9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2016
Embarkation in Portland, Maine went smoothly but upon entering the ship and cabin we were very disappointed. Upon the suggestion of another couple with us, we were led to believe that small ship cruising would have "highly ... Read More
Embarkation in Portland, Maine went smoothly but upon entering the ship and cabin we were very disappointed. Upon the suggestion of another couple with us, we were led to believe that small ship cruising would have "highly personalized service" and an "accommodating crew will anticipate your every need and provide you with an unequal level of attention". The cruise up the Maine coast was geared to an older clientele . The entertainment was a joke and had a singer with an awful voice, talks, videos and piano player for approximately 1 hr, after dinner. The food was good, but should you want a drink or anything else to eat outside of meal time, you had to hunt for someone to ask as there are no phones in the rooms for any room service. The rooms themselves were very bare with a minimum of amenities. All the shore excursions cost extra except for a complimentary lobster bake that was the highlight of the week. The ports were okay, but only bus tours or walking tours were offered. The dining and cleaning staff were very pleasant but were young men and women working for the summer and the Manager, Cruise Director and Housekeeping Supervisor were not friendly. This is not a cruise for families and definitely aimed at the elderly. We were very disappointed as the cruise was very pricey and any expectations were not met. We will not be travelling with American Cruise Lines in the future. Other passengers expressed the same thing. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2016
Independence is a small cruise ship which made Embarkation & Disembarkation so easy. Ship has all the necessary amenities. If you're looking for swimming pool & movie theater try the other bigger cruise lines. Crew are ... Read More
Independence is a small cruise ship which made Embarkation & Disembarkation so easy. Ship has all the necessary amenities. If you're looking for swimming pool & movie theater try the other bigger cruise lines. Crew are all friendly & helpful from the Captain who invited all the passengers for a tour on the bridge, to the youngest steward. Their main concern was the comfort & safety of the passengers. Dining: free seating, usually 3 main options for dinner & passengers are requested to make their choices on the same day during breakfast. Usually these options would cover all tastes, and if there is any dietary requirement, the Chef tries his best to cater for that. Most of the passengers are all mature couples, no kids and therefore, no kids' activities. Shore excursions are limited but most of the ports of call during the Coast of Maine Cruise were small and could be seen independently. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2016
I chose this cruise line because my husband and I like small cruise ships. Our ship had only 77 passengers and we got to know several of them very well. Boarding and disembarking went very smoothly. The staff were very attentive to our ... Read More
I chose this cruise line because my husband and I like small cruise ships. Our ship had only 77 passengers and we got to know several of them very well. Boarding and disembarking went very smoothly. The staff were very attentive to our needs. It was very casual which we appreciated and the food was excellent. There were some excellent speakers on board and fun entertainment. We really learned a lot of history about the area we were visiting which we appreciated. No Broadway shows, but every night before dinner there was a complimentary cocktail hour with yummy appetizers and beer or wine was served with lunch and dinner. Some of the desserts were to die for! Of course the dinners were excellent and there were snacks everywhere. Our excursions were fun and it was just a totally lovely casual vacation. If you are looking for a very good small cruise ship, this one fits the bill. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2016
The cruise line was recommended by a friend. The cost is a bit steep but worth every penny. Norwegian 7 day eastern Caribbean cruise for 2 is about $2200. A 6 day cruise along the coast of Maine for 2 was about $8000. The difference? ... Read More
The cruise line was recommended by a friend. The cost is a bit steep but worth every penny. Norwegian 7 day eastern Caribbean cruise for 2 is about $2200. A 6 day cruise along the coast of Maine for 2 was about $8000. The difference? Several thousand passengers versus no more than 99; cocktail hour that caters specifically to your wants (one woman wanted a specific drink they didn't have the fixings for the first night but they bought what was needed the next morning at a port so she'd have what she wanted); gourmet meals that are amazing; special order meals any time you want. In short, we were spoiled rotten the entire time. At even a hint of wanting something the crew magically made it happen. There were excursions at every port of call - museums, art centers, a national park - plus information on where to shop. I only wish we could have stayed longer - like forever. We can't want to go on another one. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2016
Had only been to Portland, Maine before and wanted to see more of Maine. Had book a cabin on the lower deck, but when I arrived because of the lesser number of passsengers I was upgraded to the third deck with a private balcony. Everything ... Read More
Had only been to Portland, Maine before and wanted to see more of Maine. Had book a cabin on the lower deck, but when I arrived because of the lesser number of passsengers I was upgraded to the third deck with a private balcony. Everything was great. A great chef who came out and visited every table at every meal to see how people like the food and if they had any complaints. Was willing to fix something special for you if they had the capability. All of the staff were friendly and extremely helpful. Interesting shore excursions were offered at each port. The cruise included an old fashion lobster bake on shore. The cabin was just the right size and was cleaned each day. The ship was easy to get around. A great cocktail hour each day before dinner was served. Wine and beer always available for each meal. Had some type of entertainment each night. This was my first cruise every and I selected it because of its small passenger size. Have already booked another one for 2017. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: May 2016
This is my seventh cruise on American Cruise Lines, and I have just booked my eighth! I never thought I would want to take a cruise, but ACL has made me a believer that this is a great way to travel. This time I was on a 6-night cruise, ... Read More
This is my seventh cruise on American Cruise Lines, and I have just booked my eighth! I never thought I would want to take a cruise, but ACL has made me a believer that this is a great way to travel. This time I was on a 6-night cruise, New England Islands, which included historic and scenic points of interest in New Bedford, Nantucket, Martha's Vineyard, Mass.; and Block Island, Bristol, and Newport, Rhode Island. The food was wonderful, as always; great quality, and variety. I enjoy being able to order half portions. All of the shore excursions were interesting and well planned. For me, the size of the ship (around 100 passengers) is great; no long lines, and lots of chances to meet fellow cruisers. The entertainment was enjoyable. The staff is first-class; friendly and congenial, and very skilled at their jobs. For me, these cruises are a stress-free and enjoyable way to see many parts of our beautiful country. I have only seen a child on one of these cruises; they are more planned and structured for adults. I can't wait for my next cruise with ACL! Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2016
Returned from a 6 night New England Island cruise that departed from Providence, RI to celebrate my 60th birthday. We went on a Star Clipper cruise a couple of years ago and realized we really like smaller ships. The Independence has a ... Read More
Returned from a 6 night New England Island cruise that departed from Providence, RI to celebrate my 60th birthday. We went on a Star Clipper cruise a couple of years ago and realized we really like smaller ships. The Independence has a capacity of about 100, though there were about 74 on our cruise. We found the cruise caters to a much older crowd than what we were looking for. Our fellow passengers were all very nice, but the average age seemed to be late 70 to 80s and some older than that. Of the approximately 74 passengers maybe 10 were under 65. The cost for the cruise is at a premium, and probably not worth the price. We had an infinitely better experience on Star Clipper for about the same cost. The biggest complaint we had, which may not be an issue to others, is there is no bar on board. Drinks at lunch and dinner with a happy hour before dinner. We've found in the past that we enjoyed getting to know fellow passengers over drinks. You could get a beer from the dining room afterward, or passengers took the leftover wine from dinner. But we were terribly disappointed at the lack of a bar in what is called "the lounge" on these ships. Arrived a day early to visit with a friend in Providence. Stayed at the Wyndham Garden which is within walking distance of the embarkation point for the ship. Unfortunately the Wyndham Garden is undergoing a major renovation to convert it to to a Hilton, so there was no restaurant on site. They did provide a shuttle if you wanted it. Embarkation on the Independence was effortless: drop off your bags and go to your room. Bag was delivered within minutes. The staterooms are large, though nothing spectacular. We stayed on the third level and had a balcony and a window that slip open. Though on a cruise you tend to stay in your room only to change and sleep. The ship was nice enough. Other reviewers commented on the dated decor, which I didn't notice too much, but my wife did. Fabric on a chair in our room was torn, the sofas in the lounge (more on that later) were like those at Grandmother's house. The crew was terrific from the Captain to the wait staff. The crew was all from the US and the wait staff work very hard both serving meals and cleaning rooms. Meals were generally very good. All meals are open seating at set times, though an early breakfast is available. A little awkward in that you choose your lunch and dinner selections at breakfast. They will prepare something just for you if none of the three (at dinner) selections are to your liking. Entertainment was marginal. Good lectures about upcoming ports of calls, etc. Other entertainment was along the lines of Dean Martin and Andrews Sisters imitators, a very rude sea shanty singer, bingo, etc. Ports and excursions were all at an additional charge, at least until you sail 3 or 4 times with ACL. For some bizarre reason we spent an entire day in New Bedford, MASS, which had little other than an outstanding whaling museum. Contrast that to a short stay in Newport, RI where there were several things to see and do and little time to do them. You could tell that this was the first cruise of the season as there were several hiccups such as proper docks for the ship's shuttle. Also, the ship seemed to dock at locations that weren't accessible to the most interesting parts of the islands. An example is Martha's Vineyard, where you need to take a bus or taxi to Oak Bluffs where restaurants and shops are located. This cruise is NOT recommended for children because they would be bored to tears. Frankly I probably wouldn't recommend it to anyone much younger that 65 or 70. Perhaps I'd recommend this cruise in 20 years but I wouldn't not right now; price too high for what you get and the activity level is way too low. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2016
We chose American Cruise Lines because we wanted to be on a small ship, we loved the itinerary, our friends who'd been on before said everyone seems like family, and the reviews were great. We were looking for a great experience ... Read More
We chose American Cruise Lines because we wanted to be on a small ship, we loved the itinerary, our friends who'd been on before said everyone seems like family, and the reviews were great. We were looking for a great experience – what we got wasn't quite enough to be even good. I was surprised that this was a fairly new ship, when we got to the dock it looked like some old ship. The dining room and lounge felt very dated, worn upholstery/carpets throughout, smallish staterooms also bland - it all felt very utilitarian. We also had a problem with our reservation as we were on for 14 days and had to change rooms midtrip because someone in booking couldn't be bothered to try to keep us in the same room. We paid a lot of money for great and we got average, worn rooms, boring décor, below average entertainment, often things felt like they were done on the cheap and disengaged staff – just disappointing. We cruise a lot on the higher end cruise lines and this one was very expensive for what you recieved. Everything was just mediocre. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2016
From the time that we were greeted on-board at Charleston, to the moment we dropped off our bags at the Jacksonville, we had a 5-star experience! Sure there were bumps in the road along the way, but even those minor complaints paled as we ... Read More
From the time that we were greeted on-board at Charleston, to the moment we dropped off our bags at the Jacksonville, we had a 5-star experience! Sure there were bumps in the road along the way, but even those minor complaints paled as we considered the whole. We had an accessible room (213) with plenty of closet and drawer space for our clothes. The ship was well maintained and public places tidy and clean. I wish I could name all the crew members that seemed to be up at all hours anticipating our needs, but here are a few. Lisa, the hotel manager and her assistant, Shannon were whirlwinds of service. Josh, the cruise director was everywhere ensuring that we made each excursion and also functioning at the very important duty as assistant bartender. Chris, in charge of housekeeping but more importantly, our bartender, seemed to be the first up in the morning making coffee in the Chesapeake Room and was there to put us to bed. Happy Hour was “happy” as ACL served premium beer, wine and liquor with the hor d’oeuvres and got us ready for our dinner prepared by Jonathan, the chief who visited very table during the meals to check on us. The meals themselves were outstanding and served by some very attentive waiters. I don’t remember all their names, but Alexis, Ashley, Ivy, and Talil come to mind. Not a bad one in the bunch. Junius was our historian and infused us with knowledge of the intra-costal canal and the history surrounding it and the hundreds of islands forming the Low Country. All in all, with the outstanding weather and excursions in Charleston, Beaufort, Jekyll Island, Hilton Head and Savannah made it a vacation to remember. Read Less
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2016
American Cruise Lines- Historic South and Golden Isles Cruise March 19-26, 2016 We arrived in Charleston two days prior to the cruise departure and stayed at the Hyatt Place historic district on King St. The hotel is only 5 months ... Read More
American Cruise Lines- Historic South and Golden Isles Cruise March 19-26, 2016 We arrived in Charleston two days prior to the cruise departure and stayed at the Hyatt Place historic district on King St. The hotel is only 5 months old and the accommodations were very nice and convenient to shopping and dining in the King St. area. I would caution anyone against ordering any foodstuffs from the “Pickup and Go Menu” in the rooms as these items are all pre-packaged and hardly edible to say the least. There are plenty of local eateries offering a wide selection of lunch and dinner options all along King St. that would be a far better choice and cost about the same. On the other hand, the downstairs daily hot breakfast at the Hyatt was quite good and plentiful. We left for the City Marina on Lockwood Dr around 10 am on Saturday and were the second to check in. ACL representatives met us at the end of the pier and took all luggage to the ship at that time. They also provided golf cart rides out to the ship for those with limited mobility. Cabins were not available until 11:30 or so and we were directed to the Chesapeake lounge where warm cookies, soft drinks, coffee, water and espresso were available. These were available all throughout the cruise at no charge. Surprisingly enough the ship also furnished free WiFi during our cruise. When we entered our cabin there were nice ACL lanyards, nametags, and room keycards along with a folder of information about our cruise and staff. We were in cabin 212, an AAL balcony cabin adjacent to the mid-ship lounge. We liked our location so much due to the proximity that we booked the same one for our next cruise. The décor was a bit dated looking but the cabin was very clean and the staff maintained that during our cruise. The AC was good as I kept the temp in the high 60’s most of the time. Each day offered delicious meals in the dining room on the first level and were among the best we have had in our cruise history. Breakfast service began at 7:30 am and choices included both hot and cold items. A table just inside the dinning room featured cold selections such as yogurt and fruit parfaits, smoked salmon and capers with bagels and cream cheese available on request, and various pastries. Hot, cooked-to-order options were provided on menus at each place setting. The reverse side of the breakfast menu featured the day’s selections for lunch and dinner as well as places to indicate whether you’d be dining off-ship for any meals. You would make a selection from offered appetizers and entrees so that the chef would have a better idea of how much of the various dishes to prepare. This was an excellent way to prevent a lot of waste with uneaten foods which ultimately helped the kitchen deliver better-cooked, more flavorful meals. Lunch commenced at 12:30pm. In addition the appetizer and entrée, dessert options were available. If you missed lunch onboard due to an excursion, the staff provided options for boxed lunches with ham or turkey sandwiches that you could take with you. We did this one day and were really surprised at how good the sandwiches were and how much they put into the boxes. The evening’s meals began with a cocktail party at 5:30 in the Chesapeake lounge and featured heavy hors d’eouvres which changed nightly. It’s worth noting that if you have a favorite brand of liquor, you can simply call the home office with your booking number pre-cruise and they’ll have it onboard for you. Dinner followed in the dinning room at 6:30. They started with appetizers and always had a soup option. The soups were outstanding and some of the best any of our four had ever had. Entrees followed and varied from seafood to beef, chicken, pork and lamb. One evening we enjoyed filet so tender you could cut it with your fork. Desserts were good as well and there were about 8 different kinds of ice cream which were always available. The servers were attentive and friendly which made for pleasant meals. We took at least one shore excursion in each port and were pleased with the cost of each. The ship was able to dock in all but 2 ports (Hilton Head and Sapelo Island) and for those we had only a short tender ride to shore and back. Toward the end of the cruise there was a presentation about future cruises with an offer to book while onboard for 15% off and free port charges and taxes ($500). If should be stated that there was no pressure and we were not asked but the one time. We were not hounded to book additional cruises. However, after consulting with our traveling companions, we did book a future cruise to the New England Islands. Being long-time Princess cruisers we were amazed at the free drinks, cocktails and coffees not to mention the free internet. The only downside we could come up with was the lack of laundry as we usually send out clothes a couple of times during a cruise. There were no telephones in the cabins; but since nothing was more than 100 feet from our cabin door none were needed. On the wall next to the desk was a large red emergency call button if anyone were to have need for assistance. All in all, we had a wonderful time and felt the value for the money was very good. The crew were all very friendly and accommodating. They really wanted us to have a great time. Obviously we’d do it again as we booked another cruise with ACL. Read Less
Independence Ratings
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