2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
This was to be a bucket list trip down the Intracoastal Waterway. The ports were interesting but the ship was a complete disappointment. Stateroom was very small. The amenities could have come from a cheap motel. Burned out light in ... Read More
This was to be a bucket list trip down the Intracoastal Waterway. The ports were interesting but the ship was a complete disappointment. Stateroom was very small. The amenities could have come from a cheap motel. Burned out light in the tiny bath was never replaced. Three pieces of personal property were discarded by housekeeping staff. WIFI was non-existent. Food was boring and tasteless. I actually lost weight on this cruise! On the last night my stuffed lobster tail had no lobster. It was sent back and plate was returned. I was told the lobster was in the stuffing. My husband pointed out his lobster. Finally I got my lobster but it was still on the original plate. The next morning my plate garnish was a rotten grape on a pick. We complained to management and were not given satisfaction. ACL is only interested in their own pocket not in customer service. There was no value for the amount of money this cost. We will never cruise with them again and certainly will never recommend ACL to others. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2018
Jacksonville to Charleston 12/21/18 I really, really hate being critical or complaining. But a realistic review of this cruise is important for others to read. I should have picked up on the lack of CC reviews of the ... Read More
Jacksonville to Charleston 12/21/18 I really, really hate being critical or complaining. But a realistic review of this cruise is important for others to read. I should have picked up on the lack of CC reviews of the Independence, but the timing and itinerary was perfect for us. This cruise was beyond disappointing. ACL advertises "perfect cruising". This cruise was not an example of perfect cruising; it was more an example of “annoyed cruising”. As the primary travel planner in our family, I was so upset and disappointed the first night hat I couldn’t even sleep. We are experienced cruisers on river boats and small ships. This cruise was more expensive than anything we’ve ever booked. It was a lower-middle-class cruise at upper-class prices. I contacted ACL in January with a more detailed review. I was offered a 25% reduction on a future cruise with a very short time limit. It was insulting. PRE-CRUISE COMMUNICATION Most basic gap was communication. There is little detailed information on the website. When you call with questions, the agents don't know answers, don't offer to find out, or just give you wrong answers. The ship’s smoking policy changed, but nobody told the Captain! In numerous phone calls, my travel agent and I were both told that all information would be available on the ship. Nothing could be further from the truth. EMBARKATION When we arrived at the boarding point, the ship was not there. No signage, no communication. We spent about an hour looking for her and finally asked at the Hyatt. They directed us; we should drive down a one-way street the wrong way. Really?? We were greeted enthusiastically and our luggage whisked away. We were escorted to our cabin; it was a very warm welcome. We were not informed about the time of the safety muster and missed it returning a rental car. I find this very disturbing. SHORE EXCURSIONS Most river and small-ship cruises have at least one included shore excursions each day. After booking, I contacted ACL three times with no response. With a couple of exceptions, we paid extra for our shore excursions. The ACL brochure is misleading about prices, it is very clear that ACL is minimizing the fact that we'll pay extra. There are no details about excursion timing ... morning or afternoon or all-day. It only got worse after we sailed. The first evening, we were given a list of all shore excursions with prices. We were expected to complete these lists for the entire cruise and turn them in a few hours later. Unacceptable. CRUISE DIRECTOR LILLY Lilly is a lovely girl, enthusiastic and energetic, but lacks proper training for a Cruise Director's position. She was absolutely clueless. She blasted announcements in our cabin many times each day. The worst part of this cruise. Very little information was available, customary evening port talks were not held. I attended the first one where Lilly read us the ship’s newsletter. When the printed schedule changed, nothing was posted, with no phone in the room we had to track someone down to ask our questions. The “office” was often vacant. At evening meetings, Lilly would take questions from the audience and not repeat them, giving the answers with the rest of us now knowing the question. Being sure your audience understands is the most basic protocol of public speaking. At games in the lounge, Lilly was great. We had a great deal of fun with a gift exchange SHIP Clean and bright, comfortable lounges on each deck. Captain Dennis did good job of explaining minor deviations, tides, weather and his planned timing. Everyone appreciated his joining us at meals when his schedule allowed. There were festive holiday decorations up everywhere. Internet worked in the lounge, not in our cabin; Captain explained the reason after I spent two hours banging around on my new laptop and inquired. The ship looks worn and is without style, like your grandmother’s house back in the 70’s. Very nice coffee and goodies set up in lounge every morning at 630. There was an espresso machine with no directions. I tried twice and gave up. CREW Other than the dining room, most seemed inexperienced and scrambling for information but did a decent job. They were friendly, welcoming, good at their jobs. A real plus for this cruise. The "visiting lecturer" Rachel was a superb speaker, but her information was about the history and other aspects of the area, not about what the actual plans were for each port. Captain Dennis was very personable and created a very positive image of American Cruise Lines. Senior crew were obviously trying to make up for an incompetent cruise director, they were great. MEALS A real highlight of the trip: great service, fabulous food, attractive and spacious dining salon. We loved the small portions. We booked a cruise with room service breakfast, but after embarkation we were told it was not available, by then we were resigned to mediocrity. Both dinner and lunch are served in courses, we’d prefer a buffet lunch. Nightly canapes at cocktail time were excellent, lovely to have servers passing them in the lounge. CABIN Our cabin on the top deck was spacious with a nicely furnished balcony. Good shower, two large nightstands with large lamps that should be hung on the wall. The rest of the cabin was dismal. Window blinds don’t close properly and light shines in all night. No coat hooks at entry, and the television takes up most of the room on the dresser. Hard to believe that it’s not hung on the wall. Only other horizontal space is a good-sized desk. Closet is tiny, no shelves. No surprise that electrical outlets were behind furniture at floor level. Two over-sized armchairs were squeezed together, I guess this is ACL’s idea of a suite. Bath has an 8" vanity and no shelves, one robe hook on door. I wrapped my makeup in a dinner napkin and stowed it in a drawer. ACL has wonderful itineraries, and we would love to cruise with them every year. Their prices are so astronomical that it would take a 75% discount for me to even consider them again. A real shame. Lots of people say they love ACL, but they have never sailed on a small ship in Europe. Read Less
25 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
I heard aboard that the owner reads all the reviews so after I sent in my 17 page complaint letter I waited weeks, just now received a response from the VP saying my letter will be used for training and if I'd like to book again ... Read More
I heard aboard that the owner reads all the reviews so after I sent in my 17 page complaint letter I waited weeks, just now received a response from the VP saying my letter will be used for training and if I'd like to book again before Feb 1st I will receive 25% discount. What an insult after asking for my money back. Day 1 room was clean but not stocked (no toilet paper and no water, only two towels? Then it just got worse..Disgusting room, housekeeper left a small key on the middle of bathroom floor, we left it for her to get, THREE days later she got it. Asked for water and cups in room, never got it. Thought our window was a broken dbl panel leaking and that's why we could see out of it until I CLEANED IT, and turns out it was just old dirt caked on. Interrior of the boat is old pale yellow couches and fixtures my 83 yr young Mom thought was old,boring,"Care-Center like". Blinds didn't work. I save a few people from tripping on extension cords throughout the week due to blatent stupidity when it comes to safety. One time at dinner I opened the rolls basket and found unbaked defrosted biscuits (yes like Pillsbury), I brought it to the attention of the wait staff and they rounded up all the baskets for the important part. Food was blah, vegetables were bagged frozen I guess, always wrinkly and blah. One of the staff told me he can't eat most of the food available. Staff personal things left here and there. Broken machines. Cheap bar choices. DO NOT DO THIS CRUISE ON THIS BOAT. I'm telling you, I can go on and on for 17 more pages, hygiene, crew with way too laid back of attitude, I was working on my vacation for the health and safety of my family and fellow passengers and as Mom said it "We are lucky we made it out of there in one piece" ...Our disembarkation was a flooded parking lot, rained the night before +an incoming tide. They had our flight information and could have told us this the night before and that morning, no one did. My Mom and I hopped a fence, rolled up our pants, threw our luggage in a dock cart and waddled and rolled to a street to get an Uber while the remaining passengers and staff just stood around, doing nothing but missing their flights and watching water. NOTHING was good about this cruise except the things we did away (tours, excursions) from it. WORST CRUISE EVER, and we've been on a lot. My first review because it was so bad I am shocked I didn't know ahead of time. VERY PRICEY for crap. A Thanksgiving we will never forget for the wrong reasons. And one more important thing to keep this short, Why would the VP ever think I would book another cruise with this company? -And there is no way they can be re-trined by Feb 1st, HA! What a horrible business plan to not have refunded our money. I have told many business associates, friends, neighbors about how bad this was and they have many friends as well. SHAME ON AMERICAN CRUISE LINES, jokers taking advantage of older people. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
From my first contact by phone with the cruise agent through the debarkation, everyone and everything was a most pleasant experience. I have been on several cruises and this ranks near the top of the list. First and foremost was the ... Read More
From my first contact by phone with the cruise agent through the debarkation, everyone and everything was a most pleasant experience. I have been on several cruises and this ranks near the top of the list. First and foremost was the attentiveness and attitude of the entire crew which was directed t making our trip pleasant and enjoyable. The fact that passenger count was small (at capacity) allowed for interaction between everyone which made for a most comfortable time and conversation with all. The ship provided ready access to every public area and was clean and well manned. Our cabin was large by cruise ship standards and dining was excellent. The entertainment was good and their was always something to do. All personnel were dedicated to providing first class service to all passengers. The ports were well chosen and provided good shore experiences. I would most assuredly use American Cruise Lines again. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
Love the small ship! We had 100 passengers, so got to know most folks on board. The ship perhaps needs to be updated, but it was clean and serviceable. There were many problems with our key cards not working, but any crew member was able ... Read More
Love the small ship! We had 100 passengers, so got to know most folks on board. The ship perhaps needs to be updated, but it was clean and serviceable. There were many problems with our key cards not working, but any crew member was able to open for us, and resetting the key was pretty quick. We were in 204, so just steps from the lounge. I didn't go to the nightly entertainment, but the cabin was quiet even while the entertainment was in progress. Balcony was great, loved the fresh air. The folks in the cabin next door started smoking on their balcony, and the crew quickly shut that down, which I really appreciated. The food was excellent! Really, everything was top quality, cooked perfectly, and enough variety that I always found something I liked.The tours were good. I wish they'd told us more about the tours, but the ones we went on were worthwhile. Would definitely go again. No big ships for me, I love the small river cruises! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2018
This was my second cruise on the Independence and I have booked two more cruises for 2019 and 2020. We were able to take a New York City tour before sailing giving me a chance to visit the 911 Memorial, which was very important to me. ... Read More
This was my second cruise on the Independence and I have booked two more cruises for 2019 and 2020. We were able to take a New York City tour before sailing giving me a chance to visit the 911 Memorial, which was very important to me. Touring West Point was such a wonderful experience and the FDR Home and Library were a highlight of the trip as well. I could have spent a whole day there. I enjoy the atmosphere of the small ship and getting to know so many people. The age range of the passengers is more to my liking, closer to my age. And the fact that American Cruise Lines has staterooms designed for singles makes traveling a little less expensive for a single person. The food was wonderful and the variety at each meal was a real treat. The open seating at all meals made it so easy to get to know people. The service staff and management were exceptional. Looking forward to traveling with American Cruise Lines again. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
Hudson River - Fall foliage peak times are hard to predict and we missed the color this year. I would recommend taking a late October cruise in order to see color on the Hudson. Excursions - The excursions were fee-based, but the fees ... Read More
Hudson River - Fall foliage peak times are hard to predict and we missed the color this year. I would recommend taking a late October cruise in order to see color on the Hudson. Excursions - The excursions were fee-based, but the fees were reasonable. I thoroughly enjoyed the Lyndhurst Mansion, FDR's Hyde Park home and Presidential Library, Thomas Cole home, Olana, West Point, and the Albany City Tour of the State Capitol and NY State Museum. All were superb tours with informative guides. My only complaint is that there was not enough time at most places, especially Hyde Park, West Point, and NY Capitol and Museum in Albany. Entertainment - Nice variety (singers - several different groups, comedian, magician, violinist). Good entertainment. Lectures about the Hudson, the places we were going to visit the next day, the art and culture of the Hudson were very informative and added to the overall experience. Dining - I have never seen so much food at all hours of the day. No one could possible partake in all the food offerings. However, I found the food very salty and had a hard time finding low-sodium selections. The breakfast offerings were amazing. Don't know how they can't prepare so many choices on such a small ship. Cabin - Decor is a little dated. Room is large. There is a lot of drawer space. Bathroom is adequate for one person at a time. Room is not always re-stocked with items unless requested. Service - Varies. We had some excellent dining servers, and some who were new and just learning. Service is slow in the dining room. Embarkation and Disembarkation: Very efficient. New York City: If traveling some distance, one should spend a few days in NY City before or after the cruise. The city has so much to do. Even if you've been to NY before, there is always something new (such as observatory at 9/11 site) and new Broadway plays. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
My sister-in-law booked this cruise and invited my husband and I to join them. We have traveled numerous times together and have many of the same expectations and standards. Upon reading the itinerary we were excited for the ... Read More
My sister-in-law booked this cruise and invited my husband and I to join them. We have traveled numerous times together and have many of the same expectations and standards. Upon reading the itinerary we were excited for the adventure. Upon embarking, the ship smelled old! The flower arrangements were artificial and very dusty/old and tired looking. The main gathering room, The Chesapeake room, has dirty couches and broken blinds. The stateroom was one of “the larger” rooms with a king bed (actually two twins pushed together, VERY uncomfortable) was crowded. The TV was a 19” and hard to view from the bed. The brochure stated dvd’s were available, it failed to mention they were from the 1990’s and very few. Our cabin’s furniture was also very dated and soiled. Three small pillows were there, strange for a king sized bed. The bathroom was very small and cramped. On our preference sheet, we requested extra toiletries and a small fan, neither were provided. Actually, the ship RAN OUT of shampoo and they often did not replace the bar soap. On the third day of a seven day cruise, they couldn’t keep up with the towels. There were times we did NOT have ANY towels. I mentioned my concerns to hotel manager and he told me as he was walking away (over his shoulder) there isn’t any shampoo on the whole ship! He scolded me when I asked him for a replacement key and to keep it away from my cell phone. I mentioned it never worked and that it wasn’t near my phone, he just repeated my scolding louder. Tours were very disorganized and not ADA compliant. My husband had to lag behind to help other passengers as no cruise member did. The entertainment consisted of a banjo player (who was really pretty good) and several lectures! How is lecturing a bonus evening entertainment? The food was phenomenal! Jvon was our server and was fantastic, he kept us sane! There was NO room service so we never had breakfast on board. There was a coffee donut setup from 6-7 Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
We, with two other couples who also were celebrating 55 years of marriage, were looking for a domestic, low key, intimate cruise. This well fit the bill although it was quite expensive relative to other luxury options......but we ... Read More
We, with two other couples who also were celebrating 55 years of marriage, were looking for a domestic, low key, intimate cruise. This well fit the bill although it was quite expensive relative to other luxury options......but we understood a small vessel simply had to be more expensive. The cruise met or exceeded many expectations, friendliness of staff, cleanliness and size of state rooms and other spaces, interesting ports, good shore excursions and generally good + food quality, variety and presentation. BUT, the food service was barely acceptable and the server we had would not last a day at a restaurant like Cracker Barrel. Aside from the captain, first mate, chef and hotel manager, the entire staff appeared inexperienced. While the staff were invariably polite, respectful and helpful, the lack of experience/training was obvious. I will not take another trip with them and certainly not recommend it to anyone....at half the price it would be decent. Read Less
Independence Ratings
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