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American Cruise Lines

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LAST UPDATED: November 30th, 2022
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.

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The Good

  • Safety
  • Great amenities
  • Dining options

Safety

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.
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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.

Seasickness

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.

Deposit

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.
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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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Star Rating

4.4

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184 Reviews

Review Breakdown

5 grade

66%

4 grade

19%

3 grade

8%

2 grade

2%

1 grade

5%

Sentiment Criteria

Value

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Quality

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Service

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Trustworthiness

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Frederick J Luongo Methuen, MA

American Cruise Lines is the leader in cruises in America. They only operate in the USA and have the most varied and interesting cruises in America. My wife and I took the Hudson River cruise in September of 2022. We had originally booked the Columbia River cruise in May of 2020 but it was cancelled for COVID reasons. I almost lost $15K to bad customer service who had a lack of understanding and empathy. Working with the CEO's office we got to reschedule the Hudson River cruise in September of 2022 on the American Constitution. Our experience on the weeklong cruise was quite pleasant. The meals were tasty and presented well. I am a fussy eater and did not have a problem. We met a number of interesting and friendly people. The staff were courteous, friendly, and helpful. The shore excursions were interesting, and some were breathtaking! The only con was the condition of the ship. The stained carpeting, room safe and refrigerator not working, outside rust on the ship, the sliding glass door in our room would not close (a stick in the door channel solved this problem), and the torn upholstery on the top deck outside seating showed a lack of attention to detail. If you are willing to ignore the details, you will have a fun filled, pleasant cruise.

3 weeks ago

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Amy Sturtevant Grass Lake, MI

Likes: The staff (except one*), crew, and meals were all five star. The scenery was beautiful and most excursions were very interesting. I also enjoyed the small ship size. Dislikes: Most of the evening entertainment was very disappointing. Covid vaccinations were not checked upon arrival and we arrived home carrying the virus. *I hesitated to comment on this but one employee's mannerism compared to all others totally surprised us. 'Marty' was the tour guide on our bus from the ship to the airport. She received a phone call reporting someone had left their luggage on the dock. (We were unaware that once the luggage was removed from the ship, it was not placed on the buses but set on the dock.) Marty shook her head in disgust, identified us, twice, and made sure everyone knew we were the people responsible. I'm guessing she thought she was funny? Later she mentoned she had received a 'timeout' previously for something she had said. That didn't surprise us. As we were exiting the bus, she apologized for her comments. Perhaps a little additional training will take care of this concern. Every other staff and crew member were so positive, helpful, and caring. Thank you for a great cruise!

1 month ago

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Lou Serio Charlotte, NC

This was our 3rd cruise with ACL. We went to the San Juan Islands. The ship was an older ship, the American Spirit. The guests in total were 42. The food selections were very good but no always served very hot. There were some otherwise common items not always available or limited, for example lemons for the seafood dishes and bacon for breakfast. The attentiveness of the dinning staff was nothing short of exceptional. Along with the cabin staff keeping all very clean. There were some minor issues with the bed and TP holder. There were a few items that were "a bit off" and did not expect them to have happen based on our past cruises with ACL. Perhaps this was a result of limitations due to pandemic. The on shore excursions offered variety, were fun, informative and pleasurable. The on board entertainment was pleasing and the naturalist was exceptional, entertaining with the topics and local history and lore that he covered. The San Juan's and port stops offered beautiful sights and sea life sightings.

2 months ago

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Mary Karish Houston, TX

I enjoyed the itinerary, the inhouse entertainment and the story teller. The rooms were great, and the GM did his best to address issues as they arose. However, they can do a lot better with their meal selection and availability. They had had to ration bread at dinner, and even then, the bread quality was midiocre. Also, the meals could have used a better uplift. They served expensive cuts of meat, but they all tasted the same. No flavor. Also, for their cafe, aside from serving junk food, consider serving salads, sandwiches or healthy snacks instead of hamburgers and hotdogs.

5 months ago

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Randy Hartselle Bend, OR

American Cruise Lines is a wonderful small ship experience. I traveled on the American Harmony April 18-May 5th along the Columbia and Snake Rivers. Stunning waterfalls and lush forests viewed from your balcony off of spacious staterooms made this a special trip. Escorted excursions and wonderful enrichment classes provided something for all travelers. With formal and relaxed anytime cafe dining I found I could schedule my meals as I wanted. Nightly cocktail hour and entertainment was also a highlight. If you are looking for a small ship on America’s rivers this could be just the opportunity you need.

6 months ago

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Joann Richards Miami, FL

Cleanliness of the ship provided by the ship's crew. The quality of the food provided at meals & finger food at Happy Hour. The quality of the Historian who did a great job. The Coordinator who reminded us of the events & "what was next." The response of each crew member to any request.

5 months ago

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Cynthia Bartlett Marysville, OH

The toilet paper holder kept falling off the wall they came in to fix it however it never stayed on. Also the balcony door would not lock. I had to rig my belt around the balcony door to the bathroom door so when we were in dock no one could just walk into our room. It was not safe. Food was delicious.

5 months ago

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JO New Milford, CT

We had never been on a cruise and my husband hates crowds, so small boat cruising was a compromise. We booked an Alaska adventure and there was no compromise. It was wonderful. The service, the side excursions, the food were all wonderful. My husband is 6'2" and had no complaints about the balcony, the cabin or even the bathroom. The captain made sure we had time to experience the wonders of Alaska, even stopping to let us watch a mother bear and two cubs playing on the shore and changing course to follow a pod of whales, to give us more time to watch them. All things your big ships don't do. We have since bee on a river cruise and will be going to Puget sound this year with American.

2 years ago

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Cecile E. Johnson Angleton, TX

Except for room 318 our original room that flooded during the night bathroom and bedroom , being moved to 414 and two nights later that room flooded twice in one day. We did not put anything down the toilet that should not have been in there. We have taken over 25 river cruises so we know how the system works and believe me this has never happened to us before. I feel American Cruise Lines owes us some kind of compensation for the inconvenience that we had to endure. My husband asked Amelia for an American Cruise Line hat, she said she would get him one but he never did receive it. Todd was a fantastic riverlorian, he really knew his history. Could have listened to him for hours. The food was excellent. The entertainment was a lot better than the Mark Twain tour. I suggest you have happy hour not the same time as dinner. It was too early and then eat your meal

3 years ago

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Sue A Johnson San Diego, CA

I enjoyed the slow pace and sitting on the top of the ship and watch the pretty scenery in the San Juan Islands. Friendly staff and fellow passengers were a plus. The only downside was dining. Since we were mostly seniors with hearing impairment the large tables of eight made it hard to hear the conversation. Very noisy due to passengers loud voices, again part of aging. I have no solution but it made meals stressful and I do have hearing aids. Great company and attention to details are a plus. Sue A Johnson

2 years ago

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Bill Bengtson Vail, AZ

Food and drinks were great. The land tours left something to be desired. The West Point tour was fine, but the FDR tour bus was guideless, depending on the bus driver to organize us. The NYC was ok, but the walking tour of the 9/11 site was lucky not to lose anyone. And people need to use the toilet on the bus, rather than make everyone wait for at the Occulus.

3 years ago

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Cathy Fernley, NV

Previous cruises (Southeast Alaska, Columbia and Snake, Maine Coast and Harbors) have all been very interesting and onboard experience was top-notch. The Cumberland cruise was quite sub-par and I wish I hadn’t spent the money on it. I hope this isn’t a sign of a new format. I had thought ACL was a gem, but my recent experience brings my review down. Food service was very slow and historian lectures were scheduled for daytime when we were out on excursions. Staff was forgetful of customer requests. On the upside, Fort Donelson was very interesting and the Quilt Museum was stunning

3 years ago

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Hare Tanan Northfield, OH

I gave a four star for one reason... entertainment. I like the band, Judy D and the Victory Belles. I would have expected entertainment relating more to the older clientel with music that we could dance to. The restaurant servers were great, the all day alcohol was good at least I could have a drink when I wanted. The side trips that were offered were fine. I was a little disappointed in the slim showing of the captain. I generally have cruises where the captain shows up for the crew introduction and the captain's night. We had no idea who the captain was until we asked.

3 years ago

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[email protected] San Jose, CA

WE had wonderful service all these people were great help with food Rocio, Arionna, Jessica S, Robyn S Lexie H and DaQbian L and Caitlan P , Berimger . cabin service Kelvana and Kian M. Arts Diane S was very good I learned from her. Cruise Director Tessa, and Hotel Manger Keaton J always help at all time. The Crew on the ship was always help ful and the coast graud was great.

3 years ago

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Richard R Schumacher

Stateroom cleanliness needs improvement- items from prior guests left in drawers, the balcony was too dirty to walk in bare feet. The bathroom smelled of sewage for the entire cruise. The food was sometimes wonderful but sometimes not so much. The crew were very nice and the service, with one exception, was good. Changes in stops made many passengers irate (but not us).

3 years ago

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Ray & Yvonne Vogel Fremont, OH

We both enjoyed the experiences of being on a smaller ship with the a smaller number of passengers for eating, connecting with other passengers and accommodations. The meals were varied, delicious and very ample. The excursions were very enjoyable and well timed for also seeing things on our own. The ship entertainment and educational activities about the area were always stimulating and fun.

3 years ago

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Rita E Northfield, OH

Staff very efficient and helpful. Serving staff very accommodating. Some entertainment was not enjoyable. Victory Belles, Partly Cloudy Trio and Judy D all superior entertainers. Three days of Connie G was an overkill. Dale B gave us great historical information

3 years ago

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Judith Dumin Radford, VA

The cruise was very chaotic due to the leaving of the cruise director. Sarah stepped in and did a wonderful job of picking up the pieces. Gabbi G is an excellent server and always knew my wine choice. Dominic H did a great job cleaning our stateroom.

3 years ago

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James and Martha Mewhirter Vancouver, WA

We felt the galley was under staffed as our service was slow. We would be near last about every meal. Also in the morning going to the tables as you entered the dinning room for fruit, rolls, cereal and yogurt. The dishes were not clean and I informed at least four different staff members.

3 years ago

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Marilyn and Arnold Lincoln, CA

Maiden voyage so the multiple “glitches” were probably to be expected. Staff tried hard, but seemed over worked at times. Food quality did not live up to expectations. Price of cruise did not match value received for that price

3 years ago

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Philip G. Pfefferle

We did the American Revolution Cruise. The cruise was great but with 2 issues. The ships wifi is really bad. So bad in fact to be now usable. The other is that my wife has special diet needs and she met with the chief and they still couldn't get it right.

3 years ago

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Bob Stromberg Simpsonville, SC

The ships crew was absolutely outstanding. My wife had problems and the crew went above and beyond what would be expected to help her. Could not have asked for more from them.

2 years ago

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Kevin Pringle Los Gatos, CA

The Harmony was a new ship when we sailed on the Mississippi. Crew was very friendly and helpful. Good meals, fun evening live entertainment, very interesting shore excursions and plenty of historical information.

2 years ago

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Joe and Mary Lexington, VA

We've done five cruises, enjoyed them all and have signed up for two more. The ship comforts, destinations and excursions are great. The food cooking and service were not up to the standards we expected.

3 years ago

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Maryann Wright Fernandina Beach, FL

Food and service on all three of my cruises (Columbia River, Hudson River, and New England) have been excellent as have been the choices of excursions.

2 years ago

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Lois Tyler Ballston Spa, NY

Cracked dam disrupted the flow of the trip.unpacking repacking , unpacking was not anticipated. Not America cruise fault, but did not make the cruise go smoothly.

3 years ago

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Rhoda Thornton Florence, AZ

Excellent Ship - Excellent Staff - Loved the trip The food could improve would be my only reason I am not giving it a 5 star.

3 years ago

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Bruce Torrance, CA

Friendly crew, excellent food, modern vessels, large staterooms and provides a chance to see America without the need for buses and hotel rooms.

3 years ago

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Carol Istvanick Fresno, CA

friendly staff, great food, interesting activities when landed, rooms ingest condition and kept clean and neat

2 years ago

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Chas Chase Bethlehem, PA

Crew was great , very clean ship, culinary crew was very accommodating for foods not enjoyed due to cancer.

3 years ago

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Louise Knight Tucson, AZ

Staff was very friendly. Food was great. Historian was really good. Entertainment was excellent!

2 years ago

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Al Ernst Lakeland, FL

Staff was great! Everyone helpful and courteous. Food was excellent.

2 years ago

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TA Evans Hendersonville, TN

Relaxing trip on the Columbia Rivers with local entertainment and expert guide.

2 years ago

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Richard Doucet Luling, LA

Beautiful new ship, Harmony. Very interesting trip down the entire MS River.

3 years ago

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Joan Dragolic Chatham, NJ

This was a very enjoyable experience. The crew were great.

2 years ago