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American Cruise Lines

History, Review, Itineraries, Ships, Deck Plans, News

American Cruise Lines fleet

Review of American Cruise Lines

American Cruise Lines (ACL) is an USA-based cruise travel company founded in 1991 and headquartered in Guilford, Connecticut. Currently ranked USA's largest river cruise company, ACL operates traditional stern-paddlewheel riverboats and also several small-sized oceangoing ships. ACL ships cruise exclusively in the USA, including Alaska, West and East Coast, along USA's biggest rivers (Mississippi, Columbia, Snake, Hudson) and also in Florida (on St George River).

American Cruise Lines logo

One of the most prominent features of all American Cruise Lines ships is that they are all US-flagged. They were all built/refurbished in the USA by the Chesapeake Shipbuilding company (Salisbury, Maryland). Being a true US cruise company (all its ships are USA-flagged) means that ACL hires only US hotel staff and crews, and pays taxes in the USA (on all cruise deals). ACL deals are not so cheap, and consisting of:

  • larger-than-average staterooms (with the first balcony cabins in the US coastal cruise shipping business)
  • spacious public rooms (bars and lounges)
  • gourmet cuisine, highly personalized service
  • hassle-free experiences, complimentary drinks before dinner, intimate, relaxing and friendly atmosphere
  • amazingly charming itineraries sailing the inland waterways and stopping at ports every day (these are smaller ports inaccessible to larger vessels)
  • an evening enrichment program by professional onboard lecturers
  • the cruise ship "Queen of the Mississippi" debuted in 2012 as the largest of all ACL ships. Her sister ship was recently launched (March 2015) under the name American Eagle.
  • ACL's shipbuilder is Chesapeake Shipbuilding Corporation (Salisbury, Maryland).

Follows the American Pride cruise ship (Queen of the Mississippi) infographic showing what is what and where on this unique riverboat.

American Pride cruise ship (Queen of the Mississippi) infographic

New ships

At the end of October 2015, the company announced the start of the construction on a new coastal cruiser by Chesapeake Shipbuilding (Salisbury, Maryland USA), with scheduled delivery in spring 2017. The vessel was later named American Constellation. From this series was built a second ship (American Constitution) which was launched in 2018.

American Cruise Lines new ship design

These two boats have passenger capacity 170 and as size are slightly larger compared to the company's current coastal cruisers. The new ships are fully stabilized (active wing stabilizers by Rolls-Royce Marine) and have the US river cruising industry's largest and most luxurious staterooms. All cabins are with marble-tiled bathrooms and floor-ceiling glass doors opening to private balconies.

American Cruise Lines new ship infographic

Traditionally for large-sized US riverboats, American Song has a fore-located boarding ramp (bow-location on Deck 1) that allows passengers to go ashore at any place along the ship's cruise itinerary route. The ramp has an innovative design being constructed as retractable gangway (passenger bridge). The technology is often implemented on some of the largest ferries and features an opening bow door.

American Cruise Lines new ship design

In November 2016 the company announced the start of the construction on a 3rd (larger / new-class) vessel with capacity 195 passengers. At the end of February 2017, ACL announced plans for a fleet of 5 newbuild ships. The first vessel from the new "Modern Riverboat" series was launched in 2018 (American Song). Followed the sisterships American Harmony (2019), American Jazz (2020), American Melody plus 1 more (yet unnamed) vessel.

American Cruise Lines new ship design

USA river cruise excursions for free

Any American Cruise Line's guest booking USA river cruises on Mississippi or Columbia rivers will get absolutely free shore excursions. This amazing offer is a year-round deal. These free shore tours are offered in each port of call. The tours' list includes:

  • "Battle of Vicksburg" (in Vicksburg, Mississippi)
  • "Oak Valley Plantation" (in Oak Alley, Louisiana)
  • "Mark Twain Boyhood Home-Museum" (in Hannibal, Missouri)
  • "Mount St Helens" (in Rainier, Washington)
  • "Winery" (in Richland, Washington).

Next YouTube video is the company's official release about the signature "Mississippi River Paddlewheeler" cruising experience.

Since January 2020, ACL is into a 5-year preferential berthing agreement with Port NOLA (New Orleans) for the city's riverboat dock Thalia Street Wharf. By this deal, ACL also received 2 (optional) 5-year renewals/ Preferential homeporting is for guaranteed at least 50 voyages (departures) annually. For 2020, ACL scheduled 68 calls at Port NOLA.

Itinerary of American Cruise Lines

American Cruise Lines itinerary program include the USA's Eastern and Western seaboards. The line also offers Alaskan cruises during summer. The company's main river cruise destinations are the US rivers Mississippi-Ohio (northbound and southbound itineraries) and Columbia-Snake (eastbound and westbound itineraries).

Follows the list of all American Cruise Lines ships, in brackets (Year Built/Passenger Capacity/Cabins_total)

"Grand New England" cruise itinerary

The new 10-night / 11-day cruise itinerary of the company (named "Grand New England") covers New England destinations, among which are charming islands and coastal towns located within the Northeast.

The itinerary visits the following ports of call:

  • Day 1 (Boston MA)
  • Day 2 (Provincetown MA)
  • Day 3 (Newport RI)
  • Day 4 (Martha's Vineyard MA)
  • Day 5 (Kennebunkport ME)
  • Day 6 (Camden ME)
  • Day 7 (Bar Harbor ME)
  • Day 8 (Rockland ME)
  • Before the Rockland arrival, the cruise ship passes through the 10-km / 6-ml Merchants Row passage.
  • The itinerary is operated by the new ACL ships American Constellation and American Constitution.

"Grand Historic South" cruise itinerary

The 10-night / 11-day "Grand Historic South" cruise itinerary is roundtrip from Charleston SC to destinations along southeast USA's Intracoastal Waterway.

The new itinerary visits the following ports of call:

  • Day 1 (Charleston SC / South Carolina)
  • Day 2 (Wilmington NC / North Carolina)
  • Day 3 (Beaufort NC / North Carolina) - horse-drawn carriage ride tour
  • Days 4 and 5 (Savannah GA / Georgia)
  • Day 6 (Sapelo Island GA / Georgia) - Oyster Roast
  • Day 7 (Jekyll Island GA / Georgia) - "Millionaires Village"
  • Day 8 (Fernandina Beach FL / Florida) - Amelia Island
  • Day 9 (cruising)
  • Day 10 (Beaufort SC / South Carolina)
  • Day 11 (Charleston SC / South Carolina)
  • The itinerary is operated by the new ACL ships American Constellation and American Constitution.

The itinerary route features architecturally significant traditional homes, grand plantations, wildlife, amazing coastal landscapes. Also included are locally inspired cuisine specialties prepared by the ship's master chef.

"American Revolution" cruise itinerary

The 12-day "American Revolution Cruise" itinerary visits some of the most historically significant port cities along the Chesapeake Bay.

  • The itinerary also includes new ports - Washington DC, Chestertown MD, Mount Vernon VA. In Washington DC, passengers can enjoy private tours of any of Smithsonian Museums or a guided tour of the National Mall. In Chestertown MD, they can visit Schooner Sultana (replica of Royal Navy Frigate Sultana / in the British Navy between 1768-1772). At Mount Vernon VA, the cruise company's expert guides offer an exclusive tour through George Washington's Estate.
  • Passengers also travel to the last battlefield of the Revolutionary War in Yorktown and Jamestown's first English settlement.
  • In addition to the ashore enrichment program, the shipboard expert is Dr. Harold Cones (biology professor, emeritus / retired from professional life at Christopher Newport University).
  • The "American Revolution Cruise" itinerary is leaving roundtrip from Baltimore MD. Voyages started in spring 2018 on the new ship American Constitution. Available departure dates in 2018 include Oct 29, and Nov 8.

American Cruise Lines itinerary program

The company's line-up of holiday cruises includes Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's voyages along Lower Mississippi and Florida's Southeast Coast.

American Cruise Lines 2020 schedule offers more choices as itinerary lengths along the company's most frequented routes. Itineraries range from 5 to 22 days. The company's 2020 season includes 2 new "Coastal Ships" (American Constitution, American Constellation) and 2 new "Modern Riverboats" (American Harmony, American Song). Next, are listed 2020 itineraries and ships by region.

  • The Pacific Northwest: Puget Sound and Alaska (2 ships - American Constellation, American Spirit)
  • Columbia and Snake Rivers (3 riverboats - American Pride, American Song, Queen of the West)
  • USA Northeast and Southeast Coasts (3 ships - American Constitution, American Star, MS Independence) destinations - New England, Maine, Hudson River, Chesapeake Bay, Charleston, South Carolina to Florida
  • The Entire Mississippi River Region - including Ohio River and Cumberland River (3 riverboats - American Harmony, America, Queen of the Mississippi)

American Cruise Lines ship tracker

Our American Cruise Lines ship tracker is a function integrated into all review pages. At page-bottom in each page, you'll find a map with the ship's current location (AIS position). All the real-time tracking data is provided by VesselFinder. It's all about convenience - you will find where is your riverboat (ship) cruising today and now along its current itinerary!

Note: You can see the CruiseMapper's list of all river cruise ships and riverboats in the "itinerary" section of our River Cruises hub. All river passenger shipping line companies and their fleets are listed there.

American Cruise Lines related cruise news