Preparing to sail through Maine aboard American Cruise Line’s Independence

Like some of you, I hold fond memories of trundling along the cove-indented, granite-strewn coast of Maine where waves crash ashore beneath picture-perfect lighthouses…where one quaint and pretty little town, with its snug harbor chock full of classic schooners and lobster boats, seems to beget another. And, of course, there’s nothing quite like the taste of a tender morsel of lobster, fresh from the briny deep and dunked in drawn butter.

While few pleasures can match it for a summer’s drive, I’m excited now about an opportunity to experience the marvels of the mid-Maine coast from an entirely different perspective during a 7-day cruise onboard American Cruise Line’s nifty, nearly new (2010) 104-passenger mini-cruiser Independence. I am a hard-core small-ship devotee and I’d considered joining one of the windjammers that ply the Maine coast — but ultimately opted for the comfort, convenience and fine dining of a proper cruise over that of a swashbuckling-type adventure, which would find me bunking in a closet-sized cabin sans electricity, head and shower. Been there and done that during various sailing exercises in the past, thank you.

To start things off, I’ll be joined on July 3 by my Canadian companion Melinda to spend a couple of days exploring Portland, which serves as home port for all of ACL’s Maine voyages. Barring any disruption caused by tropical storm/hurricane Arthur which portends to spin its way up the East Coast all the way to New England by the 4th, we’ll be joining a “Land and Sea” tour offered by Portland Discovery Tours, dining on LOBSTER (what else?) at Portland Lobster Company in the bustling Old Port district and taking in the city’s gala fireworks display to celebrate Independence Day in a most customary way.

We chose Fireside Inn & Suites for our lodging, as it is one of several hotels near the dock recommended by ACL — and one that offers passengers a discounted rate plus free shuttle service to and from the ship.

We’ll board Independence on the morning of the 5th to begin our voyage, which will take us to Bar Harbor, Castine, Belfast, Camden, Boothbay Harbor, Rockland and Bath. So be sure to tune in for reports from our week onboard the good ship Independence.

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