First, very good friends recommended it - they had been on the American Cruise Lines steamboat/Mississippi River cruise in 2016 and loved it; found out about this brand new cruise while on the Mississippi trip, signed up right away and urged us to join them. I had always wanted to see the coast of New England - and this brand-new cruise – Grand New England – in Mid June 2017 had just the itineraryI was wanted, so we didn't hesitate to sign up. This is a small ship - 175 passengers/ I believe there were about 145 of us. Perfect size, I think, easy to get everywhere! Very good value for the money. The staff is probably 90% American (can't speak for those who work below decks) - young, enthusiastic, friendly, helpful, and fun! The tour directors were excellent and able to answer all manner of questions re: shore excursions. Almost felt like some of them were family by the end of the voyage. Demographics are mostly over 55, although there was a family of with college age daughters and a Grandfather traveling with his two late-20s/30s grandsons. I will say most of the passengers were pretty lively and interesting and fun to exchange pleasantries with. Food was consistently excellent. We had the most wonderful Chief Chef (Joselito H.) on board - and he made a point of visiting a few tables each and every night to inquire about our dinners/ask if there was anything else people wanted to see on the menu, etc. all alcoholic drinks were included in the cost of the fare (as were standard gratuities for the staff). No "nickel and dining as some larger cruise ships do! Always a cocktail party at 5:30, and entertainment after dinner. Onetwo nights the entertainment was excellent, the other evenings I opted to retire early and read. Bear in mind this is coastal new england so no broadway stars on board to sing or dance for the passengers! Our lecturer, Rachel P. was so much fun - she knew so much and made her lectures (with a white board to illustrate various parts of the coast) so entertaining). She also lead early morning walks in each port - with of course, a walking commentary about the area/flora/fauna/fish/ etc. JUST GREAT!! The excursions / bus transportation ranged from good to excellent, and these small ports can allow one to just wander around on one's own, but keep in mind there are also WONDERFUL things to see and learn about which did require transportation. The scenery and sunrises and sunsets were breathtaking. I can't wait for our next ACL cruise, and we're sure to sign up for more in the future. Cheers!
The Constellation is a lovely small ship - 5 decks only. This was her sixth or so cruise - our cabin was spotless, roomy, with plenty of storage/closet/drawer space. The wonderful thing about small ship cruising is that if you DO require something from housekeeping (in my case, hangers) they can show up with in a matter of minutes. The decor was fresh and nice, the furniture in great shape. The bathroom was a good size, comfortable - these new shower doors are great! Plenty of hot water, but as always, we take navy showers on ships. Water IS precious - everywhere! My spouse and I were both very very pleased with the cabin, for sure. The "only" downside was that we were directly under the dance floor of the lovely large lounge right above us! At least it made it quick and easy for us to get to "happy hour" at 5:30pm! No dancing noise above, but we could usually hear the entertainment above us in the evening and the crew re-arranging the furniture afterward. The noise ended at 10 pm, so it did not really bother us, but I would advise early-to-bed passengers – especially if they're particular – to look at the deck layout before requesting a particular cabin (we had not done that: lesson learned!).
PS: I got the BEST sleep every night while we were at sea; I wish I had a bed at home that rocked me gently to sleep like the Constellation did.