Historic South and Golden Isles Cruise

The Intracoastal Waterway, home to some of the most beautiful historic cities in America, is a protected network of bays, rivers, and canals. Start your journey in Charleston, lined with cobblestone streets and antebellum houses, and where the first shots of the Civil War were heard.

Continue to scenic Beaufort and learn what life was like on a southern plantation from our resident expert in period costume. Enjoy the scenic beaches and abundant wildlife at Hilton Head, before traveling to Savannah to tour its historic districts showcasing 19th-century wealth and opulence.

In Jekyll Island, visit “Millionaire’s Village,” a National Historic Landmark with 240-acres of extravagant homes and winter cottages built over 100 years ago. On your final stop at Amelia Island, take a river cruise and walking tour through the Victorian seaport of Fernandina Beach.

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Cruise Itinerary

Day
Ports of Call
1
Charleston, SC
2
Beaufort, SC
3
Hilton Head Island, SC
4
Savannah, GA
5
Jekyll Island/St. Simons Island, GA
6
Cumberland Island, GA
7
Cruising to Amelia Island, FL
8
Jacksonville, FL Area (Amelia Island)

Historic South and Golden Isles Cruise

As you cruise between ports, expansive wildlife refuges and remote islands stretch out before you, offering an extraordinary view of the wilderness of the South. This is a region of history, legend, grace, and beauty that will leave you inspired.

Ports of Call

  • Charleston, SC
  • Beaufort, SC
  • Hilton Head Island, SC
  • Savannah, GA
  • Jekyll Island/St. Simons Island, GA
  • Cumberland Island, GA
  • Jacksonville, FL Area (Amelia Island)
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Day by Day

Reverse itineraries available. Please contact your Cruise Specialist for your specific Day By Day agenda.

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Day  1
Charleston, SC

The port city of Charleston is known for its cobblestone streets, gas-lit lamps, and pastel antebellum houses. The scene of Revolutionary War naval battles, legendary pirate tales, and Civil War sieges, the city is considered by many to be a living museum. Visit historic Fort Sumter National Monument, where the first shots of the Civil War rang out. Learn how Charleston’s African-American heritage has contributed to the city’s history and unique culture. Enjoy the beauty of the area with a stroll through its magnificent parks and gardens.

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Charleston Experience

The city of Charleston is exquisitely preserved and aesthetically pleasing with its charming blend of antebellum architecture, cobblestone streets, and historic landmarks.  Travel through narrow streets lined with the townhouses of colonial planters. Witness where generations of patriots lived, worked, and worshiped in some of America’s oldest religious buildings. Listen to fascinating stories of the American Revolution and the War between the States. Your journey will include a stop at the Battery Waterfront and a tour of the elegant interior of a restored historic home, the Joseph Manigault House.

*Tour only offered on cruises ending in Charleston, SC

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Day  2
Beaufort, SC

Beaufort’s history includes European explorers, Native American cultural influences, British settlements, and Civil War battles. Today, horse-drawn carriages clatter along the narrow streets of this historic district, past 18th and 19th-century homes famous for unique Beaufort-style architecture. As you explore this amazing city, discover why Beaufort was once heralded as the “Newport of the South."

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Horse-Drawn Carriage Tour

After a southern inspired luncheon, embark on a tour of Beaufort’s popular Bay St. from the comfort of a horse-drawn carriage. This narrated journey follows the historic tree-lined streets of Beaufort, as you make your way to the area’s antebellum homes, parks, and shops. Many of the local buildings remain untouched and are preserved as they were originally constructed after being used as hospitals, offices, and commander’s quarters during the Civil War. At the conclusion of the tour, you will have free time to explore Beaufort and experience its southern charm on your own.

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Lowcountry Heritage Tour

Take a step back in time as we visit scenic Beaufort, and explore what life was like living on a southern plantation. Led by guides in period dress who tell stories and sing songs, explore a Gullah community. Visit Lady’s Island and St. Helena, where you will view the grounds of a plantation, a slave cemetery, and an old praise house. Learn the history of Penn Center, the first school for newly freed slaves in the Deep South, and discover what happened to the former slave communities from the Civil War days to the present.

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Day  3
Hilton Head Island, SC

Hilton Head is a first class resort known for its championship golf courses and miles of scenic beaches. A boat tour of The Sea Pines Forest Preserve gives you a close-up view of Hilton Head's indigenous plant and animal life, including the American Alligator.

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Alligator & Wildlife Tour

We will anchor in Hilton Head and tender into shore, where you will be greeted by our local guide for one of our most popular shore excursions in the area. Embark on a private boat tour of the Sea Pines Resort Forest Preserve. This 600-acre preserve features some of Hilton Head’s many indigenous plants and animal species, including the American alligator. Your guide will provide an engaging and educational tour while you enjoy the breathtaking views of the freshwater lake. In the afternoon, take time to explore Hilton Head’s popular shopping district or relax back on board before the evening’s entertainment.

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Dolphin Discovery Cruise

Take a cruise to find out how playful, endearing, and amazing bottle-nose dolphins truly are. Not long into your tour, someone will catch sight of a pod of dolphins swimming nearby, as they come up for air every few seconds. You will witness dolphins riding alongside the boat, or surfing in the wake behind, so be sure to bring your camera for this excellent photo opportunity. Your knowledgeable guide will share bottle-nose dolphin facts with you, such as how the shallow waters around the island provide the perfect place for dolphins to find food. With this insight, you will able to appreciate these intelligent and beautiful water creatures even more.

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Day  4
Savannah, GA

With its emerald tree canopy, quaint cobblestone streets, and majestic architecture, Savannah is still a bustling seaport with renowned historic districts that preserve its phenomenal 19th-century wealth and opulence. Join a narrated tour of Savannah’s “Historic and Victorian Districts," brave an evening Ghost Walk, or explore the area's magnificent shops.

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Mighty Eighth Air Force Museum

The Mighty Eighth Air Force Museum houses an impressive collection of WWII aviation memorabilia. Upon entering the museum, you will immediately be awed by the breathtaking collection of fully restored aircraft that helped serve our brave troops during the war. You will be welcomed by a tour guide who will provide the group with an overview of the museum and a brief history lesson regarding the famed Eighth Air Force Division. After introductions, you are welcome to explore the museum on a self-guided tour or stay with your guide to be personally escorted around the museum grounds. Your visit includes an educational film, engaging World War II exhibits, airman memorials, and the rare collection of planes that served the Mighty Eighth men and women.

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Historic Savannah Trolley

Don’t miss our highly acclaimed trolley tour of this exquisite city. Visit Savannah’s Historic and Victorian Districts including Factor’s Walk, the Cotton Exchange, and the city’s beautiful streets and green squares. Visit the historical Massie Heritage Center. Built in 1856, this Greek Revival home was originally the first public school that educated the young community of Savannah for over a century.

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Savannah Exploration

Amid the bustling River Street section of Savannah, you will meet with our local guide who will lead the group on a narrated walking tour of historic Savannah. Visit key attractions including Savannah’s oldest neighborhood, Colonial Park Cemetery, the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist, and a few of Savannah’s 22 squares that provide greenery amid all of the businesses and historic houses. As you explore the various gardens, admire the architecture, and learn about city’s history, your guide will tailor the tour to suit the group’s interests.

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Day  5
Jekyll Island/St. Simons Island, GA

Discover the compelling history of Jekyll Island and St. Simons Island. Today, Jekyll Island is part of Georgia’s Sea Isles and boasts “Millionaire’s Village," 240-acres of extravagant homes and winter cottages, now recognized as a National Historic Landmark. St. Simons Island offers guests a view of the area's past, including momentous 18th-century battlefields and sprawling, antebellum plantations.

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Sea Turtle Center & Jekyll Island Tram Tour

Your tour begins with a visit to the Georgia Sea Turtle Center where you will view exhibits on sea turtle conservation, rehabilitation, and their amazing journey of life. Following your visit to the center, board a narrated tram tour of Jekyll Island’s Historic District, also called Millionaire's Village. Many of the areas historic cottages that belonged to some of history’s wealthiest men such as J.P. Morgan, Joseph Pulitzer, Marshall Field, William Rockefeller, and Cornelius Vanderbilt, have been restored. In fact, the current restoration project is one of the largest in the Southeastern United States.

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Lady Jane Shrimp Boat Experience

After a hearty breakfast, meet your skipper for the day at the gangway of the ship before making your way to the Lady Jane. Relax while the refreshing scent of salt water fills the air as you sail to your captain’s favorite shrimping grounds.  As the retired shrimping vessel makes its way through the scenic Marshes of Glynn, south of St. Simons Sound, be sure to be on the lookout for wildlife such as dolphins and pelicans.  Once you arrive at your captain’s favorite spot, you will have the opportunity to pull in your very own catch!

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St. Simons Island Tour

St. Simons Island is the largest of the Golden Isles with a deep-rooted history spanning over four centuries. Nowhere is the island’s rich history better told or preserved than the Bloody Marsh Battle Site or Christ Church. Our lively private tour guide will take you through the battlegrounds and explain the military strategies employed by both sides. Afterward, visit Christ Church, one of St. Simons most treasured landmarks, with magnificent stained glass art that is sure to impress. 

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Day  6
Cumberland Island, GA

Cumberland Island is Georgia’s largest barrier island and one of the most spectacular natural habitats in the Northern Hemisphere. Home to over 9,800 acres of congressionally designated wilderness, view the Island’s pristine maritime forests and undeveloped beaches. Within the Island’s marshes, abundant wildlife resides, from shrimp and fish, to osprey, and even alligators. Enjoy the beautiful sight of the sun setting over the marshes of Cumberland, one which continually draws visitors back.

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Cumberland Island Land & Legacy Tour

Enjoy a private ferry ride to historic Cumberland Island, home to pristine maritime forests, undeveloped beaches, and wide marshes that whisper the stories of both man and nature. Visit the First African Baptist Church where John F. Kennedy, Jr. was married and Plumb Orchard Mansion, a 20,000 sq. ft. Georgian Revival mansion built in 1898. Explore the Wild Island, where under a canopy of Spanish Moss, a single lane road cuts through the wilderness of one of the largest undeveloped barrier islands on the Atlantic Coast.

*This is a Signature Shore Tour. Please call (800) 460-4518 for more information.
** Space is extremely limited for this exclusive tour.

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Day  7
Cruising to Amelia Island, FL

Discover the natural beauty of Amelia Island, with its miles of quartz beaches and rolling sand dunes. Fernandina Beach, the island's only city, now harbors a treasure trove of history, antiques, and collectibles. Join a walking tour of Centre Street's Historic District, with 50 blocks of restored 19th-century Victorian homes and shops.

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Amelia Island River Cruise

Take in the view of Florida’s third oldest city, beautiful Fernandina Beach, on a relaxing riverboat tour. A benefit of touring the island from the water is the increased chance of seeing the unique marine life that inhabits the islands surrounding waters. In addition, your tour will include the island’s main attractions such as Fort Clinch and the Amelia Island Lighthouse.

* Amelia Island River Cruise only available on itineraries departing from Charleston.

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Amelia Island Seaport Tour

Join a local guide for a leisurely walking tour through the lovely seaport of Fernandina Beach on Amelia Island. Your walk will begin at the City Marina. Continue on to the seafood house for an educational background on the pelican population and fisherman duties. Stroll through the historic streets and admire blocks of restored Victorian homes, inns, churches, and more.

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Day  8
Jacksonville, FL Area (Amelia Island)

Take in the beautiful weather of northern Florida as you disembark from your tour of the South. Jacksonville offers a number of wonderful activities, including a tour of Cummer Museum of Art and Gardens, which houses an exclusive collection of art, including rare porcelain.

Experiences

On this 8-day cruise, experience the charm and hospitality of the South. The fascinating sites you visit, the warm people you meet, and the delectable cuisine you taste, come together for an unforgettable journey.

Your Cruise Includes

Independence

The Independence is equipped with the largest staterooms in the industry, most featuring a private balcony. With the latest in navigation and safety technology, the Independence is fully stabilized, allowing American Cruise Lines to reach even more fascinating destinations in smooth comfort. Complete with an exercise area and putting green, the Independence offers guests a relaxed and casual atmosphere.


Click a Category

Owner's Suite (Private Balcony)

Deckplan

Experience complete comfort in this spacious private sanctuary where you can feel right at home.  At 350 sq. ft. the Owner’s Suite is quite roomy and features a full-size bathroom. Enjoy a large sitting area, writing desk, closet, and a private balcony offering expansive views from a stunning vantage point.

AAC (Private Balcony)

Deckplan

These staterooms are centrally located on the top deck which provides stunning panoramic views. Enjoy 283 sq. ft. of comfortable living space, comparable to a fine hotel room. All also offer private walk-out balconies and a generously sized bathroom.

AAL (Private Balcony)

Deckplan

AAL staterooms are a spacious retreat with all the amenities a modern traveler expects. Each room offers 263 sq. ft. of space encompassing a full-size bathroom and a private balcony with scenic views.

A

Deckplan

These comfortable staterooms located on the main deck offer 258 sq. ft. of living space and are a perfect place to unwind after a day of exploration. They feature full-size bathrooms, interior entrances, and large opening picture windows for scenic views.

Single (Private Balcony)

Deckplan

Single staterooms offer the solo traveler a quiet enclave to rest and relax. At 248 sq. ft., our Single suites feature twin beds, spacious bathrooms, and your very own private balcony.

Single

Deckplan

Located on the main deck, our Single staterooms offer guests 207 sq. ft. of space with premium beds, spacious bathrooms, and an opening picture window with private views.

Independence Deck Plan

Deck

American Star

The American Star offers guests the same style of cruising that has become the hallmark of American Cruise Lines. From charming small towns to gracious ports, the American Star brings guests to places of historic interest and magnificent beauty. Onboard, guests can unwind in the friendly and accommodating atmosphere, as they enjoy personalized service by an attentive, all-American staff.


Click a Category

Owner's Suite (Private Balcony)

Deckplan

Experience complete comfort in this spacious private sanctuary where you can feel right at home. At 350 sq. ft. the Owner’s Suite is quite roomy and offers a full-size bathroom. Enjoy a large sitting area, a writing desk, closet, and a private balcony offering expansive views from a stunning vantage point.

AAC (Private Balcony)

Deckplan

These 283 sq. ft. staterooms are located on the top deck which provides privacy and great panoramic views. The living space is comparable to that of a fine hotel room and offers a writing desk, a closet, a full-size bathroom and a private balcony.

AAL (Private Balcony)

Deckplan

AAL staterooms are a spacious retreat with all the amenities a modern traveler expects. Each room offers 263 sq. ft. of space encompassing a full-size bathroom, a private balcony, and a large opening picture window.

AA

Deckplan

AA Category staterooms are the perfect place to unwind after a day of exploration. Each 258 sq. ft. room has a large opening picture window with views of the passing scenery. The rooms also offer full-size bathrooms and plenty of closet space.

A

Deckplan

A category rooms are a quiet enclave for total relaxation. They come equipped with a full assortment of modern amenities and a large opening picture window. Each room is 258 sq. ft. and is ideal for cruising the inland waterways of the East Coast.

Single (Private Balcony)

Deckplan

The intimate atmosphere of each Single stateroom is ideal for the solo traveler. At 248 sq. ft. each room has a twin bed, a full-size bathroom, a private balcony, and plenty of room to spread out and make yourself at home.

American Star Deck Plan

Deck

The Spirit of the Season Cruise


Celebrate the holidays on our Spirit of the Season Cruises which sail from late November into the New Year. Aboard our ship decked out in festive décor, travel to some of the most fascinating destinations in the country as you are treated to the best in holiday-inspired cuisine, music, and onboard and onshore enrichment.

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Reserve Cruise

Thanksgiving Cruise


Celebrate Thanksgiving with American Cruise Lines, as we cruise the Historic South from Jacksonville to Charleston.

Enjoy festive decorations aboard the ship and a holiday-inspired cocktail reception, as you revel in the holiday spirit of each community we visit along the way. Our culinary team has prepared a traditional Thanksgiving feast with roast turkey, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, and stuffing. Every detail will be handled precisely for you, making for a relaxed and memorable holiday.

American Cruise Lines will continue its annual "Give-Back" program this holiday season. For each ticket sold on our Thanksgiving cruises, we make a donation to the Food Bank. Last year we raised over $13,000 to help alleviate hunger.

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Reserve Cruise

Christmas Cruise


Join us for a joyful celebration aboard our Historic South & Golden Isles Christmas cruise.

Enjoy sailing the warm waters of the Intracoastal Waterway on our ship adorned with festive décor. Dine on traditional holiday favorites prepared with a regional flair, partake in our holiday gift exchange, and enjoy classic holiday music, caroling, and cookies throughout the cruise.

Experience festive holiday-themed shore excursions, including a tour of the renowned Amelia Island Gingerbread Display at the Ritz-Carlton, a complimentary afternoon tea at the Ritz, and Charleston's famous Festival of Lights.  Each holiday cruise celebration includes a complimentary night aboard the ship before your cruise, with a special holiday dinner and welcome reception.

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Reserve Cruise

New Year's Eve Cruise


 Let American Cruise Lines help you ring in the New Year as we explore the most captivating destinations from Charleston to Jacksonville.

On your ship decked out in holiday décor, enjoy a special menu and musical entertainment throughout the cruise. We will also host a unique Southern Style themed New Year’s Eve Gala.

Guests are invited to a complimentary night on board, the evening before the cruise begins, and will be treated to a welcoming reception and special dinner at a highly regarded local restaurant.

 

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Reserve Cruise

Historic South Civil War Cruise


Delve deep into the history of the American Civil War by exploring the battlefields, monuments, and museums of this pivotal event. Visit historical sites including Charleston and Beaufort to gain better insight into the circumstances that led to war. The onboard program is perfectly tailored to the itinerary, emphasizing the personalities and strategies of the Confederate and Union generals, as well as the incredible sacrifice made by millions of Americans.

 

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Reserve Cruise

Eagle Society Cruise


Step back in time on this historically rich itinerary that features horse-drawn carriage rides, renowned seaports, and salt marshes with a variety active wildlife. Eagle Society members will enjoy the abundance of natural beauty, delicious regional cuisine, and architectural treasures from plantation homes to centuries-old towns.

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* Prices displayed are per person based on double occupancy.

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