staff was absolutely amazing. Polite, always ready to do anything to make your trip better. Food was excellent. Even though I was Vegan and needed other choices, the food was very good. I would suggest that if they have vegan passengers they provide more protein available. Did have a veggie burger one day, and tofu one day, but mosty beans in things and not a lot of beans in recipe. Also we were on a 2 weeks trip and the menu pretty much repeated itself. for the 2nd week. Would suggest they have a 2 week menu on a trip that is both a week and 2 week choice. other than those few remarks which didn't affect many the trip was wonderful. We have already booked another trip with them for April 2017. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: May 2016
We wanted to check out this Cruise Line from a close enough place that there was no long drive or a flight, before we booked a cruise from this company where we had to add airfare to the cost. We had done two National Geographic/Lindbladt ... Read More
We wanted to check out this Cruise Line from a close enough place that there was no long drive or a flight, before we booked a cruise from this company where we had to add airfare to the cost. We had done two National Geographic/Lindbladt small ship cruises before and loved them, but both involved long flights. Since the Nat. Geo. Cruises were ecco cruises, there were no frills, but lots of nature, walking, etc. American Cruise Line also has small ships, but with much more luxurious staterooms and a wonderful lounge area. We stopped at several ports beginning at Yorktown, VA/ Williamsburg area. Form there we cruised to several places, including Tangier Island, St. Michaels, MD, Chrisfield, MD, Cambridge and Oxford, MD and finally Annapolis, MD, then back to Baltimore to disembark. This was also a"crab" cruise, so we had Chesapeake Bay crab included in every meal. The food was wonderful and there was free wine and beer available at every lunch and dinner and an open bar for happy hour the hour before dinner. Lots of appetizers were offered during happy hour too. There were less than 100 people on board, so it was easy to meet friendly folks that you could socialize with on board. All the ships employees were friendly, courteous and helpful and the captain and crew were available if you ever needed them for any reason. Because we enjoyed our time with American Cruise Line so much, we signed up for another cruises which we will be doing this fall, cruising the back bays around Maine. We are guessing this will be a lobster Cruise, but we will enjoy it whether we get lobster with every meal or not. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: November 2014
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 ... Read More
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 and quickly found some couples with whom we 'clicked'. The lounge is spacious with many different seating areas for visiting. Dining experience was delightful, also, with a good and varied menu. Loved that they tried to serve the regional food.....in this case, crab! The crew was great.....young, enthusiastic and eager to please. We have been on the Golden Odyssey and Sea Goddess as well as America Cruise West, and although the first two ships are superb in every way and perhaps more seasoned and professional, we couldn't find fault with the young people who served us. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2014
American Cruise Lines always does a great job: interesting ports, great food, good lecturers, caring staff and large cabins. They do everything to cater to their passengers including paying postage on letters and complimentary cocktail ... Read More
American Cruise Lines always does a great job: interesting ports, great food, good lecturers, caring staff and large cabins. They do everything to cater to their passengers including paying postage on letters and complimentary cocktail hour with fabulous hors d'oevres. We stopped at various ports on the Chespeake Bay and had very interesting shore excursions. In Chrisfield we took the ferry to Tangiers Island and went to a wonderful restaurant which served lots of food family style: crab cakes, shrimp fritters, ham, potatoes, vegetables, fresh bread right out of the oven. Afterwards we took tours of the island in golf carts for $5.00. There were lecturers each evening to tell us about what we would see the next day. Very informative. The service on board is extraordinary. I needed batteries for my camera and they gave them to me. Dining room service is excellent as is the food. Several choices at each meal which is great considering the size of the ship. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2014
With beautiful weather we left Baltimore's Inner Harbor and sailed down the Bay under two bridges the second being the double spans of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge. The ship had only 54 passengers so over the cruise we met many of them. ... Read More
With beautiful weather we left Baltimore's Inner Harbor and sailed down the Bay under two bridges the second being the double spans of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge. The ship had only 54 passengers so over the cruise we met many of them. They were a very nice group of people. We had one teenager on board and she enjoyed all the history that was presented at lectures in the lounge. The meals were relatively good. However the chef was never able to get either sorbet or frozen yogurt which I would have appreciated since I am allergic to milk and sherbet and ice cream are no no's. He told me when he ordered sorbet he got sherbet instead. In past cruises a crew hand picked one or the other at a local store when we were docked. We picked a handicap cabin. At my age the shower with several grab bars is great. Also wasn't sure if I would have my rollator with me and there is space in the cabin for this. The balcony was large enough for us to sit and watch the shore line go by. The only adverse thing that occurred on the cruise was news that your sister cruise line Pearl Seas was not going to have the same amenities as the American Cruise Line; i e credit for cruise and complimentary shore excursions. The hotel manager talked with my niece (Judy Wiggin,, she travels with me) but he left a lot to be desired. Perhaps he was new and did not know procedures relative to cancellations etc. Maybe in time he will improve but on other ships hotel managers were much more competent as well as personable. The cruise itself was a delight - this was my third on the Bay.. . Read Less
Sail Date: June 2013
I arrived in Baltimore two days prior to the cruise since I had never visited the city and had heard great things about the waterfront, all true. The streets at the inner harbor are as busy as Time Square so I was glad I had booked a hotel ... Read More
I arrived in Baltimore two days prior to the cruise since I had never visited the city and had heard great things about the waterfront, all true. The streets at the inner harbor are as busy as Time Square so I was glad I had booked a hotel at Fells Point, a quaint older section of the port with cobbled streets and great old buildings including some good restaurants. I had an enormous room at the Inn at Henderson’s Wharf, with huge corner windows facing the wharf. It was a five-minute walk to the water taxi, a delightful way to transit the bay and just a ten minute ride to the Inner Harbor. Rides are just 7 dollars, 12 dollars for a day pass. I must say after seeing sensational aquariums in other cities, Baltimore’s was a huge disappointment. The setup is confusing, the windows are small and the tanks are not stocked with particularly attractive fish. I quit after half an hour, not waiting to watch the dolphins jump through hoops. Phillip’s Seafood has a huge restaurant right near the USS Constellation adjacent to the aquarium so I enjoyed their famous but pricey crab cakes for lunch. For dinner I chose Riptide in Fells Point, where I watched the waitress demonstrate to nearby diners how to attack the blue crabs. So much work for so little crab! I opted for the lobster tails. Passengers boarded the American Spirit the morning of June 1. I had booked a single cabin on the American Glory the previous week but it was cancelled and I was upgraded to a double cabin on the Spirit with a nice discount. The cabin was spacious and cheerful with a picture window, and located right next to the comfortable Chesapeake Lounge where activities took place including happy hour, plus round-the-clock refreshments and an ice machine. Unlike many cruise ships that gouge for web access, internet is free but not available in the cabins, and the signal was weak many days We departed Baltimore after lunch and enjoyed a spectacular view of the harbor including Fort McHenry, the siege of which in the War of 1812 inspired the U.S. National Anthem. We awoke on Sunday morning at the dock at Yorktown, near the battlefield that ended the Revolutionary War. It was a short bus ride to nearby colonial Williamsburg where we had a good walking tour of the historical buildings but no pass nor sufficient time to do all the interiors, and the shopping time was far too much longer than the guided tour. After lunch on board I took the free tourist trolley around Yorktown, but skipped the battlefield and the optional tour to nearby Plymouth, too much for one day. I enjoyed the excellent film on Plymouth archaeology that evening. I’d rather we had spent two nights here. Monday took us past Tangier Island where I looked forward to watching the watermen harvest crabs and oysters but a rainstorm made it too difficult for the ship to provide launch service to the island. So we went on to Cambridge MD earlier than expected. It’s an attractive city with lots of old homes, but nothing special other than a chance to take a ride on a skipjack (oyster dredging vessel). We had two overnights in Cambridge with other options like a Georgian-home museum or a walking tour of nearby Oxford Md which I took. I would not have chosen two nights here preferring to spend more time at Yorktown and Annapolis. I felt the same about our next two nights at St. Michaels MD, where we were docked at a superb 18-acre maritime museum. The museum curator led us through various buildings like a small-craft repair shop, an ancient crab processing plant, and an exhibit hall with an excellent commemoration of the War of 1812. We enjoyed a special reception in the crab-packing plant with crab cakes, crab dip, and desserts. The walking tour of historic homes around the harbor was pleasant but I skipped the eco-tour on a tributary. Weather reports of the first hurricane of the season were not optimistic for our Friday arrival in Annapolis, the city I had most looked forward to visiting. Rain was expected and we did go ashore in our uncovered launch with a light rain making the seats wet. From the dock it was a five-minute walk to the U.S. Naval Academy where a retired captain gave a good walking tour of the main buildings. The rain was not too bad, we had umbrellas, and we did spend time inside some buildings like Bancroft Hall and the chapel and crypt where the first U.S naval hero John Paul Jones is buried. The tour started and ended at the visitor’s center, where a chartered tourist trolley took small groups on a tour of the attractive city. Returning to the ship for lunch, the motor stalled on our uncovered launch and the weather had worsened with heavy rain and blowing winds giving us a good soak before the mate got the motor restarted after about ten minutes. Given the weather conditions the captain opted to return to Baltimore that afternoon rather than the following morning. The ship tied up at the Inner Harbor if anyone wanted to debark to shop or check out the nightlife. But with lobster tails and prime rib scheduled for dinner most people stayed aboard. I had to share this bounty with 90 other passengers, but the servings were always generous. Wine and cocktails are free with lunch and dinner and the complimentary happy hour included delicious hot appetizers daily. My favorites were the lamb chops, mini-crab cakes, and bacon-wrapped scallops. The variety of beverages available was excellent for such a small ship. I hate lines like that which result because almost everyone arrives at the start of the hour. That might be avoided if the hour were stretched to 90 minutes so passengers might not be in a rush to arrive. The additional cost to the ship would be minimal. We enjoyed several excellent lectures during the week, by a husband/wife team, he a journalist discussing historical events of the Chesapeake area, she a naturalist who explained the nature and challenges of the bay. I learned more than I expected to. And evening entertainment was pleasant with a pianist, a duo of dulcimer and guitar, and a semi-Sinatra impersonator who will not win the up-coming competition for Sinatra impersonators. One of the main reasons I booked this sailing was the “Crabfest” theme. We were treated to two kinds of crab cakes, crab salad, crab bisque, crab and corn chowder, crab-claw appetizers, soft shell crabs, crab omelette, crab quesadillas, crab quiche, open-face crab sandwiches, Caesar salad with crab, and crab-stuffed lobster tails, although there was always a meat or vegetarian choice if one preferred. I especially liked the dining setup with open-seating tables for eight which allowed single passengers like me to mingle with different groups each meal. I can appreciate why there were so many passengers with multiple repeat sailings. If you book another cruise while aboard there is a savings of 400 dollars per person. After the third trip, all excursions are free. The eleventh trip is completely free. There are no activities for young children which is fine since there are cruises that specialize in that. Most passengers are quite elderly and the ship’s crew members are extremely helpful and patient with them and quick to provide a wheel-chair when needed. I suspect the demographic is due to the infirm being reluctant to suffer the challenges of a long flight abroad. The destinations are easily reached with relatively short flights by U.S. airlines. My review with photos can be found on my blog at jimhornnews.wordpress.com. This was my second voyage with American Cruise Lines and it won’t be the last. There are numerous other interesting destinations you can find on their website. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2012
We've made a small habit of seeing the sights during the shoulder and off season. Cruising Alaska and Europe in winter were rewarding for both the lack of crowds, the easy to see sights and most interestingly a good mix of other ... Read More
We've made a small habit of seeing the sights during the shoulder and off season. Cruising Alaska and Europe in winter were rewarding for both the lack of crowds, the easy to see sights and most interestingly a good mix of other adventuresome passengers. Our 2 week sojourn on the American Star was a prime example of small ship cruising at its best. We long ago learned to pack for any weather so no matter the climate, it's never an inconvenience to travel. Our November trip came right on the heels of Hurricane Sandy and we wondered what we'd get - that goes beyond control of what we could pack. Our worries were for nought. Though we hit a little rain and some cool weather, the majority of days had enough sunshine that our sunglasses got more of a workout than our rainwear. The ship was as advertised with a spacious, modern and well appointed cabin. We joked with the hotel manager Adriano, that he could reduce the size of the rooms. We told him that our travel in other parts of the year is in a travel trailer with less square footage than our cabin. Food was excellent and you get any sized portion (or more of anything). We met other passengers with a variety of dietary needs and all we heard was praise (even for the Vegans among us). The small ship atmosphere allow passengers to get to know each other quicker and it your spouse didn't want to do any shore excursions, then usually it was easy to pal around with another passenger.Yes, we enjoyed the ship and meeting new friends but we came to see the coastal cities of the south. So much variety between our destinations. Small town Oriental, NC was as alluring as the charming old city of Charleston. Once exclusive Jeckyll Island fascinated us almost as much as Wilmington, NC or Beaufort, SC. Without a doubt, the star for us was Savannah. Though we have now seen it, it's on our bucket list for an early return. Crew at all levels were very professional and personable. We had two different on-board speakers/naturalists and it was great to hear them flesh out the cultural, natural history and environmental stories of the destinations and the land along the way. We had an excellent time and hope to cruise again with American. Missing ports not listed in "Port Reviews": Coinjock, NC (don't miss nearby Kittyhawk) Oriental, NC - the local tour guide hired by ACL was full of stories and humor - so is the town Wilmington, NC - self guided walk. 15 years ago this town didn't have much to offer tourists - they surely do now? Beaufort, SC - who knew a little town had so much to offer the casual stroller - one of the few untouched by bombardment during the Civil War. Hilton Head, SC. Maybe if we were into golf or resort living we'd have been more impressed. Not much history but tidal shore excursion by naturalist was very interesting. Savannah, GA: hard to believe CruiseCritic doesn't have this notable city on its destination list. Best or near best stop on the trip. We had friends take us around but heard from other passengers that trolley tour and walk tour were both excellent. Brunswick, GA: a so-so city for its downtown but what a great jump off point to see fabulous Jeckyll Island. Personal hit for me was a cruise-arranged couple hours on a working shrimp boat. Fantastic outing complete with all the fresh caught shrimp you could eat and a marine biologist who told us about all the other creatures we caught. Amalie Island, FL: small riverfront town loaded with history and well guided by cruise arranged historian. Read Less
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