American Cruise Lines, American Star, Hudson River
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American Star on the Hudson River American Cruise Lines
American Cruise Lines, Independence, Owner's Suite
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Owner's Suite on the Independence American Cruise Lines
American Cruise Lines, Riverboat Paddlewheel Lounge
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Paddlewheel Lounge American Cruise Lines
American Cruise Lines, Riverboat Chart Room
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Riverboat Chart Room American Cruise Lines

American Cruise Lines

American Cruise Lines, salmon and red wine Complimentary Wine and Beer with Meals American Cruise Lines

American Cruise Lines celebrates the red, white, and blue with a fleet of small ships that explore the U.S. coastlines and interior rivers. This Connecticut-based company operates seven ships carrying 50 to 185 passengers. Three are Victorian-style paddle-wheelers operating on the Mississippi River and in the Pacific Northwest; a fourth is due out in early 2016. The ships fly the American flag and have all-American crews.

What We Love

Huge Staterooms: On the new American Eagle riverboat, cabins range from 260 to 600 square feet. Even the 19 solo-occupancy cabins measure 210 square feet. Most have private balconies.

Homey Touches: White, wooden rocking chairs line the outer deck of the riverboats, and a cozy lounge has lots of old maps of the Mississippi and its tributaries.

Best Known For

Close-to-Home Itineraries: The cruises visit lesser-known destinations that charm: small river towns, Maine villages known for fresh lobster, scenic burgs in Alaska, and stunning canyons and gorges in Oregon and Washington.

Low-Key Entertainment: Don’t expect splashy shows or Broadway-style musicals. The cruises feature historians, naturalists, and local experts, as well as entertainment by a local combo or a trivia contest. 

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Who It's Best For

Mature Travelers: American Cruise Lines appeals to well-heeled people age 50 and up, and the riverboats in particular attract an older crowd. Well-traveled and well-educated, these travelers appreciate that the elevator goes to all decks.

Don't Say We Didn't Warn You

It’s Not Cheap: You won’t find this cruise selling for $599: Expect to spend in the neighborhood of $4,000 per person and up for a seven-night cruise.

Have Another Drink: There’s a complimentary cocktail hour before dinner, and beer and wine are served with meals. But if you want a drink after dinner, you'll have to flag someone down.

Theresa Norton Masek

Theresa Norton Masek is a Chicago-based contributor to ShermansCruise and a longtime cruise writer.

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