Thanks for visiting this memorial to SS Independence, a classic transatlantic ocean liner that came out of retirement to cruise the waters of the Hawaiian Islands under the ownership of American Hawaii Cruises.

These pages represent a travelogue of my first cruise experience in Hawaii, in May, 2001, aboard the SS Independence and ashore and are dedicated to the crew and passengers who loved her.

American Hawaii Cruises Ceased Operations 10/19/2001

Unfortunately for those of you who never had the opportunity to take a voyage of a lifetime on this classic liner, AHC ceased operations and filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy protection in the travel slump that followed 9/11/2001. 

Sadly, the bankruptcy meant that my return to SS Independence, scheduled to depart on 12/29/2001, was never realized.

While I could rewrite this site to reflect the events that followed my first and only cruise on SS Independence, I have decided to leave it as an historical record of what will remain one of my most memorable vacations.


Top and Center: SS Independence (C) 2001 by H. Alexander Krob.

Bottom: SS Independence being towed in the San Francisco Fog to an overseas breaker (wrecker), 2/4/2008.
(C) 2008 Terry Blanchard

I have attempted unsuccessfully to find the photographer to obtain permission for noncommercial use. If you are the photographer and object to the use of this photo, please contact me.
Quickie Review

(for the in-depth review use the navigation menu on the right)

Accommodations: 4/5 (four out of five stars)
  • should have NON-SMOKING cabins

Cabin Size: 4/5
  • depends on cabin, if you don't like yours, upgrade

Cabin Comfort: 5/5
  • slept like a baby

Cabin Cleanliness: 5/5
  • neat as a pin, cabin attendant was attentive and outstanding

Ship State of Repair: 3/5
  • a bit frayed around the edges (for example, the windows in our room were supposed to open, but only one did).  But this is to be expected for a 50 year old ship.

Food: 4/5
  • quite good overall, better in the dining room, and at least on par with the offerings at the better resort hotels in Hawaii

Food Quality: 4/5
  • fresh and home-made for the most part (except those awful clear soups)

Food Taste: 3.5/5
  • better than average, on par with most hotels, but not at a world-class level

Food Presentation: 3.5/5
  • creative, but not bold

Ship's Amenities: 4/5
  • Excellent for a ship of its size and age, exceeds the amenities of most resort hotels. Remember that the goal of this cruise is not to keep you onboard, but to get you from island to island in comfort and class.  There are no casinos or discos (which is not a minus).
Shipboard Activities: 4/5
  • Social Crew goes all out to make fun for all

Shore Excursions: 3/5
  • Overpriced and sometimes misrepresented, better suited for those who just want to go along for the ride and who are not too critical. We felt that the Polynesian Cultural Center was disappointing.

Ship's Crew: 5/5
  • Outstanding and American!

Overall Cruise Value: 5/5
  • Our per person accommodation, entertainment and transportation to 4 Hawaiian Islands over 7 nights was less than $125/day, and outstanding value in a place where typical hotel accommodations can run at $350/night.