Unlike most American river cruise ships, American Melody and its fleetmates eschew the traditional paddlewheel design that has defined river cruising along the Mississippi and other rivers since the days of Mark Twain. Boasting contemporary design and a sleek profile that blends an elaborate riverboat with a small intercoastal ship, American Melody offers a thoroughly modern river cruise experience through America's heartland.
Unexpected onboard features for a ship of its class include a soaring four-level atrium topped with a glass skylight, a forward-facing observation lounge, wall-to-wall windows in nearly every public room and an all-balcony cabin arrangement.
One key feature is the ship's unique bow, which swings open to reveal a retractable gangway that allows the ship to pull right up into places where more traditional cruise ships would be unable to dock.
Meals onboard offer traditionally American fare complemented by American wines and beers. All meals are served in the ship's open-seating fine dining room, and wine, beer and soft drinks are complimentary with lunches and dinners onboard.
The ship also offers casual outdoor cafe dining, for those riverside views as you sail.
Snacks are available in the ship's main lounge, and complimentary drinks and hors d'oeuvres are offered during a daily cocktail hour.
Room service is available for breakfast only.
American Cruise Lines prides itself on the spaciousness of its cabins, and for good reason: They're huge. And every cabin has a private furnished balcony.
Continuing the tradition that began with the debut of American Song, the smallest cabins onboard are the ship's eight single-occupancy staterooms that come in at a spacious 250 square feet.
The accommodations only get larger from there, with the entry-level AAR staterooms with private balcony measuring 275 square feet.
At the top of the accommodations chain are two massive 800-square-foot Grand Suites and a trio of spacious, 645-square-foot Owners Suites, each offering full-size bathrooms, separate sitting areas, floor-to-ceiling windows and spacious private balconies.
There is one wheelchair-accessible cabin on Main Deck. All cabins feature ample storage space, private bathrooms, satellite TVs with DVD players and complimentary Wi-Fi.
Up top, American Melody has the line's innovative Skywalk -- an ellipse cutout which is cantilevered over the 4th deck café below. This is part of the walking track, which offers stellar views. There's also a shuffle board court, as well as plenty of loungers.
Onboard entertainment revolves around musical performances and guest lecturers. Most American Cruise Lines voyages are strong in this respect, offering an eclectic mix of musical styles, from jazz to blues to country and rock 'n' roll.
Guest lecturers and onboard historians provide itinerary and port-specific information, while onboard riverlorians touch on the unique history and culture of the vessel's sailing waterway.
Reading and quiet conversation are also popular pastimes on these voyages, which tend to attract a mature audience of cruisers looking to sail the heartland of America.
American Melody debuted in August 2021 and operates many different Mississippi River itineraries including holiday cruises and theme cruises throughout the year (March through December).