4 American Cruise Lines Independence Luxury Cruise Reviews

American Cruise Lines- Historic South and Golden Isles Cruise March 19-26, 2016 We arrived in Charleston two days prior to the cruise departure and stayed at the Hyatt Place historic district on King St. The hotel is only 5 months ... Read More
American Cruise Lines- Historic South and Golden Isles Cruise March 19-26, 2016 We arrived in Charleston two days prior to the cruise departure and stayed at the Hyatt Place historic district on King St. The hotel is only 5 months old and the accommodations were very nice and convenient to shopping and dining in the King St. area. I would caution anyone against ordering any foodstuffs from the “Pickup and Go Menu” in the rooms as these items are all pre-packaged and hardly edible to say the least. There are plenty of local eateries offering a wide selection of lunch and dinner options all along King St. that would be a far better choice and cost about the same. On the other hand, the downstairs daily hot breakfast at the Hyatt was quite good and plentiful. We left for the City Marina on Lockwood Dr around 10 am on Saturday and were the second to check in. ACL representatives met us at the end of the pier and took all luggage to the ship at that time. They also provided golf cart rides out to the ship for those with limited mobility. Cabins were not available until 11:30 or so and we were directed to the Chesapeake lounge where warm cookies, soft drinks, coffee, water and espresso were available. These were available all throughout the cruise at no charge. Surprisingly enough the ship also furnished free WiFi during our cruise. When we entered our cabin there were nice ACL lanyards, nametags, and room keycards along with a folder of information about our cruise and staff. We were in cabin 212, an AAL balcony cabin adjacent to the mid-ship lounge. We liked our location so much due to the proximity that we booked the same one for our next cruise. The décor was a bit dated looking but the cabin was very clean and the staff maintained that during our cruise. The AC was good as I kept the temp in the high 60’s most of the time. Each day offered delicious meals in the dining room on the first level and were among the best we have had in our cruise history. Breakfast service began at 7:30 am and choices included both hot and cold items. A table just inside the dinning room featured cold selections such as yogurt and fruit parfaits, smoked salmon and capers with bagels and cream cheese available on request, and various pastries. Hot, cooked-to-order options were provided on menus at each place setting. The reverse side of the breakfast menu featured the day’s selections for lunch and dinner as well as places to indicate whether you’d be dining off-ship for any meals. You would make a selection from offered appetizers and entrees so that the chef would have a better idea of how much of the various dishes to prepare. This was an excellent way to prevent a lot of waste with uneaten foods which ultimately helped the kitchen deliver better-cooked, more flavorful meals. Lunch commenced at 12:30pm. In addition the appetizer and entrée, dessert options were available. If you missed lunch onboard due to an excursion, the staff provided options for boxed lunches with ham or turkey sandwiches that you could take with you. We did this one day and were really surprised at how good the sandwiches were and how much they put into the boxes. The evening’s meals began with a cocktail party at 5:30 in the Chesapeake lounge and featured heavy hors d’eouvres which changed nightly. It’s worth noting that if you have a favorite brand of liquor, you can simply call the home office with your booking number pre-cruise and they’ll have it onboard for you. Dinner followed in the dinning room at 6:30. They started with appetizers and always had a soup option. The soups were outstanding and some of the best any of our four had ever had. Entrees followed and varied from seafood to beef, chicken, pork and lamb. One evening we enjoyed filet so tender you could cut it with your fork. Desserts were good as well and there were about 8 different kinds of ice cream which were always available. The servers were attentive and friendly which made for pleasant meals. We took at least one shore excursion in each port and were pleased with the cost of each. The ship was able to dock in all but 2 ports (Hilton Head and Sapelo Island) and for those we had only a short tender ride to shore and back. Toward the end of the cruise there was a presentation about future cruises with an offer to book while onboard for 15% off and free port charges and taxes ($500). If should be stated that there was no pressure and we were not asked but the one time. We were not hounded to book additional cruises. However, after consulting with our traveling companions, we did book a future cruise to the New England Islands. Being long-time Princess cruisers we were amazed at the free drinks, cocktails and coffees not to mention the free internet. The only downside we could come up with was the lack of laundry as we usually send out clothes a couple of times during a cruise. There were no telephones in the cabins; but since nothing was more than 100 feet from our cabin door none were needed. On the wall next to the desk was a large red emergency call button if anyone were to have need for assistance. All in all, we had a wonderful time and felt the value for the money was very good. The crew were all very friendly and accommodating. They really wanted us to have a great time. Obviously we’d do it again as we booked another cruise with ACL. Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
This was our first cruise with ACL. We found the crew to be very enthusiastic and friendly. The cruise was to the ports in Maine (think pub craw of ports). It was nice to get into ports that the "Big Ships" can't reach. ... Read More
This was our first cruise with ACL. We found the crew to be very enthusiastic and friendly. The cruise was to the ports in Maine (think pub craw of ports). It was nice to get into ports that the "Big Ships" can't reach. The cabin was very clean a spacious. Meals were excellent. The cruise would not be suitable to children because there are not activities for them. The average age would probably be 60 -65. Would recommend this to anyone who like American Made. That is from the ship to the crew. The entertainment was a little dated and would have like a little more choice in shore excursions. Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
My husband and I thoroughly enjoyed ourselves on this cruise. The ship is small enough so that you feel you are on your own private yacht with many of your friends. It was easy to meet our fellow passengers during the nightly ... Read More
My husband and I thoroughly enjoyed ourselves on this cruise. The ship is small enough so that you feel you are on your own private yacht with many of your friends. It was easy to meet our fellow passengers during the nightly cocktail/social hour and quickly found some couples with whom we 'clicked'. The lounge is spacious with many different seating areas for visiting. Dining experience was delightful, also, with a good and varied menu. Loved that they tried to serve the regional food.....in this case, crab! The crew was great.....young, enthusiastic and eager to please. We have been on the Golden Odyssey and Sea Goddess as well as America Cruise West, and although the first two ships are superb in every way and perhaps more seasoned and professional, we couldn't find fault with the young people who served us. Read Less
Sail Date November 2014
Give American Cruise Lines marketing staff an A+---but the hype is very close to fraud, based on my recent experience. Where do I begin to tell you of all the disappointments---first, the Rolls Royce stabilizers were nowhere to be seen, ... Read More
Give American Cruise Lines marketing staff an A+---but the hype is very close to fraud, based on my recent experience. Where do I begin to tell you of all the disappointments---first, the Rolls Royce stabilizers were nowhere to be seen, about 2 hours out of Portland, just as we finished lunch, and the ship started rocking side-to-side (so much that it was impossible to walk without weaving and stumbling)---2/3rds of the passengers got seasick (including my travel companion---but not me) and upchucked their lunch; only 1/3 of the passengers made it to dinner that night, and only 10 of us were able to come to the lounge at 8:15 for the talk by the naturalist. When the ship started rocking, there was no storm, and the waves didn't look that big to me (I'm a sailboat owner). When we got into bays and on rivers, there was no rocking. There are no phones in the room---even for intra-ship/room communication---no ice,no refrigerator, no bottled water (the bathroom faucet has potable water). The 2nd floor lounge, where all meetings are held, and tables are set up for one hour each day to serve as a bar, has an ice-machine, a cappucino/hot water dispenser, tea bags (but if you go to the lounge in the afternoon for a cup of tea, and the dispenser has no water in its tank, there is no phone or communications system for the passenger to ask a staff member to come and fill the tank). The first day there was a bowl of fruit on the counter, which was not refilled during the cruise, and midway through, there were flies hovering around the rotted fruit in the bottom of the bowl! There were warm cans of soda (and a sink/faucet with potable water). The only public restroom (unisex) on the ship is also on the second floor; the dining room is on the first floor. There is a small elevator (4 thin people max) on the ship. The fourth floor deck has chairs for sunbathing, but no staff member assigned to wipe the morning dew off of them; no bathtowels; no beverage or food server; no room service at all on the ship. Wine and Beer are available at lunch and dinner, and liquor available at the makeshift bar from 5:30-6:30 only; the hors d'oeuvres were minimal, and one night, featured COLD quiche passed by one of the young servers (several of them told me that they were recent high school graduates and had not had server jobs before). I identified each of the staff members (including EVERYBODY, but the captain) as having at least two jobs; for example, immediately after breakfast, the servers started cleaning the staterooms (on a seven day cruise,beginning on Saturday, they change the sheets and vacuum on Wed. of each week---other days, they make the beds and clean the bathrooms (there is a sign in the bathroom asking you to use your towels more than once if possible---but if you put them on the floor, they will give you dry, clean ones). Now, moving on to the food---this had been billed as a 'lobster cruise', and we seldom had any lobster, however, that may have been for the best, since the cook did NOT know how to cook lobster, which astounded all of us---the one night that they served a whole lobster, the people at my table couldn't figure out why the carapace was so hard and blackened (did he bake/broil/boil them rather than steam them??) and the meat dry and tough!**!! Then, the last night, we had 'stuffed lobster tails' and beef tenderloin----once again, the lobster had been overcooked, AND the tail meat not loosened or removed from the shell----the stuffing just perched on top...most of us did not each the lobster---but we enjoyed the tenderloin. We had excellent lobster OFF THE SHIP at a shore excursion 'lobster bake', ($35) where a caterer had steamed the lobster---YUM! Except at breakfast, there was no fresh fruit or vegetables to be found on the ship---and both my traveling companion and I had been cheerily assured by the marketing rep in Guilford, CT. that they catered to special food requests (I had requested fresh vegetables and fruit), and that meals were cooked to order---SO MISLEADING! This cost of this 7 day cruise was $5,000. Most of the passengers were over 65 (there were two couples that had adult children in their 30s with them); many were in their 80s, and one deflightful set of sisters were aged 90 and 92! I talked with a dozen couples for whom this was a celebration of 50 years of marriage. Read Less
Sail Date August 2012
Independence Ratings
Category Editor Member

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