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American Cruise Lines

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American Cruise Lines Cruise Highlights

Why Go?

Variety of coastal and American river itineraries

Paddlewheel and modern river boat offerings to suit various tastes

Large cabins with the balconies

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American Cruise Lines Awards

Editors’ Picks Awards

2018 Best for Solo Travelers
2017 Best for Solo Travelers
2016 Best Enrichment

Cruisers’ Choice Destination Awards

2018 Top-Rated US & Canada Cruise Lines

American Cruise Lines Overview

American Cruise Lines is a U.S.-flagged river and coastal cruise company based in Guilford, Connecticut, which was part of the original boom in small, U.S.-flagged coastal cruising that started in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Known for its fleet of traditional riverboat paddlewheelers that ply the Mississippi, Columbia and Snake rivers, the line also offers modern riverboat options.

Who goes on American Cruise Lines cruise ships?

Most passengers are mature (70 and up is about average), mostly retired and the majority call North America home, although the company is starting to see more cruisers from the U.K. Single cabins without a fare supplement attract solo cruisers, and the ships have wheelchair-accessible accommodations and elevators, so it's not unusual to find people with mobility issues onboard. Many passengers sail with ACL to celebrate landmark birthdays and anniversaries.

Do I have to dress up on an American Cruise Lines cruise?

No. The dress code onboard an American Cruise Lines sailing is casual resort wear, although passengers spruce up a bit extra for dinner, with men showing up in a sports coat or sweater with slacks, and women in a little dressier outfit than in daytime.

What are American Cruise Lines' most popular activities?

The destinations visited during each sailing are central to the American Cruise Lines cruise experience, so the shore excursions are the main activity of choice and onboard enrichment lectures from experts, generally authors and historians, draw a crowd. In the evening music or sometimes comedy, with talent coming onboard from the ports of call, or from onboard staff, brings in a handful of cruisers.

On the line's theme cruises -- blues, jazz and country music, Mark Twain, Civil War, Lewis & Clark, etc. -- special experts, such as Jefferson Davis' great great-grandson, Bertram Hayes-Davis, give talks or perform. Depending on the region each ship is sailing, there may be local culinary experiences like a lobster bake in New England.

Most of the time, when the ship is sailing between ports, passengers read and chat in the large lounges onboard, use the internet stations and take advantage of the binoculars and regional guides in the library.

Is everything free on American Cruise Lines?

Not quite. Though some shore excursions are included, others require additional fees, depending on the itinerary. American Cruise Lines includes complimentary cocktails during the cocktail hour, free snacks in the lounges, complimentary wine and beer with lunch and dinner, and free Wi-Fi. Many of the cruises also include complimentary one-night pre-cruise hotel and transportation between the ship and hotel or airport. Passengers are not expected to leave a gratuity onboard.

You can arrange land-based services, such as spa and hair/beauty treatments and laundry, in port through your hotel manager onboard, who can also help with golf tee time requests; all these are paid for separately.