Berlitz Cruising & Cruise Ships 2017 (Berlitz Cruise Guide) (2016)
Ship: 292 out of 500
Accommodation: 127 out of 200
Food: 210 out of 400
Service: 180 out of 400
Entertainment: 10 out of 100
Cruise: 145 out of 400
Overall Score: 964 out of 2000
Size: Boutique Ship
Cruise Line: American Cruise Lines
Former Names: none
IMO Number: 1223608
Builder: Chesapeake Shipbuilding (USA)
Original Cost: n/a
Entered Service: Jun 2010
Length (ft/m): 223.0/67.9
Beam (ft/m): 51.0/15.5
Draft (ft/m): 8.2/2.5
Passenger Decks: 4
Total Crew: 27
Passengers (lower beds): 97
Passenger Space Ratio (lower beds): 23.7
Passenger/Crew Ratio (lower beds): 3.5
Cabins (total): 52
Size Range (sq ft/m): 204.0-240.0/18.9-22.2
Cabins (for one person): 7
Cabins (with private balcony): 40
Cabins (wheelchair accessible): 1
Wheelchair accessibility: None
Cabin Current: 110 volts
Casino (gaming tables): No
Slot Machines: No
Swimming Pools: 0
Hot Tubs (on deck): 0
Self-Service Launderette: No
Dedicated Cinema/Seats: No
Onboard currency: US$
A small, personal US coastal ship for mature cruisers
Overview. This ship is for couples and single travelers of mature years sharing a cabin and wishing to cruise in an all-American environment, with destinations more important than food, service, or entertainment. It is extremely expensive for what you get - although this is a new ship and the cabins are larger and marginally better equipped than those in comparable ships.
The Ship. Independence is the fourth vessel in this cruise line’s growing fleet (sister ships: American Glory, American Spirit, American Star). The company builds the ships in its own shipyard in Chesapeake, Maryland. Independence is built specifically for coastal and inland cruising, in a casual, unregimented setting, to destinations unreachable by large cruise ships.
The uppermost deck is open - good for views - behind a forward windbreaker; plenty of sunloungers are provided, as is a small golf putting green.
The public rooms include an observation lounge, with views forward and to port and starboard side; a library/lounge; a small midships lounge; and an elevator that goes to all decks, including the outdoor sun deck.
Cruises are typically seven to 14 days long. The ship docks in the center, or within walking distance of most towns and ports. The dress code is ‘no ties casual.’ There are no additional costs, except for gratuities and port charges, because it’s all included - quite different from big-ship cruising.
Accommodation. There are five cabin price grades - four are doubles, one is for singles. All cabins have twin beds that convert to a king-size bed, a small desk with chair, flat-screen television, DVD player, and clothes hanging space. All also have Internet access, a private (modular) bathroom with separate shower, washbasin and toilet (no cabin has a bathtub), windows that open, and satellite-feed TV sets. Accommodations incorrectly designated as suites (23) have a private balcony; although narrow, it does have two chairs and a small drinks table.
Dining. The dining salon, in the latter third of the vessel, has large, panoramic picture windows on three sides. Everyone eats in a single, open seating, so you can get to know your fellow passengers. The cuisine is mainstream American: simple, honest food highlighting regional specialties. The choice of entrées, appetizers, and soups is limited. There is no wine list, although basic white and red American table wines are included. On the last morning of each cruise, Continental breakfast only is available.
Entertainment. Dinner and after-dinner conversation with fellow passengers in the ship’s lounge/bar are the entertainment each evening. Otherwise, take a good book.
Spa/Fitness. There is a tiny fitness room with a few bicycles and other exercise machines.