This was our second cruise with American Cruise Lines. We especially like the fact that their "small" ships can get into smaller ports than can the larger cruise ships. Docking instead of tendering in makes a huge difference. ACL's focus on customer satisfaction borders on obsessive. If your favorite liquor isn't available at happy hour (complimentary) just ask; they'll probably buy it at the next port and have it available the next day. The dining room has a similar focus. Have dietary restrictions (or preferences)? There was the opportunity to meet with the executive chef prior to departure to discuss any requirements or preferences.
We opted for the pre-cruise extension since we needed to arrive the day before embarkation since we had to fly in from the east coast. Our bags were picked up from our hotel room, not from the hallway, which is a plus. They were in our stateroom when we arrived on ship. Our only complaint is that by the luck of the draw, the "guide" for our city tour couldn't stop talking, even when she had nothing to say. Unfortunately, the detours she requested of the bus driver resulted in our being so late to the ship that the safety briefing had to be delayed.
Many of the ship's staff (dining room and cabin stewards) are students in hospitality or culinary programs. They are enthusiastic, helpful and really enjoy what they're doing. We enjoyed talking with them about their career plans.
The staterooms are roomy, with ample drawer space for clothes, but the closet is small; adequate for a one-week cruise, but probably too small for a longer cruise. On the other hand, there are laundry facilities (complimentary) on the ship, so you don't need to bring clothes for every day. The bathroom is adequate.
We did the whale watching cruise. Unfortunately, we saw no whales, but the crew did a good job of seeking out other wildlife, including many sea lions and one bald eagle perched on a channel marker. Not sure if we'll use the "rain check" for a free repeat cruise, which we got because we saw no whales. Regardless, it's a nice touch.