Explore the U.S. with American Cruise Lines

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American Cruise Lines is sponsoring this look at small ship cruising in the U.S.

When you think of river cruising, do you picture sailing down a European scenic river stopping at charming towns with history to explore? Did you know that you can do that here in the good old USA?

U.S. river cruising on American Cruise Lines

The U.S. river cruising industry is exploding with opportunities that include traveling on modern ships to areas throughout the country—not just the Mississippi River. American Cruise Lines is at the forefront with ships that exudes simple sophistication, including the largest cabins in the small cruise ship industry.

White river boat on a river
American Song is one of American Cruise Line’s all-balcony modern riverboats.

With 13 small ships, including 4 new modern riverboats, American Cruise Lines offers set-your-own-pace experiences that go beyond the lower and upper Mississippi River. From a fall color cruise on the Hudson River in New York to learning about Lewis and Clark’s great adventure while cruising the Columbia and Snake Rivers, boomer travelers are sure to find an appealing itinerary.

River and coastal U.S. itineraries

While American Cruise Lines’ eco-friendly fleet of modern riverboats and authentic paddlewheelers ply the waters of famous American rivers, the All-American company also cruises coastal areas of the U.S. on five small cruise ships. And all of the ships offer single cabins with no single supplement—a boon to solo travelers. In fact, boomer cruisers will find a range of choices depending on their budget and experience preferences.

What to expect on American Cruise Lines

When guests step onboard an American Cruise Lines ship, they’re greeted by a friendly, American staff. With under 200 passengers, guests make long-lasting friendships while mingling at the complimentary cocktail hour or bonding over a shared interest during a free shore excursion.

Meals offer a varied selection of regional cuisine. There are no assigned tables in the dining room and complimentary wine and beer are served at lunch and dinner. Enjoy dining on lobster during a northeastern coastal cruise or chow down on fresh Pacific seafood as you cruise the San Juan Islands in the Pacific Northwest. Gratuities are not expected during or at the end of the cruise. 

Historians and local experts offer daily lectures adding depth to your regional explorations. Learn about pirates on your cruise along the Southeastern coast. On the Columbia and Snake Rivers listen to the stories of Lewis and Clark or marvel at the geological lessons from Mount Saint Helens’ eruption.

And what would a cruise be without music? Enjoy nightly entertainment that celebrates the music of America’s rivers. While cruising on the Mississippi, you’ll travel from jazz to country and blues to rock and roll—quite the musical journey.

The more I learn about American Cruise Lines, the higher their small ship cruise experiences rise on my to-do list. After pouring over the latest American Cruise Lines brochure, Alan and I are having a hard time deciding between itineraries. Which one should we choose?

See fall colors on a Hudson River cruise

White river boat on a fall cruise with colorful trees
American Star cruises on the Hudson River. Photo courtesy American Cruise Lines

Can you believe that Alan has never seen the famous fall colors of the eastern U.S.? While I’ve admired autumn foliage on the Blue Ridge Parkway, the vibrant fall scene in the Northeastern U.S. has been missing from my travel experiences. In lieu of a road trip, we’re thinking a cruise up the Hudson River as it winds through the Catskills to Albany, NY, would be a fun way to see the fall spectacle. 

This 8-day round-trip itinerary from New York City, visits West Point Military Academy, Sleepy Hollow of Washington Irving fame, and the birthplace of Franklin D. Roosevelt. While pinning down the perfect week to see the fall leaves is difficult, cruising the Hudson River during October is sure to be a scenic viewing.

Explore Early American history on a Chesapeake Bay Cruise

Horse and carriage in front of a red brick colonial building at Williamsburg
Visiting Williamsburg is the highlight of a Chesapeake Bay cruise

On a Chesapeake Bay cruise, history is the star of the show—and crab. On a 7-day-round-trip cruise from Baltimore, MD, explore early American history as your ship stops in Yorktown and Williamsburg, Oxford—one of America’s oldest towns. Then continue to Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum in Talbot, and Annapolis for a visit to the Naval Academy, a National Historic Landmark. About those crabs—at quaint Tangier you’ll visit the Blue Crab Capital of the World. Of course crabs are sure to be part of the regional menu served onboard ship.

Enjoy an iconic Mississippi River cruise

Plantation house surrounded by trees and flowers

A cruise on the mighty Mississippi River is an iconic U.S. travel experience. An 8-day round trip cruise from New Orleans offers a taste of lovely gardens, southern charm and complicated history. You’ll also enjoy cajun and creole cuisine accompanied by music from the region.

Are you a boomer traveler who wants to see it all? Trace the Mississippi on a 22-day journey from New Orleans to St. Paul, MN. Imagine the varied history, cuisine and fun you’ll experience on this extended river cruise.

There are more river cruise itineraries than I could have imagined, many with themes based upon history or regional cuisine. Have you thought about a fall cruise on the Cumberland River? I had no idea that the opportunity existed. Which American Cruise Lines journey will you choose? Follow them on Facebook to keep up with the latest American Cruise Lines news.

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