If you'd like to skip ocean liners in favor of smaller vessels, you could find the perfect sailing option through American Cruise Lines. The company provides cruises inland and along the coastal waterways of the United States.
American Cruise Lines' Sailings
You have your choice of 11 different itineraries, including:
- A cruise along Snake and Columbia Rivers in Oregon, Washington and Idaho
- An exploration of the port areas of Maine along the Atlantic Ocean
- A visit to islands surrounding Rhode Island and Massachusetts, including Cape Cod, Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket
- A cruise up the East Coast, from Providence, Rhode Island to Bangor, Maine
- A trip up the Hudson River in New York State, from New York City through the Catskills region
- A cruise down the Potomac River, from Philadelphia to Alexandria, Virginia
- An exploration of the Chesapeake Bay watershed, visiting coastal towns in Maryland
- A trip down the Mid Atlantic coast, from Baltimore to Charleston
- A longer East Coast excursion from Baltimore to Amelia Island, Florida
- An exploration of southern hospitality, from Charleston to Amelia Island
- A trip along the rivers of Northwest Florida, including a visit to Lake George
Some destinations have multiple itineraries. All excursions are either six, seven or 14 nights in length.
All of the ships on this line are small, maxing out at 120 passengers or less. The smallest of the ships, the American Glory, only holds 49 passengers. It's necessary for these ships to be small so that they can easily navigate narrow waterways and dock at smaller ports.
Despite their size, American Cruise Line vessels are still considered luxury. The staterooms are fairly large and most have balcony views. The cabins also have flat screen TVs with satellite reception and DVD players. All ships have four outdoor decks, dining rooms with large windows, and wireless Internet access throughout. The ships are fairly new, with the oldest commissioned in 1995.
Unlike ocean liners, your sailing won't include huge theaters, casinos or high-end shopping. Instead, you'll get entertainment that shows the local color of the area you're visiting, such as costumed historians, drum corps and lobster fisherman who give lectures on their craft.
Booking a Cruise
If you'd like to schedule a trip on American Cruise Lines, you can search by date or by ship on the company's website. Cruises are available year round, but they are limited to southern destinations at certain times.
Once you've chosen your cruise of interest, you can fill out an online reservation form, which lists your requested cruise and contact information. At this time, you are not obligated to book. A company representative will contact you and you'll be asked to pay a deposit to secure your place on the ship. The deposit amount depends on the length of the cruise. Once you are registered, you can look into shore excursions and other extras, or you can try to book these onboard.
If you'd like more information on the company before booking your cruise, dial 1-800-814-6880. Representatives are available between the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time.