With a fleet that consists of authentic paddle steamers and standard river ships, American Cruise Lines can take you along waterways all over the USA. From the mighty Mississippi to the Hudson and the rivers of the Pacific Northwest, you will discover the stories of Lewis and Clarke, delve deep into Southern culture and learn of important historic events like the American Civil War.
Along with this, there is also the opportunity to explore coastal areas such as Chesapeake and Penobscot Bay. The ships that sail these itineraries are specifically built to handle these waters but still offer the small ship experience that everybody looks for in a river cruise. The onboard ambiance reflects the regions through which you sail, with an attentive, all-American crew looking out for you all the time. They will get to know you personally and offer a friendly level of service that immediately lifts the atmosphere on board.
Wine and beer are complimentary at mealtimes and a special cocktail hour is organised every day so that you can reconnect with other guests after your latest foray on the shore. Certain excursions are also included in the price and entertainment is provided by the musicians and historical experts that join you on board.
The cabins aboard these modern ships are some of the most spacious examples in the river cruise industry, providing a comfortable and well-designed private area. A lot of space has been dedicated to the bathroom, making them the same size as you would expect to have in a stylish hotel room. Some staterooms feature private balconies, whilst those that don’t offer a picture window that opens so you can let the fresh air in.
Air-conditioning, bathroom products, flat-screen TVs and DVD players are all amongst the standard amenities and there is a twice-daily maid service to help keep your stateroom in ship shape. Single staterooms are also available on every ship to help those travelling solo avoid single supplements.
The large main dining room on each ship means that everyone can be accommodated in a single sitting. The menu will change depending on which part of the USA you choose to explore. Expect to find southern favourites such as ‘chicken & andouille gumbo’ and ‘bourbon pecan pie’ along the Mississippi, ‘Maine lobster surf and turf’ and ‘littleneck clams ceviche’ in New England, and ‘smoked salmon pasta alfredo’ and ‘marionberry cheesecake’ along the Snake and Colombia Rivers.
When procuring local ingredients, American Cruise Lines pride themselves on supporting local farmers and growers, as well as working closely with Seafood Watch to make sure the fruits of the sea are sustainably sourced and fresh.
Every ship has one or more lounge areas where guests can relax between ports and the sun deck is the perfect spot to grab a seat when the weather is good. There’s also a library if you are looking for a bit of peace and quiet and an open-air exercise area so that you never have to miss a second of the passing scenery while working out. All except from Queen of the West have the addition of a putting green on the top deck.
Each sailing will feature selected excursions that are included in the cruise fare, but there are more than 160 different activities on offer across the entire program. Expert guides will help to bring the various destinations to life and your onshore ventures could include visits to famous plantations, wildlife tours in South Carolina and jet boat rides in Hells Canyon, Washington.
Enrichment is furthered by the various musicians and historians who come aboard to offer their insight and add to your understanding of traditional American culture.