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  • American-Cruise-Lines-Dining-Room.jpg - Take in the passing landscapes over dinner with family or friends on your American Cruise Lines sailing.
  • ACL-Dessert-Dish.jpg - A dessert dish served on an American Cruise Lines voyage.
  • Dining-Room-Table-Setting.jpg - A table setting in the dining room on an American Cruise Lines sailing.
  • American Cruise Lines-ship-Independence -
  • Geese-Over-Water.jpg - Watch the geese rise from Chesapeake Bay early in the morning on an American Cruise Lines trip.
  • Fort-Meyers-sunset.jpg - Take in scenic sunsets over serene beaches in Fort Myers, Fla., during a vacation with American Cruise Lines.
  • Carriage-at-Rhett-Beaufort-SC.jpg - Drop by the Rhett House Inn in Beaufort, S.C., known for its romantic style of architecture, where traditional horse carriages may still be seen.
  • heron-southeast.jpg -  Guests aboard American Cruise Lines can look forward to seeing wildlife such as heron up close during tours.
  • alligator-southeast.jpg - See alligators and other wildlife in their natural habitats in the Southeast U.S. during an American Cruise Lines river voyage.
  • Annapolis-cadets-walking.jpg - During your cruise through Chesapeake Bay, drop by the Annapolis Naval Academy, which boasts scenic views and guided walks focused on US Naval heroes.
  • Fells-Point.jpg - Fell's Point in Baltimore is known for its colonial architecture, shops and a good number of drinking spots.
  • Trees-in-swamp.jpg - Tour the Southeast U.S. on American Cruise Lines and feel closer to nature.
  • Bear-Mountain-Bridge.jpg - See Bear Mountain Bridge and colorful fall foliage on a cruise up the Hudson River on an American River Cruises sailing.
  • Bridge-from-Ft.-Montgomery.jpg - Bear Mountain Bridge and nearby Fort Montgomery, scene of a fierce Revolutionary War battle for control of the Hudson River.
  • Hudson-River-from-Above.jpg - Take in impressive views of the Hudson River, especially during the late summer and early fall, during an American Cruise Lines sailing.
  • Independence-on-Hudson.jpg - Enjoy sweeping views and pretty fall foliage on a sailing up the Hudson River on the Independence from American Cruise Lines.
  • Sailboats-on-Water.jpg - Sailboats glide across the water on a clear day on Chesapeake Bay.
  • Williamsburg-colonial-building.jpg -  Williamsburg, Virginia, sports colonial architecture such as the Governor's Palace.
  • Nantucket-Harbor.jpg - Schooners and beautiful colonial houses will catch the attention of guests aboard American Cruise Lines in Nantucket Harbor.
  • Bar-Harbor-Maine.jpg - Set sail on American Cruise Lines and explore Bar Island off the coast of Maine — also a good spot to get nice views of Bar Harbor.
  • Brandt-Point.jpg - See the Brand Point Lighthouse in Nantucket, Mass., during your voyage on American Cruise Lines.
  • Camden-Aerial.jpg - Guests on American Cruise Lines' "Maine Coast and Harbors" tour will love Camden Harbor, popular for its schooners and pretty coastal views.
  • Camden-Maine-Lighthouse.jpg - Cruise to Maine on American Cruise Lines and admire Camden's Lighthouse up close.
  • Maine-Lobster-Festival.jpg - American Cruise Lines' special Lobster Cruises in Maine and other parts of New England give you access to mouthwatering lobster based dishes.
  • North-Light-Block-Island.jpg - Experience the natural beauty of Block Island, a favorite of guests aboard American Cruise Lines.
  • Portland-Head-Light.jpg - Hop on American Cruise Lines and visit Maine Harbor to see a beautiful lighthouse and impressive neo-colonial architecture.
  • Memphis--Pyramid-Arena.jpg - Explore the Pyramid Arena along Wolf River in Tennessee during an American River Cruises sailing.
  • View-of-River-with-Couple.jpg - Guests on a lodge patio with a view of Guntersville Reservoir and Lake Guntersville Resort State Park in Guntersville, Ala.

American Cruise Lines' Independence: Hugging the eastern coastline

Health advisory: Vaccines may be required in specific instances when necessitated by the ports or states visited, and guests will be asked to show proof of their vaccination status.


Maybe it's time to see more of the United States. American Cruise Lines offers a variety of options, including the Independence, which cruises the Maine coast in summer and the Atlantic coast between South Carolina and Florida in winter. Fall cruisers can cruise the Hudson River for seasonal color and leaf peeping.

Built in 2010, Independence is a small cruise ship with larger than average staterooms and plenty of onboard amenities. New design features including Rolls Royce stabilizers allow for better stabilization so the ship will roll less, and passengers will have a smoother cruise.

While the passenger capacity is roughly the same as the 100-passenger American Star and American Spirit, Independence is larger, giving  a more spacious feel to the interior areas, including the cabins and balconies.

Who will like sailing on Independence

Independence is a good fit for those who might like small ship cruising along the eastern coast of the United States. It's a great small ship for those worried about seasickness. Passengers tend to be older Americans, and the elevator is a big draw.

Where Independence sails

Independence spends winter months cruising the coastal waterways of Florida, Georgia and South Carolina. New England cruises are featured during summer months.

Ratings & awards


About Ratings & awards

Cruises on this ship


The casual atmosphere is intended to foster camaraderie between fellow passengers, and all meals, which feature fresh meats and seafood, and in-season fruits and veggies, are open seating. Look for crab in season on the Chesapeake Bay cruise and lobster in Maine! Open decks and glassed-in observation areas allow for stellar views of the passing scenery.

Activities & entertainment

Simple but comfortable, the Independence was built to nestle into small coves and ports along the East Coast. Activities onboard are often tied into the destination and may include a visit with a local lobsterman in Maine, or while on southern sailings, costumed antebellum characters may entertain cruisers.

Other activities include:

  • Lectures and Q&A sessions
  • Walking tours of historic homes
  • Museum visits
  • Binoculars are available to use any time
  • Kite flying on the observation deck
  • Exercise equipment is minimal. Most passengers get their exercise by going ashore independently and walking through the towns


Staterooms on the Independence are generally more spacious than those found on other small cruise ships, with picture windows and private bathrooms. Some rooms have private balconies, perfect for watching the world float past.

With a maximum of 104 passengers, and generally leisurely schedules, you will have time to relax and join fellow passengers in excursions to towns and villages along the way.

Stateroom features:

  • Spacious staterooms 
  • Most staterooms have private balconies
  • Large opening picture window
  • All interior entrances means that every stateroom has a private view
  • Complimentary wi-fi in all staterooms
  • Satellite TV and DVD player in all staterooms
  • Twice-daily stateroom service
  • Individual climate control system
  • Writing desk & stationery
  • Hair dryer
  • Spacious closet
  • Four-drawer dressers and night tables
  • 110-volt outlets

Amenities on this ship

Note: There's no pool, fitness center, spa facilities, whirlpools or casino on the petite Independence. Passengers get their exercise by going ashore and walking around the port towns.

Your take

Have you sailed on Independence? What was it like? Please share a story, tip or discovery. What was the highlight? We'd love to hear about your experience — please share!

Help improve this article. See anything wrong? What did we overlook? Be a co-creator!

Interested in a cruise on this ship?



Cruiseable team
The Cruiseable editorial team consists of award-winning travel writers, cruise bloggers and journalists.

Top highlights on this ship

  • New design features including Rolls Royce stabilizers make for a smoother cruise and less seasickness
  • Simple but comfortable, these ships were built to nestle into small coves and ports along the East Coast
  • Don't miss the crab and lobster served in the Chesapeake Bay and Maine regions!

Fast facts

104 Passengers [?]
27 Crew
4 Decks
2010 Maiden voyage
2,300 Tonnage [?]
223 Length in feet
51 Width in feet (max beam)
8 Draft (feet)


“Independence is best suited to mature couples and single travelers sharing a cabin who want to cruise in an all-American environment where the itineraries and destinations are 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.”

Berlitz: River Cruising in Europe

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