Frequently Asked Questions

This section was designed to answer some of the frequently asked questions concerning small ship cruising with American Cruise Lines. Just click on one of the questions below to find an answer. If you do not find the answer you are looking for below or if you need more details, please do not hesitate to contact us at 800-460-4518.

Why American?

Why small ship cruising with American Cruise Lines?

With no more than 180 guests on board, American Cruise Lines ships are designed to provide smooth travel through protected waterways, sheltered harbors, and magnificent rivers, offering a perspective that larger ships cannot. Your U.S.-flagged ship will provide you with not only comfort and convenience, but also the utmost in safety, complying with all new safety regulations – which older ships do not. Our fleet will bring you up close to the best of America, places of natural beauty and cultural, as well as historical interest. And, with all departure ports in the U.S., you leave your passport (and worries) at home. With a smaller number of guests on board, we never overwhelm the local communities visited. A refreshingly relaxing atmosphere prevails on board. This intimate ambiance is perfect for both congenial camaraderie and quiet relaxation. Friendly, professional all-American crew members offer an extraordinary quality of gracious hospitality and personalized attention to discerning guests. No matter which itinerary you choose with American Cruise Lines, you will be treated to an unrivalled level of hospitality aboard the finest ships in America.

Where does American Cruise Lines go?

American Cruise Lines operates 19 ships in 35 states, offering unmatched breadth of ships and itinerary options. Cruises run the entire length of the Mississippi River, on the legendary Columbia and Snake rivers in Washington and Oregon, on more than 20 rivers on the East Coast, the Intracoastal Waterway of the Southeast, and along the shores of New England, the Pacific Northwest, and Alaska. Combination Land & Cruise Packages take guests to explore our many National Parks.

How many states does American Cruise Lines visit?

America’s coasts and rivers form a maritime highway that connects almost every major city in the U.S. Itineraries rarely sail on the open ocean and most sail exclusively in rivers, bays, or protected waters. In all, we visit 35 states, and our Great United States Cruises visit 15 on one itinerary.

What is the most popular American Cruise Lines cruise?

The Mississippi River is the first river that most people think of when it comes to cruising in the United States. We have five riverboats that run almost the entire year on the Mississippi and its tributaries, including the Tennessee River, the Ohio River, and the Cumberland River. The Columbia and Snake Rivers on the border between Washington and Oregon are also extremely popular. These rivers mark the route of Lewis & Clark and are the only navigable path to the Idaho border. American Cruise Lines also cruises on more than 20 rivers on the East Coast. Our Hudson River cruises are popular, and four ships operate on the Hudson during the fall.

How many guests does an American Cruise Lines ship accommodate?

American Cruise Lines’ ships are small and intimate and only carry between 90 and 180 guests.

Is American Cruise Lines an All-American company?

American Cruise Lines is an all-American family company. Every itinerary is domestic, every crewmember is American, the company is 100% American owned, and each ship is designed and built in the U.S.

When was American Cruise Lines founded?

American Cruise Lines began in 1972 with our founder Charles A. Robertson (1947-2020), a ship builder, and his wife Carol. They built the company from the ground up and we are still exploring America more than 50 years later.

How many small ships does American Cruise Lines have?

American Cruise Lines focuses on small ship cruising and operates 19 ships across five classes, including American Riverboats, Paddlewheelers, and Coastal Cats, as well as the Constellation and Independence Class of coastal ships. In 2025, a new class of coastal ships, the Patriot Class, will deliver two more new small ships.

Does American Cruise Lines have new ships?

American Cruise Lines is proud to feature the newest fleet in the industry and boasts an average ship age of only four years, with the exception of American West which was built in 1995 and renovated in 2011 by American Cruise Lines. All ships are equipped with the latest in technology and safety features and meet all current environmental regulations.

How large are the staterooms on river cruise ships?

American Cruise Lines has the largest staterooms on any riverboat or small cruise ship in the world. Rooms average over 300 square feet, with our newest ships having rooms well over 600 square feet. That compares favorably to most other riverboats around the world where rooms can be approximately 180 square feet due to physical limitations on rivers in Europe.

Is American Cruise Lines all-inclusive?

American Cruise Lines includes all shipboard meals, entertainment, tips and gratuities, alcohol, and other port charges and fees in the price of the cruise. Many shore excursions are also included in the cost of the cruise.

Do river and small ship cruises have shore excursions?

Each of our small ships provides a genuine and customized exploration of areas inaccessible to large ships and crowds, allowing us to explore small towns in the most meaningful way possible. There are typically two to four excursion options at each cruise port that cater to a range of different interests and activity levels. Excursions range from educational experiences in partnership with local museums to active adventures that include ATV rides and kayaking. Every excursion is led by a local guide and accompanied by an American Cruise Lines’ team member who is always available to assist.

What is entertainment like on board?

Each cruise with American blends onboard enrichment with the experiences ashore to tell a comprehensive story about the areas we visit. Every cruise features an onboard expert who hosts discussions and is available throughout each day to add context to your journey. These accomplished professionals also provide briefings on each port, offer their recommendations based on your interests, and connect the stories of each destination to the history of the region. Nightly entertainment ranges from interactive lectures to live musical performances in one of the ships’ inviting lounges. Resident entertainers provide light music in the afternoon, while renowned artists join us in the evening for world-class entertainment.

Does American Cruise Lines have a casino?

No. American Cruise Lines has other forms of entertainment from onboard entertainers to local experts and historians with knowledge of American history, ecology, and the local culture. There are activities, lectures, presentations, and discussions that bring each region to life. Depending on the itinerary, onboard activities include Art Classes, App-titude Classes (Tech Made Easy), Cooking Demonstrations, Fitness, Trivia, and more.

General Information & Booking

How do I book a cruise with American Cruise Lines?

American Cruise Lines cruise specialists are available to take your call seven days a week at 800-460-4518 Monday - Friday: 8:00am - 8:30pm EST, Saturday: 8:00am - 7:00pm EST, Sunday: 10:00am - 6:00pm EST. You may also contact your Travel Advisor or make a reservation through our website by clicking here. It is recommended that reservations are made as far in advance as possible to ensure the availability of the cruise and stateroom choice.

What’s included on American Cruise Lines?

American Cruise Lines is All-Inclusive and the per person fare includes passage, dining service, snacks, complimentary cocktail parties, entertainment on board the ship, onboard gratuities, as well as port charges and fees. Fares do not include all shore excursions (unless otherwise noted).

Are all meals included with American Cruise Lines?

American Cruise Lines is all-inclusive including all meals and snacks, alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages from soft drinks and water to coffee and tea. 

Are excursions included in the cruise fare?

American Cruise Lines has three categories of excursions: Featured, Premium, and Signature. Featured excursions are included in your cruise fare and there is at least one included in each port of call on cruises on the Mississippi River, Columbia & Snake Rivers, and in Alaska. Premium excursions typically cost between $10 and $99 per person, and Signature excursions are exclusive experiences for only very small groups of guests. These can be fishing charters, flight-seeing tours, and kayaking excursions, or farm-to-table culinary experiences, and are $100 or more.

Does American Cruise Lines offer airfare packages?

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.

Does American Cruise Lines offer pre-cruise hotel packages?

American Cruise Lines offers a variety of Pre-Cruise Packages to make your travel experience seamless. These packages typically include a 1-night stay, breakfast, luggage service, and a city excursion which concludes at the ship. On cruises departing from Memphis, we offer The Graceland Pre-Cruise Package which includes a 2-night stay at The Guest House at Graceland, breakfast each morning, and The Graceland Experience, a tour of Elvis’ mansion and grounds, luggage service, and a Memphis city exploration which concludes at the ship. On the Columbia & Snake Rivers itineraries, we offer a Hells Canyon Pre-Cruise Package which includes a 2-night hotel stay, breakfast each morning, as well as a full day in Hells Canyon, exploring the deepest canyon in North America on jet boating adventure. Pre-Cruise Packages must be reserved 30 days or more prior to departure date.

What accommodations are available for solo travelers?

American Cruise Lines welcomes solo travelers and features a select number of single occupancy staterooms available on its ships. One person occupying a double stateroom will be charged 150% or 175% of the double occupancy rate depending on the type of stateroom chosen.

Pre-Cruise

What should I pack for my cruise?

American Cruise Lines recommends casual sportswear during the day including comfortable walking shoes, windbreaker, hat, sunscreen, rainwear and umbrella, and a jacket or sweater for cool evenings. Casual country club attire is recommended in the evenings and for dinner. Staterooms are 110-volt household current and offer USB ports. Please remember to bring your own phone charger and photo identification.

Is there a dress code requirement?

Casual resort attire is recommended both on the ship and ashore. For dinner, men’s clothing might include a sports shirt and slacks, with a sports coat or sweater. Women can wear dress, or a top and slacks. We ask that you dress appropriately as if you were going out for a nice dinner.

Is there a luggage limit?

American Cruise Lines places no restrictions on luggage. However, it is recommended that you bring as few bags as necessary. Suitcases less than 10 inches high may be stowed under your bed.

Does American Cruise Lines provide transportation services to and from the airport, hotel and ship?

No, American Cruise Lines does not provide airport-to-hotel transfers   If a Pre-Cruise Hotel Stay is part of your itinerary, you will be transferred to the ship the morning of your embarkation. At the end of each cruise, you will have a complimentary ship-to-airport transfer. Please check with the Excursions Director on board for schedules and more details.

Embarkation, Debarkation & Visitors

When should I plan to arrive for boarding?

Cruises depart at 2:00 p.m. or earlier if all guests have arrived. Guests may board between 11:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. Guests are recommended to arrive no later than 12:30 p.m. Crew members will carry your luggage to your stateroom.

How is luggage handled?

At boarding, crew members will be available to transfer your luggage to your stateroom. If you have cruised with us before, please remove your old luggage tags.

How early can I disembark the ship?

On most cruises, the ship arrives at the port of disembarkation the evening before the last day of the cruise. The morning of disembarkation, breakfast is provided and guests may stay on board until 8:30 a.m.

What is the Visitor Policy?

Guests are welcome to have visitors on board. Should you know about a visitor(s) prior to your cruise, please notify Customer Service to arrange this for you. If on board, please notify your Hotel General Manager so proper accommodation can be prepared. 

On Board

How large are the staterooms on an American Cruise Line ship compared to other ships?

American Cruise Lines has the largest staterooms on any riverboat or small cruise ship in the world. Rooms average over 300 square feet, with our newest ships having rooms well over 600 square feet. That compares favorably to most other riverboats around the world where rooms can be approximately 180 square feet due to physical limitations on rivers in Europe.

What amenities are available in the staterooms?

American Cruise Lines staterooms, most at more than 300 square feet, are by far the largest in their class. The majority of staterooms have spacious private balconies and feature a roomy private hotel-like bath and a large, opening picture window, allowing you spectacular up-close views of landscape, ports, river and sea. 

Each stateroom is tastefully designed with your comfort and convenience in mind and includes the following amenities: Twin or King-sized bed, twice-daily stateroom service, individual climate control system, spacious closet and four-drawer dresser, dual night tables, alarm clock, writing desk & stationery, remote-controlled satellite TV, USB ports and mini-refrigerator, in-room single serve coffee brewer (with coffee and tea pods), shampoo, conditioner, body wash, hand soap and hair dryer (with grab rails in every bathroom).

Is there cellular service on board?

Cell phones can be utilized on board but service is not always available and can be spotty depending on weather and location and can also vary depending on your service provider.

Is there TV and Internet on board?

All ships are equipped with satellite TV. TV service can be intermittent, particularly in remote areas. Internet WiFi service on all ships is powered by Starlink.

Are the ships accessible for those with disabilities?

American Cruise Lines is committed to providing guests with a safe, secure, and comfortable cruising experience.

Ships are equipped with portable communications devices for hearing, sight, and mobility impaired guests. We will provide reasonable mobility assistance to guests accessing the ship and other areas. The Captain at their judgment may make final determination for situations of legitimate safety concerns pertaining to the ship, passengers, or crew.

American Cruise Lines ships have accessible staterooms and other accessibility features. Ships are equipped with handicap-accessible rooms. Most ships’ lounges and dining salons are accessible by wheelchairs or other walking aid devices. The ships are also equipped with an elevator for ease of movement between passenger decks.

American Cruise Lines shipboard crewmembers are trained in responding to guest accessibility requests and using portable communications devices. American Cruise Lines does not provide personal care assistance.

American Cruise Lines shoreside cruise specialists are trained in providing shipboard accessibility information during the cruise reservation process.

Is there an elevator on board?

The ships are also equipped with an elevator for ease of movement between passenger decks.

Can you smoke on American Cruise Lines?

Smoking is only allowed in designated areas on the ships.  Please note that smoking is strictly prohibited in staterooms and on private balconies.

What is dining like aboard the ships?

American Cruise Lines offers open seating at every meal in the spacious dining room, which accommodates all guests at one seating making dining a great time to share your experiences with companions and build new friendships. 

Your masterfully skilled chef creates delectable feasts for each meal. Carefully selected fresh seafood, meats, and produce are often purchased in the regions we visit, allowing your chef to highlight the cuisine with local flavor. The day’s menu is announced well in advance, and consists of fresh meats and seafood, as well as in-season fruits and vegetables. Special menus are available to guests on restricted diets. Most special dietary needs can be accommodated, though advance notice is appreciated. All meals are prepared to order. 

American Cruise Lines also provides complimentary wine and beer during lunch and dinner service. A complimentary cocktail hour with full bar is hosted each evening before dinner. Soft drinks, coffee/tea, water, and snacks are available 24 hours a day. For other liquor requests your Hotel General Manager will assist you.

Can you accommodate special dietary requests?

American Cruise Lines will work to cater to any special dietary needs you may have. Please call Customer Service 800-894-8570 or submit your special dietary requirements within the Guest Information Form found in your personalized online cruise portal. Refrigeration is available to store insulin or other medications requiring protection.

What common spaces are on board?

American Cruise Lines features various oversized lounges aboard each of its ships, including internet stations and a well-stocked library. Many decks are available to guests, including a lounge deck and observation deck. Binoculars, guides, and additional reading materials are available throughout the ships.

Is there fitness equipment on board?

Yes, American Cruise Lines features new state-of-the-art fitness equipment in a designated exercise area aboard every ship. For exact details on the equipment available on your ship, please call your Cruise Specialist.

What onshore excursions are offered and how do I sign up?

Each of our small ships provides a genuine and customized exploration of areas inaccessible to large ships and crowds, allowing us to explore small towns in the most meaningful way possible. There are typically two to four excursion options at each cruise port that cater to a range of different interests and activity levels. Excursions range from educational experiences in partnership with local museums to active adventures that include ATV rides and kayaking. Every excursion is led by a local guide and accompanied by an American Cruise Lines’ team member who is always available to assist.

We have taken steps to make the sign-up process as simple as possible. Guests receive a link to a personalized online cruise portal 90 days prior to embarkation date. There, guests can access valuable documents and information about their cruise. 60 days prior to embarkation, guests may pre-reserve their shore excursions in their personalized online cruise portal.

What entertainment options are on board?

To further enhance your cruising experience, American Cruise Lines has various forms of entertainment from onboard entertainers to local experts and historians with knowledge of American history, ecology, and the local culture. There are activities, lectures, presentations, and discussions that bring each region to life. Depending on the itinerary, onboard activities include Art Classes, App-titude Classes (Tech Made Easy), Cooking Demonstrations, Fitness, Trivia and more.

Health & Safety

If a medical emergency or incident happens, how quickly can we get ER care and to a local medical facility?

American Cruise Lines has relationships with law enforcement agencies, local transportation companies, and medical service providers that put emergency services within close reach of our ships, whether underway or in port. Our health and safety protocols combined with our state and local partnerships enable us to provide safe travel experiences in more than 35 states across America. Our fleet of domestic ships travel U.S. waterways and only visit U.S. ports with ready access to medical and emergency services. We do not leave sight of land and do not clear customs or immigrate into the U.S. to dock our ships.

What medical care does American Cruise Lines have on board?

Each ship carries a first responder and has defibrillators and oxygen. These individuals can identify and stabilize a situation for transport ashore. If medical treatment beyond the capability of the crew is required, shipboard personnel will arrange transportation and remain in contact with the patient.

What is the air quality in the Staterooms?

Each stateroom has an independent HVAC system and there is no shared ducting between rooms. All rooms have either an opening window or balcony door for ready access to fresh air.

Is there a ship cleaning policy?

American Cruise Lines cleans staterooms daily and has regular sanitation schedules for all common spaces, with particular emphasis on high-touch areas. Hand sanitizer is available in multiple areas throughout the ship and at the gangway. Cleaning and sanitation policies are designed to limit the spread of germs. Masks and gloves are available to guests and crew upon request.

Does American Cruise Lines go through health and safety inspections?

All American Cruise Lines’ 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.

Does American Cruise Lines notify guests of any health and safety policy changes or issues in advance of the cruise?

American Cruise Lines’ policies are subject to change and may be adapted to state or local regulations in each area. We are in direct contact with guests to clearly communicate any unique requirements in advance of departure.