102 American Cruise Lines Independence Cruise Reviews

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
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
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
Friends had travelled on river cruises in Europe and wanted to try US cruises. We knew that they were more money than larges cruise ships but American Cruise Lines advertised that we would get professional and top rated service. This was ... Read More
Friends had travelled on river cruises in Europe and wanted to try US cruises. We knew that they were more money than larges cruise ships but American Cruise Lines advertised that we would get professional and top rated service. This was not the case as young college students that did the housekeeping and waited in the dining room had a 1 week training [as told to us] and were going back to school in a few weeks. The young men and women were Very nice, but not professionals as we were told. Ship was substandard compared to larger ones and the public rooms and decks were not taken care of [in terms of service or cleanliness] Top deck did not have garbage emptied or dirty glasses and ice cream dishes picked up for several days until we asked, and room balconies were never cleaned unless we asked. The evening entertainment was a joke and during the day the public rooms were used for naps or making puzzles. NOT a cruise for families as there was nothing for anyone under 70 to be involved with. Should have stated in advertising that it was a cruise line for the geriatric group. We would not, nor will we use this cruise line in the future. A relative has since cancelled a cruise up the Hudson and friends are rethinking a cruise to Nantucket on this cruise line. Professional staff was NOT friendly . Read Less
Sail Date July 2016
When we first got on the ship, I thought, "This must be an old ship that they retrofitted". There were duct tape repairs in the dining room. The cabin looked like something out of the 1970s. Then the captain told us it had been ... Read More
When we first got on the ship, I thought, "This must be an old ship that they retrofitted". There were duct tape repairs in the dining room. The cabin looked like something out of the 1970s. Then the captain told us it had been built in 2010. Wha? When we arrived at Chelsea piers, we went where we were told to go. Nothing. We had to get out & ask. They told us to go to another pier. Nothing. Finally, we found someone with an ACL shirt, and he said, "No, you need to go to Pier XX". Did I mention it was, windy, cold, and my father-in-law is disabled? Did I mention that the porter almost dumped all of our luggage into the river on the very narrow gangway to the ship? Ugh. When we got to the ship, they had to transfer my FIL to a smaller wheelchair. I said "Are they making you move to another chair?" The captain turned and snapped at me, "Do you have a better idea?" I was totally shocked. Great way to start the cruise with the captain yelling at me. I didn't know that the gangway was too narrow for his wheelchair. Snapping at me was uncalled for. We got there at the time we were told to be there, and then staff told us we were way too early. The rooms weren't ready (I get it) so we sat in the lounge, which was filled with sofas. Does anyone know how difficult it is for elderly people to get up and down from a sofa? Some of the dining staff were great, helping my FIL when he fell out of his chair ... others, not so much. I saw unwashed hair, sloppy clothes, and one actually said, when we told him our food was cold, "Hey, I just deliver the food!" and did nothing to remedy the situation. The food was sub-cafeteria quality (and I use the word "quality" loosely). We kept seeing the same thing over and over in one shape or form. One of our excursions was riding on a bus for 2 hours, going around in circles. The stop at a "farm" to have apple cider was at a grocery store. The cruise director (after I realized there was one!) was shy and Missing in Action. The guest speaker was the only bright spot on the cruise, and I could tell she felt bad and was trying to make up for the cruise line's weaknesses. Information was not disseminated at all ... It was awful, awful, awful. One cruiser, who had been on the ship before, said "If this had been my first cruise I never would have come again." I can't say enough how I want those 7 days back again. Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
First, we were told when we booked that the average age is 65. The actual average age is 80-82+. On board the cruise director told us she couldn't understand why we were told that? She said the cruise we were on is actually a bit ... Read More
First, we were told when we booked that the average age is 65. The actual average age is 80-82+. On board the cruise director told us she couldn't understand why we were told that? She said the cruise we were on is actually a bit younger than normal. So, then we see all the wheel chairs, walkers, canes, scooters sitting outside the dining room at our first meal, then we knew we made a bad decision. The ship is 4 years old, but on the inside it looked straight out of the '70s. The decor was unappealing. Much of the upholstered furniture was torn or soiled, probably from the wheel chairs, etc. This cruise costs $10,000 per couple which is absolutely outrageous for what it was. The food was mostly averge and sub par. In 7 days, we had two decent meals. All they do over and over is try and get you to book the next trip, and get some discount. They charge for all the land tours. We didn't do any, as we figured out how to do things on our own. We ate on land as much as possible to avoid the mediocre food. We felt like we had moved into an average assisted living home for the week, and it was way too long. Had we not spent that much money, we would have gotten off the boat after the first day. Again, for what you get, it's outrageously expensive!! They use young, completely inexperienced staff that complained to us about how management was not honest with them and were forced to sign contracts for 12 weeks. They make $30 per day, and clean the toilets when they are done in the kitchen. This is slave labor. Awful!!!! Read Less
Sail Date November 2014
The worst cruise we have taken. Starting from the beginning: The American Cruise Line brochure says you can board the ship anywhere from 10:30 to 12:30 and the ship departs at 1:30. Our train from Boston got us to the ship at 12:15. When ... Read More
The worst cruise we have taken. Starting from the beginning: The American Cruise Line brochure says you can board the ship anywhere from 10:30 to 12:30 and the ship departs at 1:30. Our train from Boston got us to the ship at 12:15. When we boarded they had already given all the security and boarding information. From the minute we stepped on the ship there was a disconnect with the staff. The new Hotel Manager was constantly apologizing for the fact she had just arrived and needed to work on some "things". Why weren't these "things" addressed before she arrived or maybe that's why she was put on the ship. She kept saying please give me a few days to get things organized. On her behalf, by the end of the week, things were running smoother. Some of these "things" were .... Arriving at breakfast 15 minutes before it closed and nothing left on the buffet. The staff was rude and rushed, but we found out it was because most of them were new and just learning their jobs. The staff rushes through breakfast and then run to change their shirts to clean the cabins and then back for lunch. It's not the crews fault. They are very over worked and exhausted. I waited over an hour for hangers and a light bulb. Never came until turn down later that night. There was a power outage which resulted in two ovens being unusable for two days. Somehow they didn't get their ice cream order for four days and they ran out of plain yogurt. Food came out cold. How does that happen when they advertise everything is cooked to order? The very worst was when everyone started getting violently sick. They told the first lady who got sick it was caused by her dramamine, but then someone else got sick and then it ran rampant through out the ship ... they blamed it on everything but what it was... a nori virus. Neither the Captain or the Hotel Manager made an announcement about how they were handling it or told us what to do. It was like it didn't exist, except they did have two of their staff leave the ship so they didn't spread it. After my husband got sick I emailed our travel agent to tell her how unhappy and sick we were. She immediately emailed the home office and included my comments that said I was going to post the situation. That night two home office people magically arrived to asses the situation. Picture everyone getting sick and hogging the bathroom in their cabin and there was only one other unisex public bathroom on the whole ship. That bathroom wasn't even on the floor where the dining room is. Not pretty! The Independence was built in 2012 and is already tired out. The public sofas are dirty and the fabric has glaring holes. The staff is very poorly trained or possibly not trained at all. One very strange thing is there is no bar. They set up a folding table at 5:30 and close it at 6:30 when dinner starts. Its wonderful they don't want to nickel and dime the passengers and offer complimentary cocktails for an hour and wine and beer at lunch and dinner, but there isn't anywhere cozy to sit and get a drink other than from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. They say you can eat anytime from 6:30 to 7:30, but if you want to relax and go in at 7:00 everyone else is eating and it seems to be a struggle for them to accommodate latecomers. The good news is the wine is decent and does flow freely. There is nothing warm and cozy about this ship from the table decorations that are a few sea shells, to nothing in the cabins. There isn't a refrigerator or ice, a flower, a fruit basket or even a tiny piece of chocolate. They don't even offer bottled water in the cabins. The food is only mediocre at best. The melon the entire week was never ripe. The only good news is when I complained that the vodka choices were not premium the new Hotel Manager went out and purchased a bottle of Grey Goose for me. Another passenger on the ship told me that if you request something before the cruise they will provide it but that is not advertised. We paid for the owner's suite. Hmmm. If I were the owner of this cruise line, I wouldn't want to stay in it. A very small tired love seat and chair are just lined up along the wall. The bed is mediocre and there is no headboard. The bathroom is small to say the least for an owners suite. Now I understand why they didn't show pictures of the four large suites in either the brochure or on line. Ok so the snob in me is coming out...today's bathmat should probably be downgraded to a rag and I can't find any slippers or a robe anywhere:). No one even puts a little chocolate on my bed at night:( One day when going ashore I asked the steward at the Gangway how they knew if everyone was back on board before they sailed, and he said "we don't"! No one checks in or out so they have no idea of who is or isn't on board. There are no phones in any of the cabins. I asked what we would we do if there were an emergency. I found out after my husband was so sick and I was racing throughout the ship looking for someone, that we were to use our cell phone (if we had one) to call the cell phone of either the Hotel Director of the Cruise Director. Apparently that was listed somewhere in the daily paper. I missed it. What if someone didn't have a cell phone? There is no room service. The best part of the cruise was the off ship lobster bake. Absolutely yummy lobster and mussels. In addition to everything else the elevator broke so everyone who needed it had to take the stairs or at least the ones who could. One elderly gentleman in a wheelchair had to have his lunch brought to him. Not sure whether he could get off all afternoon. In the end, the final dinner everyone told me was delicious. Steak and lobster with fresh cooked carrots. Nothing came out of a bag for this meal. Sadly I couldn't eat it because I came down with the virus. The staff did improve, but it was too late for our cruise. My final comment is this is a very casual cruise. The home office suggested a jacket for my husband. It was a waste of room in our suitcase. Also, if you want to work out, the only equipment is rusted out equipment on the top deck. I'm terribly sorry I can't be more positive about our cruise:( FYI, when complaining to customer service I didn't get an answer for almost three months!!! .   Read Less
Sail Date June 2013
Give American Cruise Lines marketing staff an A+---but the hype is very close to fraud, based on my recent experience. Where do I begin to tell you of all the disappointments---first, the Rolls Royce stabilizers were nowhere to be seen, ... Read More
Give American Cruise Lines marketing staff an A+---but the hype is very close to fraud, based on my recent experience. Where do I begin to tell you of all the disappointments---first, the Rolls Royce stabilizers were nowhere to be seen, about 2 hours out of Portland, just as we finished lunch, and the ship started rocking side-to-side (so much that it was impossible to walk without weaving and stumbling)---2/3rds of the passengers got seasick (including my travel companion---but not me) and upchucked their lunch; only 1/3 of the passengers made it to dinner that night, and only 10 of us were able to come to the lounge at 8:15 for the talk by the naturalist. When the ship started rocking, there was no storm, and the waves didn't look that big to me (I'm a sailboat owner). When we got into bays and on rivers, there was no rocking. There are no phones in the room---even for intra-ship/room communication---no ice,no refrigerator, no bottled water (the bathroom faucet has potable water). The 2nd floor lounge, where all meetings are held, and tables are set up for one hour each day to serve as a bar, has an ice-machine, a cappucino/hot water dispenser, tea bags (but if you go to the lounge in the afternoon for a cup of tea, and the dispenser has no water in its tank, there is no phone or communications system for the passenger to ask a staff member to come and fill the tank). The first day there was a bowl of fruit on the counter, which was not refilled during the cruise, and midway through, there were flies hovering around the rotted fruit in the bottom of the bowl! There were warm cans of soda (and a sink/faucet with potable water). The only public restroom (unisex) on the ship is also on the second floor; the dining room is on the first floor. There is a small elevator (4 thin people max) on the ship. The fourth floor deck has chairs for sunbathing, but no staff member assigned to wipe the morning dew off of them; no bathtowels; no beverage or food server; no room service at all on the ship. Wine and Beer are available at lunch and dinner, and liquor available at the makeshift bar from 5:30-6:30 only; the hors d'oeuvres were minimal, and one night, featured COLD quiche passed by one of the young servers (several of them told me that they were recent high school graduates and had not had server jobs before). I identified each of the staff members (including EVERYBODY, but the captain) as having at least two jobs; for example, immediately after breakfast, the servers started cleaning the staterooms (on a seven day cruise,beginning on Saturday, they change the sheets and vacuum on Wed. of each week---other days, they make the beds and clean the bathrooms (there is a sign in the bathroom asking you to use your towels more than once if possible---but if you put them on the floor, they will give you dry, clean ones). Now, moving on to the food---this had been billed as a 'lobster cruise', and we seldom had any lobster, however, that may have been for the best, since the cook did NOT know how to cook lobster, which astounded all of us---the one night that they served a whole lobster, the people at my table couldn't figure out why the carapace was so hard and blackened (did he bake/broil/boil them rather than steam them??) and the meat dry and tough!**!! Then, the last night, we had 'stuffed lobster tails' and beef tenderloin----once again, the lobster had been overcooked, AND the tail meat not loosened or removed from the shell----the stuffing just perched on top...most of us did not each the lobster---but we enjoyed the tenderloin. We had excellent lobster OFF THE SHIP at a shore excursion 'lobster bake', ($35) where a caterer had steamed the lobster---YUM! Except at breakfast, there was no fresh fruit or vegetables to be found on the ship---and both my traveling companion and I had been cheerily assured by the marketing rep in Guilford, CT. that they catered to special food requests (I had requested fresh vegetables and fruit), and that meals were cooked to order---SO MISLEADING! This cost of this 7 day cruise was $5,000. Most of the passengers were over 65 (there were two couples that had adult children in their 30s with them); many were in their 80s, and one deflightful set of sisters were aged 90 and 92! I talked with a dozen couples for whom this was a celebration of 50 years of marriage. Read Less
Sail Date August 2012
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
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
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 chose this cruise for a smaller ship, on board lecturer, fewer passengers. We had to miss our first port due to hurricane damage and that was understandable. We missed another port due to engine problems but nothing was said until we ... Read More
We chose this cruise for a smaller ship, on board lecturer, fewer passengers. We had to miss our first port due to hurricane damage and that was understandable. We missed another port due to engine problems but nothing was said until we had sat unmoving for several hours and then had to turn back to the previous port. No compensation provided. Embarkation/debarkation went smoothly. The ship is only 10 years old but is decorated like the 50s with plastic flowers, cheap decor. Dining service was ok but staff not only served your food but cleaned the cabins, etc. Not a good thing in my estimation. Young, not so well trained, not in uniforms or with gloves, etc. Attempt at gourmet only met unpeeled, inedible garnishes such as a tiny piece of kiwi on each plate. Food was stacked instead of side by side as other gourmet restaurants seem to do better in this effort. Entertainment brought in was local and excellent. On the missed port day the only activity provided was a Family Feud type of game, very old dvds and books to borrow. One computer provided a printer. Internet service was very poor and you had to keep your stateroom door open for minimal power. Ports were fine but missing two out of five wasn't good. Passengers were older as we are and many were repeat travelers. We asked why and many felt intimidated by larger ships and also liked that the ship was built and is staffed by Americans. This didn't matter to us at all. We would not sail with American Cruise again although they do have nice US itineraries and several folks love the line and the ship. The cruise cost more than twice what we normally pay on larger ships with same size rooms but those have many, many more amenities and activities. We felt for the cost we should at least have had quality decor and furnishings and far, far better service and housekeeping. Oh yes, the "fitness center" consists of three pieces of equipment on the windy deck and two were not working. Read Less
Sail Date November 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
Sail Date July 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
Sail Date April 2016
The interior of the Independence, which was put into service in 2010, looks like the 60s. I assume the interior was designed to look like Americana, but it just looks tired with soiled and worn upholstery, and tacky carpets and ... Read More
The interior of the Independence, which was put into service in 2010, looks like the 60s. I assume the interior was designed to look like Americana, but it just looks tired with soiled and worn upholstery, and tacky carpets and furnishings. Some meals were better than others (and a few were downright inedible), but for the most part the food was tasty and nicely presented. Service was somewhat inconsistent; the cruise line hires young and inexperienced people who, apparently, are given a crash course in how to deal with the passengers and are expected to serve meals and clean cabins; they complained about being overworked and underpaid and many expressed resentment with management. Cabins are clean, spacious, and comfortable with plenty of drawer and closet space, and the daily service was pretty good. The cost of the 7-day cruise is way overpriced compared to similar cruises on other and nicer cruise lines. It appears that American Cruise Lines caters to seniors; the average age of passengers was 75, most were not active, and many were infirm or disabled. It's admirable that American Cruise Lines provides cruises for the elderly and infirm who may be unable to take other kinds of trips, but that should have been made clear to us before we booked and it was not. The dining room has tables for 6 or 8 and only one table for 4; the hotel manager and cruise director were most accommodating and arranged private dinners and private tours for four of us traveling together because they understood that we did not want to sit at tables for 8 or participate in the group shore excursions for 30 to 40. The "fitness area" on the upper deck is a joke, with just 3 pieces of equipment that didn't work properly and several free weights that were rusty. For exercise, we walked 30 to 50 laps around the upper deck but then heard others complain about the "noisy" footsteps! Read Less
Sail Date November 2014
We had cruised three times previously on American Cruise Lines (ACL), and generally had good to very good experiences, although the cruises are expensive. So, we looked forward to this cruise along the coast of Maine. One of the big ... Read More
We had cruised three times previously on American Cruise Lines (ACL), and generally had good to very good experiences, although the cruises are expensive. So, we looked forward to this cruise along the coast of Maine. One of the big positives of ACL is the informality, ease of embarkation and disembarkation, and friendliness of the crew. Unfortunately, it was the worst of the four cruises by a wide margin. The food and service were not up to the level of previous cruises, and there was continual confusion about the itinerary, with last minute changes. Although you cannot control the weather, the captain seemed to be way to cautious. In the end, the visit to Bar Harbor was cut short by over a half day, and we skipped three ports completely (although passengers had the option to be bussed to two of them). The tours were not great, mostly either bus or walking tours of the ports. There were some highlights, like the Farnsworth Museum, and Main Botanical Garden, as well as several marine museums, but not enough interesting sights. The best meal of the whole trip was a lobster bake off the ship put on by a local company in Rockland. We did enjoy our fellow passengers, most of who are retired and very experienced travelers. This is definitely a "senior crowd", with the average age probably in the 70's (We actually had two passengers on board in their mid-90's), which might explain some of the caution on the captain's part with fog and moderate waves. The nightly cocktail hour is also a big hit with passengers, and the appetizers served then were usually quite good (often better than the subsequent dinner). Housekeeping was also generally good. It appears to us that ACL is experiencing growing pains as it adds ships and itineraries, and the small number of experienced crew members are spread way too thin. Given the money we spent (~$5000 per person), we clearly did not get value for our money. We will give ACL one more try, but another negative experience would have us spend our money elsewhere after that. Read Less
Sail Date September 2013
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
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
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
The food was fairly well done. We have been on a lot of European river cruises and the food was, I think a little better. Not too easy to get ice tea. I don't drink any more so no wine for me. The wine was the same low end brand all ... Read More
The food was fairly well done. We have been on a lot of European river cruises and the food was, I think a little better. Not too easy to get ice tea. I don't drink any more so no wine for me. The wine was the same low end brand all need guts,but o cannot comment on the quality. There seemed to be plenty of it. Captain could not have been more friendly as were the servers and the cabin girls. Good entertainment some nights. The cruise director was not helpful at all. He talked a lot about himself. He thought very highly of himself. I was trying to ask him if he could do something for me, but he was too busy talking about whether his trousers shoul Deb shortened 1" or 1 1/2". They charge you for almost all the activities off the boat. For what we paid for the below deck room and board, I ythink that they should have included more of them. I couldn't get on the lobster trip because they only had room for about 20 or 25 people. There were about 150 people on board, so there were a lot of people that wanted this but were excluded. Kevin the cruise director was a self absorbed narcissistic $&#%€. Look for a better cruise line before you sign up for this one. Read Less
Sail Date August 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
Sail Date May 2016
Saturday to Saturday continuous shall ship cruises during the summer along the villages and yacht harbors along Maine coast north of Portland. Good food and service, free wine at dinner and free cocktails in the lounge before dinner. ... Read More
Saturday to Saturday continuous shall ship cruises during the summer along the villages and yacht harbors along Maine coast north of Portland. Good food and service, free wine at dinner and free cocktails in the lounge before dinner. Single setting, open diner seating and generally good fellowship among passengers. Cabins roomy and comfortable. Overall on-board ship ambiance was good and pleasant; but worth $1000/couple per day for a first deck, non balcony room? You must pay for all shore (guided?) tours at each village by a bus. Tours were short, (about 2 hours) with stops leaving little time for more than make a potty stop. These are not guided tours, just bus stops with a little over the speaker commentary by bus driver. On-board entertainment most nights were usually by one performer, some good and some not. Each lasted only one hour. Two lectures were about the same quality. One free excursion was an on-shore picnic Lobster and Mussel fest which substituted for that night's dinner. If you like lobster and seafood cuisine with fellowship, looking at yachts in harbors and are willing to pay the price, this is for you. If you want to see all these villages as far north at Bar Harbor, take photos, and participate in the culture of the communities at your leisure, take Route One (US 1), and do it for less. We enjoy small ship cruises, river cruises where you get to meet people, have enriching, cultural, photo opportunity on shore, and include tours like many river trips that we have taken in Europe. This did not live up to our expectations. Summary: On-ship was expensive but very good except for entertainment - On-shore - not worth it. - One thing nice about this and other small ship/river cruises - no one inspects your baggage or on shore purchases each time you board the ship. Read Less
Sail Date July 2015
Independence Ratings
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