Sail Date: April 2017
We were planning to visit our daughter and son-in-law in Seattle this spring, and we chose this cruise so that we could do both. From the embarkation on, everything went beautifully. We enjoyed the ports, the food, the comfort, the ... Read More
We were planning to visit our daughter and son-in-law in Seattle this spring, and we chose this cruise so that we could do both. From the embarkation on, everything went beautifully. We enjoyed the ports, the food, the comfort, the friendliness and efficiency of the staff, and meeting people on the cruise with us. Our hotel manager invited us to invite our daughter and son in law aboard for dinner the last night, and facilitated our "early checkout" so we could go home with them that night instead of getting up early the next morning and having them drive all the way back out to the ship to pick us up. I thought that was just the nicest and friendliest thing to do. To add to the fun, it turned out my daughter and son in law had mutual connections with the hotel manager from the island of Lanai, Hawaii! We are already talking about our next trip with American Cruise lines! Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2017
We had been wanting to visit Butchart Gardens and found this to be an opportunity to visit the Gardens and take a small ship cruise at the same time. It was all we had hoped for. Small ship cruising is wonderful if you're older and ... Read More
We had been wanting to visit Butchart Gardens and found this to be an opportunity to visit the Gardens and take a small ship cruise at the same time. It was all we had hoped for. Small ship cruising is wonderful if you're older and love to be pampered. ACL did everything possible to make our trip amazing. Attendants were ready to unload our bags and put them in our stateroom when we first arrived. Food was outstanding. All dietary concerns by other passengers were met and as we had no dietary restrictions we were able to enjoy all they offered, which was more than generous. Every meal had numerous selections and we didn't find any that weren't delicious. You couldn't go wrong. Service was by young people very obviously training for the hospitality industry. If they made a mistake, which was rare, it was promptly and pleasantly corrected. On board entertainment was more than adequate, very enjoyable. Quite a bit of jazz music but of good quality. We would have loved to hear a little gospel or country music interspersed, but what we did have was very good. So, just a personal preference, sure others were completely satisfied with onboard entertainment. Amy, the onboard naturalist was outstanding. Shared all her knowledge with us in an informative yet very understandable and NOT boring manner. Excursions were well worth taking, all of them, even the freebies!! This was a tulip themed cruise and the tulips were gorgeous. The few complaints we heard onboard were from the same people each time...you know those people that no one can please. The captain mingled with the guests and was a joy to be around. Cruise director extremely helpful and immediately took care of any needs. Only recommendation we might give is to take a long a few extra hangers. There were 12 in our closet and they probably would have furnished us more if we had asked, but we were glad we'd brought some. Do think it was a little "pricey" but there also were no gratuities to the onboard staff...basically prepaid...love that. Snacks in the lounge area were the best we've ever seen. Plenty of sodas, coffees (even decaf), fruits and packaged snacks + hot cookies every morning. We're going again. Can't wait. Met 3 other couples that we're going with. Enough said! Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2016
We chose this cruise because we wanted to see the Puget Sound and wanted to take my husband's sis and bro in law on their first ever cruise. Plus it is an American ship with an American crew and a small ship. There were 86 ... Read More
We chose this cruise because we wanted to see the Puget Sound and wanted to take my husband's sis and bro in law on their first ever cruise. Plus it is an American ship with an American crew and a small ship. There were 86 passengers onboard on our cruise. The ship accommodates 100. We loved the itinerary and enjoyed the tours offered. The top deck of the ship is very conducive to reading, relaxing, and enjoying the scenery. The cabins were clean, spacious and we did not spent much time in ours. The lounge area is bright and cheery and a nice way to also enjoy the scenery. The crew were friendly and helpful and they work very hard. The dining room service is not the most polished but we loved talking to the young people working onboard. Many if not most of them are college students taking a semester off to earn their tuition. They are friendly and lean over backwards to be of service. We have cruised on big ships, med sized ships and river ships. This ship was a very satisfying experience and we look forward to additional cruises with ACL and Pearl Seas Cruises. There is so much to see in the USA and Canada. We love the smaller ships and the personalized service. The cruise was not inexpensive but everything except some of the tours were included in the price. Including tips. That was a welcome feature. We weren't nickeled and dimed to death. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2016
We chose this cruise because we wanted to see the Northwest area. We enjoyed the small towns on the itinerary, however, the cruise line had scheduled a tour of Seattle (which we took) during rush hour traffic on Fri. PM. The other tour ... Read More
We chose this cruise because we wanted to see the Northwest area. We enjoyed the small towns on the itinerary, however, the cruise line had scheduled a tour of Seattle (which we took) during rush hour traffic on Fri. PM. The other tour to the Flight Museum turned back to the ship (prudently) The "guide" dumped us at Pike's Place, fortunately, all made it back to the bus. Some never left it! The service at breakfast was slow, and food was mediocre - lukewarm or cold. Coffee was lukewarm or cold, and at the end of the week, we were getting our own coffee. The service crew seemed worn out. Lunches and Dinners were good, with the exception of Thursday nite, when the entree choices were "bar-b-q" short ribs (overcooked chuck") and duck. This would have been a good time to go into town for dinner. Overall, the cruise was average. The food was pretty good, towns were lovely. Scenery was great. Olympic National Park was beautiful. Gardens were gorgeous - very crowded. I think the last tour in Seattle left a bad impression. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2016
Small ships, great itineraries and wonderful, cheerful service. Free wine and beer with lunch and dinner. A full-bar happy hour every day before dinner with great appetizers! Starting in Juneau, the Mendenhall Glacier, the Tracy Arm ... Read More
Small ships, great itineraries and wonderful, cheerful service. Free wine and beer with lunch and dinner. A full-bar happy hour every day before dinner with great appetizers! Starting in Juneau, the Mendenhall Glacier, the Tracy Arm cruise with Watson Glacier and the huge icebergs were beautiful. The historic walking tour of Petersburg gave us a glimpse of real life in Alaska. Out of Wrangell, the Jet boat tour on the Stikine River and Chief Shake Glacier provided up close viewing of the Glacier with a great addition of Mountain Goats 200 yards away! The local town tour of Wrangell was great, beautiful museum and entertaining guides. Duckboat tour of the harbor in Ketchikan. Cruising the Queen Charlotte Straits was a beautiful 3 days. San Juan Island tour in Friday Harbor, Jet boating in Anacordes through Deception Pass. Walking tour in Port Townsend was great and informative. Did I mention that ALL of these tours are FREE on American?!!! Our Naturalist on board was very informative and helpful in identifying Humpback whale behavior and spotting a lone Orca (Sea Panda)! While everything wasn't perfect, the combination of a smaller ship and cheerful staff made our 8th cruise on American all we could expect. We have 2 more cruises booked and will relish our 11th cruise FREE. What a great benefit to have on American Cruise Lines!!! Read Less
18 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2015
We had a great week on the American Spirit. I will admit that I was someone hesitant that this cruise was going to be anything other than mediocre after reading some of the reviews. I only have to surmise that those folks just can't ... Read More
We had a great week on the American Spirit. I will admit that I was someone hesitant that this cruise was going to be anything other than mediocre after reading some of the reviews. I only have to surmise that those folks just can't be pleased. Here are some overall comments from our experience. The most important being - my husband and I who are in our 50's had a wonderful week of peace and quiet. We took walks together when on shore and met some truly wonderful people. If you're looking for casinos and a 24 hour bar, this isn't the ship for you. But if you are looking for a perfect trip to shut off the phones and just watch some spectacular views from your balcony - this is the ship. This is a very understated cruise, which was perfect for us. 1. Food. Food was great. With the exception of a dry pork chop one night - overall the quality of the food was excellent. You are able to special order to some extent if you don't like what's on the menu. It is a set menu and you do make your choices in the morning. Keep in mind this is a small ship so they carry everything. 2. Activities. There is a speaker that goes on the cruise who is very educated about the area and gives talks at different points in the cruise. Our speaker also led several tours. The evening activities are kinda bad. So my best advice is to skip it and sit up on the observation deck or enjoy your balcony. Tours were good. 3. Service. This is where people get unnecessarily mean. The staff is comprised of college students who are serving 13 week internships. They are young and they will goof occasionally (forgetting your toast or serving right to left). But they are enthusiastic and hard working. Some will go on to terrific careers in the hospitality industry, others won't. One of our favorites on the ship is preparing to enter the Peace Corp. Another one was so excited to have landed his first big interview with an airline because of the internship and was excited to share that he had gotten his first car and apartment. It really is part of the charm of the cruise to interact with these young adults. 4. Management. Is excellent. Every effort is made to accommodate the passengers. The director of western operations made two different appearances on our cruise to inquire earnestly about where they could improve. My only response was "I want a coffee maker in my room." 5. WiFi. WiFi isn't particularly great. But we didn't have a problem because we used my husband's phone as a hotspot. Which would be my suggestion to all who need to get online. Overall we had such a great time. So good that we before the cruise was over we booked the Juneau roundtrip for 2017. Even booked the same room! There is always room for improvement - but overall we think it was money well spent. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2015
The catalog seems to be different from what we received on the cruise. We complained when the air conditioning did not work properly, toilets did not flush, could not get a bottle of water and public bath room was dirty. There were four ... Read More
The catalog seems to be different from what we received on the cruise. We complained when the air conditioning did not work properly, toilets did not flush, could not get a bottle of water and public bath room was dirty. There were four couples that complained and the cruise line sent a director of hotel operations to talk with us on the fifth day of the cruise. He listened to our complaint and said he was sorry and would see if he could do something for us once he talked to the home office and would get back to us after the cruise. That was 9 days a go so I feel like I was lied too. We were told the college age people working the ship were on 12 weeks contracts and than let go, that's why we felt service like eating at a IHOP and the place was dirty. We have been on river boat cruises in Europe that cost the same $10,000 that have been fantastic and twice as long for the same amount of money. The food was OK but for the cost of the 7 days I thought it could have been much better. We felt this cruise was a waste of money. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2015
The Positives: The food was good with complimentary happy hour and wine & beer with meals. All meals are served with tables of 8 , open seating with no buffet. We enjoyed the companionship of the mostly over 70 years crowd who are ... Read More
The Positives: The food was good with complimentary happy hour and wine & beer with meals. All meals are served with tables of 8 , open seating with no buffet. We enjoyed the companionship of the mostly over 70 years crowd who are seasoned travelers. The young staff wait tables all 3 meals and clean the rooms and are temporary for 3 months at time and are enthusiastic but overworked. Amy Traxler our naturalist was outstanding and was always willing to help and answer questions. At the end of the cruise the last night Amy presented a power point slide show of photos with music that she created for us. Something, that I would expect of the ACL Cruise Directors on ship to do every cruise. Our Captain, Capt Hexlrod ?? was personable and mingled with the passengers and on the last day in Seattle even helped load supplies. We were very impressed with the Captain and the crew who always helped passengers on and off the ship. We did like the free WiFi. The Hotel Manager , Chelsea was always willing to answer questions and would help the servers in the dining room. Amy the housekeeping manager always seemed to be helping somewhere. Several of the passengers had cruised before with ACL and are very committed to small ship cruising in the USA. I wonder if Viking comes in as I hear rumor will in 2017 if ACL will lose business from those of us who would like a more upscale cabin and less non-refundable administrative fees of $250/person and cheaper trip insurance. I would guess that many of the people that chose ACL will leave and go to Viking. The scenery is beautiful!! The negatives: The overworked staff and managers who seem to work non-stop day and evening. This made many of us feel uncomfortable to see them working so hard and not getting to rest. ACL's accommodations are pricey starting at $3985 for a basic cabin on the 1st floor which can have an obstructed view depending on the pier. This is for 7 night cruise or over $8,000 for 2 people, plus air fare etc.. A tiny balcony that can barely accommodate 2 chairs is almost $1,000 per person more to go to the 2nd level. The 1st level has considerable engine noise and vibration. Compare this with our 10 day Alaska Cruise, 2017 round trip from San Francisco in a mini-Suite on Princess for $6400 for both us for a longer cruise & includes insurance There is a $250.00 /person administrative fee to cancel which is buried in fine print. This is regardless of how far out the trip is cancelled unlike the big ship lines like Princess. The ACL insurance runs about $900 which I found high and bought from Travel Guard for about $600 for the week. On Princess for a 10 day cruise the insurance is $395 VS $900 for ACL. Tipping is requested at $125/person which seems beyond the $11 per day /person that we pay on Princess. $88 for a week on Princess VS $125 for ACL. There is no phone or call button in the cabin which is a serious safety deficit, especially for a ship with seniors . There is no announcement or clear directions on how to call for help and the expectation would be find the numbers for the hotel manager or cruise director on the ship to shore guide and call by cell phone. a number of the passengers mentioned this as a worrisome issue. There doesn't seem to be any security system ( cameras) on board and there is no tracking of passengers going on or off ship in ports or screening of lugguge. A crew member stands by the gang plank to monitor passengers and help but there is no electronic badge system or sign out process. The keys to our cabins were metal like our house keys not the electronic ones which can also monitor when a passenger or staff person enters and leaves the cabin. This is a low tech operation that doesn't seem to use tools like computer tablets to track excursions etc. Our bill was a narrow strip of paper with a box for each excursion to be checked with a total at the end and the tipping had to be added by hand. This was the 1st time that I have ever cruised with out an itemized computer print out of the bill . We had to check out the last day by using our credit card , check or cash unlike like other cruise companies which have it on file to expedite the check out process. Port Excursions are usually a town tour or some type of bus ride to view the sights or a museum with the exception of the jet boat in Anacortes and Whale watching in Friday Harbor. The Victoria excursion which we didn't take but got lots of feedback on from other disappointed passengers was a let town only 2 hours in Butchart Gardens and 45 mins in Victoria before returning via Ferry to Port Angeles. We wished for some more creative excursions and did get bored and restless as there is a lot of time spent in ports. There was only 3 pieces of work out equipment and no pool or hot tub on board. The cabin is bare bones with blond future which could use updating. Again no call button or phone . I missed a mini-fridge and fresh ice water being maintained. While this is advertised as cruising, most of the time is spent in ports even over nighting in ports. Entertainment: Mixed bag that was geared to the more Senior crowd but seemed to be enjoyed. We had one grand child on board about 11 years with her grandmother. She was smart and had picked this trip. We were all amazed how well she interacted with us and definitely held her own in dinner conversations. Meals as I mentioned is a sit down at a table of 8 and there is no horizon court for a quick meal which I missed. There is an early bird continental breakfast in the lounge starting at 6:30 am with rolls, coffee, Juice etc. Will we return to ACL maybe in a few years to take the Hudson River Cruise in a hopefully updated ship with more reasonable insurance and administrative fees. With ACL rolling out a new ship a year and not updating Spirit or its computer technology , I wonder how long this expansion can be maintained? I don't want ACL to suffer the same fate as Cruise West the small ship company that went bankrupt. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2015
We wanted a small ship. We enjoyed that there were fewer passengers and the opportunity with open dining for every meal to meet and socialize with most of the passengers, The staterooms were very spacious and larger than some of the bif ... Read More
We wanted a small ship. We enjoyed that there were fewer passengers and the opportunity with open dining for every meal to meet and socialize with most of the passengers, The staterooms were very spacious and larger than some of the bif cruise ships. We liked that the passengers were couples our age, either retired or a few years til retirement, We liked that ACL had great personal service and that the smaller ship allowed us to go places the big ships could not. The destinations and shore tours were great, The chef and the food was fantastic. Everyday we had fresh local foods, particularly alaska seafood. The wait staff were college age kids who were very cheerful and work hard to do a great job. We liked that we could interact with college kids from all around the country. Favorite port stops for us were Skagway, the ships captain adjusted the schedule so we would be the only ship docked in Skagway that day. We took a tour bus up into Canada and them traveled the historic train back to skagway following the route taken my gold miners. We had a very knowledgable historian and naturalist on board names Todd Weber who gave several very interesting after dinner presentations about the northwest pioneers. Probably the best day of the cruise was the day we spent in Glacier Bay National Park. The wildlife that we saw and the glaciers we spectacular Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2014
This was our seventh cruise with ACL. As always, they didn't disappoint us. The highlight was taking a shore tour to Olympic National Park and the scenery from Hurricane Ridge. It was 46 degrees in June but the view was well worth it, ... Read More
This was our seventh cruise with ACL. As always, they didn't disappoint us. The highlight was taking a shore tour to Olympic National Park and the scenery from Hurricane Ridge. It was 46 degrees in June but the view was well worth it, along with the deer grazing on the hillside. The American Spirit is one of the older boats but the staff kept it clean and neat throughout the trip. Plenty of room in our cabin with lots of places to hang clothes and drawers for other things. Stewards kept rooms clean and neat. Some of the entertainment was better than others. They have local talent from the port we are in come on board to entertain. Food was plentiful and if you didn't like what they had the menu you could ask for something else and if they didn't have something they suggested a similar dish. Being on a small boat (93 passengers) is a plus. Even though some of the people were a little older than us we were able to learn many things from their vast experiences. This is not a cruise for children or young adults. There isn't a lot for them to do. For people who just want to sit and enjoy the scenery while traveling along Puget Sound and seeing a few orcas along the way, and a seal in one of the ports, this would be a trip for you. Read Less
American Spirit Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 0.0
Dining 3.0 0.0
Entertainment 3.0 0.0
Public Rooms 3.0 0.0
Fitness Recreation 2.0 0.0
Family 2.0 0.0
Shore Excursion 3.0 0.0
Enrichment 4.0 0.0
Service 3.0 0.0
Value For Money 3.0 0.0
Rates 5.0 0.0

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