American Cruise Line

American Cruise Line specializes in a unique style of small ship cruising along the inland waterways and rivers of the United States. Fascinating itineraries include the Pacific Northwest, Maine, New England Islands, Hudson River, Chesapeake Bay, the Historic South & Golden Isles, Florida, Alaska, and the Mississippi River aboard the brand new paddlewheeler, Queen of the Mississippi. With no more than 150 guests onboard, passengers experience each port of call, up close and personal, all while enjoying the camaraderie of fellow travelers and the exemplary service that is the hallmark of American Cruise Lines.

All American Cruise Line ships feature large outside staterooms all over 200 sq ft. many with private balconies. Those without balconies have large picture windows that open. Bathrooms are all hotel size and beds are either king or twin size. For a ship overview CLICK HERE.

The itineraries cover much of the United States. The main emphasis has been on the East Coast from Maine to Florida. They include the Coastal Islands in the Northeast, the intracoastal waterways especially in the South, and the rivers of the Northeast like the Hudson. In the middle of the country the brand new Queen of the Mississippi paddlewheel steamer sails the Mississippi and Ohio rivers. Out west the Queen of the West, also a paddlewheel steamer, travels the Columbia and Snake rivers and The American Spirit does the Alaskan Inside Passage and a new itinerary in the San Juan Islands from Seattle.

Evaluation - American Cruise Lines

Ships - ACL's six ships are all American built and American crewed. Four of the ships (American Star, Spirit, and Glory and their newest Independence) are pretty standard 96 passenger river and coastal cruise ships. The other two (Queen of the West and Queen of the Mississippi) are paddlewheel steamers. Queen of the West is an older ship that was refurbished in 2011. Queen of the Mississippi is a brand new build in 2012. Common benefit to all of ACL's ships is the large size of their cabins - much larger (over 200 sq ft) than most small ships.

Itineraries - all American - river and coastal cruising.

Value - you would have to class ACL as a luxury cruiseline based on cabins, service, and food. Their prices reflect that rating - most of their cruises will cost $500 to $700 per night per person. Only in Alaska do they include shore excursions however the excursions you pay for are very reasonable (compared to some others). Also part of the value equation is the fact that they are offering a unique product.

Sample Itineraries Click on the name for details


Alaska Inside Passage - Wilderness, wildlife, history and native culture all meet in an immense wonderland of national parks and natural wonders. To cruise the forest-lined passages, ice-studded bays and pristine coastal waterways of Alaska is to experience America at its most majestic. Nearly every mile offers another breathtaking sight, from a pod of orcas surfacing alongside the ship to Tlingit totem poles that point to the skies where snowy peaks rise to astonishing heights. It’s a world of electric-blue glaciers, shimmering northern lights, and an amazing diversity of wildlife. Discover it all with American Cruise Lines.

This 7 night cruise starts at $5320 pp or $760 per night per person.

East Coast Inland Passage - Every port on this 14-night, grand coastal tour will give you a unique glimpse of America. The East Coast Inland Passage, comprised of connecting rivers, bays, estuaries, and canals, allows passengers to fully appreciate the natural, unspoiled beauty of some of the most scenic preserved areas in the country. From the unique vantage point of a small ship, discover the limitless birds and wildlife that call this passage their home. Cruise through a rich past that has influenced the shape of our country since the days of early exploration. Experience the elegance of a restored southern mansion, the solemn serenity of a Civil War battlefield, and the sheer enormity of a plantation and the secrets it holds.

This 14 night cruise starts at $6980 pp or $498 pp per night.

Hudson River - Experience the rich reds, bright oranges and golden yellows that flood the shores of the Hudson River during the vibrant autumn season. Surrounded by the Catskill Mountains on the western shore and the Taconic and Berkshire Hills to the east, the Hudson is rich in both history and beauty. The historic cities and towns along the way date back to Dutch and English rule, with some of the most magnificent architecture in America. Begin and end your voyage in the most stimulating city in the world, New York, docking in Manhattan with the enticements of renowned art and history museums, and a culture that is unsurpassed.

This seven night cruise starts at $3595 pp or $514 pp per night.

Mississippi River Cruises - Let the good times roll while aboard American Cruise Lines’ brand new Mississippi Riverboat, Queen of the Mississippi. On the greatest paddlewheeler to ever grace the Mississippi River, you can expect to step back in time to the grand era of steamboating, while enjoying modern safety features never before seen on a Mississippi paddlewheeler. Step ashore to explore historic Natchez, Civil-War era Vicksburg and Oak Alley, one of the Old South’s most legendary plantations. The Queen of the Mississippi will embody the spirit of traditional Mississippi River cruising and the grandeur of the riverboats of the past, while offering all the modern comforts and amenities American Cruise Lines passengers have come to expect.

Most all of the Mississippi River cruises are for 7 nights and start at $3995 pp or $570 pp per night.

Puget Sound and San Juan Islands - Puget Sound and the San Juan Islands form the most majestic and intriguing cruising grounds in the world. Hundreds of islands, many of which are uninhabited, are nestled between Canada’s Vancouver Island and the U.S. mainland and are home to a diverse natural wonderland of sea lions, hawks, whales, and so much more! Experience the culture of the Pacific Northwest with fascinating guided tours to historical sites and museums.

This seven night cruise starts at $3695 pp or $527 pp per night.