105 American Cruise Lines Independence Cruise Reviews

Love American Cruise Lines and their small ships. We got to know all the passengers and most of the crew. The embarkation and disembarkation went smoothly. The activities director and the historian were excellent. The excursions were ... Read More
Love American Cruise Lines and their small ships. We got to know all the passengers and most of the crew. The embarkation and disembarkation went smoothly. The activities director and the historian were excellent. The excursions were well planned and organized. So much planned, you had to choose which activity to go to. One day my husband went to one and I to another. We then shared our experiences at dinner. We enjoyed the holiday themed activities. The food was tasty and the dining room staff accommodated our requests outside the planned menu. I requested a hand- held shower in our bath. It was added within 24 hours with an apology for taking so long! My husband forgot our charging cord to our Apple computer on the ship. He called the director of housekeeping ( the number was listed on the daily news letters) requesting it be mailed. It arrived within a week! The only negative was the weather. It rained for most of our trip. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
Being seasoned cruisers on ocean sailing lines, we were interested to try out the American Cruise Line's style of cruising the inland waterway enabling us to visit seaside towns that we'd never otherwise see on a big ship. ACL ... Read More
Being seasoned cruisers on ocean sailing lines, we were interested to try out the American Cruise Line's style of cruising the inland waterway enabling us to visit seaside towns that we'd never otherwise see on a big ship. ACL charged a much higher price but offered a lot less for the money. We already were prepared for a smaller ship with less amenities but found it even more lacking in service, activities on board, and shore tours. Yes, we're used to crew from all over the world, many from countries where they rely on tips from good service to feed their families but it was downright disappointing in how lacking this all American crew was. There were a few exceptions like deckhand Sean and waiter Kevin but for the most part it was seriously lacking. There were several meals where I'd get something other than what I ordered and/or something as routine as chocolate ice cream or bagels was out of stock. Routinely we'd have slow dining service to the point that ice cream ordered for dessert sat on a tray melting into soup while our waitress chatted. I was on this cruise with someone who'd previously sailed on ACL but when he tried to request the referral credit for use on this sailing, they couldn't figure out how to apply it. Their first solution was to give it as a credit toward another sailing but that was unacceptable since there was no way of guaranteeing we'd want to come back for another sailing. It took reaching out to a supervisor who learned that their first offer was because the computer had closed out our reservation having paid in full and no one knew how to get back in to apply the credit. We happily accepted the supervisor's offer of comping the referrer's tours for this voyage instead. First leg of the cruise, we get a bill for not only both of our tours but also for ones we never took! The hotel director cleared the charges once we showed the supervisor's confirmation. Second leg of the cruise, we get a bill for both our tours again and joined a line half the ship long only to show the hotel director the same confirmation. She cleared the new charges after that as well. Several activities on board were either scheduled and never happened or scheduled for times when passengers were off on tours. Other days, the tours were the only thing scheduled for the bulk of the day. Yes, this was the cruise director's first time handling this itinerary but she was majorly misinformed about the ports we were visiting. Rather than tell a passenger that she'd look into the answer to their question, she'd tell them an answer only to say the opposite later on. There were days we'd be told there's no shuttle for those just wanting to head into town on our own. Then hours later she's announcing that the shuttle will be departing in 20 minutes. Upon arrival at one port, the local tour guides and our cruise director were telling us about all these places to check out on our tour. Come to find out during our tour that half of the places promised to visit are closed because they are always closed on Mondays. It'd be one thing if it was simply bad timing because the places were closed due to construction or repair but to be suggesting something every other local we talked to knew was closed on the day we'd be in port? Yorktown - visited Williamsburg on a ship tour. Nice tour with guided building visits and then free time to explore on our own. Norfolk - Naval Station & MacArthur Memorial. Was a group of 10 but our local guide was used to a group of 40 so every step we were rushed only to have a ton of time left at the end with nothing to do but return early to the ship. MacArthur Memorial was closed because it was Monday so a church was substituted. We listened to a local parishioner talk about the church's history and our guide made him talk even longer than he'd planned because we had extra time to fill. The Nautilus Center the cruise director and the local guides hyped up visiting when we returned to the ship was also closed on Mondays. People from the area I talked to later said right off the bat "oh too bad you were in Norfolk today. The Nautilus Center is a great place but it's always closed on Mondays." Hey ACL, you should have known that and not offered such a tour on ships that dock there on Mondays. Kitty Hawk - Interesting visit to the Wright Brothers Museum/Memorial. A little mix up in that our guide walked us around and gave a brief history before letting us explore on our own until the ranger talk that was to give more history. Time for ranger talk kept getting pushed back until we were told by our guide that we'd have to leave right after the ranger's talk. Ranger came out and talked about staying on the marked path in the grassy areas to avoid bugs and a lecture on staying safe in riptides and that was it. Heard from other passengers who'd visited here before that there's normally a lot more to the ranger's talk. Our guide reacted well and gathered us up for a bus ride up to the plane memorial on the hill since we'd already walked around the outdoor exhibits the ranger led everyone else to after her talk. Beaufort, N.C. - Had booked a city tour on a double decker bus for the afternoon but after taking a shuttle into town in the morning (the one that wasn't going to be supposedly) and riding that shuttle back with a full van of passengers who'd bailed on the morning city tour complaining about the lack of things to see, we cancelled. Wilmington - Booked what we misunderstood to be a hop on/hop off trolley but it turned out to just be a shuttle into the center of town. Tried to board a true HOHO trolley we saw advertised while in town after looking up their times to stop at this intersection finding that it was about 15 minutes from our arrival. Their posted arrival time came and went so after 45 minutes of waiting after that to see if they'd show, we tried walking around the shops in town. Returned to the meeting spot to pick up the shuttle trolley and his promised return every 15 minutes was another 45 minutes of waiting. Charleston, SC - Overnight stay and also the port where those only doing the second leg boarded. First day we took the ship excursion to visit Fort Sumter. Lucky to have ended up with the nice shuttle driver because dinner mates in the next shuttle told us they feared for their safety given how he peeled off despite being told to wait and follow our driver. Then proceeded to drive erratically and dangerously to the Fort. Our guide at the Fort told us that she was going to get the ferry tickets and to wait for her by the stairs. We got worried when the ferry started boarding and she hadn't returned to the stairs so we got in line expecting to have to explain our lack of tickets. Once we reached the front of the line, we spotted our guide who'd instead come down from the ticket office and went straight to the ferry ramp. When we asked about being told to wait for her by the stairs (not in sight of the ramp until we were at the front of the line), she said "well I told people they could follow me if they needed a restroom." When I continued to question it, she said "Well, you're here now so you didn't miss anything." Charleston, SC - 2nd day in port - took advantage of the shuttle into town in hopes of finding a local tour to pick up on the spot. Turns out it was the same drivers as yesterday and we ended up with the rude driver who insisted we had to be back within 2 hours because he was stopping the runs at 11:30AM even though they were contracted until noon. We asked for directions to the nearest drugstore/grocery store and he insisted there was nothing nearby. We toured the shops over several blocks including the famed City Market. We passed an opportunity to book a carriage ride but opted against it since we had one planned through the ship later. Back waiting for the shuttle and this time it was the nicer driver who told us "What do you mean there's nothing? There's a grocery store 5 minutes away!" He went out of his way to detour and drop us at the grocery store after we promised to be able to get what we needed (eye drops) and be back out in the 15 minutes it would take for him to drop everyone else back at port. When he came back (later than planned because a parade redirected traffic), we were the only ones left to shuttle so he took us on an impromptu tour of the city when we mentioned being unable to see anything with the short time frame given by the other driver despite not having to be back onboard until 3PM. Beaufort, SC - Tours offered by the ship that required multiple sessions like today's carriage ride were arranged in shift groups by the cruise director. We were assigned to the last ride of the day and it was actually a blessing in disguise. Toured the shops in town during the morning and enjoyed lunch in a local restaurant that had service above and beyond our ship experience. The last carriage ride of the day was so nice and peaceful with the setting sun and a great guide named Charlotte. Hilton Head, SC - our one tender port though if you asked our cruise director a few others were to be tender ports but then weren't. We booked a dolphin tour and again had to be given shifts. It was delightful to see such dolphin activity even from the ship and it only continued during the tour itself. After the tour I climbed the Hilton Head lighthouse, a passion of mine whenever there's a lighthouse in a port. Savannah, GA - Took the morning trolley tour which was a full city tour and visit to the Massey School. Having formerly worked with children in the classroom, seeing the first public school in the area was very informative. Taking this tour also gave me a free pass to ride the HOHO trolley system the rest of the day so after lunch on the ship I used the trolley to move all over the city checking out the local charm and famous landmarks. Brunswick, GA - Sea Turtle Rehab Center and Jekyll Island ship tour. Jekyll Island felt like touring a ghost town or abandoned movie set but the Sea Turtle Center was fascinating for an animal lover like myself. Fernandina Beach FL - missed due to storm and being unable to anchor so we sailed into Jacksonville early. The first half of the trip there was an art teacher on board who ran a class every day. I only got to attend the first two classes because of the tour scheduling and was berated by both the teacher (for my lack of art skills) and her husband (to anyone who chose to watch from their seat when she demonstrated or left their brush sitting in the water cup). Second half of the trip, the cruise director ran one art class and organized a couple bingo sessions for the entire 7 days. The first bingo session no one showed because it was during tours. I would have happily offered to run a class or teach a craft if I knew ahead of time and could have gotten materials. Highlight of the trip was visiting the pilothouse (or bridge on the big ships) as this was a much more common thing to offer on the smaller ships. First time we missed because it was scheduled same time as tour. Second time we got the guide to rush us back early to make it only for it to get cancelled due to unfinished maintenance. Third time we finally got to see it. Our cabin steward Emma started out great and we were glad to see our room being tended to so quickly each morning. Especially since there wasn't much else to do after breakfast but return to the room. As the cruise went on, we started noticing how our room was suddenly not getting done until the early afternoon. A much more pressing annoyance when your cabin is the only available bathroom! When we asked Emma about the delay, she said that passengers on deck 2 complained that their cabins weren't getting done first so she has to do their cabins first now. There's no priority in cabins on this ship. Why is deck 2 getting special service? Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
My wife and I love the fact the ACL ship has 100 passengers max. The ship is cozy, casual and very well run. The crew, top to bottom, are friendly, responsive and efficient. The cabins are roomy with private balconies. The food and ... Read More
My wife and I love the fact the ACL ship has 100 passengers max. The ship is cozy, casual and very well run. The crew, top to bottom, are friendly, responsive and efficient. The cabins are roomy with private balconies. The food and service is excellent. We have done the big ship cruises (3000+ + passengers, and swore we will never do another big ship again!) We discovered ACL last summer when we did their New England Island cruise, and loved it. We have already signed up for our third cruise with ACL for Nov. 2020. It was fun to be able to mix and mingle and sit with different people at every meal. Since many passengers, like us, were older, retired people, and from a variety of states, cities, businesses and professions, mealtimes were always interesting and entertaining. American Cruise Lines have smaller ships so they can visit more of the coastal and river ports than the big ships, so we you get to see more of the country up close and personal. Landing in port, there are at most only 100 passengers who disembark or go on shore hikes and excursions vs. 3000 people descending on a port at the same time. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
We chose this cruise because of its itinerary (which was unique and they were good ports that we enjoyed). Unfortunately due to the very poor quality of the ship and crew we were not pleased with the cruise overall. There was poor service, ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of its itinerary (which was unique and they were good ports that we enjoyed). Unfortunately due to the very poor quality of the ship and crew we were not pleased with the cruise overall. There was poor service, marginal food, dirty and unkept ship and cabins. A couple of people left the cruise after the first 24 hours apparently due to the underwhelming conditions. They do have good marketing skills because their brochures describe a luxury 5 star cruise and they charge 5 star prices. The ship is designed well for what it does (small ports) but it was not built as a 5 star luxury ship. The entertainment was marginal, but we were not going on this cruise for the entertainment. Some of the lectures were good but most were not. By far, the service was the most disappointing. We always ordered two glasses of ice tea or water, because they rarely came by to provide refills. We usually had to wave down a waiter to come take our order and sometimes waited 45 min to get the meal. The crew was inexperienced and simple jobs like docking and tying off the tender were laughable. The best laugh was when a crew member let a wheelchair roll off the dock and into the water (they tried using a grappling hook, but they never found the wheelchair). Unfortunately American Cruise Lines is just not up to par. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
We were interested in the Charleston-Savannah area--Its history etc. After the we disembarked in Jacksonville we rented a car and went back to Charleston and stayed there for four days. Also we liked the small ship! The staff was very ... Read More
We were interested in the Charleston-Savannah area--Its history etc. After the we disembarked in Jacksonville we rented a car and went back to Charleston and stayed there for four days. Also we liked the small ship! The staff was very good in every way. The entertainment was very well done and varied. Chris Paul was especially outstanding. I would very much like to attend another one of his shows. The food was very good and tasty. The servers went out of their way to do everything they could to make up happy. The cabin was very comfortable and the staff cleaned it daily and more often if requested. The only complaint we would have was the non existent WiFi. I had to increase my data for my phone. Except for the WiFi the cruise was very well done. We must been very satisfied as we signed up for an Alaskan Cruise in 2020. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
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
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
Sail Date December 2018
AMERICAN CRUISE LINE REVIEW Historic South/Independence Getting on board was a breeze. Drop your bags and walk right on. Ship decoration is adequate, not new. There are two public computers, greatly appreciated. Dining room ... Read More
AMERICAN CRUISE LINE REVIEW Historic South/Independence Getting on board was a breeze. Drop your bags and walk right on. Ship decoration is adequate, not new. There are two public computers, greatly appreciated. Dining room meals were varied and creative, with some occasional misses, and not always hot. Breakfasts are usually a problem on ships and resorts, but this one had huge variety, and a special every day. Lobster or crabmeat was available daily. Waiters aimed to please. All tables were for 6 or 8 people; we’d prefer not having to socialize three times a day. Stateroom attendant was thorough, though not always timely. We loved all our optional tours, though the price seemed a bit high. We chose Amelia Isl. River Cruise Sea Turtle Ctr and Jekyll Isl tram Savannah walking tour Lowcountry bus tour Ft. Sumter ferry Other places (Hilton Head, Charleston) we were able to walk by ourselves. Staff: Special recognition for Amelia, Cruise Director, Dakota, waiter, and Sandy Balla, guest expert. TVs had adequate selection. Evening shows were generally OK to very good, especially Sandy lectures. Four nights were visiting musicians (heavy emphasis on oldies), and two were talks, and one game show. Ship could do more for handicapped. Elevator was small, gangplank rickety. Buses and tenders need reserved seats for handicapped. Free bus shuttle service to the airport completed an almost perfect trip. Recommendation: Have a doyen from the Pat Conroy Center in Beaufort give a talk. Read Less
Sail Date December 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
Sail Date November 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
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
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
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
Sail Date October 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
Sail Date September 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
Sail Date August 2018
Every minute on this cruise was wonderful. I have traveled by car and RV on the Maine coast, but never from a cruise ship. It was just magical. Breathtaking scenery, wonderful meals, deliciously cooked, presented perfectly, and served ... Read More
Every minute on this cruise was wonderful. I have traveled by car and RV on the Maine coast, but never from a cruise ship. It was just magical. Breathtaking scenery, wonderful meals, deliciously cooked, presented perfectly, and served expertly. So many choices every day for every meal. Lots of excursion options, great speakers on board, all was outstanding. The staff were all helpful, friendly, knowledgable and professional. The staff doesn't know how to say "no" to any request. For example, during our daily happy hour I asked for a specific brand of liquor which they did not have on board ... but the Hotel Manager got it for me at the next port! How thoughtful is that!? I was traveling with 3 girlfriends, and I loved it so much (and knew that my husband would also), that I booked this same exact cruise next year for my husband and I to enjoy together. What more can I say? Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
This was truly Small ship crushing at its finest. We had been on the coast of Maine when we lived in New England and decided seeing it from the water side would be fun and it was great. The dining was all we wanted and more than we ... Read More
This was truly Small ship crushing at its finest. We had been on the coast of Maine when we lived in New England and decided seeing it from the water side would be fun and it was great. The dining was all we wanted and more than we expected. The chefs were incredable. The Fourth of July “lobstah” and clam bake by the ocean in Rockland was “all you could eat” goodness. The entertainment was real New England. The whole process from reservations to disembarking was informative, professional and easy. We enjoyed this cruise so much that we have booked another one in nine months, joining the non cost Eagle Society so that we can enjoy a few extra events and chances for pre cruise accommodations and tours included with the cruises. We have enjoyed large ship cruises with family, however, we are having a ball planning cruises by ourselves. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
Turn around time for the cruise is only 2 hours and not enough time to get the ship clean in between cruises. WiFi, only available if you stand next to the public router. Staff in the dining room, young and not well-trained. Choose ... Read More
Turn around time for the cruise is only 2 hours and not enough time to get the ship clean in between cruises. WiFi, only available if you stand next to the public router. Staff in the dining room, young and not well-trained. Choose different tables until you find a staff that has experience. Cruise Director and Social Director is very good. We found very nice younger passengers we connected with, and had a very nice time. We gathered in the evenings up on deck. It is quite cold in the evenings and the cruise line does not offer blankets. Food was plentiful and very good. The lounge has coffee and snacks. The snacks are power bars and fruit, coffee is not replenish during the day, espresso machine was broken. The excursion were mixed. Some very good, others not so much. I would travel with this company again, but only on the new ships. This is a very expensive cruise for what you get. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
Chose cruise for the itinerary. As compared to 2 other riverboat US cruises we have taken this ship doesn’t begin to live up to our previous experiences. The size or square footage of the cabins is a plus on the Independence. The ... Read More
Chose cruise for the itinerary. As compared to 2 other riverboat US cruises we have taken this ship doesn’t begin to live up to our previous experiences. The size or square footage of the cabins is a plus on the Independence. The decor seems like it is from the 1950’s in the cabins and public areas. The “multi-purpose” room lounge is tiresome. It seems like we spent way too much time for announcements, coordination of activities, education, cocktail hour, entertainment, and selling future cruises in the same room. We created several of our own shore excursions because the ones offered were not interesting. Again, on past experiences the cruise line offered shore experiences exclusively for the those who were passengers on the cruise and we could review the itinerary ahead of time and know the pricing. American Cruise Lines did not clearly explain options and pricing, both online and even on a daily basis. Security basics were lacking, not even safes in the cabins. Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
We were looking for a small ship experience and we found it. We travelled with friends who we have cruised with previously on one of the large cruise lines. We had made our own travel arrangements to and from New York City in advance. ... Read More
We were looking for a small ship experience and we found it. We travelled with friends who we have cruised with previously on one of the large cruise lines. We had made our own travel arrangements to and from New York City in advance. Embarkation and disembarkation were well organized and went smoothly. The cruise was well run, the ship is well maintained and extremely clean. Our cabin was more than adequate with space for all our gear. The food service was pure gourmet. Menu choices were provided each morning at breakfast for the day but you were not held to your choices if there was a change of mind. Entertainment and on board activities were adequate with Happy Hour being a delight. There was an on board lecturer who made a few historic blunders but to my knowledge no one called her on them. She came off as an absent minded professor type. We selected a few of the provided excursions but elected to go out on our own at a few ports. All in all it was a great trip. Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
We chose this cruise for the itinerary--that is the Hudson, NYC, Hyde Park, fall foliage Very well organized; ship staff wonderful; small passenger size was important; ample time to connect with friends. We did do the NYC pre-cruise ... Read More
We chose this cruise for the itinerary--that is the Hudson, NYC, Hyde Park, fall foliage Very well organized; ship staff wonderful; small passenger size was important; ample time to connect with friends. We did do the NYC pre-cruise tour; it covered the hi points including One World Trade Center w/well informed guide. Cabin was small, but that size was expected; chose the veranda room and that made all the difference; partitions on veranda were removed so visiting and sailing w/friends was enhanced. The dining service was always great; wines available, nice selection of entrees and appetizers and desserts; loved that 1/2 portions were available. During the evening entertainment, great snacks served. Staff always accommodating and service w/a smile. Embarking was smooth and efficient; disembarking went well until bus to airport. Bus driver refused to drive to all terminals; left passengers hauling bags and finding other ways to get to correct terminal. Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
In my opinion it all begins with the Captain of the ship and this Captain was on top of everything. His presence was constant and he put an emphasis on the passenger’s well-being. This attitude flowed downward to his directors and ... Read More
In my opinion it all begins with the Captain of the ship and this Captain was on top of everything. His presence was constant and he put an emphasis on the passenger’s well-being. This attitude flowed downward to his directors and crew…and, more importantly us. His mate when he wasn’t the Captain’s shadow, he insured the security of the ship and did a great job of handling the deck crew. His hotel managers, cruise director, and housekeeping took their cue from the Captain and provided outstanding service. They always went with the flow, remaining extremely flexible as we ran into several bouts of inclement weather. They and the stewards even make a lobster boil in the middle of a torrential rainstorm fun! It was a “lobster” cruise and every meal their executive chef found some way to bring lobster into the menu and it always was fantastic. He ran a very close second to the regional chef that we had on our New Orleans to New Orleans cruise over last New Year’s. I didn’t realize that having lobster three times a day wouldn’t get old. Having said that, I had several beef dishes, also great! The chef took personal pride in his position and visited the tables every evening. It was evident that the deckhands and stewards bought into the Captain’s professionalism; they were super. All in all, a fun cruise with old friends that came all the way from New Zealand and the opportunity to make new ones. Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
The food, the service, the attention to detail were awesome from the Captain down to every staff person on deck. The rooms were very spacious! All the ports of call gave a different view of Maine and displayed the current life plus the ... Read More
The food, the service, the attention to detail were awesome from the Captain down to every staff person on deck. The rooms were very spacious! All the ports of call gave a different view of Maine and displayed the current life plus the history.r Things that we enjoyed were the maritime museum, transportation museum, lobster boat expedition, and lobster bake. The cruising time was balanced between both night to get us to the next port and also daytime to allow us to see the scenery via our great balcony view. The exercise equipment was positioned at the back of the boat top outside deck to allow us a have a great view. The equipment was covered out of the sun and wind, Very enjoyable. The captain gave us a very detailed tour of the bridge which included maritime maps, radar review, docking procedures, lobster avoidance, and the many rules of the water. We enjoyed all aspects of this trip. Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
This was a 2nd cruise with American and while it was not quite as enjoyable as cruising the Chesapeake Bay on the brand new Constellation, it was still worth the cost. Our trip was a "Lobster" cruise and Lobster it was. Lobster ... Read More
This was a 2nd cruise with American and while it was not quite as enjoyable as cruising the Chesapeake Bay on the brand new Constellation, it was still worth the cost. Our trip was a "Lobster" cruise and Lobster it was. Lobster was available on every menu and it was real Maine Lobster. If you ever want to see how much lobster you can eat in a week this is the cruise for you.While the Independence is a smaller and older ship it is in good shape, the rooms were clean and everything worked.On the Constellation our room was a Suite 502 and on the Independence we had 323 which was at the aft of the ship. Both rooms were sufficient in size and for the money I preferred 323. I would recommend that if you make this trip try and reserve a room on the starboard side because with the tide level you will be looking into a harbor wall when you are in port, especially Portland. Also avoid at all cost taking this cruise if you end up in Bar Harbor as we did on Labor day. The crowds were horrible and Arcadia Park was such that you could not see the landscape for the people standing in front of you. This is a quite tour for the older crowd. The entertainment was not Broadway performances but all had a good time and I did learn a lot about Maine and its history. We enjoyed all the small towns and the trip to the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens was a highlight. The service was excellent with the Hotel Manager and Cruise Director going up and above the call of duty to see that all were in the right place at the right time and that all were having a good time. My wife and I have already booked two American Cruise line tours for 2018 so I guess you can say I recommend American Cruise Lines Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
Independence Ratings
Category Editor Member

Find a Cruise

Easily compare prices from multiple sites with one click