61 American Cruise Lines American Spirit Cruise Reviews

This cruise was the return trip to Seattle for the American Spirit after a summer season of seven day round trip cruises from Juneau. While we visited the usual cruise ship ports of Juneau and Ketchikan, the real attraction was the small ... Read More
This cruise was the return trip to Seattle for the American Spirit after a summer season of seven day round trip cruises from Juneau. While we visited the usual cruise ship ports of Juneau and Ketchikan, the real attraction was the small "real" Alaskan ports where the big cruise ships cannot go. Petersburg, AK is a working commercial fishing port in the heart of southeast Alaska. The included tour was a one hour guided tour through the fishing docs led by a retired commercial fisherman. He explained the different types of fishing and pointed out how the equipment on each boat was specifically developed for one type of fishing. The wonderful Clausen Museum tells the story of those who lived and worked in Petersburg. Our next port of call was Wrangell, AK. We visited the Chief Shakes Tribal House of the Tlingit (pronounced Clingit) settlers. Visited the Petroglyph Beach where rock carvings have been dated 8,000 years before the Tlingit settlement. All tours were included in the cost of the cruise. Another plus for the small ship: we were able to traverse the innermost and most scenic of the routes down the Inland Passage. Saw numerous Humpback Whales and Orcas. Re-entering U.S. waters we also visited three small ports in the San Juan Islands: Friday Harbor, WA, Anacortes, WA and Port Townsend, WA. Port Townsend has a Historical District which is a treasure of Victorian Architecture; buildings from when the town aspired to be the "New York of the West." Nice roomy king stateroom on the second deck. All the basics but not luxury. Good bed though. Just aft of the forward lounge, I spend little time in my cabin anyhow. it was convenient and not noisy. American Spirit is not a noisy boat.   Read Less
Sail Date September 2013
Had I read their description on your site, I might have been a little more prepared for what I experienced and may have decided not to take the trip. The attraction for me initially was the Puget Sound/San Juan Islands itinerary. The ... Read More
Had I read their description on your site, I might have been a little more prepared for what I experienced and may have decided not to take the trip. The attraction for me initially was the Puget Sound/San Juan Islands itinerary. The delightful time I had last year on a European riverboat cruise drove me to replicate the experience in the U.S. Comparing the two is like comparing apples to oranges, but my expectations were driven by my experience last summer. The cruise is quite expensive based on the amenities. American Cruise Lines attributes that to higher American salaries and higher taxes on the cruise line than boats/ships registered under foreign flag. Also, I'm not sure there's another American cruise line to drive competition. As it states in the profile, it truly does have a niche market with an older demographic. But I mean MUCH older, probably averaging 80 years old. The excursions are tailored to that age group as are the onboard activities/entertainment (or lack thereof). The boat is really QUIET by 10 p.m. The crew, though really friendly and helpful, were young people for whom this is not necessarily a career. With the exception of the "managers," the remainder of the crew have a 3-month contract, so there's a lot of turn over and not much depth. I agree with the person who described the cabins as reminding them of a hospital room. That really captures it. I had thought sort of as a relatively inexpensive motel room. So in terms of value for $$, I won't be traveling American Cruise Lines again. Read Less
Sail Date September 2013
A really shocking experience-Cab driver never heard or knew about a cruise line docking at Shilshole Bay - dock is a third class wharf surrounded by warehouses-we found the ship with great difficulty. I almost cried when I saw our cabin - ... Read More
A really shocking experience-Cab driver never heard or knew about a cruise line docking at Shilshole Bay - dock is a third class wharf surrounded by warehouses-we found the ship with great difficulty. I almost cried when I saw our cabin - shabby,worn,outdated furniture- Motel 6 looks better! TV did not work most of the time, Wi-Fi neither because of lack of equipment-if 10 people were on line you could not get on!Same with the 2 computers. No Room Service, No TELEPHONES-if something was to happen to you nobody would know until the cleaning crew found you the next morning at?? Balcony door could not open fully-got stuck on the railing.To get enough coathangers took 3 days. Untill we were out at sea there was brown water floating in the toilets, which was normal the Captain told us??! The "All American Crew" turned out to be young, inexperienced kids working hours on end for peanuts,handeling food orders just before or just after cleaning publick restrooms because they had to clean our rooms too,woh!After three months they had to leave only to be replaced with the same untrained, inexperienced youngsters? I got hot tea water straight down my neck let alone all the wrong orders and the time it took to get our food. After paying for our trip we had to complete a list of "special diet requirements" which we did as I have several food allergies-Head Office told me it would go to the Hotel Manager on board. At my first meal I found out that nobody knew about it-the menue was never ready in time to make plans in advance nor was it first class. Three times a day trying to find something I could eat was nerve-racking-my nose is twitching and my ears are growing because of all the salads I had to eat! The last two days we ran out of lemons and large tomatoes while on dock? Hallo!Ever heard of shopping? The agent told me "There will be always food available" not true-if you missed the three main meals you had to live on packeged salty pretzels,chips-asking for a muffin in the afternoon was a No No! The docking places were like "flying under the radar" no other ship would dock there, awful sometimes,even had a sleeping homeless person on the dock next to the ship one morning! The next day rodents,ugly cement and wooden boxes when looking out of the window. Excursions were disorganised, busses were not large enough.One busdriver said he could get a larger bus but it takes 5 minutes to go there and 10 minutes to start it?? The bus to Olympic Park had no A/C nor oberhead light that worked and several seats collapsed back never to be errected. Did the shipping line care if these vehicles are inspected and safe for us? Staff was also new and had no alternatives nor clue regarding the excursions other than what the brochures said. The gangway was extremly shaky and small - people in wheel chairs had to be lifted up and taken down by crew members carrying them in their arms, dangerous! Amost all guests were Seniors and health problems were obvious,like canes and wheel chars, etc.- there was only one elevator in the middle of the ship which was rather old and difficult to handle-we were glad that there was no emergency!!Is this ship really up to US Coast Guards standards??They must have had blinkers on when inspecting it last? This cruise line should only advertise in the AARP Magazine and not with fancy catalogues and websites. We had fallen into the trap of paying a lot of money for a disappointing overpriced cruise - nothing was first class and we feel angry and cheated. I had to wait to calm down before writing this. How can you call this a eight day cruise? We did not leave Seattle untill 13:30 PM on the 31 August - on September 7 we arrived at 2:30 PM in Seattle where we sat till the next morning to be picked up at 8:30 AM? The Captain told me that the American Spirit had to go into dry dock. I guess they changed their mind-when we left things were ready for the next victims. Read Less
Sail Date August 2013
This was our first cruise. We traveled from Juneau, Alaska to Seattle, Washington. Group included myself, daughter, son-in-law and 19 yr old grand daughter. Majority of the travelers were between ages of 40 to 80+ but grand daughter was ok ... Read More
This was our first cruise. We traveled from Juneau, Alaska to Seattle, Washington. Group included myself, daughter, son-in-law and 19 yr old grand daughter. Majority of the travelers were between ages of 40 to 80+ but grand daughter was ok with that. Both staterooms were very nice although small but we were not in there for long periods of time. The entire ship was very nice and clean. Crew members were very friendly and helpful. Our on board naturalist Todd Weber was amazing! He has been doing tours for about 20 years and is very knowledgable about the area. If you are a history buff this is a good cruise for you. All of our shore excursions for town tours, museums etc were included in cruise price. At each port there were locals who came on board to perform music or give short talks about local history. We also had free time at the ports to shop or wander around the town. The meals on board were excellent! Each evening the cocktail hour was interesting with different appetizers and all drinks were complimentary. Breakfast consisted of fruits, cereals, etc as well as ordered hot foods. Each morning you had a menu for lunch and dinner so you could select what you wanted. Because of the region we were in there was a lot of seafood. We became tired of seafood 2 times a day but were able to order hamburgers, spaghetti etc. Before we arrived in Seattle we completed forms indicating times for transportation to airports or hotels. The crew members were very efficient in getting every one where they needed to go at the proper time. One traveler had to leave for airport at 4:00 am! We have already reserved out next cruises although we will not be traveling as the same group. We have decided we do not want to be on one of the large cruise ships unless we have to cross the ocean! Read Less
Sail Date August 2013
The cruise entailed two one-week back- to- back cruises of the San Juan Islands and the Alaskan Inside Passage. We chose the San Juan Island cruise as it took us to a very scenic area of the US which is difficult to arrange by car and ... Read More
The cruise entailed two one-week back- to- back cruises of the San Juan Islands and the Alaskan Inside Passage. We chose the San Juan Island cruise as it took us to a very scenic area of the US which is difficult to arrange by car and ferry transport independently. As long as we were in this area, it seemed logical to add on the Alaskan cruise which followed on up the northwestern coast of the US. We thoroughly enjoyed the scenic areas as we traveled up close to the islands in this group, stopping at the various small towns along the way. At times on the cruise, we saw one of the larger cruise ships way off in the distance not being able to come in close to the islands nor the coastline. How much the passengers missed!! Wildlife sighting of dolphins and whales occurred along the way, The shore excusrions offered provided a very well-rounded look at the area: history, the economy, Native American Indian lore, life on the islands and along the coast, sea life and the natural habitat, and the scenery, both on water and land. All of this was supplemented by a historian who accompanied the excursions and who presented lectures on board about the area and the things that we were going to see so that we had an excellent orientation to make the most of the time ashore. In addition, there was always time for a recap of the activities at the conclusion of the day. On many evenings, local entertainment was brought on board which included music, dance, story-telling, etc. Sailing on a small ship provided the opportunity to dock and be very close to the center of town affording us many opportunities to explore on our own. It was also very enjoyable to have some local seafood served for lunches and dinners as we traveled in the area. Everyday, the ship's crew endeavored to make each aspect of the cruise most enjoyable. We thoroughly enjoyed both cruises and feel we really explored in depth this area of the Pacific Northwest. Read Less
Sail Date June 2013
I arrived in Baltimore two days prior to the cruise since I had never visited the city and had heard great things about the waterfront, all true. The streets at the inner harbor are as busy as Time Square so I was glad I had booked a hotel ... Read More
I arrived in Baltimore two days prior to the cruise since I had never visited the city and had heard great things about the waterfront, all true. The streets at the inner harbor are as busy as Time Square so I was glad I had booked a hotel at Fells Point, a quaint older section of the port with cobbled streets and great old buildings including some good restaurants. I had an enormous room at the Inn at Henderson’s Wharf, with huge corner windows facing the wharf. It was a five-minute walk to the water taxi, a delightful way to transit the bay and just a ten minute ride to the Inner Harbor. Rides are just 7 dollars, 12 dollars for a day pass. I must say after seeing sensational aquariums in other cities, Baltimore’s was a huge disappointment. The setup is confusing, the windows are small and the tanks are not stocked with particularly attractive fish. I quit after half an hour, not waiting to watch the dolphins jump through hoops. Phillip’s Seafood has a huge restaurant right near the USS Constellation adjacent to the aquarium so I enjoyed their famous but pricey crab cakes for lunch. For dinner I chose Riptide in Fells Point, where I watched the waitress demonstrate to nearby diners how to attack the blue crabs. So much work for so little crab! I opted for the lobster tails. Passengers boarded the American Spirit the morning of June 1. I had booked a single cabin on the American Glory the previous week but it was cancelled and I was upgraded to a double cabin on the Spirit with a nice discount. The cabin was spacious and cheerful with a picture window, and located right next to the comfortable Chesapeake Lounge where activities took place including happy hour, plus round-the-clock refreshments and an ice machine. Unlike many cruise ships that gouge for web access, internet is free but not available in the cabins, and the signal was weak many days We departed Baltimore after lunch and enjoyed a spectacular view of the harbor including Fort McHenry, the siege of which in the War of 1812 inspired the U.S. National Anthem. We awoke on Sunday morning at the dock at Yorktown, near the battlefield that ended the Revolutionary War. It was a short bus ride to nearby colonial Williamsburg where we had a good walking tour of the historical buildings but no pass nor sufficient time to do all the interiors, and the shopping time was far too much longer than the guided tour. After lunch on board I took the free tourist trolley around Yorktown, but skipped the battlefield and the optional tour to nearby Plymouth, too much for one day. I enjoyed the excellent film on Plymouth archaeology that evening. I’d rather we had spent two nights here. Monday took us past Tangier Island where I looked forward to watching the watermen harvest crabs and oysters but a rainstorm made it too difficult for the ship to provide launch service to the island. So we went on to Cambridge MD earlier than expected. It’s an attractive city with lots of old homes, but nothing special other than a chance to take a ride on a skipjack (oyster dredging vessel). We had two overnights in Cambridge with other options like a Georgian-home museum or a walking tour of nearby Oxford Md which I took. I would not have chosen two nights here preferring to spend more time at Yorktown and Annapolis. I felt the same about our next two nights at St. Michaels MD, where we were docked at a superb 18-acre maritime museum. The museum curator led us through various buildings like a small-craft repair shop, an ancient crab processing plant, and an exhibit hall with an excellent commemoration of the War of 1812. We enjoyed a special reception in the crab-packing plant with crab cakes, crab dip, and desserts. The walking tour of historic homes around the harbor was pleasant but I skipped the eco-tour on a tributary. Weather reports of the first hurricane of the season were not optimistic for our Friday arrival in Annapolis, the city I had most looked forward to visiting. Rain was expected and we did go ashore in our uncovered launch with a light rain making the seats wet. From the dock it was a five-minute walk to the U.S. Naval Academy where a retired captain gave a good walking tour of the main buildings. The rain was not too bad, we had umbrellas, and we did spend time inside some buildings like Bancroft Hall and the chapel and crypt where the first U.S naval hero John Paul Jones is buried. The tour started and ended at the visitor’s center, where a chartered tourist trolley took small groups on a tour of the attractive city. Returning to the ship for lunch, the motor stalled on our uncovered launch and the weather had worsened with heavy rain and blowing winds giving us a good soak before the mate got the motor restarted after about ten minutes. Given the weather conditions the captain opted to return to Baltimore that afternoon rather than the following morning. The ship tied up at the Inner Harbor if anyone wanted to debark to shop or check out the nightlife. But with lobster tails and prime rib scheduled for dinner most people stayed aboard. I had to share this bounty with 90 other passengers, but the servings were always generous. Wine and cocktails are free with lunch and dinner and the complimentary happy hour included delicious hot appetizers daily. My favorites were the lamb chops, mini-crab cakes, and bacon-wrapped scallops. The variety of beverages available was excellent for such a small ship. I hate lines like that which result because almost everyone arrives at the start of the hour. That might be avoided if the hour were stretched to 90 minutes so passengers might not be in a rush to arrive. The additional cost to the ship would be minimal. We enjoyed several excellent lectures during the week, by a husband/wife team, he a journalist discussing historical events of the Chesapeake area, she a naturalist who explained the nature and challenges of the bay. I learned more than I expected to. And evening entertainment was pleasant with a pianist, a duo of dulcimer and guitar, and a semi-Sinatra impersonator who will not win the up-coming competition for Sinatra impersonators. One of the main reasons I booked this sailing was the “Crabfest” theme. We were treated to two kinds of crab cakes, crab salad, crab bisque, crab and corn chowder, crab-claw appetizers, soft shell crabs, crab omelette, crab quesadillas, crab quiche, open-face crab sandwiches, Caesar salad with crab, and crab-stuffed lobster tails, although there was always a meat or vegetarian choice if one preferred. I especially liked the dining setup with open-seating tables for eight which allowed single passengers like me to mingle with different groups each meal. I can appreciate why there were so many passengers with multiple repeat sailings. If you book another cruise while aboard there is a savings of 400 dollars per person. After the third trip, all excursions are free. The eleventh trip is completely free. There are no activities for young children which is fine since there are cruises that specialize in that. Most passengers are quite elderly and the ship’s crew members are extremely helpful and patient with them and quick to provide a wheel-chair when needed. I suspect the demographic is due to the infirm being reluctant to suffer the challenges of a long flight abroad. The destinations are easily reached with relatively short flights by U.S. airlines. My review with photos can be found on my blog at jimhornnews.wordpress.com. This was my second voyage with American Cruise Lines and it won’t be the last. There are numerous other interesting destinations you can find on their website. Read Less
Sail Date June 2013
My wife and I are retired teachers. We took several cruises on large ships and enjoyed them, but always felt as if we were just another number. We especially did not like the stress of boarding and departing and the large crowds that ... Read More
My wife and I are retired teachers. We took several cruises on large ships and enjoyed them, but always felt as if we were just another number. We especially did not like the stress of boarding and departing and the large crowds that always seemed to be present when going to or returning from shore excursions. Then we read about small ship cruising. Our first small ship cruise was with American Cruise Lines. We took what was then called the Antebellum South cruise, now called the Historic South and Golden Isles cruise. We enjoyed meeting everyone on our ship and liked the food. The small groups for shore excursions and the interesting lectures and informative presentations made this a new and unique experience. Since then, we’ve taken three more cruises with American Cruise Lines, including New England Islands, Hudson River Fall Foliage and most recently, the Philadelphia-Potomac cruise. We again enjoyed the ports, the other passengers and the attention to detail that we had come to expect with American Cruise Lines. Several of the people we ate dinner with mentioned that they would like to have a tour of Washington, D.C., which was where the cruise ended. Such a tour was not listed as a possibility for a shore excursion, but when the cruise director found that there was interest in such an excursion, she arranged a tour for us. Besides the wonderful ports and excellent meals we were impressed with the young people who served our meals, took care of our cabin and were so pleasant and thoughtful. The casual dress and non-assigned seating at meals made it easy to meet every other person on the ship. It was relaxing to spend each evening moored rather than at sea. When I speak to friends about small ship cruising, I tell them that while the per day expense is usually higher than large ship cruising, the interesting lectures and small group excursions are much more informative and less stressful. Boarding and leaving the ship is also much easier and more relaxed. The cabin size is generally larger than cabins on large cruise ships and the individual attention given to each passenger makes each cruise a truly wonderful experience. American Cruise Lines does things right. They listen to suggestions and do all they can to make cruising with them a special treat. Without hesitation, I can recommend American Cruise Lines. Read Less
Sail Date June 2012
The brochure says "professional staff" but we had college students on their first cruise. Most of the wait staff had never waited tables before! I have been a "training tourist" at a resort and received better service. ... Read More
The brochure says "professional staff" but we had college students on their first cruise. Most of the wait staff had never waited tables before! I have been a "training tourist" at a resort and received better service. Food was so bad that I sent back three plates and I have NEVER sent food back to the kitchen before. Oysters Rockefeller were a solid mass encrusted to the shell. Many items were overcooked or burnt. Eggs were consistently undercooked even when ordered medium or hard. Some food was quite good, but for the price I expected every meal to be outstanding. Our cruise director had never been to three of the six ports of call and couldn't answer questions about them. Rooms were OK, but sort of felt like hospital room decor. The illustration of the room in promo materials appears much more spacious than reality. At least there was adequate storage--however bathroom storage was awkward. The main activity on this ship is small talk with other guest, especially at meals. The acoustics in the dining room made this difficult (impossible at times). This cruise was quite expensive. I would have been disappointed at 1/4 the price. Read Less
Sail Date June 2010
We recently returned from the Historic Antebellum South cruise on the American Spirit, one of the larger ships operated by American Cruise Lines.  My first impression of the ship was good - we had a spacious room with a fair-sized private ... Read More
We recently returned from the Historic Antebellum South cruise on the American Spirit, one of the larger ships operated by American Cruise Lines.  My first impression of the ship was good - we had a spacious room with a fair-sized private veranda.  Unfortunately, things went downhill from there.  The first meal served on the ship was lunch, and we were somewhat disappointed with the service in the dining room.  The staff seemed very young and inexperienced.  Drinks were never refilled unless you were able to flag down a server.  While visiting with other passengers after eating, while waiting for dessert, the tables were being cleared of the condiments, placemats, etc.  The staff would reach right across us and grab what they needed, with never an "excuse me" muttered.  Very unprofessional, in my opinion.The service did not get any better throughout the cruise.  The hotel manager was a less-than-friendly young woman who seemed very put-out when asked questions.  Instead of asking her questions about our destinations, I just used the internet instead - it was nicer!  Our rooms were kept clean, but linens were not changed during the entire trip.  I dropped a piece of chocolate on one of my pillowcases the first night, and the chocolate spot was still with me at the end of the cruise.  I purposefully left the pillow on top of my bed several days, with the spot showing, just to see if it was changed. The food was (sorry, chef!) awful most nights.  This was a sentiment voiced by a significant number of passengers I talked with as well.  Little flavor, strange pairings, not always hot when served..just not good.The stops made on the cruise were okay, but I felt like we really had a lot of downtime.  Our first port was Brunswick, GA, which apparently closes down evenings and weekends.  There was absolutely nothing to do while sitting in this port, aside from the two excursions (which were over by 5 p.m.).  Thankfully, the other ports had more to offer!Overall, we did get to visit some fun places, and a few of the excursions were decent.  I would highly recommend doing research and setting up your own tours though.  The prices for most of the tours were much more expensive than if we had self-scheculed them.  I would definitely not book another American Cruise Line trip, but I am sure that it works for some.  There were several repeat passengers on our cruise who were ready to sign up for more.  I have been on two other smaller cruises (Delta Queen and Queen of the West), and the American Cruise Line doesn't hold a candle to the service offered on the others.  The staff of the American Spirit could really use a lesson in customer service! Read Less
Sail Date May 2009
My wife and I (ages 65, 67) just returned from a fantastic New England cruise aboard the American Spirit. The food and snacks were fabulous as was the ports Our Nantucket stop was heavenly as was all of our stops. The crew is so personal ... Read More
My wife and I (ages 65, 67) just returned from a fantastic New England cruise aboard the American Spirit. The food and snacks were fabulous as was the ports Our Nantucket stop was heavenly as was all of our stops. The crew is so personal and great they make sure everyone is happy. I've never seen passengers smiling so much, it Was wonderful. You travel so close to the ports, you really get a feel for the local histories. In New Bedford (a tiny port, right?) NO WAY! We visited their WhalingMuseum (great) A couple local bars (really great), then they had a local jazz duo come aboard and Play during cocktails. My wife made requests and we even bought their CD. If you've never cruise a smaller ship I cannot recommend this enough. It was fun Romantic and very relaxing. You could choose to be active or just lay back. Cruise director Jackie was so accommodating I swear she never sleeps We are booking another cruise next year with American Cruise Lines!! Read Less
Sail Date September 2007
Atlantic Coastal Cruise Reviews: American Star Maine Coast and Harbors - July 28, 2007 We are small ship cruise addicts. We love the sea air and visiting new places. This cruise wasn't a thrill a minute as some of our exotic ... Read More
Atlantic Coastal Cruise Reviews: American Star Maine Coast and Harbors - July 28, 2007 We are small ship cruise addicts. We love the sea air and visiting new places. This cruise wasn't a thrill a minute as some of our exotic experiences have been, but this was very enjoyable and relaxing. We were on the brand new American Star, only a few months old and she gleamed from head to toe. This was our first time on American Cruise Line. We arrived in Bangor a day early and stayed in a hotel. We were on the ship before lunch and sailed out as soon as everyone was on board. Our fellow passengers ranged from about 50 - to a lady celebrating her 85th birthday. Everyone was well traveled and interesting. A few had traveled with the cruise line before and wanted to check out the new ship. We arrived in each port pretty much on time and everything went smoothly with shore excursions. My favorite was a place I had never heard of, Belfast with its 17th century mansions and long time history of a wealthy town supported by shipbuilding. Our cabin was large compared to other ships we have been on, as well was our bathroom. There were nice lounges and the whole Observation Deck is for relaxing in the sun or shade. I enjoyed the little library and caught up on some reading when I awoke in the early morning while most of the ship was still asleep. We thought the cost of this cruise a little high going into it. But as day by day went along we felt it well worth it. We were generous with our tips as we thought the crew went out of their way the whole trip to make us happy. The name says it all. American Cruise Line, with an all American crew, sailing the waters of America's east Coast. Color this red, white and blue and a winner!!! Linda Androlia Read Less
Sail Date July 2007
American Spirit Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.0
Dining 3.0 4.2
Entertainment 3.0 3.6
Public Rooms 3.0 4.0
Fitness Recreation 2.0 2.8
Family 2.0 2.8
Shore Excursion 3.0 4.0
Enrichment 4.0 4.1
Service 3.0 4.4
Value For Money 3.0 3.7
Rates 5.0 2.6

Find a Cruise

Easily compare prices from multiple sites with one click