ACL shore excursions include "featured" (no-charge), "premium" (for-a-fee) and "signature" (more elaborate outings such as flight-seeing or fishing that require pre-cruise booking). On our itinerary, five of the 16 offerings over the course of the 10-night cruise were gratis. They primarily consisted of standard walking tours and museum admissions, though a lobster bake on shore in Rockland, Maine, was complimentary. Other options ranged from a guided tour of a historic fort ($15) in Maine, to a trolley and Breakers Mansion tour in Newport, Rhode Island ($50).
Daytime and Evening Entertainment
On most nights on our cruise, a duo consisting of a keyboardist and horn player entertained after dinner in the Chesapeake Lounge. They also played in that space during the cocktail hour. Other single-night entertainers included solo performances by a banjo player, a pianist and a guitarist. A small dance floor in the Chesapeake Lounge saw some action on some nights.
A lecturer onboard for the duration of our cruise presented a pre-dinner preview of the next day's port. She also delivered several longer talks on New England and led informal morning walks in some ports.
Two spacious lounges and three smaller nooks offer a variety of spots for conversation or quiet time.
Chesapeake Lounge (Deck 3, forward) is the largest of the lounges and the scene of after-dinner entertainment. Live music is also performed here during cocktail hour. There's a built-in bar, but it's set up only for cocktail hour and after-dinner entertainment. Groupings of sofas and chairs set around light-wood tables with nautical accents like coral sculptures make it a pleasant spot to spend time. A forward wall of windows brings the outside in.
Sky Lounge (Deck 4, aft) is equally pleasant, if a tad more casual, with wicker-look rocking chairs and sofas and tables for card and board games. Happy hour is served here and it's the venue for some lectures.
The Duck Room (Deck 2, midship) is a cozy retreat with two deep leather club chairs, a gold settee and a table for four inlaid with a chess (or checker) board. Decoy images adorn the walls.
Another midship lounge (Deck 3) is furnished with two sofas and four comfy chairs making it a nice spot for small-group conversation.
The Library (Deck 4, midship) sports nautical decor and a bookcase stocked with books and DVDs for loan. The large round table at its center usually had a jigsaw puzzle -- or three -- in the works. Two computer stations are tucked at a desk at one side.
Other than the putting green on the top sun deck, the ship's outdoor spots encourage lounging over active pursuits. Just off the Sky Lounge (Deck 4, aft) sliding doors lead to a carpeted deck furnished with white wicker-like tables and chairs, sofas and chaise lounges. Up a flight is a large partially covered sun deck with blue-and-white striped cushioned chairs big enough to host a major party. Above that, a second, smaller, uncovered sun deck accommodates 12 chaises and two tables with four chairs each.
Passengers sign up for shore excursions at the midship reception/office area/galley on Deck 1. Given the ship's small capacity, it's a fairly informal procedure. You sign up at the start of the cruise for excursions, then check a nightly sheet posted on the bulletin board to determine your schedule for the following day. If there's a charge, it'll be added to the final bill. There is no onboard shop.
Four Life Fitness machines -- two recumbent bikes, a recumbent stair stepper and a hand-crank bike -- occupy a small room on Deck 5. If a regular gym workout is a major factor to your well-being, this isn't the ship for you.
The ship is designed for adults. There is no programming for children or special facilities for little ones.