American Spirit Cruise Review
Itinerary: Alaska's Inside Passage - July 2012
The Cruise ... it was fabulous.
There were 58 passengers and we were the only Aussies - all others were from various States of the US, all very friendly, many elderly, 70+, and some quite restricted in mobility.
The ship crew did a great job, being both friendly and helpful to all. Captain occasionally mingled with guests and was happy to talk about itinerary and ship. The guest naturalist/ historian, Todd Weber was very knowledgeable, friendly and approachable. His wife was also on board and a delightful person to spend time with. We will probably keep in touch with them as we had quite a lot in common.
In the lounge areas there were lots of binoculars available and also a large variety of reference books for those interested in wildlife/ native people of Alaska/ villages etc. Lounge was very comfortable and one could sit for hours watching scenery go by.
Our cabin was clean and comfortable with a reasonable sized bathroom. 219, AAL Balcony. One issue we did have was the fact that our cabin was at rear and engine noise was very loud when traveling at higher speeds, usually overnight. I believe cabins closer to the front of ship were much quieter. There was also some vibration. If we were to cruise again we would insist on a cabin towards front of vessel.
We enjoyed the meals - all passengers seated at same time in reasonable sized dining room ... sat with different people, got to know people on board. After our first meal we requested half portions (an option available to all) plenty of food available and reasonable variety considering where we were traveling.
The ports of call were interesting and most shore excursions quite well organized. At times we felt perhaps shore group activities could have been arranged a little better. My husband and I are very fortunate to be quite active and felt we may have been able to do more with our time ashore. None the less we certainly enjoyed visiting the smaller settlements and meeting some of the locals.
Finally, one of the reasons why we chose this cruise was that Sitka was on the itinerary. Imagine our disbelief when on day 1 we read the itinerary in our cabin without Sitka mentioned, instead Skagway! Immediately we expressed our disappointment to the cruise director. He said he would contact the head office. On the last day of the cruise, American Cruise Lines offered us flights to Sitka from Juneau. We were delighted, certainly didn't expect it and had just quietly accepted the fact that Sitka was not on the agenda for us. To cut a long story short we had a wonderful day in Sitka ... a highlight of our Alaskan travels. Greatly appreciated the efforts of the cruise director and our thanks to American Cruise Lines for making our Sitka adventure possible.
—Wendy and Ian Sharp, Australia