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Following is a summary of the principal river cruises in the United Sates.
Along the great Chesapeake, its tributaries and tidewaters, American Cruise Lines takes you to a region so bountiful it inspired early explorers to settle a new world.
You’ll follow in the footsteps of our nation’s founders discovering bustling seaports, quaint river villages, 17th century cities, and significant plantation homes.
From pine forests to tidal marshlands, You’ll also discover the diverse habitats characteristic to the Chesapeake region.
Located near Alexandria, Virginia Mt. Vernon was the plantation home of the first President of the United States, George Washington. The mansion is built of wood in neoclassical Georgian architectural style, and the estate is located on the banks of the Potomac River. Mount Vernon was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1960 and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Visitors may tour the Mansion House and more than a dozen outbuildings including the slave quarters, kitchen, stables, and greenhouse. There are four gardens, a forest trail, and a 4-acre pioneer working farm. George and Martha Washington are interred in a tomb where wreath laying ceremonies are held daily.
The mighty Columbia captures the imagination and lures travelers with its promise of bigger-than-life adventure. After all, this was the waterway that led Lewis and Clark to the Pacific and introduced America to what lay west of the Mississippi. Although they failed to discover the fabled Northwest Passage, the Lewis & Clark expedition stands among the major explorations of all time. From deep river canyons with lush forested slopes and sparkling waterfalls to majestic snow capped volcanic mountains and the remote high desert country, this is a place of natural wonder, pristine wilderness, and rich history.
While most river cruises carry you past urban centers and crowded shorelines, much of the Columbia & Snake Rivers remains pristine and wild. You can clearly see evidence of the great floods that carved this region thousands of years ago in the breathtakingly beautiful Columbia River Gorge, the golden coulees and scablands, the great black pinnacles of basalt that guided Lewis & Clark. The volcanic forces of the coast are apparent in snow-capped mountain peaks and the emerald evergreen forests coating the Cascade Range. And you’ll find that the past and present coexist here, from Oregon Trail wagon ruts to the eight locks and dams built to tame the mighty Columbia River.
Adventures beckon daily. Take a jet boat up Hells Canyon past 7,000-year-old Indian petroglyphs. Wander the hidden city beneath wild and wooly Pendleton, where Chinese emigrants once carried out their daily lives. Visit fascinating museums or Lewis & Clark landmarks like Fort Clatsop, where they spent the chilling winter of 1805-1806. The history of the Columbia River region is not one preserved in amber, but one you can touch, breathe and experience first-hand when you travel with on unique Columbia River cruises.
There are three general regions for cruises on the Mississippi River, each with its own attractions and historical charm. Precise ports of call may vary depending on the river’s conditions, season, and commercial shipping conditions.
American Heritage Region: This is the typical lower Mississippi River: deep in the South, stretching from Louisiana to Tennessee. Lazy days cruising through the bayou are common on lower Mississippi cruises, and shore excursions may include historic plantation homes and other grand architectural masterpieces. Port of call cities typically include Mobile, Little Rock, Baton Rouge, Nashville, Memphis, and New Orleans
Heartland Region: The upper Mississippi River is in the heartland of the United States, and passengers visit many cultural attractions and museums dedicated to westward expansion and pioneer life. This is also the region made famous by Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain) as the playground for Tom Sawyer, Becky Thatcher, and Huckleberry Finn. Ports of call may include Minneapolis, St. Paul, St. Louis and Hannibal
Wilderness Region: An offshoot of the Mississippi region yet still drained by the mighty river, these cruises explore the Ohio River valley deep into the American Midwest and the Appalachian Mountains. Points of interest range from steel mills to baseball parks to art museums, all of which add multiple layers to the region’s history and charm. Ports of call frequently include Pittsburgh, Cincinnati and Kentucky