12 American Cruise Lines American Spirit Cruise Reviews

The PreCruise package for Seattle included a bus tour of Seattle and a night’s lodging in a nice hotel as well as breakfast and transportation to the dock. Embarkation, as well as disembarkation, went quite smoothly. The crew is always ... Read More
The PreCruise package for Seattle included a bus tour of Seattle and a night’s lodging in a nice hotel as well as breakfast and transportation to the dock. Embarkation, as well as disembarkation, went quite smoothly. The crew is always very attentive and interesting as well as interested in the passengers. This was my third cruise with ACL and I’ve enjoyed them all. The cabins and the common areas are always clean and well cared for. The food is very good and the evening entertainment is always very good. Usually it is local talent from the different ports but they are all very talented. The ports and excursions are interesting and varied. I love the fact that the ships are all built in the USA and the staff is all American, mostly college graduates. I like the fact that everything, except some of the excursions, is included so you don’t have to worry about how much drinks cost or how much you should tip the staff. The price might be higher than some cruises, but adding the extra costs from additional expenses probably evens out in the long run. The biggest downside on this ship, the Spirit (built in 2005), is the fact that the WiFi was very poor, although it was fine on the other two ships I was on, the America and the Constitution. Would I go on another one? Absolutely! In fact I’m already scheduled a fourth trip in June/July 2020. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
We always wanted to see the San Junan Islands of Washing state and thought this would be an effortless way to do it. Embarkation was easy. The itinerary was very good and we really enjoyed all the historical little towns and scenery. ... Read More
We always wanted to see the San Junan Islands of Washing state and thought this would be an effortless way to do it. Embarkation was easy. The itinerary was very good and we really enjoyed all the historical little towns and scenery. Our room was quite large and the king size bed was really nice and comfortable. We did not do a veranda, as they were very small and had a metal door, not a big window and other folks said they wouldn't have paid for a veranda had they known. We chose #205 which was fairly quiet and others in the aft of the ship said the engine could be noisy. There were always snacks and beverages available in the lounge and a continental breakfast for early risers. I would suggest booking a room on the starboard side, as it seemed they usually had the better view in port. Breakfast was good and had many choices. There were only 2 choices for lunch and dinner along with a vegetarian choice. I think the food was rather average, except for the last night when lobster and surf and turf was on the menu. No phones in the rooms which could be a factor in a medical emergency during the night. The ship is about the oldest in their fleet and needs a bit of updating, but was clean. There didn't seem to be stabilizers and when we encountered rough seas one day, many folks were ill, but it was only for about 5 hours or so. The wait staff along with the cruise director, etc were all great. The shore excursions and informative talks on board were enjoyable, but it would have been nice to have had a complimentary excursion in each port, such as a walking tour. The walking tour of Port Angeles was $20, but we went to the Visitor Center and got it for $12. Entertainment was just average and usually local people who lived in the particular town where we stopped for the day. This is definitely not a cruise for children, they would be bored. It was mostly 'seniors'. Disembarkation went smoothly and we paid for the airport transfer which was very reasonable. All in all, it was the perfect way to see the San Juan Islands. Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
I prefer small ship cruises, and this line seemed to meet all my expectations. Friends had traveled on it and recommended it highly. The only problem seemed to be choosing from a lot of exciting and inviting destinations. My son and I ... Read More
I prefer small ship cruises, and this line seemed to meet all my expectations. Friends had traveled on it and recommended it highly. The only problem seemed to be choosing from a lot of exciting and inviting destinations. My son and I chose the Puget Sound and San Juan Islands cruise and were not disappointed.. Everything was outstanding, from the pre-cruise package which gave us a night in Seattle and transportation to the ship to our disembarkation with the promise of a future voyage. Our single cabins were roomier than expected with plenty of closet and drawer space for clothes. We even had balconies, although I didn't use mine. The only problem was the bed which was narrower than I had expected. But I managed. Food was very good, and we enjoyed the fact that seating was not reserved, so that we had a chance to meet a lot of our fellow passengers. The late afternoon cocktail hour was another opportunity to mix. Because I have mobility problems, I found I couldn't take some of the shore excursions, but my son did and enjoyed them very much. I especially enjoyed seeing the Burchardt Gardens for the third time in my life and my visit to the Suquamish Museum. And even if I couldn't take advantage of the actual trips, I enjoyed David Stephens talks about the area, the people, and the tribal customs. I highly recommend both this cruise line and the ship we traveled on. Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
We wanted a river boat cruise experience as we are familiar with the big boat cruises. It was delightful. Fewer people & we were able to meet more of them. The ship is the oldest in the American Cruise lines fleet. It should be ... Read More
We wanted a river boat cruise experience as we are familiar with the big boat cruises. It was delightful. Fewer people & we were able to meet more of them. The ship is the oldest in the American Cruise lines fleet. It should be remodeled- it looks a bit dated! Cabin size was fine but for the most expensive rom - I would have thought it to be a bit bigger...again this is the oldest ship in their fleet- a newer ship and comparable room cabin may be larger! Food was wonderful and sufficient enough- not too much (but we could ask for more if we wanted). In fact we could customize what we wanted each meal if we felt like it (and we did on three meals occasions ) . Service was excellent and our food server Diana was chipper and delightful and always ready to help us! The ports and shore excursions were great - I would say that perhaps this cruise is one day too long. I suggest that they add one or two hot tubs on the top floor and an onboard masseuse or arrangements for spa service in towns that have those. We traveled with our son , his wife and our 26 yr old grandson. We were afraid he would be the youngest on the ship and he was not! There were at least 2 other families with children ranging from 10- 18 yrs old on our cruise. They all seemed to be having fun...even though there was nothing for them to do on board except play board games. (they all had their IPads and phones - they were fine). WiFi was good most of the trip. We will go on another American Cruise Lines trip - but not this one again because we have now seen the Puget Sound...and want to see other parts of the country! I love the fact that their entire fleet is built in AMERICA and is crewed by AMERICANS! YEA!!!!! Read Less
Sail Date June 2017
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
Sail Date September 2016
This was our 8th cruise with American Cruise Lines - we choose this line for its small ships, American crew, and interesting destinations. To enjoy the American Experience, you have to understand what you are NOT buying - no casino, stage ... Read More
This was our 8th cruise with American Cruise Lines - we choose this line for its small ships, American crew, and interesting destinations. To enjoy the American Experience, you have to understand what you are NOT buying - no casino, stage show, spa, salon, specialty dining, etc. What you ARE buying is local entertainment in small ports, friendly and responsive young staff, and mature passengers with lots of travel experience and rich life stories. Cabins are more than adequate in size (although I always pack extra hangers). Dining is one seating for lunch and dinner. Dress code is casual. Although we did not get as lucky with the wildlife as I was hoping (no bears for me) the scenery was beautiful, the weather acceptable, and the long journey south from Juneau to Seattle relaxing. The small ports we visited were unique and charming. The free hotel night in Juneau and transfer to the ship were a great idea. The Hotel Baranof is not a very nice hotel but hotel options in Juneau are very limited. On Alaska itineraries for American, most shore excursions are complimentary. Excursions were simple but the "city tour" in Wrangell, AK was exceptionally charming. Traffic in Seattle is terrible so neither the city tour nor the transfer to the airport were pleasant, but of course this is not American Cruise Lines' fault. Internet and television service were unavailable most of the time as the ship sailed a long distance from land. The hotel manager - also serving as cruise director on this voyage - was amazing. We loved Val's personality and attention to customer service. His eager young staff (the kids serve as both room stewards and dining room waiters) was so friendly and loveable. Some of the food was a little odd and we were disappointed in the quality of the fish and seafood, but I can tell you we did not lose any weight or come home hungry. We are booked on 2 more American Cruise Lines trips, in September 2016 and March 2017. It is a relaxing, informative, and pleasant way to travel the USA. Read Less
Sail Date July 2016
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
Sail Date October 2015
The shore excursion were good as was the food. The toilet situation needs some overhaul which I understand is coming at the end of the season. The staff is very attentive and tries hard to please the passengers. If you don't like ... Read More
The shore excursion were good as was the food. The toilet situation needs some overhaul which I understand is coming at the end of the season. The staff is very attentive and tries hard to please the passengers. If you don't like large portions of food ask for a half. Our cabin was good sized but have enjoyed the newer ships more. This trip was our fourth on this line. The naturalists on board was excellent and made the trip more enjoyable as was the variety of musical offerings. I personally liked my side day trip to Victoria, BC where I enjoyed tea at the Empress Hotel. Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
This was our first experience with cruising US inland waterways. The Puget Sound area was on our bucket list and we wisely opted not to try and cover it by auto. After looking over the ACL information with all the particulars about ... Read More
This was our first experience with cruising US inland waterways. The Puget Sound area was on our bucket list and we wisely opted not to try and cover it by auto. After looking over the ACL information with all the particulars about destinations, port's of call, sightseeing options and schedule options we decided to take a flyer. We were cautioned by our European river cruise travel agent not to expect the same quality of service as in Europe. In fact we were pleasantly surprised with the generally first class service we received on the American Spirit. The staterooms were comfortable and more spacious than we had expected and everything worked. TV reception was marginal but we didn't care. The food and table service was simply exceptional. Some of us really appreciated the half portion entree option. We (our party of eight) had a wonderful table server who attended to most of our meals by our choice. This was her first cruise but she performed like a seasoned professional. The evening cocktail hour was a nice bonus and gave us the opportunity to meet new people. We had a naturalist on board for most of the trip who provided several outstanding lectures on the history of the San Juan Islands in addition to teaching us much about the resident Orcas. Some of the after dinner entertainment was exceptional but none were poor. From the captain on down the ships crew was attentive, responsive and committed to making the cruise totally enjoyable. With one exception the on-shore excursion guides were well prepared and did a fine job communicating and highlighting important aspects of their particular tours. All-in-all it was a fine experience which we hope to repeat in the future. Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
This was my first cruise on American Cruise Lines. In comparison to large ships that I have been on, the accommodations are bare boned and stark. Do not expect luxury. The furniture resembles something from a University dorm room. But the ... Read More
This was my first cruise on American Cruise Lines. In comparison to large ships that I have been on, the accommodations are bare boned and stark. Do not expect luxury. The furniture resembles something from a University dorm room. But the bed was comfortable and the shower always had plenty of hot water. The rooms are serviced twice a day so there are always fresh towels and no accumulation of trash. One of the biggest advantages was the window sliding open for fresh air and a very small balcony for close up viewing of marine life. (The balcony was so small it was hard to sit on without crushing your legs but two people could easily stand outside.) This is the perfect cruise for the over 60 crowd and there were about 25% on board with special needs or disabilities. By that I mean the need for walkers, canes, assistance getting on and off the ship. The ships crew is very accommodating for people requiring help. However, they only had two wheelchairs on board. If you think you may need a wheelchair I suggest you bring your own. The average age I guess to be about 73 on the cruise that I was on. There were about 80 passengers on board. There were several cases of 50 something adult children traveling with 80 something year old parents. I loved the ports that we visited. My travel agent had not informed me however that the shore trips were an extra expense. (From other cruises I had been on, I knew this was not going to be the case.) In fact, she erroneously told me that she thought all was included. There was only one complimentary walking tour. Everything else ranged from $15.00 to $90.00. One pays for the shore excursions at the end of the trip along with a standard tip which they consider to be $125.00 per person. If one forgoes the shore excursions, you will miss a lot the areas have to offer such as the two trips to Olympic National Park. Some individuals on our trip hired a private cab at the ports to drive them around. While the staff was friendly, some of them seemed stressed out at the amount of work they were doing. It was also the beginning of the season and possibly they had not gotten the hang of it. The food was above average but not superb in my opinion. Sometimes it was not served at the proper temperature. My French toast that I ordered for breakfast was usually lukewarm. The final dinner on the ship, had some moldy rolls in the bread basket. The wait staff did special things for Birthdays-singing and a cake. The big advantage to this ship is the casual atmosphere, no dressing up for dinner etc. Another advantage for some would be the relative small amount of cruising on relatively calm waters. Every night the ship was docked in a port-the longest cruise time between Islands is 4-5 hours. Not much chance of getting sea sick on this boat. I guess it is all about expectations. If you are expecting a room like you might have with Cunard you will be disappointed. If you expect some beautiful sights, marine life, Native American history of the region and friendly people with similar interests you will have a great time. Read Less
Sail Date May 2014
We embarked from the Shillsole Marina about 6 miles north of downtown Seattle (some taxi drivers seem to have a hard time finding it). Ports visited were all in Washington state -- Anacortes, Friday Harbor, Port Angeles, Port Townsend, ... Read More
We embarked from the Shillsole Marina about 6 miles north of downtown Seattle (some taxi drivers seem to have a hard time finding it). Ports visited were all in Washington state -- Anacortes, Friday Harbor, Port Angeles, Port Townsend, Poulsbo, and Seattle. Poulsbo was the only tender port. This was a small ship, with 86 passengers on board. The room was reasonable size, with a small bathroom. Food ranged from average to good, with a lot of salads at lunch, and sometimes even at dinner. The daily free cocktail hour was a big hit, as usual. Crew was very friendly and helpful, and the hotel manager, Chelsea, was exceptional, somehow seeming to be almost everywhere at once. Tours were not great, mostly walking tours of ports. But, we did our own walking tours in many ports. There were also two premium tours offered -- a day in Victoria, B.C. and a whale watching cruise. From the ship, docks, and tours, we saw whales, eagles, deer, and harbor seals. Embarkation and disembarkation were both extremely easy, which is one of the selling points. As this was an "Eagle Society Cruise" for frequent cruisers on American Cruise Lines (ACL), many of the passengers had done 5+ cruises previously on ACL (as my wife and I had also). All in all, we had a good time. Weather turned out to be great, and we enjoyed the company of our fellow passengers, nearly all of whom were very experienced travelers, with numerous prior cruises - both ocean and river. The average age of the passengers was probably in the 70's, with only a few passengers under 60. This is the age group that ACL markets to, and our fellow passengers also seemed to enjoy this cruise as well as most other ACL cruises. You can also get a discount on a future cruise by booking it and putting down a deposit before leaving the ship. So, if you enjoy small ship cruising, with passengers in their "golden years", this would be a good cruise for you. If you are younger and/or looking for active shore tours, this is not the right one for you. Read Less
Sail Date May 2014
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
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

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