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American Cruise Lines

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LAST UPDATED: September 25th, 2023
American Cruise Lines is a historical tour cruise line based out of Connecticut. Cruises are offered year round and last 7-14 days. The company's ships travel to Alaska and the Pacific Northwest, up and down the Mississippi River, and across the Northeast and Southeast United States. American cruise lines also offers special theme cruises such as their Lewis and Clark Cruise, Civil War Cruise, and Mark Twain Tribute Cruise.

The Good

  • Safety
  • Great amenities
  • Dining options


American Cruise Lines, Inc.'s ships are equipped with safety, navigation and communications systems, including defibrillators and oxygen. Many systems on the ships have back-up redundancy for safety and convenience. All American Cruise Lines, Inc.'s ships are U.S.-flagged, certified and regularly inspected by the U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Public Health Service and the Federal Communications Commission.

Great Amenities

American Cruise Lines features spacious staterooms at more than 220 square feet each. These staterooms provide private balconies and large picture windows with a spectacular view of the sea and landscape. Each room includes the following amenities:
  • Twin or King-sized bed
  • Twice-daily stateroom service
  • Remote-controlled satellite TV w/DVD player
  • Internet access
  • Individual climate control system
  • Writing desk & stationery
  • Hair dryer
  • Spacious closet and four-drawer dresser and dual night tables

In addition to the spacious staterooms, there are amenities relatively standard on all American cruise line ships. While there may be one or two exceptions, for the most part American cruise lines feature the following amenities to their guests:
  • Twice-daily stateroom service
  • Twin or King-sized be
  • Remote-controlled satellite TV w/DVD player
  • Internet access
  • Individual climate control system
  • Writing desk & stationery
  • Hair dryer
  • Spacious closet and four-drawer dresser and dual night tables

Dining Options

Dinner options include local fare from the port destinations during the length of the cruise and the restaurants cater to any special dietary needs of its guests. Enjoy freshly baked breads and muffins to start your day and steamed lobsters, beef, and lamb during the evening hours. Lunch options feature sandwiches, soups, and salads and delicious pies for dessert. Chilled red and white wines are served each day during lunch and dinner. Dress codes are resort casual and seating is unassigned.

Lounge Areas

The American Cruise Line ships also contain oversized lounges for guests to relax, socialize, and play games. These lounges have a well-stocked library and internet stations. Wifi use is free for guests to enjoy. Guests are also welcome to bring visitors onboard.

The Bad

  • No activities for children
  • Offshore excursions
  • Seasickness

No Activities for Children

American Cruise Lines is designed for older adults without children. There are no activities or programs for children. Entertainment options for adults are limited to nightly lectures from local experts, offshore excursions, and chatting with other fellow passengers during the evening cocktail hour. While the line does serve alcohol during lunch and dinner, it does not sell alcoholic beverages to guests or visitors.

Offshore Excursions

The cruise line ships only set sail twice a day, once in the morning and once in the afternoon. The rest of the time, the ships are tied up at docks for offshore excursions. While the offshore excursions are relatively inexpensive, they are limited in options and consist mainly of tours walks with local historians and bus tours to museums. These excursions range in price from $20-$75.


American Cruise Line ships are built to rarely move during sea travel and minimizing seasickness. However, the small sizes of the ships and lack of stabilizers do create uncomfortable motions during some exposed passages. For guests not accustomed to cruising, these sea motions can be quite unpleasant.

The decor on the American Cruise Line ships resembles that of a generic hotel chain's front lobby. Color palettes throughout the ships are muted and plain.The biggest upside is the main lounge with tall windows that provides the perfect vantage point for passing scenery outside the ship. Luxury amenities are limited when compared to their cruise lines in the industry.


There is a $500 deposit required per person in order to confirm any reservation for a cruise lasting less than nine days. A $900 per person deposit is required for all trips lasting ten or more days. Complete payment for any booked cruise is to be made 90 days prior to the boarding date. Single travelers are welcome. Shore excursions typically cost $20 to $70 and can be paid onboard near the end of your cruise.

The Bottom Line

American Cruise Lines is an optimal choice for older adults without children. While these guests are not excluded from booking a reservation, this cruise line is not designed for families with young children or teenagers as there are no entertainment options or activities created for them. The cruises and offshore excursions are reasonably priced. However, entertainment options are limited. The historical tours and evening lectures are perfect for history and culture enthusiasts.The dress code is resort casual and the ships offer open seating in restaurants, which is a big plus for guests who love to meet new people and socialize. Fares include passage, dining, snacks, and complimentary cocktails. The ships are small and intimate, allowing guests to move around easily in a relaxed atmosphere. There are little complaints filed against American Cruise Lines when compared to other excursion companies in their industry.
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Sam Mondello Camillus, NY

We cruised on the new American Symphony from Nov 2-7. Our stateroom was spacious, very clean and the staff was very friendly. There seemed to be a disconnect with upper management and the staff when questions arose . So....Our river cruise on the Mississippi was cut short (not ACL's fault as the Mississippi was low). However other issues during the cruise left everyone perplexed on how to deal with: running short on food and supplies, lack of communication, being short-staffed, low quality entertainment, extra time on buses to "compensate" for not docking in places, mediocre shore excursions, confusing changes in schedules that weren't communicated well, activities that were cancelled last minute, and most disappointing: disregard for requests for a partial refund from their customer service and the CEO. There were more people discontent than happy with their experience and we learned from our mistake and would suggest you take any other cruise line besides ACL.We have been on dozens of cruises with a total 8 or more cruise lines and never had such a disappointing experience like this!

9 months ago

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Mary Tucson, AZ

This was the Puget Sound Cruise on the Constellation . We left the ship on day 3. Cabin was dirty, most chairs in the ship were stained, dinning room looked like a 1970's nursing home dining room, carpet was torn in our hallway (major trip hazard), our bathroom was filthy, no safe in room, even tho we were told there would be, a number of things in our room were missing and we had to ask for them, like the desk chair. (And they bring us a stained chair). The crew was friendly, but obviously lacked training and supervision. There was no resemblance to the "modern, elegant, luxurious comfort they talk about on their website and brochures. This cruise was not worth the cost by any stretch of the imagination. You pay for the Hyatt and get a Super 8. We’ve learned our lesson, at a great cost to our pocket book, that we will never go on another ACL cruise no matter how wonderful the they say it would be.

9 months ago

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David Simia Cleveland, OH

Horrible experience characterized by: poor service, disorganized, poor entertainment, continuously out of basics - food, beverages, potato chips, breakfast items, bread, snacks, inattentiveness to senior travelers such as having them wait in 85 degress waiting 45 minutes for buses...Overpriced disaster! Stay away. Definitely not for the SENIORS.

10 months ago

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Mops Queens, NY

Ok so we stood in line for an hour in the sun for COVID testing.. Thankfully we finished before the rain started. Housekeeping was hit or miss. The ship was out of shampoo. No cups or glasses in the room despite a K cup machine. No bath mats, no wash rags. They ran out of white wines. The Champaign was Korbel. Dinner was beef, pork, lobster too many times. Desert was one kind of pie and ice cream. So, all was tolerable til they blew an engine and we were dead in the water. The busses did not have bottled water on board. For the price, one could do so much better. We are considering abandoning this cruise if we ever get an engine to take us to the next port. Seriously there are better cruise lines available now, don’t waste your money on this one.

1 year ago

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Suzanne Perrine Benton, AR

I was on a Columbia River Cruise beginning Sept 18, 2021 on Queen of the West in room 207. I was told it was the last room left on the ship and now I know why. It was more like a narrow hall blocked by a cot. I had a shared veranda (which I thought would be private) with the couple in room 209. My window shade to the veranda had slates missing and was too narrow for the door window. So my room had no privacy. My soap dish kept falling off into the toilet along with the soap and the top drawer to the dresser by the veranda door would not stay shut. After 3 days of asking for assistance, the soap dish was replaced and glued down, the dresser drawer still wouldn't stay shut and the blind was replaced but still too narrow to cover the window. Overall, the ship needed retired. The paddlewheel had slats missing and the remaining ones were badly rotting. The carpet had tears and frays all over the ship, it needed paint and it was a sorry experience. The service the first few days was the saving grace and was excellent, however, in the middle of the trip most of the experienced staff left and was replaced by trainees. The service was awful after that. The food was very bland and either over cooked or undercooked. It was the first cruise I have not gained a pound. That's bad food. I traveled with 4 others and they had similar experiences but nicer cabins. 201, 202. The problem with those cabins was there was no privacy outside their front windows. It was open to everyone if the blinds were open. The shore excursions except for Mount ST. Helens were dull, mediocre and one to Mary Hill Winery was canceled because another American Cruise Line Ship docked at our preplanned dock and we were docked miles away making it impossible to take the tour. I have not been reimbursed for the $50 on the canceled tour and it has been a month. I did take the pre cruise extra day at the Red Lion Inn. It was being renovated and there was only 1 elevator for the entire large hotel. The machinery outside my window was noisy and constant through the day and the hotel was definitely in need of paint and fixing up.

1 year ago

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Norman Aulabaugh Orfordville, WI

I booked cruise 474 which was to travel on the Mississippi river from St. Louis, Missouri to St. Paul, Minnesota from October 6 to October 13, 2018. When I arrived in St. Louis the evening of October 5, I found a note in my Hotel room saying there had been a change in my itinerary, that my Cruise had been changed from a Mississippi river cruise from St. Louis, Missouri to St. Paul, Minnesota to a cruise on the Cumberland River traveling from St. Louis to Nashville, Tennessee. Although there were many people booked on cruise 474 staying at the hotel, there was no representative from American Cruise Lines at the hotel to answer questions. I called the American Cruise Lines customer service representative and was told that due to high water on the upper Mississippi, the ship could not get under one bridge and therefore the cruise had been changed to the Cumberland River Cruise. I explained I did not want to go on the Cumberland River Cruise to Nashville, that I had booked the Mississippi River Cruise to St. Paul Minnesota. I further explained that I either wanted a refund or I wanted to re-book the Mississippi River Cruise from St. Louis to St. Paul for a later date. I was told neither of these option was possible and that if I did not go on the Cumberland River Cruise to Nashville, I would forfeit all the money I had paid for my cruise. I want this issue to go on file to warn other about the very unethical practices American Cruise Lines employs. They certainly are not customer oriented. They get your money, and then when they can't deliver on the trip you had booked, they seem to believe that sending you on another completely different cruise will fulfill their obligation. There were over 100 other people that were infuriated about the way we were treated by American Cruise Lines. I hope the Better Business Bureau has heard from them all. I went on the "alternative" cruise to Nashville as there was no alternative besides forfeiting the $10,000 I had already paid. I'm outraged.

4 years ago

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Cruiser2333333 Bridgeport, WV

Our cruise ship was so poorly maintained that the generator broke down and we lost one full day, of 6, for repairs. As a result, we missed an entire port of call and all of the excursions we had paid for were cancelled. We have heard nothing from this company about reimbursement, not even an apology. Apparently, ACL plans to just keep our money. Very disappointing. Choose a different cruise line!

1 year ago

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Evangeline Saint Albans, VT

My room on the Queen of the Mississippi, one of the American Cruise Lines Paddleboats, was misrepresented on the diagram in their booklet as a Category A double; it was at best a single. It was cramped and had a musty, moldy odor caused by a leaky AC. When I requested that the company refund a portion of my expense for this room, I was offered a 20% courtesy discount on a future booking. Not at all happy with this offer.

8 years ago

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Chap Waters Gurnee, IL

American Cruise Lines gives you the small print about their cruise 44 day before the cruise. That means no REFUND if you don't agreed to there terms! As a company they can enforce any rule they deem necessary for safe trip but should let before taking of money. They are not up front with you and there business practices are shady at best.

2 years ago

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Patricia OKane San Bruno, CA

American cruise lines is over-priced, the staff is totally unprepared for the guests they are supposed to provide for.

3 years ago