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

American Cruise Lines

American Cruise Lines Review

American Cruise Lines Review

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. The Connecticut-based company operates eight ships carrying 50 to 185 passengers with four Victorian-style paddle-wheelers operating on the Mississippi River and in the Pacific Northwest. 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.

Extra Perks: In addition to free drinks at cocktail hour and with dinner, your fare also includes complimentary excursions in most ports, Wi-Fi, and room service.

Best Known For

Close-to-Home Itineraries: The cruises visit lesser-known destinations that charm: small river towns along the Mississippi, 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 ships feature historians, naturalists, and local experts, as well as entertainment by a local combo or a trivia contest. 

Regional Fare: Dishes are made with locally sourced ingredients based on your itinerary (think: chicken and andouille gumbo and homemade peach and blackberry cobbler on Southern itineraries).

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.

Riverlorians: If you're interested in the history of the Mississippi, or want to travel in the steps of Mark Twain, the line's paddle-wheelers will deliver a double dose of Americana.

Don't Say We Didn't Warn You

It’s Not Cheap: You won’t find this cruise selling for $599: Expect to spend $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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