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American Cruise Lines - A Domestic Alternative River and Cruising Option

Although I'd prefer for folks to join us on our charter river cruise in Europe next May 2025 and the pricing is very favorable, I do have another option below. Here's the link though with the details for the Lake Como, Italy; Lake Lucerne, Switzerland; 7-night cruise from Basel to Amsterdam and post cruise in Amsterdam: Mills-Roy Cruise ( Now, just a year or so away!

If you’d rather not travel abroad but would like to try river cruising or small ship cruising in your own backyard, American Cruise Lines offers a wonderful alternative.

Photo Courtesy of American Cruise Lines - American Eagle

This amazing company has been in business for over 50 years and has ships that are made in the United States, are flagged in the United States and are crewed by Americans. They’ve grown into a U.S. leader in small ship cruising.

Their ships are very intimate with a passenger count no higher than 180 on any of the 21 ships in 6 unique styles including their Patriot Class, Coastal Cats, Classic Paddlewheelers, Constellation Class ships, Independence Class ships, and modern American Riverboats.

Photo courtesy of American Cruise Lines - American Pride Paddlewheeler

Photo courtesy of American Cruise Lines - American Constellation

Photo courtesy of American Cruise Lines - American Independence

Photo of American Cruise Lines - American Harmony

Photo courtesy of American Cruise Lines - American Patriot

They operate small ships with over 50+ itineraries throughout the U.S. including Alaska, the Pacific Northwest, the Mississippi River region, New England and the Southeast. The American Cruise Lines itineraries range from 5 to 22 nights.

Map courtesy of American Cruise Lines - New England Explorer Cruise

Map Courtesy of American River Cruises - Lower Mississippi Cruise

Almost everything is included with American Cruise Lines including fine dining, alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages on a 24/7 basis, and a full enrichment package with guest speakers and entertainment nightly.  The live entertainment ranges from jazz to classical to bluegrass to rock and roll and more!  Their itineraries on the Mississippi River, Columbia and Snake Rivers and Alaska include at least one excursion in every port. Gratuities, port charges and fees are also included.

Map courtesy of American Cruise Lines - Columbia and Snake River Cruise

They have over 400 shore excursions available at an added cost with a choice of typically two to four in each of the ports they visit. They tend to have something for everyone. In some ports, there’s even the ability to arrange small group adventures with a local guide including some more active options such as biking, hiking and kayaking.

With just 90 to 180 passengers on each cruise vessel, they offer personalized service to guests with crew members able to get to know passengers’ names and preferences. The small ship, more intimate atmosphere enables friendships among fellow guests onboard as well.

Photo courtesy of American Cruise Lines - Chesapeake Lounge on Board the Glory

Photo courtesy of American Cruise Lines - Restaurant on board the Eagle

On over 50 of their itineraries, they visit some of the finest national parks in the nation including Acadia, Denali, the Everglades, Glacier Bay, Grand Teton, Great Smoky Mountain, Kenai Fjords, Shiloh, Dry Tortugas, Olympic and Yellowstone.

They even have some themed cruises that you can consider including seasonal options such as Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Eve along with various other ones focusing on the Civil War, Cherry Blossoms, Tulips, Fall Foliage, Whale Watching, Mark Twain, Lewis & Clark, Art Immersion, Vineyards, and Culinary.

Photo courtesy of American Cruise Lines - "Fall Foliage Cruise"

On most of their ships they have staterooms starting with single occupancy all the way up to their Grand Suite options with private balconies. The staterooms start at 203 square feet on some vessels and go all the way up to 650 square feet on many of them.  This does compare very favorably to many of the European river cruise stateroom sizes that often are smaller due to the limitations considering the sizing of the locks there.

Photo courtesy of American Cruise Lines - Single Stateroom on American Glory

Photo courtesy of American Cruise Lines - Grand Suite on American Eagle

I should also mention an affiliated company, Pearl Seas Cruises, who operates vessels on the Great Lakes and on the St. Lawrence Seaway in Canada on their lovely Pearl Mist vessel that holds 210 passengers. They operate various itineraries on the Pearl Mist from May through October each year. The Pearl Mist was built in Halifax, Nova Scotia and has been fully re-decorated in 2023 with a comfortable, warm, inviting atmosphere. 

If you have any questions or interest in any of these cruise options, please don’t hesitate to connect with me via email at

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