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18 American Cruise Lines Boston Cruise Reviews

We went on the Grand New England Cruise offered by American Cruise Lines and enjoyed it very much. The Lobster Bake in Rockland, ME was wonderful...from music to our lobster. In fact, we found every port interesting especially visiting ... Read More
We went on the Grand New England Cruise offered by American Cruise Lines and enjoyed it very much. The Lobster Bake in Rockland, ME was wonderful...from music to our lobster. In fact, we found every port interesting especially visiting the Portland, ME Lighthouse, and the excursions we signed up for (Lobster and Lighthouse in Camden, ME and Schooner Sail in Gloucester, MA). We found the ship and our stateroom very clean. Weather made it impossible to tender at Bar Harbor, but safety of passengers should be the main concern which it was. The food was delicious and we were thrilled with all the seafood offered. The waitstaff, for the most part, was excellent. The crew was very friendly and attentive especially our Cruise Director. We also enjoyed the on board Historian. This was our first cruise experience and would go again with American Cruise Lines. We met some wonderful people and will have great memories. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
I had chosen this cruise because I prefer small ships and I am not as familiar with the New England area of the USA. The boarding process was very smooth. The crew welcomed us aboard and gave assistance to anyone that needed help finding ... Read More
I had chosen this cruise because I prefer small ships and I am not as familiar with the New England area of the USA. The boarding process was very smooth. The crew welcomed us aboard and gave assistance to anyone that needed help finding their way around the ship. Luggage was in the cabin when we arrived. The state room was clean and bright and of a generous size for two people. From the cabin we went on to enjoy a delicious lunch. So much to choose from it was hard to decide what to eat. If you are a dessert lover you will be tempted to try it all from Boston cream bomb to blueberry pie, chocolate torte cake and several flavors of ice cream. Pace yourself as the morning starts with muffins, scones, danish in the lounge area which had fresh brewed coffee at 6am. On to a full breakfast in the dining area. Then at 10am fresh baked cookies in the lounge. This is to tide you over until a full lunch followed by cookies until the start of cocktail hour which featured quiche, crab cakes, asparagus wraps , bacon wrapped scallops and many more appetizers. Dinners were spectacular surf and turf , lobster ravioli, salmon ,and many other choices. Dinner was followed by entertainment and an open bar with cocktails and after dinner drinks. Entertainment was varied from classical music, rock and roll, jazz and patriotic songs depending on evening. Speakers were also part of the program. They spoke about the regional culture and historical influences of the area. Off shore activities were varied from botanical gardens, art museums, famous mansions, architecture. The best was the authentic lobster bake on shore. I enjoyed it all. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
Grand New England Coastal Cruise 2018 July 21 – August 2 ~~~My Trip to Boston, July 21st~~~ Since my nonstop American Airlines flight to Boston was not until 1:50 pm, SuperShuttle picked me up around 11 am, a few ... Read More
Grand New England Coastal Cruise 2018 July 21 – August 2 ~~~My Trip to Boston, July 21st~~~ Since my nonstop American Airlines flight to Boston was not until 1:50 pm, SuperShuttle picked me up around 11 am, a few minutes early. Being a Saturday morning I expected the traffic to LAX would be light. So much for expectations, the traffic was unusually heavy with periods of stop and go on the I 405 freeway, but we finally arrived at Terminal 5 at 12:30 pm, plenty of time for my TSA Pre-check through security. Everything appeared normal with our boarding right on time and pullback, and we were soon zooming down the runway. But then there was a loud bump and the captain powered down the aircraft, returning us back to the terminal. Apparently there had been an indication that a door was open. After some time of seeing mechanics going back and forth down the aisles, we were requested to depart the aircraft. Shortly it was announced that there would be a change in aircraft and departure gate to 40B in Terminal 4, a fair walk down the connecting tunnel from Terminal 5. Once there we were met with a series of delays: new aircraft had not yet arrived, then the new aircraft had not finished being cleaned, and then a further wait for the catering to be completed. Finally at 4:30 pm, we were allowed to reboard our new aircraft, again waiting for pullback and departure. Then around 5 pm, over THREE HOURS LATE, we took off for Boston. I was expecting a rather bumpy ride over the Midwest with all of the storms present, but it turned out to be a rather smooth flight, arriving in Boston at 2 am instead of the scheduled 10:23 pm arrival. Luckily my luggage had survived the plane change and turned up on the carrousel shortly. After figuring out just where to get a taxi to my hotel, The Constitution Inn in Charlestown, I was on my way in the first available one, the driver of which knowing exactly where to go, and by 3 am I was comfortably settled in my room, #616. I had emailed The Inn about my possible late arrival and that had caused no problem, so I soon found my bed - actually only midnight at home! Needless to say, I slept well! Sunday I had made no plans except to have dinner at a nearby restaurant, the Navy Yard Bistro, which I had found on the Internet. Also I had chosen The Constitution Inn because of its close proximity to Pier 8, the location of the American Constitution ship’s docking on Monday morning, close enough to just drag my luggage the three blocks to the ship for check in. Rising about 10 am I decided to go out exploring to find the Tedeschi’s Deli, also nearby and found on the Internet. It turned out to be just around the corner from the Navy Yard Bistro, but had been acquired by 7-11 and now named TD’s Deli. Hungry, I ordered a freshly made steak and cheese sandwich which was delicious, enjoyed back in my room at The Constitution Inn. Starting off on the rainy side, the afternoon cleared to beautiful sunshine and when I returned down the street to the Navy Yard Bistro for dinner at around 6:30 pm, I decided to choose one of the tables out front and the atmosphere was absolutely delightful! The pedestrian street connecting the Navy Yard Bistro to The Constitution Inn is cobble-stoned and covered by a canopy of huge trees. A most pleasant place to dine! My menu selection was Ancho Chile & Coffee Braised Short Ribs - DELICIOUS! accompanied by a half bottle of Sauvignon Blanc wine; dessert was a fantastic Crème Brûlée. I thoroughly enjoyed my huge, delectable dinner, so much so that I asked to purchase one of monogrammed wine glasses, but was told to just take it! I was thrilled! Then it was back to my room and repacking for my departure the next morning, Monday. I slept VERY well that night! ~~~The American Constitution Cruise Ship, July 23rd~~~ Fearing an upcoming rain, I left The Constitution Inn this morning around 9:00 am, while it was still clear, to drag my luggage the three blocks to Pier 8, where I was met by an ACL crew who took my luggage the rest of the way down the pier to a waiting golf cart for the trip down the dock area to the ship: obviously I was the first aboard although that was no problem. Soon I was resting comfortably in the Chesapeake Lounge on Deck 3, just above my cabin 203, which was not yet ready for me. Sure enough, at 10:00 am, the rain came, but only a short shower. Soon a staff member brought out a table full of goodies: cheeses, crackers, tiny muffins - SO good! - as well as a rum punch which was true to its name. Then about 11:00 am we were told that our cabins were then available although luggage delivery would follow shortly. So an hour later I am nowalmost unpacked in my spacious stateroom for one, with a large picture window, and just answered a rap on my door. It was Dakota, one of the ship’s managers, with a gifted bottle of wine - Clos du Bois chardonnay from Patric, my friend and travel agent. It was quite a surprise! And a pleasant one at that! Thank you Patric so VERY much!!! I am enjoying a glass as I speak. Normally check in isn’t until 10:30 am but my very early arrival created no problem at all, AND I avoided the rain! Lunch was served at 12:30 pm, the customary time, and the ship had almost filled to capacity. Tables are set for 4 or 6 and everyone aboard is seated at one time. Servers are, in general, college students and have been well trained by ACL. Wine and beer are offered complimentary at lunch and at dinner, and if the wine offered is not to one’s liking, then another will be found! Afterwards I returned to my comfortable room #203 to rest - until Happy Hour from 5:30 pm ‘til 6:30 pm, our dinnertime. Happy Hour is quite an occasion with an open bar serving whatever your heart desires, along with a table loaded with delectable goodies; servers circle the Chesapeake Lounge with trays of delicious hors d'oeuvres. Then it was time for dinner in the Main Restaurant. The menu offers a choice of soup or salad along with a selection of entrees from which to choose. Then comes dessert! Magnificent desserts! I have absolutely no complaints about the food served aboard! The ship departed right on schedule at 1:30 pm, next stop Portland, Maine. Due to the surrounding rain flurries, rather rough seas hindered our cruise during the night, largely because of the wind. I especially was affected since my stateroom was the second from the bow. ~~~Portland, Maine - July 24th~~~ A heavy fog as well as strong winds creating a rather bumpy ride from Charlestown, complicated our arrival at 10:30 pm on Monday, July 23rd in Portland. Being near the bow I got to hear the ship’s foghorn throughout the night and was relieved when we finally docked. I got very little sleep until then. Breakfast is served in the Dining Room from 7:30 am until 9:00 am, with an early breakfast offered in the Chesapeake Lounge at 6:30 am. When I arrived at 8:00 am, the Room was already full and I hunted for a place to sit. This would become a routine, selecting a seat in the Dining Room, often sitting with new acquaintances. People were generally very friendly and most had previously sailed with ACL before. Scheduled for the day was a Portland City Tour of 2 hours length, at 9:30 am, and again in the afternoon at 2:30 pm. I decided to do the afternoon tour. My breakfast was routinely a Western Omelet accompanied with a side of bacon, along with both cranberry and orange juices - and coffee, of course. There is a Keurig coffeemaker in each room that, after several failed attempts, I was able to get working. Good coffee is very important with me and I found the ship’s coffee to be such. Still groggy from lack of sleep I returned to my stateroom #203 to rest and take a nap. Lunch would be served at 12:30 pm. There was still some room organization left to be done. Lunch is served at 12:30 pm and beer or wine is served complimentary. Again my choice is for one of their excellent salads in addition to a tasty entree; dessert also, of course. At 2:30 pm I departed the ship with others on the afternoon City Tour, first recording my exit from the ship by placing my key card on the receptor at the door. When returning, this process was repeated enabling the ship’s management to know who’s back aboard. Loading into a comfortable tour bus conveniently located near the gangplank, we were off on our tour of Portland, first traversing through downtown streets. The unique architecture caught my eye and I found the ride to be most enjoyable as well as informative, due to our guide’s narration. Leaving the downtown area we then traveled out to the coastline, to a very rocky outcropping atop which sat the famous Portland Head Lighthouse where we were given time to walk around the structure and admire the fantastic vista presented. I returned to the bus pickup area a few hminutes early, with just enough time to enjoy a blueberry gelato at a wagon shop; it was delicious! Then back on the bus for our return to the ship, promptly at 4:30 pm, just enough time to briefly rest and get ready for the daily Happy Hour held in the Chesapeake Lounge, just above my stateroom on Deck 3, forward. As I mentioned before, most passengers were repeats and the Happy Hour is WELL attended! Everything one could desire as far as drinks and hors d’oeuvres. My choice was my usual Sauvignon Blanc. Then it was time for dinner at 6:30 pm, announced by a crewmember striking chimes. It reminded me of how, on Holland America ships in the old days, dinner was similarly announced by a crewmember wearing a pillbox hat, striking chimes. Dinner was always an enjoyable experience. First taking our drink orders, our server then took our preferences: salad or soup (the salads were consistently good and ingenuously created, using spinach leaves with different toppings), and then our choice of entree - always a fish, chicken or meat offered. The desserts were extra special and absolutely delectable! I found the food to be exceptionally and consistently good. Each evening after dinner in the Chesapeake Lounge, a crewmember would give a discussion of the next day’s schedule, preceding nightly entertainment, accompanied by more drink service. Alcohol was easy to find on this ship! I routinely skipped this session, preferring to return to my cabin for the night. So ended our day in Portland; the next stop would be in Bar Harbor. ~~~Bar Harbor, Maine - July 25th~~~ Again, traveling during the night from Portland, we encountered strong winds, rough seas, and dense fog, which made for another night of broken sleep for me, listening to the ship’s foghorn and swaying with the motion of the ship. Arrival in Bar Harbor at 7:00 am came none too soon! We are at anchor today in Bar Harbor with our own launch used to transfer passengers from ship to shore. This launch is attached to the rear of the ship using two hoists, not visible in most views of the American Constitution. The Dining Room was surprisingly full at 7:30 am when I went down to breakfast, contrary to what I had expected after the rough night. Evidently not everyone was as susceptible to the ship’s motion as was I. The Dining Room is on Deck 1, aft, and the exit to the launch is through a door at the rear of this Room. My Western Omelet, juices, bacon and coffee were a welcome repast from the night’s trip. Scheduled for the day were optional (charge applies) tours to the Acadia National Park, one in the morning and one in the afternoon. Due to the persisting foggy conditions, I chose to wait for the afternoon tour. Instead, I returned to my stateroom to try to sleep some more. Lunchtime saw a slight let up of the fog and the waters inside the confines of Bar Harbor were calm. Again I enjoyed my glass of Sauvignon Blanc along with a delicious spinach salad, followed by an entree that I don’t recall at present. Then it was time to get ready for the Acadia National Park tour for which the launch to shore would depart the ship at 1:20 pm in order to be on the 1:45 pm tour bus. Bar Harbor sits on an island, Mt. Dessert, the summit of which is Cadillac Mountain from which fantastic views are usually possible on a clear day. Not today! Fog was still intermittent but our excellent driver/guide decided to proceed up the highway to the top of Cadillac Mountain anyway, hoping that the fog would have cleared by the time we got there. It hadn’t! So we left the top and headed for the coastal part of our tour, including a stop at Thunder Hole. We also had a brief stop along the way at a delightful natural garden providing a chance to stretch our legs and soak in the calm coolness of this shaded retreat. A convenient bathroom break also. Back on the bus we then proceeded on to a parking area on the coast road near a set of hand-railed stairs down to this remarkable inlet in the rocky shore where the surf gets trapped in the narrows, creating a loud “thunder” sound, as water is thrust upward into the air. And the surf was certainly cooperating at the time, provided thundering sounds on a frequent basis. A truly remarkable experience! The return ride back to the town of Bar Harbor was equally enjoyable, arriving with plenty of extra time for a quick visit to a local Irish Pub for a pint of Harp beer. There was a slight wait at the dock for the next launch back to the ship but it was delightful sitting in such a pleasant setting with the fog now gone. The launch ride back to the ship was smooth and uneventful, returning us to our “home afloat” just before 5:00 pm, at which time in the Chesapeake Lounge staff members were available to discuss future cruises, giving a whopping 15% discount in addition to forgiveness of the port fees and taxes (up to $330). I decided to investigate. Long story short, I booked the “Northwest Pioneers” cruise from Portland, Oregon, to Clarkston, Washington, along the Columbia and Snake Rivers, a trip of 11 days starting October 11, 2019, with a complimentary pre-cruise hotel stay in Portland. Everyone I talked with that had taken this cruise raved about it. AND, saving over $1700 on the fare is substantial! Besides, I got to choose a prime Single Balcony stateroom #409 on the new American Song cruise ship. I will fly into Portland from Orange County Airport and then fly home from Spokane, Washington, about a 2-hour drive from Clarkston. The ship will provide a bus transfer, for a fee. Happy Hour followed, attended by most everyone aboard, followed by another delightful dinner. So ended my day in Bar Harbor, Maine. ~~~Bucksport and Rockland, Maine - July 26th & 27th~~~ Due to high winds, the Captain thought it best to forego our scheduled stop in Camden where we would have been at anchor, requiring the use of the ship’s launch to go ashore, instead docking at nearby Bucksport and doing the Camden tours by means of buses. I chose not to go ashore in this small town of 5,000 but remained on board for the day. The difference between high and low tides is substantial in this area and during the day I observed the change in the height of docking platform relative to the dock itself; it was up to 7 or 8 feet. Of course there was plenty to do aboard: breakfast, lunch, Happy Hour and dinner! No one goes hungry on this ship! At 5:00 pm there was a tour of the Pilot House on Deck 4 that I attended, finding the Captain’s explanations quite interesting. Unlike larger ocean liners, the Captain has sole responsibility for the ship’s movements and safety. He also discussed the special operations of this small ship including operating within 20 miles of the coastline. Finally, I got a full night’s sleep because we did not depart for the next port of call, Rockland, Maine, until 4:30 am the next morning. It was such a treat! ~~~Rockland, Maine~~~ Anchoring off the port of Rockland at 7:00 am, the ship’s launch would be used throughout the day to get back and forth from ship to shore. Breakfast proceeded as usual, of course with my usual Western Omelet, side of bacon, cranberry and orange juices, and coffee. It was always interesting to see just where I would sit: at a table with Bonnie and Haynes from Tennessee, or at the table with Richard and Pat from Maryland, or at the table with M.J. and John from South Carolina, or at the table with Lynne and Jack from Arizona. With most tables set for 6, it was often not possible to sit where desired because the table was filled. Once or twice, however, the group decided to move in a seventh chair so that I could join them. I felt very honored! The highlight of the day was the Lobster Bake scheduled for 12:30 pm ashore at a location near the water, beneath a giant tent. I took an earlier launch ashore with plenty of time to walk around the 1-mile path along the bay to the site of the Lobster Bake, arriving shortly after 12 noon. Several pots of boiling water were placed on grates under which a roaring fire had been built. Piles and piles of fresh lobsters were put into the pots along with scores of ears of fresh corn still in the husk; mussels were also added, and then the entire contents were covered by seaweed and allowed to cook. Very traditional! I had selected one of the many picnic tables, near the “action”, and attempted to seat myself, throwing my leg over the seat, failing to observe a bolt protruding out of the lower structure of the table. At once I knew I had hit something but was not prepared for the bloody wound that resulted. Fortunately there was a roll of paper towels on each table, which I helped myself to, but the bleeding would not stop. Richard came up, noticing I was in trouble, and FORTUNATELY he had some Band-Aids on him that he offered me. So temporarily, I got the Band-Aids applied and seemed to stop the bleeding. I also got the attention of Dakota, one of the ship’s managers, who offered his assistance. He ordered my lobster plate with corn, cold slaw, and potato salad delivered to me, which was very thoughtful. The entire serving crew from the ship was on hand to assist passengers with their WHOLE lobsters, breaking the lobster into pieces and extracting the meat from the claws and tail. It was all delicious! Despite my injury, I thoroughly enjoyed this highly anticipated event. Needless to say, I chose to ride the bus back to the landing from which the launch returned to the ship. The bleeding seemed to have stopped. Onboard I had the services of Willis, one of the ship’s officers, trained in EMT, who came to my room to clean and treat my puncture wound, putting on a salve of some sort, placing a thick gauss and then wrapping it securely. It felt good. Happy Hour was as usual with everyone commenting on my injury, but I felt okay. Richard came up and gave me two more Band-Aids of a larger size, which turned out to be very helpful. After dinner I returned to my cabin, prepared to spend another restful night as our departure for the next port of call, Boothsbay, Maine, would not be until 4:00 am the next morning. And the night started off well, UNTIL around midnight when I got up to go to the bathroom. The bandage had managed to come undone and my wound had opened up again, bleeding all over my bed, the floor, and into the bathroom. Luckily I still had the two large Band-Aids that Richard had given me and, after some effort, I got them in place, stopping the bleeding. It was quite a chore, trying to clean up all the blood from the bathroom floor as well as the spots on the carpet, but I got it done, using wet towels that I rinsed out in the sink. There was nothing I could do about the blood on my bedding but apologize to my room steward the next morning. The rest of the night I finally got some sleep, using wet towels to protect from further bleeding in the bed. At breakfast the next morning my wound had remained covered with the bleeding controlled, but I knew that expert attention was needed. ~~~Boothbay Harbor, ME and Gloucestor, MA - July 28th, 29th~~~ After breakfast I returned to my room where I did some research on my iPad in regard to an “Urgent Care” facility in Boothbay Harbor where we were at anchor for the day. I found one at the LincolnHeath Center, 6 Street Andrew Lane. With the help of one of the managers in the ship’s office, who called to make sure their Urgent Care would be open on Saturday, we also arranged for a taxi to be waiting at the dock for me upon my arrival by launch from the ship. And so it went; I took the ship’s launch to the dock on shore where, as arranged, a taxi was waiting to take me to the Urgent Care Center. The driver knew exactly where to go, and within minutes we were there. The taxi fare was only $10 and the driver refused a tip, saying that he got a cut of the fare. Inside I waited only a short time until being called to speak to a clerk who took all of my personal information. Then I was ushered into an examination room where a nurse removed the old bandage; my wound immediately began to drain. She cleaned the wound with a liquid - NOT alcohol, and then a female doctor came in to examine it. Apparently this Urgent Care Center was an all woman operation! A piece of Surgifoam was applied directly to the wound, to encourage clotting as well as containing an antibiotic. It was not to be removed even if the dressing were to be changed. Then a gauss pad was placed and secured by wrappings, the last of which was a flesh-colored elastic fabric. This all took less than 30 minutes! Before leaving I had the receptionist call my taxi to take me back to the dock and the launch back to the ship. I felt SO MUCH BETTER and relieved that I had had proper medical attention. I was back aboard in a little over an hour! With my injured calf properly bandaged I then proceeded to rejoin my cruise, more thoroughly enjoying lunch, Happy Hour, and then dinner. HNo further draining of my wound was evident and I got a wonderful night of sleep. The ship departed Boothbay Harbor at 6:00 pm. ~~~Gloucester, Massachusetts – July 29th~~~ Docking at 3:00 am after a restful night of sleep with smooth seas, the optional tour (charges apply) for the day was the morning Maritime Heritage Center and Narrated Sightseeing Tour, which departed after breakfast at 9:00 am. “Gloucester is a city on Cape Ann primarily known for its fishing industry. It was one of the first English settlements in what would become known as The Massachusetts Bay Colony. The town took its name from the city of Gloucester in Southwest England where many of its occupants originated.” The Heritage Center turned out to be quite small but still very interesting. Outside and down stairs were aquarium exhibits displaying local sea life. A large tank contained skates and halibut, all very interesting to see and actually touch. The City tour took us around the many scenic streets of Gloucester with the typical New England type architecture prominent among the homes. Charming on such a sunny day but I could imagine how cold and dismal it could be during the winter. Returning by bus to the dock and our ship at 11:15 am, there was just enough time to visit my stateroom for a while before going to the dining room for lunch. As usual a creative salad topped my choices along with a tasty lobster roll. Lobster was plentiful on our menus; one night we were served an entire lobster for dinner! I had as much lobster as possible; it was SO GOOD and fresh! For some reason, the ships had to leave the dock at 12:00 noon and move to anchor in the harbor. On such a nice sunny Sunday afternoon, many people were out on their boats and the harbor was bustling. Boating is quite popular in this region. My afternoon was spent resting in my stateroom. My leg was doing just fine after its expert treatment the day before, and I decided to leave the bandage alone for the duration of the cruise. Happy Hour went according to plan with many caring passengers inquiring about my injured leg. The Chesapeake Lounge was crowded as usual and the liquor and wine flowed freely! Dinner was announced as usual by the ringing of chimes by a staff member, Gabby, I believe. Who knows with whom I was seated? It is all beginning to blend into a good memory by now. The ship would be pulling up anchor and departing at 12:01 am and setting sail for our next port of call, Vineyard Haven, Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts. ~~~Martha’s Vineyard, MA and Newport, Rhode Island - July 30th, 31st~~~ Our ship arrived at Vineyard Haven on the island of Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts, at 8:00 am and docked at 62 Beach Road, Tisbury, MA. “Martha’s Vineyard is an island south of Cape Cod in Massachusetts. Vineyard Haven is one of the 5 towns of Marty’s Vineyard. The indigenous Wampanoag Indians called it Noepe, which meant ‘land amid the streams’. Did you know, Martha’s Vineyard’s beautiful scenery was immortalized in Steven Spielberg’s highly successful movie, Jaws? Three islanders were given important roles in the film and numerous others were involved as extras.” After my usual breakfast of a Western omelet, bacon, cranberry and orange juices, and coffee, I joined others from Staterooms 120 - 308 aboard a school bus for our 9:00 am narrated tour around Martha’s Vineyard to take in the sights of the island. (Passengers in Staterooms 390 - 510 took the 10:45 am tour.) We traveled all over the island, visiting the several small towns along the way, and taking in the absolute beauty of this island. It is quite wooded, which was surprising to me, and the road meandered through many charming neighborhoods. We returned to the dock at 10:30 am. With my leg now bandaged expertly and showing no further signs of draining, I was happy and tried to put my unfortunate injury in the past. Of course, many passengers expressed their concerns, insisting that I would seek further medical attention when back home. The people on this cruise have been wonderfully friendly and kind. We departed Vineyard Haven at 5:30 pm, next stop Newport, Rhode Island. ~~~Newport, Rhode Island - July 31st~~~ Being such a short distance across from Martha’s Vineyard, our arrival in Newport, Rhode Island occurred at 10:30 pm the previous evening and we were docked in the harbor requiring the ship’s launch to go ashore. Choosing to take the afternoon tour see the mansions, I took the morning launch over to the downtown dock, along with Bonnie and Haynes, new friends from Tennessee. Newport is the home of the International Tennis Hall of Fame, and I wanted to again visit it, not recalling just what a walk it was from the dock area. Bonnie and Haynes joined me since Haynes plays tennis, and we walked and walked before finally reaching the Hall of Fame. We went inside and viewed all of the grass tennis courts, also visiting the arena where recently there had been the annual championship matches, and then it was time to walk back to the dock in order to catch the noon launch back to the ship. It was QUITE a physical exercise, and Bonnie and Haynes were doubting the wisdom of taking it! But we made back in time for the launch. After a rest and lunch I was ready to board the launch over to Fort Adams where we boarded the trolley for the following: Avenue of Mansions Tour - Enjoy a narrated trolley tour down Bellevue Avenue and journey back in time through one of America’s premier collections of historic houses. There will be a stop for a self-guided audio tour of The Breakers, originally built by the Vanderbilts, the grandest of all the “cottages”, as they were called. Having been here before I again enjoyed the unparalleled splendor of our last stop and was sorry that we had only limited time to investigate further. Back on the trolley we then proceeded down Bellevue Avenue, again passing by the International Tennis Hall of Fame which we had visited during the morning, and returned to a different dock near Fort Adams from which we boarded the launch back to our ship. At 5:00 pm on the dot, we hauled anchor and departed Newport, Rhode Island, next stop: Provincetown, Massachusetts. ~~~Provincetown and Boston, Massachusetts - August 1st and 2nd~~~ We arrived at dock in Provincetown at 12:30 am while I was still deep asleep. I had been sleeping much better since getting my leg attended to in Boothbay Harbor at the Urgent Care Center, and it still was looking good - no discharge. When I did wake up we were securely tied up at the dock at the end of a long pier. During the night we had passed through the Cape Cod Canal from Newport, Rhode Island, into the Cape Cod Bay; this is an artificial waterway of approximately 7 miles length. I saw lights on shore as we did this transit but not much else. Then back to sleep. “Located at the northern tip of Cape Cod, Massachusetts, Provincetown is the home of the Mayflower’s landing in 1620. Today, the landing is commemorated by the Pilgrim Monument and the Provincetown Museum, and the town is populated with galleries, restaurants, nightclubs, and shopping.” After enjoying my breakfast at around 8:00 am, I had to decide between the morning or afternoon Trolley Tour; I chose the afternoon one departing at 3:00 pm, returning at 4:30 pm. At 3:00 pm I went down to the dock to catch the Trolley Tour which departed from just outside the ship. There were two such trolleys, both open air, with somewhat uncomfortable wooden bench seats. The pier at the end of which our ship was docked was unbelievably crowded with tourists; big tour boats from Boston make frequent runs to Provincetown that evidently is a very popular tourist destination. Making our way down the pier to the street took much care and caution by the trolley driver. Once off the pier the crowd got even worse; very slowly we proceeded down the front street passing many restaurants, bars and shops - all crowded to capacity. Finally reaching the end of that street, our route took off towards the headland of this spit on which Provincetown is situated. Once out of town we encountered many sand dunes along the rugged coastline, as well as wooded hills. Quite a relief from the downtown crowds. At one point, a National Park, I believe, there was a brief stop for restrooms and leg stretching. I chose to just stay on the trolley. I did notice that our driver, a big muscular man, had gotten out and was enjoying his cigarette. Strange, because I hardly see anyone smoking anymore. Then it was back around to the other side of the spit, returning to the downtown area. The coastline here was open to the Atlantic and the surf was quite active. Back in town, we again traversed the pier, now less crowded as the tour boats had departed back to Boston. Right on schedule we were back at the ship, our behinds reminding us of the hour and a half ride on those hard bench seats! With just enough time for a quick rest in my stateroom, it was soon time for the daily Happy Hour in the Chesapeake Lounge. Apparently everyone aboard was taking full advantage because the Lounge was packed, this being the last night before disembarkation. And of course I was one of those enjoying my two glasses of Sauvignon Blanc wine! Dinner was extra special with one menu item being “Surf-and-Turf” which was my choice. I was not disappointed! The steak was cooked to medium- rare perfection! The jumbo shrimp were spectacular! ~~~Boston, Massachusetts - August 2nd~~~ Departing Provincetown at 11:59 pm, our arrival back at Pier 8 in Charlestown was at 6:00 am. Breakfast was served earlier than usual at 6:30 am and we were told to be out of our staterooms by 8:00 am. Luggage was requested to be placed in the hallway the previous night before midnight; mine was put out around 10:30 pm, before I went to bed. Packing is always the most unpleasant part of a cruise but I was able to get everything packed away after dinner. By previous arrangement I had booked the ship’s bus to the airport for $20, and a tag was placed on my suitcase indicating my airline - American Airlines - and terminal - B - at Logan International Airport. Also a departure group number sticker was given signifying which bus one was on; mine was 4. So between 8:30 and 9:00 am, I departed the American Constitution for the last time and walked along the dock to where I boarded my bus, first identifying my suitcase that traveled in the same bus. The ride to the airport was complicated by the mid morning Boston traffic that is horrific! But we soon arrived at Logan and disembarked our bus, collected our luggage, and proceeded towards Security. I had gone online on the ship’s computer the day before to print my boarding pass, but this turned out to be unnecessary; checking in my suitcase outside the terminal, and paying my $25 luggage fee, I had to present my ID which apparently was enough for the agent to access my reservation, and print another copy of my boarding pass! With my TSA Pre-check, I was through Security quickly and on my way to the gate area, mine being B35, to await the 11:55 am boarding time for my nonstop 12:25 pm flight to Los Angeles. Boarding in Group 5 I quickly found my seat, 8C, a Main Cabin Extra seat for which I had paid extra. Unfortunately, it was a bulkhead seat but didn’t make all that much difference, since my carryon was only my Princess bag. The flight departed a little late but the Captain came on the PA to announce our flight time would be only slightly over 5 hours. The flight went well with three small bottles of Sauvignon Blanc for me - no charge being seated in a Main Cabin Extra seat, and our arrival at LAX was indeed right on time. Being forward I was one of the first off the airplane, my first stop being the bathroom. My luggage appeared after a moderate wait - I struggled getting it off the carrousel, and soon I was outside Terminal 5 at the SuperShuttle Dispatcher. Forgetful me, I had packed my paperwork but used my iPad to bring up my reservation number and soon I was seated in a van on my way to Orange County and home. Unfortunately, the driver had allowed the Dispatcher to load our van with 6 passengers; usually 3 is the limit. And of course, I was number 5 to finally be delivered home after driving all over Orange County, but home is home! All was found to be okay when I entered my house, after a ride of 3 hours from the airport, but it was very hot and stuffy inside. I immediately opened all of my doors and turned on the box fans that I use. But I was HOME! Ron Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
Getting on and off the ship was very easy they saw to that. The ports were great in Maine, Rhode Island and Marthas Vineyard. We had plenty of time in each port either with a tour or by ourselves. The food was great as was the service. ... Read More
Getting on and off the ship was very easy they saw to that. The ports were great in Maine, Rhode Island and Marthas Vineyard. We had plenty of time in each port either with a tour or by ourselves. The food was great as was the service. Entertainment could have been better. Our cabin was spotless and well stocked with amenities. The cocktail hour was great, good h’ordevours, excellent waitstaff. The Lobster Bake in Camden was excellent and so was walking around the town afterwards. The people that put on the lobster lunch on the shoreline was wonderful and very good so was the band. The lobster boat excursion was also a definite highlight- the person giving the tour and bringing in the lobsters knew everything you wanted to know about fishing , lobsters and the history of the fisherman’s. The Portland tour was also great and eat at HiRoller afterwards for the best lobster rolls and lobster tacos!! The tour guide -Ron- told us about the city and then we went to Cape Elizabeth lighthouse. Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
This was a first smaller ship excursion. And a great one to go on. Great staff made it very enjoyable. The food was excellent. Would like to another of these type of this cruise. The shore excursions were enjoyable and not to ... Read More
This was a first smaller ship excursion. And a great one to go on. Great staff made it very enjoyable. The food was excellent. Would like to another of these type of this cruise. The shore excursions were enjoyable and not to long. Also provided for more time in ports for your own excursions. I found that the open dining aboard was excellent and gave one the opportunity to meet different people each day if they wanted. Service was excellent and entire crew and staff were excellent. Meeting all the needs for the passengers. The ports that we visited were enjoyable and had lots to do during our time there. Our starting point was a great location not only the town but the convenience of having our airport close. Also close to our embarkation. I would say this has been one of my more favorite type of cruises. The scaled down version makes for more fun an relaxation. No hurry up to type. Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
My wife and I were fortunate to cruise aboard American Cruise Line's newest ship " The American Constitution" on a ten day cruise to New England. I cannot express a better way to see the splendor of this part of America ... Read More
My wife and I were fortunate to cruise aboard American Cruise Line's newest ship " The American Constitution" on a ten day cruise to New England. I cannot express a better way to see the splendor of this part of America than by taking this cruise. The ship was new and clean; the service was impeccable; and, all the noteworthy ports were visited. To name just a few, were: Bar Harbor, Booth Bay Harbor, Newport, Camden, Portland, Gloucester. Daily excursions were available in these ports, or you could self direct your own tours. The night before, there would always be a description of the next day's events. That was of course after a wonderful cocktail hour with hors d'oeuvres, followed by a dinner with fabulous choices of appetisers and entrees. This was a lobster clambake cruise, so the lobster was overflowing during the cruise. We also had an old fashioned Lobster Clambake with an accompanying band for entertainment at one of our stops. We just loved it. I have to agree with the company's slogan. "This is small ship cruising, done perfectly". Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
My husband and I embarked on the American Cruise Lines ship, "American Constitution" in June 2018. Right from the start it was amazing! The ship was spacious, spotless, and beautifully decorated in light pastel colors. The dining ... Read More
My husband and I embarked on the American Cruise Lines ship, "American Constitution" in June 2018. Right from the start it was amazing! The ship was spacious, spotless, and beautifully decorated in light pastel colors. The dining room had panoramic views; lots of space, lovely decor, and great personal service. They knew our favorite choices by the second day. The food was off the charts. Lots of delicious, healthy selections, and it was presented beautifully whether it was breakfast, lunch or dinner. Entertainment each day varied from informative to lively music. We danced the night away on several evenings!! Our cabin had lots of storage and plenty of room. We often used our balcony for relaxation and seeing the sights. American Cruise lines gives new meaning to the words "Personal Service"! The staff was attentive and the service was always tailored to our personal wants and needs. Lastly, the ports were so interesting. They were easy to access, and you could choose a directed excursion or go off on you own. Information was readily available at every port if you did want to explore on your own. I have been on other cruise lines, and getting on and off this ship was the easiest by far. This ship was small and catered to the individual. I can recommend this cruise lines without hesitation. If you are looking for small individualized traveling - this is it!! Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
Sunday, 20 May Time to connect up with our small cruise ship out of Pier #8: After dropping off some things in the Kia (we did not need for the cruise), It was an easy walk with our bags from the hotel to the ship at Pier #8. ... Read More
Sunday, 20 May Time to connect up with our small cruise ship out of Pier #8: After dropping off some things in the Kia (we did not need for the cruise), It was an easy walk with our bags from the hotel to the ship at Pier #8. Departure is scheduled for 1:30 PM. This former Naval base is a sparkling example of re-purposing as many of the building / barracks that have been turned into condos and various office buildings (like for lawyers and a few shops). The former base hospital (still a hospital) is large and connected with walkways to the parking garage. We asked if there was a cafeteria in the hospital, and yes there is, but not open on Sunday, so we walked another block and had a bite to eat at Dunkin’ Donuts. Once we got our bags close to the ship the crew took over and delivered such to our rooms. We entered our rooms (ours 213 / Kemps are in 211 thus we opened the divider wall giving us a long Balcony). This ship was built in 2018, thus everything is shiny new. Our cabin is notably bigger (about X2) then ones we have had on big cruise ships, with a nice Big King bed and all sorts of room to walk around. As you walk the ship there is this smell of New Car (UMMMMM nice). Going to give this accommodation a 4.9 hinge rating (scale of 0-5) mainly because of the ambiance of this overall experience. The staff is a bunch of friendly US young people. The ship has a free self-service laundry with soap pods and dryer softener sheets provided. Rich and Tom went back over to The Destroyer they could not get on yesterday. This Destroyer was built on the West Coast but was updated / modernized at the Charleston Navy yard. All the upper decks were open for viewing along with the after most 5” 38 caliber gun turret, the ship has five of these turrets, along with a torpedo launching turret, rear rack modern depth charge rack and forward throw hedgehog launcher package. There were no volunteer veteran guides on board today so access to the engine rooms (or anything below the main deck) was not open to the general public. Although it would have been great to visit these locations, Tom has been in a couple of WW II Japanese “tight” destroyer shipwreck engine rooms in Truck Lagoon, and in the Engine room of the destroyer Laffey in Charleston South Carolina. Back on our Ship (capacity of 175 passengers) with only around 126 passengers on board for this cruise and a crew of 53, we set sail with sunny skies and 80 F temps (out over the water) during lunch. WOW what an exciting lunch with a great lobster Newburg (first time Tom recalls having such with large hunks of lobster in the Newberg). It is all the wine or beer you want for lunch and dinner. All the snacks you want are complimentary along with a complimentary cocktails hour before dinner that last until the evening entertainment is over. We were already concerned with all the rich food & drink we have been in taking over the last two weeks, and now previewing the menu for the next 11 days he is really getting concerned about what the scale will tell him when we get home. The cruise director(s) provided us with a detailed outline of our ports of call and excursions. The ship is brand new 2018 and started its first cruise out of Lake George central Florida, up to Jacksonville Florida and up the inside waterways through Georgia / South Carolina / North Carolina and then out to the open ocean at Morehead City and terminating in Baltimore. Once the passengers left the ship at Baltimore, the crew sailed out into the open ocean up to Baltimore. Within their open ocean passage, they ran into some rough water. As we head out into open water (after passing the dual lighthouses at Cape Ann) the coast drifted away off the Port side under blue skies and broken clouds as we headed to our first port of Portland Maine. The seas are relatively nice with 2-3 ft long rollers, but this new big (280 ft. long / 56 ft. wide American flagged) craft plowed north relatively easy. Tonight’s dinner was MOST EXCELLENT. If this is an example for the rest of the trip we will have to give up eating for two weeks when we get back home. The open bar with top shelf liquors opened at 5:30, with dinner at 6:30 PM. The open bar stayed open until around 10:30 PM after the entertainment ended. Tom thought (was impressed) the open bar at the sub reunion was impressive, but this bar had 5X the verity of different boozes including Tom’s favorite Drambuie (a Scotch sweet liquor). The entertainment was two guitar players / singers that hit upon all levels of country and folk music. We arrived in Portland Maine at 10:30 PM. Monday, 21 May Portland Maine Wow after this morning’s breakfast Tom thinks he better shift back to yogurt only to save room for all the great lunches and dinners. We went on a complimentary two-hour bus city tour. We had visited Portland about 7 years ago and recall the 2# lobster dinner for Yvonne and the largest pile of deep fried belly clams that Tom had ever seen (UMMMMMMM GOOD) at the Portland Lobster company. Also, a recall of that trip was the metal sun art we purchased for our sun room. The outside temp this morning is 68 F with bright sunny skies and no clouds. Projections is temps will reach 76 F today. Bus stopped at two prime city overlooks, and the local tour guide did a great job of filling us with all sorts of facts: • Our guide noted this is a most excellent time to visit Maine as there are fewer tourist and everything is so green & fresh. • Summer there are a lot of young people visiting Portland. • Yes, Marijuana is legal in Portland • Peak tourist season is September through November where everyone wants to “see the colors”. • She noted this was her first tour of the year. • Average tide change is around 10 ft. • There are large oil tanks that were built back in WW II (and since been replaced with new) that took on pipeline oil from Quebec and tanker ships would fill with such in Portland to take to Europe. • The city has a population of around 60,000, and Maine was once part of Massachusetts back in 1635 but became Maine in 1820 as part of the Missouri compromise. • All of Maine only has a population of around one million. • Portland has an older population, thus there are fewer and fewer young people to take jobs, and thus outside European laborers are in abundance during the summer. • A lot of New Englanders like to retire or have summer homes in Portland because housing is less expensive and there are good health care services. • Really nice Condos go for about $700,000. • City has lots of free community garden areas to grow fruits and vegetables. • The town burnt four times = Two by the Indians, once by the British, and one in 1866 when some fireworks down at the docks got carried away. • The poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow resided in Portland. • Gas is at $2.89 a gallon. • We can see Mount Washington with its snow-covered cap in the distance. • Beautiful story book homes are everywhere. • Lobster industry is at around 500 million dollars a year, with a great majority of the sales to China. • The Catholic faith is the predominate religion, as many ancestors that came to Maine were French Canadians. • Main is the largest exporter of Blueberries in the US. • Lobster meat itself (out of the crustacean body) today is going at $7.99 a pound, last winter it was going for $60 a pound. • The city of Portland, Oregon was named after Portland, Maine. • In 1820, Maine became a state with Portland as its capital. In 1832, the capital was moved north to Augusta. In 1851, Maine led the nation by passing the first state law prohibiting the sale of alcohol except for "medicinal, mechanical or manufacturing purposes." The law subsequently became known as the Maine law, as 18 states quickly followed. On June 2, 1855, the Portland Rum Riot occurred. • In 1853, upon completion of the Grand Trunk Railway to Montreal, Portland became the primary ice-free winter seaport for Canadian exports. The Portland Company manufactured more than 600 19th-century steam locomotives. Portland became a 20th-century rail hub as five additional rail lines merged into Portland Terminal Company in 1911. Following nationalization of the Grand Trunk system in 1923, Canadian export traffic was diverted from Portland to Halifax, Nova Scotia, resulting in marked local economic decline. In the 20th century, icebreakers later enabled ships to reach Montreal in winter, drastically reducing Portland's role as a winter port for Canada. • On June 26, 1863, a Confederate raiding party led by Captain Charles Read entered the harbor at Portland and the Battle of Portland Harbor ensued, one of the northernmost battles of the Civil War. We stopped at Ft. Williams Park to view the most photographed lighthouse in the US = Portland Head Light, and yes “it was a sight to see”. The light was commissioned by President George Washington. As you look out from the light to the east the next land is Portugal. There is a memorial to Navy Sub Chaser USS Eagle (PE 56), which was sunk by a U- Boat U853, nine miles off the light in April 1945. Back to the ship for lunch (we are docked) ---- My word = never had a toasted cheese sandwich stuffed with pulled pork = wow yummy! The four of us went walking into town (5 minutes away). Stopped at the Three Dollar Dewey’s bar for a little beverage. Reason for stopping is the story of the place = Back many years ago, there was a very large military and merchant marine society in this town with a number of pleasure locations (whore houses) and mounted outside was a sign = $1 “for a lookie”, $2 “for a touchy and $3 “for a Dewey”. Walked around a number of blocks down town for a little shopping. Time for the Open Bar and then dinner, as we sail out of Portland at 7 PM. Entertainment tonight was one fantastic banjo player. Tuesday, 22 May Bar Harbor ME Arrive 7 AM We tendered in on an easy to get on and off ships tender (capacity 50) = Easy 10 minute trip. We are booked for a tour of the Acadia National Park (the highest point on the coast of the eastern United States, as a side tour offered by the ship. The following are some of Tom’s notes from the tour guide bus driver: The town of Bar Harbor has a population of around 5,250 and is a most popular tourist region. There was a catastrophic fire that started in the dump and spread across most of the island in 1947, destroying most of the homes of the super-affluent elite and a majority of the trees on the island. The town of Bar Harbor was founded on the northeast shore of Mount Desert Island (some call it desert island), which the Wabanaki Indians knew as Pemetic, meaning "range of mountains" or "mountains seen at a distance." The Indians fished, hunted and gathered berries, clams, and other shellfish in the area. The Indians called the island clam-gathering place or clambake place, leaving behind great piles of shells as evidence of this abundance. In fact, when we viewed the beaches on our tour the guide noted the sand was a result of hundreds of years of the Indians fishing, and the resulting clam shells breakup over the years. The island was discovered in 1604 by the French explorer Samuel de Champlain as a result of running his ship aground on a rock ledge just off Otter Cliffs. Champlain named the island Isles des Monts Deserts, meaning "island of barren mountains"—now called Mount Desert Island, the largest in Maine. Many artist of the early 1800’s brought back paintings of the landscape of the island, thus inspiring, sportsmen and "rusticators" to come and build cottages & hotels on the island. By 1880, there were 30 hotels, and the town was renamed Eden. Tourists were arriving by train and ferry to Gilded Age resorts that would rival Newport, Rhode Island. The rich and famous tried to outdo each other with entertaining and estates, often hiring landscape gardener and landscape architects. In 1918, Eden was renamed Bar Harbor, after the sand and gravel bar, visible at low tide. These bars lead across to local small Islands at the rear of the harbor. The Name Bar Harbor became synonymous with elite wealth, and for example was the birthplace of vice-president Nelson Rockefeller on July 8, 1908. Bar Harbor was used for naval target practice during WWII with submarines firing live torpedoes at Porcupine Island as a practice target. Some of the torpedoes that failed to explode were still being discovered into 1990. There are four towns on the island and a total of 10,000 population with ½ of that number living in Bar Harbor. The population on the island jumps to around 35,000 in the peak tourist season of late summer / fall. The tour director for our bus trip around the town and through the massive area of the Arcadia National Park (on the east side of the island), provided us with some facts: • Many influential people have called Bar Harbor home for at least part of the year. John D. Rockefeller, Jr., son of John D. Rockefeller of Standard Oil Co., donated about one-third of the land (which eventually became Acadia National Park in 1919 (First national park East of the Mississippi. • Rockefeller initially built carriage roads all over the island connected by stone bridges. These roads are now used for horses / hiking / biking. Independently there are over 150 miles of hiking paths in the park (THIS IS A BIG PLACE) • J. P. Morgan owned a house that is adjacent to Bar Harbor. • Cornelius Vanderbilt built cottages in Bar Harbor. • The Astor family owned hotels and cottages in Bar Harbor and the surrounding areas. • William Howard Taft used to enjoy games of golf in Bar Harbor (eight oldest golf cores in the country). • The co-founder and CEO of Burt's Bees, Roxanne Quimby, has a home near Bar Harbor and is seen frequenting the downtown area. • The star and creator of the TV show Martha Stewart has also been known to frequent Mount Desert Island and been seen in Bar Harbor. • Besides ferry service there is only one road (bridge) on and off the island, connecting it with HW 1. • Biggest employer on the island is the Jackson Labs, which specializes in genetic research. The drive through the Acadia park is fantastic. There is a shortcut two-way road to allow you to make some shortcuts, but the majority of the roads are one way only but of two lane design (allows for parking in the right lane). We went up Cadillac mountain, and at 1,500 ft. , it offers a fantastic view. The mountain top is famous with tourists as the first bit of US soil to be touched by the morning sun. Stopped at thunder hole down from Cadillac where waves cashing in from the ocean enter a narrow channel and break with some THUNDERING sounds into a dead-end passage. They say when the surf gets really strong the crashing ends up with 40 ft. high water gazers. Returned out of the park after three stops after driving through the valley between two other mountains next to Cadillac. Here we went past lakes that were created by big beaver dams. Opinion = driving through this area on our own, we would never have picked up on half of the information / stories out of the standard park brochure as compared to what the tour bus driver related to us (Tom noted the same observation as when he went through Yellowstone). Tuesday, 23 May Camden ME Arrive 10 AM Oh, what a beautiful port with all of its’s tall ships schooners (tall ship capital of Maine). WOW it is starting to be hard to pick the most photogenic port as everyone so far has their special charm. After breakfast we went via the ship’s launch on an easy 1-mile ride (about 15 minutes) into town on Penobscot Bay. The skies are a bright blue with air temps around 68F. The town is full of quaint shops (with great deals). As we were walking the street a local lady came up to Tom and commented on his submarine memorial shirt from the Wisconsin Maritime Museum and identified that her husband was in the Navy for 26 years and had been on a number of submarines, and then she started to offer all sorts of the towns historical information. She then offered to take us to the top of Mt. Battie which overlooks the town (no charge as she loves to share her town with visitors), so the four of us got into her car and we went up to Mount Battie Camden Hills State Park, where we received a most spectacular view of the city / harbor / Bay from the stone tower at its top. The air was so clear you could see Mount Cadillac 75 miles away. At this point is a 26 ft. tower (exact replica of the stone tower in Newport Road Island). The car ride up the 1.6-mile road is the way to go although you can climb the mountain from the town on one of the parks 25 miles of hiking trails. This is a must see point if you ever make it to Camden Maine. Our resident guide noted as you drive up HW 1 along the Maine coast you usually never see the water unless you go off the road to visit some of the shore towns (like those we have visited on the cost trip by boat), with the exception (as example) of Camden where you come close to a beautiful town on Penobscot Bay. She drove around town and pointed out some of its history, such as the old woolen mills which use to be the towns #1 employer. Interesting is that the mill has now been turned into condos, and the mill power wheel that use to run the facility in its beginning now stands idle along the fast-moving river from the mountain that empties clear water into the bay. After our free guide tour she dropped us back in town where we bid her a “Thank You”. Wow the people in Maine are SOOO friendly. So far on this cruse we have had wonderful views of uninhabited islands, coastal mountains, Lighthouses and beautiful homes. Our stops in Maine have all been towns and ports of true jewels of this state! When we drove Route (HW 1) up into Canada seven years back, we saw very little of the coast north of Portland. We pulled up the anchor and headed the short distance (one hour by boat) to Rockland Maine at 5:30 PM, while we sat down to a lobster dinner. OMG! A full Maine lobster to tackle was a little overwhelming! We had a lot of laughs at the table as all of us struggled to get the taste morsels out of those shells! Entertainment tonight was a fantastic guitar player by the name of Tom Dyhrberg. He played songs from the 60s and popular American music that we could sing along to, and a few songs from local, Maine artists. The City of Rockland has 8,000 residents There is about a mile-long granite breakwater that protects Rockland Harbor and lighthouse that appears to make it an ideal power boat and sailing harbor. Report # 7 Thursday, 24 May Looked out this morning over Rockland harbor and that mile-long breakwater out to the lighthouse it looked a lot longer today then on our arrival last night. Skies are clear with lots of sun and only a slight wisp of a small cloud in the distance. Morning temp is around 63F. Our tender ashore was a short 8-minute boat trip, where we picked up our Lobstering and Lighthouse tour / cruise on a lobster boat out of all places = Camden where we were yesterday. Camden is only about 8 miles away by road, so our bus tour guide offered lots of information: • Rock Port is between Candem and Rockland, thus all three towns share an almost common single city environment (sort of like Two Rivers and Manitowoc back in Wisconsin). • Gas is running at $2.99 a gallon • Rock Port is home to that famous harbor seal that was on the news a few years back (local raised him from a pup). • Rockport is historically known for harvesting Ice from the local ponds for ice boxes way back when, Ship building, Lime production (kilns that heated the limestone from quarries to make lime for concrete mix) and this is where the movie Paton Place was filmed. • Tourist book one day or one week or two-week trips on sailing schooners that go up and down the coast. We pulled into the dock area very close to where our ship anchored yesterday and got on board the lobster tug “Lovely Lady”, which took us out into the harbor and pulled up three of their lobster pots while giving us the “how to” things are done in Lobster fishing / trapping: • Commercial fisherman are licensed to put out / set 800 cages per ship’s captain, but private individuals or tourist attraction boats can only put out 10 traps. • The modern traps are made of metal (wood was used years ago) and are of rather intricate construction, with multi labyrinth sections (chambers) to trap the little buggers. • New Traps cost about $100 + a marker buoy and rope, which is also necessary. • On our way out to the traps we came across two bald eagles, one Osprey and four harbor seals. • Of the three traps we pulled up (and rebated) the first two only had crabs and small Elvis eels (Elvis eels go for $2,000 a pound = they are shipped live to China where the Chinese put them in their rice pond farms to eat up some invasive critters that attack the rice. Once the eels get big there is also a big market for them as food (supposedly very tasty) = we recall seeing all forms of eels in the markets of China when we were over there two years ago. • Young lobsters molt (shed their outer exterior skeleton) about 25 times in their first year of life, and then on average once a year after that. • Lobsters live out in deep ocean water and come inshore to shed their external skeleton. They come Inshore (around 29 ft. depth) because it is full of rocks where they can hide until the molt and thus in a location when they are a little safer until there new soft shells harden. • Lobstermen have a special gauge (about 8” long) to measure between one of the eye sockets and the back of the back shell where the tail starts. It usually takes around 7 years to reach keeper size bugs. • If a female with eggs is found they notch the tail and must throw it back. • If a female with a notch cut in the tail and no eggs is found in the trap, they must throw her back (reason being the notch is a proof of breeding quality). • Our third trap had 8 lobsters, but all were undersized and had to be thrown back. • Harbor seals are called “Sea Dogs”. • There is one factory in Rockport that provides a lot of employment. It processes seaweed to make Caridean. Coro dean (? If this is the right spelling) is used in cosmetics and as a food additive. TREASURE HUNT Yesterday a local resident (Pat Brouchard ) in Cadmium spotted Tom’s shirt displaying Submarine history. She stopped to talk to us noting her husband was on submarines, and that she was a lifetime Camden resident. She went on to give us a rundown on the town’s history / features and then took us in a ride in her car (no charge) showing us all the highlights of the city. Unfortunately, Yvonne’s cell phone was left on the back seat of the SUV seat as the lady dropped us off at the dock area. Realizing we were missing the phone, Barb had been telling her daughter about it and Angie suggested using the Samsung 6 phone APP of “Find my phone”, and sure enough Yvonne was able to locate the lady’s house via a map on her I- Pad. After accessing her account, she clicked on “find my mobile” and a google map appeared with the location of the phone!! Wow this is a very neat feature!!!!!!!!! We stopped at the Rockland Chamber of Commerce and one of the ladies (Elizabeth) drove us to the house (at no cost) where the app said the phone was. The lady was not at home, but the car was there and sure enough the phone was on the back seat of the unlocked car. No doubt, we felt kind of weird just taking it without telling her, but after all, apparently, she didn’t know it was there and we had no way of contacting her! This event / scenario was like a mix environment of the amazing race and a scavenger hunt!!!! Wow there were four happy faces within this successful scenario. Back at the town we thanked Elizabeth and went off joining everyone else off the ship attending a lobster boil lunch put on by the ship. The location under sunny skies at Sharps Point was under a large tent where big pots (covered by seaweed) being heated by wood fires cooked up the lobster and corn. The location is right next to the fantastic the Sail, Power & Steam museum. The guy running the museum was an X ship’s captain retired – HE NOTED = He had failed at retirement = Became so involved with running the museum and finding this and that item to add to his collection! Yesterday on the ship there was an OK lobster night, but this Boil on shore put on by the town’s people outdid the ship’s effort. We do not know if it was the most perfect day under blue skies, in a large tent, with five folk singers keeping us entertained with their songs, or the mussels and corn that went along with “ALL THE LOBSTER and Fixings you can eat” but the product was totally delicious. Tom had never had mussels before and was amazed at their great taste. Departed Rockland at 5:00 PM and headed to Boothbay Harbor and ----- oh my-gosh Dinner was a gigantic Clam Cake and most succulent rib eye steak (smothered in sautéed onions). The entertainment tonight was our ship’s resident historian talking light Houses on the Main coast and Great Lakes. Turns out his Great Grandfather was a light house keeper on the Greatlakes and Maine, so he put on a story from his grandfather’s perspective. Bottom line outline is the responsibility of the keeper was to WRITE EVERYTHING down in GREAT DETAIL within the station log, keep an immaculately clean station (subject to inspector WHITE and BLACK glove inspections) and go out to help those in distress on the water --- But with an understanding YOU MAY NOT BE COMMING BACK!!! FRIDAY, 25 May Boothbay Maine Days get ever so better, with warm weather (around 78 F) and slight overcast conditions. We decided not to go on the botanical garden tour (only tour offered by the ship), but rather walk the town, and try to get a cab or UBER car to the Maine Museum in Kennebeck River (about one hour away). No luck on UBER or any cab availability, as it appears the services of such most likely do not get going until mid-summer. Soooo we just walked around the city and stopped into 101 high end junk shops and artist studios. Some interesting points that may prove of interest to you: • This part of Maine is known as Cape Newago, where the English established an early seasonal fishing camp. • The settlement was attacked and burned twice during King Philip's and King William's War’s in 1686, and then abandon. • In 1730, the superintendent and governor of the Territory of Sagadahock, laid out a new town, named Townsend. Despite predations during the French and Indian Wars, and robberies during the Revolutionary War by marauding British sailors, the settlement was successful, not least because of its large, deep and protected harbor. • Renamed Boothbay in 1842, the harbor developed into a fishing center. In bad weather, the bay can hold at time between 400 and 500 vessels, seeking shelter. By 1881, it had a fishery and fish oil company, an ice company, two marine railways, a fertilizer manufacturer, and a factory for canning lobsters. • The shipyard at Boothbay Harbor built minesweepers for the United States Navy during World War II and into the 1950s. • Some location filming for the 1956 movie version of Rodgers and Hammerstein's Carousel, notably the "June Is Bustin' Out All Over" sequence, was done here. • Each summer, Boothbay Harbor draws crowds of tourists. Attractions include the state aquarium, art galleries, restaurants, boat tours to coastal islands and whale watching. Departed 6 PM for Gloucester Massachusetts arriving around 3 AM (So long Maine). Tonight we had some great entertainment with the Davidson County Trio playing / singing “rockability” music of Johnny Cash, Elvis & Jerry Lee Lewis. Saturday, 26 May Gloucester MA Another great day with air temps at 80 F and clear skies. This is the start of the Memorial Day weekend and the locals tell us we will expect to see a lot more people than normal. With Tom’s look around, we see a very nice environment with nothing like what we would expect to see let’s say up in Door County on a summer day. The Town is very easy to walk around, and the museum and shore walk are both very close to the center of town and our ship dock; but we decided to take a bus tour, so as to get the scoop from a tour guide on this place and most important to get out to East Gloucester, which would have been a LONG walk before our sailing at 12:30 PM: • Gloucester is just a few miles from Boston, and is famed as America's original seaport and the oldest working art colony in North America. The town’s picturesque waterfront has drawn fishermen, artists, and visitors for over four hundred years. • Rockport and Gloucester are basically one big island, with over 60 miles of coastline. • This is a big commercial fighting town, with large ice storage warehouses that supply the ice for the fishing fleet. • Lots of Harding and Black and white sea gulls. Harding’s are a lot bigger then the gulls we see in the summer back in Wisconsin. • Gas is running at $2.95 • There are two tides of about 8 ft. (up / down / up down) every 25 hours. • The homes going out to East Gloucester are all cottage like, but once you get along the water you start to see mighty big ones that start at around one million and upwards to 10 million dollars. • The area has some nice sandy beaches. • Off the beach you see a strange sight with a small island with two lighthouses. On average most lighthouses mark the entrance to ports, with the rest marking hazardous areas. Yes, this small island is a sailing hazard, but it was fitted with two lighthouses to help mariners mark due North or south, as when you align both lights in front of one another you can verify or adjust your on-board compass against the magnetic interferences at this point of the earth (well that is Tom’s opinion and he is sticking with it). • There are three BIG wind turbines at a high point above the town. There was opposition to them as they did not quite fit in with the environment of a historical sailing past, but conservationist won out and the windmills were justified as providing the power to run municipal services. • We viewed an 1849 Marine Railway (Oldest still operating in the US) designed to pull ships up out of the water for repair / servicing. • Wale pods (groups) spotted off the entrance to Gloucester at times have been so thick, that cruise ships have had to cancel coming into port. • The famous “Man at the wheel” bronze statue is truly something to see, thus we all took turns taking our picture with him. • The plaque along the statue noted in remembrance that around 5,368 sailors (fisherman) have lost their livers off this coast, along with >1000 ships of which 265 went down with all hands. • The Movie Perfect Storm was shot here with the land scenes shot in and around the museum waterfront. • The heritage population of the town is mixed but with the strongest group being Italians. • Each year there is a special contest where an Italian flag is placed on a greased poll out in the water, with the first person that can get to the top and retrieve the flag; being rewarded with free drinks in all the towns bars for one full year. Another great lunch on the ship = toasted cheese sandwich with lobster for Tom. Set sail at 12:30 for New Port for an arrival of about 10:30 PM. Report # 8 We sailed down the seven-mile-long canal constructed in 1901 thus bypassing the actual Cape Cod Hook as a shortcut to Newport. Tom had been out to the end of Cape Cod several years ago and Tom & Yvonne got up to the base of the area forming the hook of Cape Cod, but neither of us had an idea of this shortcut canal for ships and boats (something like the canal at Sturgeon Bay bypassing the Deaths Door) existed. The beaches and walkways along the canal were very populated with people waving at our big ship. Entertainment tonight was three guys on instruments and two singers. The music = 80’s Mo town and thus not quite to Tom’s liking / interest. The beat was OK, but it was hard to understand the words, and the group did not appear to be well organized! Newport RI arriving at 10:00 PM Sunday, 27 May Yvonne & Tom were here in Newport about 7 years ago twice. Once where we visited the Breakers mansion (one of the Vanderbilt’s turn of the century 70 room (65,000 ft2) “summer cottage” and then again, a couple of days later when Bud & Joann gave us an excellent driving tour from Boston down to Newport (Bud is a former college history teacher, thus filling us up with excellent historical references) followed by a great champagne sail around the harbor of Newport. On that sail we came close to Fort Adams, and Tom’s interest really peaked with a water only view. Today we are docked at the foot of the fort (one block away) and our complimentary tour starts at 10 AM and went on for close to two hours where our great guide (Greg) took us all over this gigantic fort. WOW it is a big place! From our great tour guide: • The fort is built on a peninsula sticking out into the bay at the entrance to the city of New Port. • Newport, RI boasts one of the finest natural harbors in the world. • Town’s population is around 25,000 • Back at the beginning of the last century; Newport was considered the upper-class society’s getaway from New York in the hot summer • Fort Adams was one of several forts between Maine and Florida ordered to be built after the British burnt the Whitehouse in 1814 (as part of the US & Brittan’s war of 1812). • Why such a BIG fort (the parade ground in the middle is 6.5 acres)? = At the time Newport was the 5th biggest settlement along the coast, and thus was considered an important point to defend as the British navy used it both in 1776 & 1779, thus it was considered an easy back door port for a land invasion of Boston = should such occur at a future date. • The construction of the fort started in 1824 and was not completed until 1857 (33 years). • Building the forts left a tremendous manpower shortage everywhere, so the government imported 400 Irish laborers, with the understanding that they would also gain American citizenship. • The area was more Protestant and Puritans, so when the Irish with their families showed up, it strongly shifted the ethnic balance in the area toward Catholicism. • Fort Adams was designed by a French Engineer who incorporated the most leading edge defensive designs learned from the past. • This fort never was involved with a physical attack on it; thus, the US Parks system will not classify it a National Park, rather it is designated a State Park. • This Fort is so big the Newport Jazz festival is held on its grounds. • The fort was armed with hundreds of 24 and 32-pound cannons (the weight designation is the weight of the cannon ball). • Each cannon had an 8-man crew that were expected to be able to fire and reload within 30 seconds. • There are smoke chimneys above each enclosed gun battery to allow the smoke from the firing of the cannons to vent upward out of the space. • There is a small island (Goat Island) east of the fort where women built torpedoes for the Navy during WWII. • Beyond the massive walls of the main fort, there are all sorts of labyrinth passage ways on the land side that presented killing fields to attackers. • There are 23 major and minor personal narrow tunnels under the walls connecting these killing fields and listing post. Solders were expected to be able to travel (know from memory) all these passages in the dark. • In the initial building of the Fort the tunnel areas were dug first (thinking / planning ahead) then enclosed within vaulted, brick walls and overheads, followed by the forts walls over them. • Some killing field structures outside the main fort are connected to the main fort by 8 ft. tall underground tunnels (8 ft to allow a soldier to run down the tunnel with his tall rifle to a gun slot). • Beyond the 8 ft tunnels there are connecting 5 ft. hi tunnels that acted as “listening post” to detect enemy action trying to tunnel in and under the fort walls to blow them up. These shorter tunnels were also available to plant explosives under enemy positions outside the wall (a mind field). • As part of the tour we went down (they gave each of us large beam lights to carry) many of these 8’ and 5’ tunnels = we are now qualified Fort Adams Tunnel Rats. • During the civil war the fort was upgraded on the ocean side with bigger guns. • At the beginning of the civil war and because Annapolis was in Maryland (unknown if the state would go north or south), it was decided that the US Naval academy should move to Fort Adams until the end of the war. • During WW1 & WW II large costal guns were installed in batteries internal & external to the fort, and the fort itself upgraded to accommodate solders in enclosures once used for the old black powder cannons. At this time the fort became an army luxury billet for the military with many of the former cannon battery areas turned into new purpose locations like two lane bowling alleys / basketball court / recreation rooms. They even developed a baseball diamond and football field on the old parade grounds. • In 1954 the army abandoned the fort and turned it over to the Navy which had built a base outside the old fort area. The Navy wanted to tear down the fort and use the millions of tons of brick and granite stone to be used as seawall material. The state stepped in and said no (thank goodness); that they were willing to take over the fort as a state park. • For years before the state could do anything with the land, the fort was left abandon, with locals coming in to salvage anything they wanted, additionally Newport kids would come in and have parties or vandalize the facility. The state stepped in after some kids were injured and installed gates to keep everyone out, and finally started to clean up and better manage this historic location. • Interesting feature around the openings of all the gun barrel openings in the forts walls = they used brick, as such would be turned into power dust if hit with a cannon shot from the outside and thus not injure the gun crew inside verses if the granite wall of the fort would go right up to the opening = if hit by shot would turn into rock shrapnel and thus injure the gun crew. The girls caught an UBER car ride to go the short distance into Newport and Rich and Tom went on a walk around the other side of the fort on a 2.2 Mile path around the peninsula on the navy base side to see some of the WW 1 & 2-gun batteries. We came across one Grand home labeled “The Eisenhower House”. This was President Eisenhower’s summer white house. All the old navy housing in the park have been turned into low cost condos for military retirees, and if they cannot get retirees to rent the units, they are open to the public to rent (no big thrills here and the units rent for around $2,800 a month (our guide for the tour lived in one of these units). Because of our location, the ship’s tender was made available to us to “go into town (Newport) for sightseeing and shopping” but because of the rain drizzle, and rough water that showed up in the afternoon, they canceled that option. Rich and Tom arrived back at the ship just in time to get onto the bridge tour by the captain: • For insurance purposes there are no tours of the engine room, but there is a video display of the engine room up on the bridge. • On a normal underway watch there are two people on the bridge, no one in the engine room and there is a third person on patrol as the fire / below decks watch. • Ship has two (direct drive to the shifts / 6 ft tall propellers) diesel engines, and three diesel engines driving the electrical generators. There is a large backup Koehler generator topside over the bridge. • Ships max speed is around 13 knots (15 MPH). • There are three electric thrusters in the hull (two forward and one aft). When they run the thrusters, they dedicate one of the diesel generators to their operation. • The owner of American Cruise Line is a former aviator, and directed the bridge lay- out (controls & visual displays) of their fleet of all their big ships to have similar controls / lay out as fleet captains / crews easily move from ship to ship to work. • Ship carries enough fuel on board to make it across the Atlantic. • All the water on board is via Reverse Osmosis units. Tonight, was the Captain’s dinner, preceded again (as always) with an open bar (every night) with enough high octane refreshments to float the ship. Entertainment tonight was the Don Pride Duo who presented an excellent mix of Jazz, country, Rock Roll and 60’s&70’ Music. These guys played and sung with words you could easily understand! Most of our entertainers had a base guitar player in the group. We sailed for Martha’s Vineyard MA at 2:30 AM. Monday, 28 May As we dock in Vineyard Haven Harbor in the town of Tisbury, we viewed the charm of this seaside village island and two beautiful anchored black dog two mast brig tall ships (Shenandoah & Alabama) swinging at their moorings right next to us. Went ashore and ran into all sorts of Black Dog shops / taverns / eateries. Story of the Black dog is = back about 40 years ago the individual that had built the Shenandoah (about 50 years ago) was friends with one of the ferry boat captains, and the ferry boat captain came across two puppies, giving one (a black pup) to the Shenandoah’s owner. The Shenandoah’s owner would take tourists out on sailing trips and always took the black dog with him, as the dog took to life on the boat like a duck to water. The owner of the Shenandoah opened a bar and restaurant naming both “the black dog”. The waitresses at both locations would wear T shirts with the name Black Dog and a representation of the dog on the back; with the patrons literally tried to purchase the shirts off their backs thus ---- AHHA the guy running the tavern figured out what an opportunity to sell “stuff / souvenirs”. We walked up the hill about 5 blocks out of town to John’s fish market / Sandy’s fish & chips deli; qualified by locals as “having the best clams on the island”. The four of us shared an order of clam chowder (5X better than any chowder we have tasted so far on this trip) and belly clam strips (nothing like the meager strips you get back in the Midwest. We went on a Lighthouse & Cottages Tour of the entire island: • During the 18th and 19th-centuries, Martha's Vineyard was a hub for merchant ships carrying exotic cargo from the far corners of the world. • The 10 x 10 (100 square mile) island is about 5 miles off the mainland. • The island is one of the most popular vacation spots in New England, comprised of six distinct towns. • Our trip around the island visited the towns of Edgartown, Oak Bluffs, Vineyard Haven, Chappaquiddick and West Tisbury. • Each town has their own grade school, but there is only one high school on the island. • Behind Las Vegas Nevada, Martha’s Vineyard is #2 for destination weddings. • There is only one NATIONAL commercial fast food shop on the island = Dairy Queen. • There are about 20,000 full year residents. The population soars to around 150,000 residents in the summer with an additional one million nonresident visitors through the year. • Trash processing cost residents $5 per bag. • A lot of the historical first residences to the island came from Portugal. • A lot of the movie Jaws was shot along the beach of Oak Bluff. The guide noted Spielberg started filming in April and it was COLD. Movie shooting did not end until December. The mechanical shark did not work very well, and Spielberg noted he never wanted to come back to the vineyard again. • The bridge at Chappaquiddick is no more as so many people wanted bits & pieces & parts of it, that the town had to replace it with a new one. • Going through Ocean Bluff was very interesting as the area was originally a large Methodism revival tent city community that turned into small houses (gingerbread houses) that over time replaced the field of tents used by the revelers. We all went on a tour of the ships galley (kitchen) = Wow what a tight space. Wow people (onboard friends and crew members we have made strong contact with) are starting to get a little upset that our cruise is starting to wind down. As Yvonne puts it “strangers are just friends you have not met yet”!!! We sailed at 5 PM and headed back into Buzzards Bay towards the Cape Cod Canal. We expect to arrive in Provincetown MA around 11:00 PM. No musical entertainment tonight, rather we had a lecture on the Revolutionary War, which Tom appreciated but no new news on the subject that Tom was not already aware of. Tuesday, 29 May Provincetown MA We went on the towns Trolley Tour: • The morning temp started at 72 F and climbed to 77 F (under clear skies) through the day. • This town is like a mix of Door County and Key West Florida but MUCH BIGGER. • The base of the cape was formed by a glacier around 18,000 years ago and the hook sand dunes formed over time. • There is a large gay community on the cape, which seems well respected by most. • Population in the off season runs around 3,000 (a rather ghost town) and goes up to around 60,000 • Flowers are exploding (in peak color) everywhere. • The Pilgrims in the Mayflower originally landed on Cape Cod, and found it covered with trees, but little fresh water or game. This is where they settled for a while and drew up their Compact (Constitution of Government) while they were anchored off Cape Cod and before they sailed on to Plymouth on the other side of the cape. • Early inhabitants cut down all the trees and let their sheep & Cattle strip all the grasses, thus, the area stayed rather barren until Cape Cod National Seashore park was developed on the coast side facing the mainland. • Today with managed planting the evergreens are back, and hardwoods are starting to flourish. • Over 3000 ships have been lost over the past 300 years off the cape. • Piracy off the cape was a very serious problem. One local group called the MOON CUSSERS would extinguish Lighthouses and set up false beacons, causing ships to run aground and then attack the vessel and rob it. They were called Moon Cussers because they would cuss the moon as it would lighten the seas and passing ships would not be fooled by the false lights. • There is a historical road here = Route 6 which is the first transcontinental road going West 3,205 miles to the West Coast. • This area in Tom’s opinion is a more interesting place to visit then Martha’s Vineyard or other South Carolina beaches we have visited. Again, we are not here when Thousands of tourists come in the peak summer. Tom’s opinion is you do not need a room on the beach but rather any hotel (and there are a number of them in town) would do and you can easily hike the town and parks or better yet rent a bicycle with free helmet (cost = 24 hr.=$23, whole week =$65 and enjoy! Trying to plan ahead and balance our already booked OAT trip in Feb 2019 to the Amazon, Machu Picchu & the Galapagos ---- We (and Rich & Barb) booked an 8-day cruise with American Cruise Line for 5 October 2019 on the Columbia & Snake River between Spokane and Astoria. By booking onboard we (total for the two of us) saved $2,131 (if we later booked on line the only “special” savings promotion would have been $800 total for booking 9 months or more in advance). Boston MA arrive 10:30 PM Wednesday, 30 May Disembark 8:00 AM Sure, hard saying goodbye to a lot of new friends and the great staff of this ship. Sone observations about the American Cruise Line Constitution from Tom’s bias opinion Likes: • You can order ½ portions for a meal. • The staterooms are large. • Ship is a nice brand-new shinny ship. • Very friendly crew. • Large launch that was used at two of our stops (where we did not tie up to a dock); was easy to get in and out of. • Ship has an open (free) bar every evening offering top self-liquor. • Cabins have very large comfortable king beds. • Rooms have large 42 “flat screen TV’s, with a wide selection of channels. • GPS display on the TV of ships position is very informative. • We were able to open the divider wall on the balcony between our two rooms. • Housekeeping staff kept everything neat and clean while being almost invisible. • Ship has free self-service laundry with free soap and dryer softener sheets. • All tips are included in the price. • Very good entertainment each night. • Each port fit our interest. • Complimentary tours were excellent. • The few Extra cost optional tours were relatively inexpensive. • This was a great time of the year to do this trip, as all the foliage was spring fresh / green and there were no summer crowds. • The entire crew are all US and thus ENGLISH is well used. Things the ship could improve on (suggestions): • Bathroom door needs a bumper, so it does not bang (damage) against the outer door. • Do not serve the ships lobster feast the day before the FANTASTIC shore Lobster Lunch. • The bathroom could be 1” wider (comment is from Tom who is into Human factors engineering). • Live or soft background music would have been nice during the evening meal. • Some of the soups could have been hotter. • The chef needs to improve the New England Clam chowder to something like what we on our own experienced when we had lunch ashore on Martha’s Vineyard at Sandy’s fish & Chips = More cream base! The crew on board that really made the trip: • Dining Room = Corry / Rachael / Kara / Brandy --- All most excellent and FUN!!! • Cruise Directors = Hannah / Kayla / Brittany --- Always kept us yellow bumble bee coat people going and feeling like friends. • Hotel Manager = Nick --- Very knowledgeable We easily took our bags to the parking garage ($10 a day with the discount for staying at the Constitution Inn before the cruise. On the road by 8 AM Driving West on the toll road HW 90 Nice well-maintained road. Gas in Mass = $3.18 Gas in NY = $3.08 Very Picturesque going through the East End Of NY. Land sort of flattened out in the East end of NY. East NY has farmers already taking off the first crop of hay + corn is starting to come up. Pulled in west of Buffalo at a Hampton Inn (Buffalo South). Hotel is about 15 years old and is well maintained, giving it a 4.2 hinge rating (scale of 0-5). Outside temp 93 F under clear skies. We hiked about a mile to an Irish restaurant for a great meal. Report #9 Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
The Constellation is a new ship with spacious rooms and balconies. Food was fresh and excellently prepared. We loved all the ports on this grand New England cruise. We met great people who enjoyed having fun. The ship's crew were ... Read More
The Constellation is a new ship with spacious rooms and balconies. Food was fresh and excellently prepared. We loved all the ports on this grand New England cruise. We met great people who enjoyed having fun. The ship's crew were all young energetic adults who did everything possible to make our stay enjoyable. Some were exceptional in their interactions with us. Many of us were seniors but we still asked for more music for dancing in the evening. For the price of this cruise I felt the quality of the entertainment could be better. The comedienne was fabulous and proved to be a fun night with him onboard. I would recommend the grand New England cruise to anyone. Some of the towns are small and not much except little boutiques but the beauty of these ports were fun to visit and other towns had a lot of history and interesting things to see. Provincetown was lots of fun. Read Less
Sail Date August 2017
Customer Service, customer service, customer service - the passenger was treated like a queen! From my first phone call to gather information to my disembarkation, everything went smoothly. Very clean, excellent food, and accommodating ... Read More
Customer Service, customer service, customer service - the passenger was treated like a queen! From my first phone call to gather information to my disembarkation, everything went smoothly. Very clean, excellent food, and accommodating staff. Would have liked even more port and shore excursions. Staff was extremely accommodating - when the tours were fully booked, they would add additional ones in the afternoon, so everyone who wanted to go on an excursion could. Would have also liked more than recumbent bikes in the fitness center although with a rolling ship at times, don't know if other equipment could be added. I liked the free washers and dryers and detergent, etc. that was available. Excellent food - service was sit down rather than a buffet. And beverages, including alcohol, was freely available. Other than a few of the shore excursions, everything was included. There were no additional charges for anything! Closing comments: The majority of individuals on this cruise were over 55 and retired. Met many people who had gone on numerous cruises and many said American Cruise Lines was the best line they've traveled. I would definitely take another excursion on this cruise line. Read Less
Sail Date July 2017
We wanted a small ship cruise experience. Constellation is ACL's newest ship and it is very beautiful. Our cabin was very roomy and the bathroom was adequate. The food was delicious and the chef came by at every meal to be sure ... Read More
We wanted a small ship cruise experience. Constellation is ACL's newest ship and it is very beautiful. Our cabin was very roomy and the bathroom was adequate. The food was delicious and the chef came by at every meal to be sure everyone was satisfied. The wait staff was college age young people and they were the most polite young people we have been around. The entire staff was very eager to please. We have never been on a 'small ship' like this before, so we found out that things are very different on it than on the larger cruise ships. Example: no shops on board, no pictures being made, not the type of entertainment on large ships, and no medical professional on board. It was a very relaxed atmosphere which is what we enjoyed. The entertainment was speakers and a singer or two. They were very nice people and did a good job. They offer some complimentary shore excursions and others at a nominal price (especially compared to larger ships). These ports were small towns which were interesting and beautiful to visit. However, our itinerary was changed and we were taken to the town of Bucksport. There was no explanation given. The town was extremely small and we were there on a Sunday with everything shut down. In the afternoon we were given an opportunity to take the excursion to the Fort. Unless you went on the excursion there was nothing to do all day there. In Boothbay we were not allotted enough time and it seemed like a quaint little town. The tender ship was reserved for excursion passengers which allotted the rest of us about 1-1/2 hours in the town. We did anchor out at most stops and had to be tendered in. The tender boat ran every 30 minutes and they had people on it to help everyone in and out. This staff were all young, but they went above and beyond to be sure that everyone was happy and taken care of. This was the first time this particular ship had done this itinerary and some of the time it seemed like a 'work in progress' for them, but they did their best to satisfy everyone. Disembarking was pretty good except there were not enough seats on our bus and we had to ride a taxi. The young man in charge did immediately call a taxi, but our luggage went without us on the bus. We had concerns about meeting up with our luggage, but it all turned out ok. We did enjoy ourselves even though this was a new experience for us. There were 143 passengers on this cruise. There were age ranges from 40's on up to 80's represented - mostly senior citizens. It is pretty costly, but it was worth it. We have already made plans on board for a future cruise. Read Less
Sail Date July 2017
The ACL Constellation is a new vessel with all the amenities of a much larger vessel that accommodates only 180 passengers. The vessel is well staffed and equipped and can accommodate wheelchair passengers very well. The single launch was ... Read More
The ACL Constellation is a new vessel with all the amenities of a much larger vessel that accommodates only 180 passengers. The vessel is well staffed and equipped and can accommodate wheelchair passengers very well. The single launch was adequate for all the excursions where we could not dock and to transport passengers in comfort. The food was excellent and the kitchen was very willing to prepare special requests. Ship supplies were refreshed often so all produce was fresh and seasonal. Fresh and prepared lobster was available daily as the Maine Red shrimp and mussels were excellent. The pastry chef was excellent with fresh bread and desserts daily. Our suite was cleaned daily with fresh linen and restock of the mini fridge. The available guest laundry was free. Shore excursions were well planned and our onboard historian did an excellent job of preparing us for each port, leading walking tours and conducting evening lectures. The shore excursions included a lot of local history from the 17th to 20th centuries. The amenities included fresh hot cookies in the lounges at 10:30 every day, high tea at 4:30 and cocktail hour wt 5:30. Dinner included two bottles of wine at each table or other beverages as requested. This is our second cruise with ACL and we plan on traveling with them again next year on the Columbia River. Read Less
Sail Date June 2017
We did use the pre-cruise package and enjoyed a little bit of Boston before embarking on our cruise. I would recommend that to everyone. We have done one other trip with this cruise line and we have found them to be outstanding in what ... Read More
We did use the pre-cruise package and enjoyed a little bit of Boston before embarking on our cruise. I would recommend that to everyone. We have done one other trip with this cruise line and we have found them to be outstanding in what they do. Service is magnificent!! You feel like you are their only priority when you are in need of something. If there is something not on the menu, for example, you can speak with the chef or dining service personnel and see if it is possible to obtain that item at the next port. We have recommended this cruise line to all our friends. Everything was run so efficiently from the time we boarded until the time we left. I was amazed as the organization that was used in getting everyone on and off the ship, for example. Our luggage was taken care of for us prior to leaving and was delivered to our stateroom promptly. Likewise, when it was time to leave, our luggage was tagged and taken to the place where we were to meeting our next mode of transpiration. We have already booked our next cruise with American Cruise Lines and look forward to spending 11 days and 10 nights with them again! Read Less
Sail Date June 2017
Choice of ports, tours on land, and time on land were all terrific, and the seamless high level of service on board this very small ship was exceptional. A small ship -- we had only 125 passengers -- allows for a much more personal ... Read More
Choice of ports, tours on land, and time on land were all terrific, and the seamless high level of service on board this very small ship was exceptional. A small ship -- we had only 125 passengers -- allows for a much more personal experience that feels much more like a vacation with friends ("Hey, come for a trip with me on my yacht") than a feeling of being on an "ocean cruise." The All-American nature of this cruise line, with most staff members college-age students from U.S. colleges rather than professional workers from other countries, not to mention a completely U.S. deck and ship crew, heightened the feeling of enjoying our own country. The cabins were the perfect size and configuration -- aside from the family-size cabins, ever cabin on the ship is the same size and every one has a generous verandah. We were as comfortable as we could have been in a hotel on land, and yet we were able to visit a different port town every day. Overall we couldn't have been more pleased, and we've already booked our next trip for a year from now. Read Less
Sail Date June 2017
We are very pleased with American Cruise Lines - service, ships, destinations, fantastic staff. The new ships (one just about every year) are well outfitted, the cabins are superior to those on other cruise lines, and we totally appreciate ... Read More
We are very pleased with American Cruise Lines - service, ships, destinations, fantastic staff. The new ships (one just about every year) are well outfitted, the cabins are superior to those on other cruise lines, and we totally appreciate the "all inclusive" pricing. On the "Grand New England" cruise, we enjoyed the ports of call, the excursions, and the size of the ship (175 passengers). Having been on larger ships (2,000 - 4,000) the ACL ships provide an exceptional opportunity to meet people, to enjoy access to smaller ports of call, and to have flexibility in dining. The quality of the food, the personal attention of the dining room staff, and the flexibility (no rigid time, no fixed table assignments, and an excellent variety and choices at each meal) made the dining experience the best of any cruise line we have taken. The guest speakers, entertainers, and on-board activities and the excursions were outstanding and tailored to the areas where we were traveling. Rachel Perkins on the Grand New England cruise was exceptional in sharing with us the geography of the area, the specifics of each place, and her fun stories were a highlight.She also offered an early morning walk in each port. We appreciated the problem-free WiFi and that it was complimentary (another benefit of "all inclusive" pricing). The Laundry facility was clean, fast and also complimentary. Read Less
Sail Date June 2017
First, very good friends recommended it - they had been on the American Cruise Lines steamboat/Mississippi River cruise in 2016 and loved it; found out about this brand new cruise while on the Mississippi trip, signed up right away and ... Read More
First, very good friends recommended it - they had been on the American Cruise Lines steamboat/Mississippi River cruise in 2016 and loved it; found out about this brand new cruise while on the Mississippi trip, signed up right away and urged us to join them. I had always wanted to see the coast of New England - and this brand-new cruise – Grand New England – in Mid June 2017 had just the itineraryI was wanted, so we didn't hesitate to sign up. This is a small ship - 175 passengers/ I believe there were about 145 of us. Perfect size, I think, easy to get everywhere! Very good value for the money. The staff is probably 90% American (can't speak for those who work below decks) - young, enthusiastic, friendly, helpful, and fun! The tour directors were excellent and able to answer all manner of questions re: shore excursions. Almost felt like some of them were family by the end of the voyage. Demographics are mostly over 55, although there was a family of with college age daughters and a Grandfather traveling with his two late-20s/30s grandsons. I will say most of the passengers were pretty lively and interesting and fun to exchange pleasantries with. Food was consistently excellent. We had the most wonderful Chief Chef (Joselito H.) on board - and he made a point of visiting a few tables each and every night to inquire about our dinners/ask if there was anything else people wanted to see on the menu, etc. all alcoholic drinks were included in the cost of the fare (as were standard gratuities for the staff). No "nickel and dining as some larger cruise ships do! Always a cocktail party at 5:30, and entertainment after dinner. Onetwo nights the entertainment was excellent, the other evenings I opted to retire early and read. Bear in mind this is coastal new england so no broadway stars on board to sing or dance for the passengers! Our lecturer, Rachel P. was so much fun - she knew so much and made her lectures (with a white board to illustrate various parts of the coast) so entertaining). She also lead early morning walks in each port - with of course, a walking commentary about the area/flora/fauna/fish/ etc. JUST GREAT!! The excursions / bus transportation ranged from good to excellent, and these small ports can allow one to just wander around on one's own, but keep in mind there are also WONDERFUL things to see and learn about which did require transportation. The scenery and sunrises and sunsets were breathtaking. I can't wait for our next ACL cruise, and we're sure to sign up for more in the future. Cheers! Read Less
Sail Date June 2017
Really love the idea of seeing AMERICA! We went on an 11 night Cruise to New England. There were about 120 guest on this new boat. It was smooth and the rooms were amazing with nice balconies. The staff is all American and made up of ... Read More
Really love the idea of seeing AMERICA! We went on an 11 night Cruise to New England. There were about 120 guest on this new boat. It was smooth and the rooms were amazing with nice balconies. The staff is all American and made up of respectable young people who really want to make your vacation relaxing and wonderful. The FOOD was 5Star and we ate lobster almost every day! We went in late May and it was cool, so if doing this again, June might be better for weather but there were no crowds and the towns were lovely. Started in Boston, MA, Went to Bar Harbor, ME; Boothbay Harbor, ME; Camden, ME (my favorite); Rockland, ME, Portland, ME; Newport, RI; Martha's Vineyard, MA; Provincetown, MA and back to Boston, MA. In Newport, RI we went on a really cool trolley tour of several mansions including the BREAKERS. Will definitely recommend this for anyone wanting to see America's East Coast. Read Less
Sail Date May 2017
This was our 5th trip with American Cruise Lines and we enjoyed it very much. We are happy that these are American owned and built ships and that they are staffed by American officers and crew. The young servers and deck hands are polite ... Read More
This was our 5th trip with American Cruise Lines and we enjoyed it very much. We are happy that these are American owned and built ships and that they are staffed by American officers and crew. The young servers and deck hands are polite and cheerful college kids for the most part. The itinerary was one that took us to small yacht harbors, avoiding big mega ship ports, and their crowds. It is much like a cruise on a large private yacht. After a week we got a little weary of the menu but almost every day it was possible to dine ashore. They are very accommodating to requests for special meals or dietary restrictions and will cook any meal to order. All meals include complimentary wine and beer. Cocktail hour features heavy snacks and complimentary bar with high end spirit brands. This is a good feature, never paying extra for drinks. Daily excursions are interesting and offer a good variety of sightseeing and cultural experiences. These are reasonably priced. The best part is that all passengers fit on one or two buses. No long lines. We like the feature that they offer substantial discounts on future cruises when booked aboard. Cabins are comfortable and clean and most have private balconies. The passengers are generally over 60 but younger folks are also comfortable and there is no reason families with kids couldn't enjoy this too. Entertainment is low key and lectures are always interesting.   Read Less
Sail Date August 2013
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