I Tried A River Cruise With American Cruise Lines, Here’s Why You Should Too! (2024)

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December 08, 2023

By Traci Clark, Cruise Guest

I havecruised with the large cruise lines for years, but lately, I've noticed that the shore excursions and onboard activities aren't for me anymore. Either they were too crowded, too physically demanding, or were things thatdidn't interest me. This was a devastating discovery, as cruising has always been my favorite way to vacation. Then a good friend of mine suggested a small ship river cruisewith American Cruise Lines. And boy amI glad that she did.

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Cruising the Mississippi River

After doing some research, reading the amazing reviews, and talking it over with my husband, I decided to book the Lower Mississippi River cruise. As fans of Elvis, jazz music & good southern barbecue, coupled with our love of American history, especially the Civil War era, we were certain this was the cruise for us.

Our cruise began in Memphis,where we immersed ourselves in the rich musical history of Beale Street. We then spent a day traveling down the river before arriving in Vicksburg, which is most known for being the key to winning the Civil War due to its connection between river and rail transportation. Myfavorite day of the cruise was visiting theHoumas House, 38 acres of gardens, fountains, and majestic trees.

Iliked how excursions were clearly labeled from Low to High with ADA information, so it was easy to decide if we wanted to take partin anexcursion or not. My husband's favorite excursion was the Great River Outdoor Adventure at the Double C Ranch, where we rode private quadsthrough farmlands and pine plantations, and he even participated in a tomahawk throwing contest. Between the shore excursions andonboard activities, our Mississippi River Cruise experience was a wonderful journey filled with historical tales, awesome music, and a bunch of new friends.

I Tried A River Cruise With American Cruise Lines, Here’s Why You Should Too! (4)I Tried A River Cruise With American Cruise Lines, Here’s Why You Should Too! (5)

All-Inclusive and Accommodating

I learned quickly after making our reservation that this was not going to be any ordinary cruising experience. The folks at American Cruise Lines took care of everything, even our hotel and airfare were arranged for us. The cruise fare also includes meals, snacks, co*cktail parties,beverages, as well as onboard tips and gratuities.

All the crew members were American and, compared to the level of service I had come to expect from the othercruise lines, were so accommodating and always available to help with anything I needed. Every crew member went above and beyond to make this trip our best vacation ever.

The ship itself felt light, airy and was very well-maintained and exceptionally clean. The stateroom was so spacious featuringa large bath, plenty of storage,& came complete with our ownprivate balcony. Our stateroom attendant Ethan was truly first-rate. He was super friendly, polite, and great at anticipating our needs. He even managed to straighten out our stateroom multiple times per day without ever being in our way. Our stateroom truly felt like a home away from home.And because this cruise line doesn't leave the United States, there was no need for a passport or waiting in those longlines at customs.

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Comfortable Cruising

The relaxed atmosphere of American Cruise Lines is what sets them apart from the other cruise lines. After other vacations, I swear I need another vacation to recharge the batteries. But on this cruise, we never felt hurried or rushed. We were able to take part in as many activities as we wanted in a given day. There were always plenty of lounges to relax in if we didn't feel like participating. Itwas a nice change of pace cruising without the kids, casinos, DJs, and pools.

The food on board was incredible, featuring local cuisine that fit the culture of the port stop we had just explored. There were so many places on the ship to view the beautiful passing scenery, from our private balcony and lounges to the restaurant and sun deck. The onboard speaker stayed with us throughout the week and really added to our experience. She was so knowledgeable about the region and was a pleasure to talk to and listen to. She even came along on excursions and dined at our table one evening.

The journey along the river was a very smooth one, with land always in sight. I got seasick on an ocean cruise a few years back, so I was a little concerned, but I highly doubt anyone got seasick on a cruise like this.I also expected there to be issues with the smaller ships not having enough space. I was pleasantly surprised that this was not the case. I can't recall waiting on a line of more than 3 people the entire trip!

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Like-Minded Travelers

I think my favorite part of the cruise was meeting all the pleasant and interesting people on board. The ship had fewer than 180 guests, and best of all they were all around my age. We had so much in common. My husband and I became fast friends with our stateroom neighbors. We even booked our next cruise with our newfound friends and will be sailing the legendary Columbia & Snake Rivers together like Lewis & Clark! I can't believe I used to leave the country to cruise when we have so many amazing & desirable destinations right here in America.

Our experience with American Cruise Lines was truly unforgettable and unlike any cruise we have ever taken. We are so looking forward to our next summer. The friendly, professional crew at American Cruise Lines, as well as the other like-minded guests, became like family by the end of our journey. We enjoyed the opportunity to discover parts of America in such a unique and personalized way. It was an experience of a lifetime we plan on repeating every year. I'm through with the mega ships - small-ship cruising is the only way to travel.

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I Tried A River Cruise With American Cruise Lines, Here’s Why You Should Too! (2024)


Why are American river cruises so expensive? ›

For river cruises inside the US its hard to meet the foreign port stop requirement. Thus they use US flagged vessels with US crews and the labor rates are higher and requirements sometimes more expensive. I think one reason is the Passenger Services Vessel Act (PSVA) of 1886.

Why do you want to join cruise line answer? ›

I love to travel and I think it would be a great opportunity to see different parts of the world while working. I also like the idea of working on a cruise ship because it would be a new and exciting experience. Good luck with your Interview at Msc Cruises.

Are river cruises full of old people? ›

There were people of all ages, even a few kids younger than my niece. I think everyone, regardless of age, had a great time. Much more active group, lots of excursion options, and even different activity levels for those excursions.

What is the average cost of a river cruise? ›

The cost of river cruises can vary quite a bit but typically averages around $300 or $500 (or more) per person per night. That said, there are always some good promotions and offers where the price can decrease by 50% or more, especially if you are okay with booking an interior cabin.

Is a balcony worth it on a river cruise? ›

It's down to personal preference and budget. If finances allow, I highly recommend a balcony option. It is worth noting that one morning, you could have an incredible view over the river, but the next day, the view could be of a dock wall and your balcony becomes less important.

What is the best river cruise for the first time? ›

Best river cruises for first timers
  • Flavors of Portugal & Spain. AmaWaterways. ...
  • Blue Danube: Family Riverboat Adventure - Eastbound. Tauck River Cruising.
  • The Blue Danube - Westbound. Tauck River Cruising.
  • Blue Danube Discovery. AmaWaterways. ...
  • Medieval Treasures. AmaWaterways. ...
  • Lyon & Provence. ...
  • Jewels of Europe. ...
  • Jewels of Europe.
May 27, 2024

What is the best answer for "Tell me about yourself"? ›

Provide a Brief Highlight-Summary of Your Experience

The best way to answer "Tell me about yourself" is with a brief highlight-summary of your experience, your education, the value you bring to an employer, and the reason you're looking forward to learning more about this next job and the opportunity to work with them.

Why did I choose a cruise ship? ›

Cruises are a popular way to spend a vacation because they are affordable, kids can have fun and feel safe, and the food is good. A cruise is a popular choice for a vacation for many reasons, such as romance, variety, reunions, new experiences, and ease.

What is the average age of river cruise passengers? ›

This means that the average age varies by cruise line, itinerary and date. With that said, for at least one cruise line, the average age is 55 years old. Surprised? You won't see any walkers outside the restaurants, you won't see people falling asleep at dinner and you won't see strollers jamming the hallways.

Who is the target audience for river cruises? ›

Baby Boomers, generally defined as individuals born between 1946 and 1964, have traditionally been the primary demographic for river cruises.

Do people dress up on river cruises? ›

Bring casual clothes that are comfortable – that's your main priority. Unlike ocean cruises where guests often dine in ballgowns and tuxedos, the dress code on a river cruise is much more relaxed and informal. When choosing your holiday wardrobe, stick to one- or two-colour schemes.

How do I get the best deal on a river cruise? ›

Many river cruise lines offer last minute deals for early bookers in the form of discounts. These amazing deals can come in the form of free spending money or free extras such as chauffeur transfers. Booking your river cruise as early as possible while these promotions are available is one way to grab a fantastic deal.

Why are river cruises so expensive in the US? ›

Compared to ocean cruises, cruises on American rivers are domestic sea travel (no foreign port of call) which triggers some requirements under the old Passenger Vessel Services Act of 1886 that the ship be US-built, US registered and the crew US citizens or else face large and crippling fees (about $800 per passenger).

How far in advance should you book a river cruise? ›

Plan seven to eight months in advance.

River cruises are a unique beast in that the cheapest and most expensive accommodation choices tend to go first.

Is American Queen voyages shutting down? ›

American Queen Voyages, an operator of U.S. river cruises, ceased operations on Feb. 20, according to a statement the company sent to employees and a voice message when calling the company's phone number.

Are river cruises value for money? ›

River cruises are often regarded as a luxury reserved for those with plenty of money. However, there are a range of less-expensive options. Travellers can choose an ultra-luxury, all-inclusive ship, or a more cost-conscious option. When less is automatically included, you'll choose how to spend your money.

Are American Cruise Lines and American Queen Voyages the same company? ›

American Cruise Lines has purchased all four of the paddlewheelers that had been part of the American Queen Voyages fleet. AQV ceased operations on Feb. 20, and a Chapter 11 filing by the U.S. river cruise line and its parent, Hornblower Holdings, shortly followed. ACL purchased the ships out of bankruptcy.

Is airfare included in American river cruises? ›

American Cruise Lines offers flat-rate domestic airfare on all itineraries and special offers from time-to-time that can include free airfare and savings on a particular cruise. Eagle Society members, as our most loyal guests, are rewarded with special benefits and promotions.

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