American Cruise Lines Cruise Tips, Activities, and Overview
Who goes on American Cruise Lines cruise ships?
As with most river and coastal cruisers, passengers tend to be mature, mostly retired, and aged 60+. The majority call North America home, and are in search of unique personalized experiences aboard small ships and riverboats. The demographic has begun to widen, as the line continues to expand their fleet, launching more modern style riverboats in addition to their classic paddlweheelers and small coastal ships. All American’s ships are under 200 passengers, and all offer large cabins and suites, all outward-facing, and most with private balconies. Ships also offer single cabins without a fare supplement for solo cruisers, and have wheelchair-accessible accommodations, as well as elevators to all passenger decks. Many passengers sail with American to explore the history, culture, and diverse geography of the U.S.A. and many cruise to celebrate landmark birthdays and anniversaries. The line has numerous unique itineraries in over 30 U.S. states--along both U.S. rivers as well as the country’s East and West coasts. All ships are 100% U.S.-crewed, owned, and flagged.
Do I have to dress up on a American Cruise Lines cruise?
No. The dress code onboard an American Cruise Lines sailing is casual resort wear, although most passengers do spruce up a bit extra for cocktails hour and dinner, with some men showing up in a sports coat or sweater with slacks, and women in a little dressier outfit than in daytime.
Is everything free on American Cruise Lines cruises?
Almost. American's river cruises on the Mississippi and Columbia & Snake rivers include a one-night complimentary pre-cruise hotel stay, which includes luggage concierge, transportation between the hotel, ship, and airport; some also include city tours. Many of the coastal itineraries also include the hotel stay. Passengers can purchase several two-night pre- and post-cruise packages for an extra fee, as well as some luxury options.
All onboard entertainment, programs, and lectures are complimentary on all cruises. American offers one or more included shore excursions at each port along nearly every itinerary across the U.S. (there are also some additional shore excursion options, which do require additional small fees).
American includes all meals/fine dining, complimentary cocktails and hors d’oeuvres each evening onboard, as well as complimentary wine and beer with both lunch and dinner. The line is happy to meet special dietary requests and offers seasonal and regional specialties whenever possible. Also included are complimentary soft drinks, juices, waters etc. and snacks at all times. On their newest river and coastal ships, American offers complimentary casual outdoor café dining. American offers complimentary breakfast room service and complimentary treats and fresh baked items at different times of day. The line also offers occasional ice cream sundae bars after diner, served along with the evening's entertainment in the main lounges.
American provides private shore side transportation to all shore activities (as well as airports, hotels, and ships pre and post cruise).. On its Mississippi River cruises, American also offers new luxury American Cruise Coaches, which follow the ships up and down the river.
What are American Cruise Lines’s most popular activities?
The destinations visited during each sailing along each itinerary are central to the American Cruise Lines cruise experience, so the small-group shore excursions are the main activity of choice. Onboard enrichment lectures from experts -- authors, historians, scientists and local cultural speakers – draw a crowd. The line also has some onboard activities, ranging from cooking demonstrations and technology training, to art classes with an artist-in-residence.
In the evening, American hosts entertainment in the main lounges, with a variety of acts varying from musical trios, comedy shows, and cultural demonstrations like dance performances and more. Occasionally the line has movie nights, games, and other various onboard-fun led by the staff. All American's evening entertainment programs can also be viewed from the guest staterooms on the ships' TV channel.
On American’s theme cruises -- blues, jazz and country music, Mark Twain, Civil War, Lewis & Clark, Holiday cruises 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, or an authentic Cajun cooking demonstration. During holiday cruises, they add many festive holiday-themed entertainment, meals, and activities from gift exchanges to gingerbread house making.
Most of the time, when the ship is sailing between ports, passengers read, chat and play games in the large interior lounges and multiple shaded or sunny outdoor sundecks. Guests also relax in large staterooms, most with private furnished balconies, or picture windows that open, as American has 100% outward-facing staterooms on all its ships.
Wifi is complimentary throughout the ship, but guests also use the internet stations, and take advantage of the binoculars and regional guides in the ships’ library and chart rooms. Guests can also enjoy a tour of the pilot house with the Captain while on board.
Why go with American Cruise Lines?
- Variety of coastal and American river itineraries for exploring close to home.
- Paddlewheel, coastal and modern river boat offerings to suit various tastes
- Large cabins with private balconies; no interior cabins
Best for: Mature, sophisticated travelers and adult children traveling with their older parents
Not for: Families with small children, or anyone looking for fast-paced cruising