Cruising has long been considered a luxurious way to travel, with American Cruise Lines at the forefront of elegance and comfort. Many vacationers have set their sights on the unforgettable experience that an ocean or river cruise offers, only to be taken aback by the seemingly higher prices. There are some common misconceptions surrounding the costs of cruise lines, particularly in the American market.

This article aims to unravel those misconceptions, providing insight into the factors that make up the overall cost, from the amenities onboard to the unique itineraries that make the river cruise ships, cruises, and ocean cruises so appealing. By understanding the pricing, passengers can fully embrace the experience without surprise.

American Cruise Lines

What Is the Cost of Cruises on American Cruise Lines?

When planning a trip with American Cruise Lines, it’s essential to have a grasp of the costs involved. Unlike standard land-based vacations, the pricing for cruising can vary significantly depending on factors like destination, season, and length of stay.

For a standard 7-night cruise, you can expect to spend anywhere from $3,300 to $5,800 per person. Solo travelers, beware! You might end up spending up to 75% more, depending on your chosen room.

Here’s a breakdown of the costs for different regions where American Cruise Lines sails:

  • Mississippi River Cruises: Average $3,300 to $4,400 for a week.
  • New England Cruises: Hold your lobster roll; these run $5,000 to $7,000 for 7 nights.
  • Southeast Coast Cruises: Get your sunblock ready for $3,700 to $5,800 for 7 nights.
  • Puget Sound Cruises: A steal at an average $4,100 for a week.
  • Alaska Cruises: Break the ice at an average of $5,900 for 7 nights.
  • Columbia River Cruises: Flow the river cruise through history for $4,000 for 7 nights.
  • California Cruises: Surf’s up at an average $5,700 for 7 nights.

Extended Cruises lasting up to 60 days: Pricing details can be obtained upon request.

Looking for shorter getaways? A 4-night Columbia River cruise may cost around $2,755. Should you possess additional time and financial means, options for two-week and three-week voyages are also accessible.

Main Factors Why Is American Cruise Lines So Expensive

american cruise lines top-notch services

Ever wondered why American Cruise Lines feels like a treasure chest that’s hard to unlock? It’s not about gold doubloons but well-crafted experiences. The costs tie back to features like private balconies, unique itineraries, top-notch services, and exceptional onboard attention. These elements transform a typical voyage into an extraordinary adventure, aligning with the cruise industry’s higher standards. In the following sections, we’ll delve into the factors that justify the cost, making every sailing a worthwhile investment. Hold tight as we’re setting sail to unravel the mystery!

food on american cruise lines

A smaller vessel with American Cruise Lines means more personalized attention and, most importantly, a culinary experience that rivals the finest onshore restaurants. Unlike mass-produced meals on mega-ships, smaller vessels focus on the quality and local flavor of every dish. Imagine savoring freshly caught seafood or regionally inspired delicacies prepared by skilled chefs. These gourmet delights contribute to the higher costs, making every meal an unforgettable experience.

All Staterooms as Outside Cabins

american cruise lines staterooms

What’s a cruise without breathtaking ocean views? With American Cruise Lines, all staterooms are outside cabins, offering private balconies and full glass windows. These are no ordinary rooms; they’re your personal haven at sea. Greet the day with the sunrise over the sea or fall into slumber to the soothing murmur of the waves. This level of exclusivity and comfort contributes to the overall cost, ensuring that your journey is as visually stunning as it is luxurious.

selection of beverages

Thirsty for more than just adventure? American Cruise Lines quenches your thirst with included drinks. Unlike other cruise lines where you might pay extra for soft drinks or specialty cocktails, here, your cruise fare includes a selection of beverages. Whether it’s a refreshing soda after a day of shore excursions or a fine wine to complement your dinner, these all-inclusive offerings add value to your voyage. It’s another reason for the higher price but one that turns your cruise into a truly carefree and indulgent escape.

At American Cruise Lines, the indulgence starts even before you set foot on the ship. Included in the cruise fare is a pre-cruise hotel stay, allowing you to settle in and explore the departure city at your leisure. No last-minute rush or stress, just relaxed anticipation of the adventures ahead. This added luxury ensures that your vacation begins on the right note, contributing to the higher cost but amplifying the entire travel experience.

Included Entertainment

entertainment on american cruise lines

Who says entertainment should come with a price tag? American Cruise Lines firmly believes that fun should be included in your package. From guest speakers sharing insights about the destinations to onboard entertainment like live music and cultural performances, the opportunities for joy and learning are endless. These aren’t mere distractions but carefully curated experiences that enrich your voyage, making every moment onboard an engaging and memorable experience.

The crème de la crème of American Cruise Lines is the exceptional service and comfort that sets them apart from other cruise lines. Every crew member, from the top cruise ship show director to the service staff, is dedicated to providing top-notch services that cater to your every whim. Smaller vessels mean fewer people, allowing for personalized attention that makes you feel like royalty at sea.

Whether it’s meal times customized to your preference or additional care to ensure an unforgettable experience, the commitment to excellence is palpable. This caliber of service not only justifies the higher prices but elevates cruising to an art form, where every detail is a brushstroke towards perfection.

American Cruise Lines prides itself on offering a highly specialized river cruising experience, and this includes operating during the best seasons to ensure top-quality voyages.

The shorter cruise season means that they focus on sailing when the weather is most favorable and the destinations are at their prime. Fewer sailing dates may translate to higher demand and higher prices, but it guarantees a sailing experience that is unparalleled in terms of comfort and beauty.

When you sail with American Cruise Lines, you’re embarking on a true All-American cruising experience. From the crew members to the food quality and local flavor, everything reflects the essence of American hospitality and culture. Even the cruise ships themselves are built in American ports, a factor that leads to higher operational costs but promises an authentic and patriotic journey. This adherence to all things American adds to the cost but infuses your voyage with a unique and genuine touch.

All-American cruising experience

Big things come in small packages, and in the case of American Cruise Lines, the small-ship experience offers intimacy and luxury that big ships often can’t match. Small-ship cruising means fewer passengers and a more personalized experience, with greater access to unique itineraries and destinations that mega-ships can’t reach. These smaller vessels offer private balconies and specialty restaurants, catering to an older and more discerning clientele.

While this leads to higher prices, it ensures a cruise experience that is more exclusive and tailored, turning every voyage into a personalized adventure. The additional cost of small-ship cruises with American Cruise Lines is a testament to the high quality and unique experiences they provide, making the extra money not just an expenditure but an investment in a memorable and exceptional journey.

Cost Comparison: American Cruise Lines vs Other Cruise Lines

When it comes to choosing a cruise, the price is undoubtedly a significant factor. Let’s take a closer look at how American Cruise Lines compares with other cruise lines, specifically focusing on the price difference:

Mississippi River Cruises

Comparing the Mississippi cruises with other key players, river cruise companies like Viking River Cruises, we find an interesting observation:

  • Viking River Cruises – America’s Great River, 14-day cruise – from $12,000 per person
  • American Cruise Lines – Grand Heartland Cruise, 14-day cruise – from $9,455 per person

Contrary to popular belief, American Cruise Lines may offer a more budget-friendly option for this itinerary. The inclusions are almost identical, making it a competitive choice.

Alaska Cruises

However, when we explore Alaska cruises, the price difference between river ships becomes more noticeable:

  • Royal Caribbean – 7-day Alaska cruise – from $600 per person
  • Carnival Cruises – 7-day Alaska cruise – from $720 per person
  • Holland America Line – 7-day Alaska cruise – from $1,000 per person
  • American Cruise Lines – 7-day Alaska cruise – from $5,900 per person

American Cruise Lines is considerably more expensive for Alaska cruises. While the initial sticker shock might be off-putting, it’s essential to understand what you’re paying for. The price includes extras such as tips and some included drinks, but more importantly, it encapsulates a small-ship, quieter vacation experience without the crowds.

In conclusion, the pricing of American Cruise Lines isn’t a simple matter of higher prices and less competition. It’s about value, unique itineraries, and a caliber of service and inclusions that may not be readily available on other cruise lines. While some comparisons may show that American Cruise Lines is more expensive, the difference in price often reflects a difference in experience, making the overall cost a fair trade for the unforgettable experience and high quality that they provide.

Considerations for Budget-Conscious Travelers

Budget-Conscious Travelers

For those with an eye on the budget, American Cruise Lines still offers opportunities for an incredible cruise experience without breaking the bank. By choosing the right cabins and packages, travelers can tailor their journey to suit their financial needs. Opting for a standard stateroom rather than a suite with a private balcony, for example, can significantly cut costs.

On the other hand, what to expect with lower-priced options may include fewer luxuries but still retain the core of the cruise’s appeal. You might miss out on some specialty restaurants or included excursions, but the exceptional service, memorable onboard experience, and captivating sailings will remain. It’s all about balancing desires and budget to craft a voyage that’s comfortable and enjoyable without overspending.


The question of why American Cruise Lines is so expensive unravels a multifaceted answer. It’s not merely about the price tag but the unique and high-quality services, smaller vessels, included amenities, and special attention to details like private balconies and exceptional food quality. Even though they may carry a higher price, they also provide a more intimate and unforgettable experience. For budget-conscious travelers, options are available to enjoy the ocean cruise ships without overspending. Ultimately, choosing American Cruise Lines is about investing in a tailored, top-notch, and all-inclusive experience. Whether it’s a tranquil sail on the Mississippi River or an adventurous journey to Alaska, the value justifies the cost, making each voyage a truly memorable experience.


Is the American cruise line expensive?

Indeed, compared to other cruise operators, American Cruise Line may be regarded as pricier. However, the cost is often reflective of the unique small-ship experience, exceptional service, quality of food, and inclusion of amenities such as private balconies and pre-cruise hotel stays. The value received often justifies the higher cost.

What cruise line is the most expensive?

The most expensive cruise line can vary depending on the destination, duration, and included amenities of river cruise lines. While American Cruise Lines may be more expensive for certain itineraries like Alaska cruises, other luxury cruise lines such as Seabourn or Silversea might also rank at the higher end of the price spectrum.

Is the quality of service on American Cruise Lines worth the price?

Absolutely! The quality of service on American Cruise Lines is often cited as one of the reasons for the higher prices. From top-notch dining experiences to personalized attention from crew members, the emphasis on quality and comfort excellence offers passengers an unforgettable experience. For many travelers, this level of service and the unique itineraries available justify the extra money and make the overall cost a worthy investment.