American Cruise Lines offers small ship cruises with a more personal experience. The ships, all with patriotic-sounding names - American Star, American Spirit and American Glory - sail from Baltimore along inland waterways, bays and rivers. The experience is heightened by lectures and shore excursions from historians willing to divulge the area's "best-kept secrets and favorite treasures." American Cruise Lines might not navigate across the globe, but presents a different perspective of our own backyard.
Ports of call: Chesapeake Bay, Mid-Atlantic Inland Passage, East Coast Inland Passage
2009 sailing dates: May 9, 16, 23, 30; June 6, 13; Oct. 25, 31; Nov. 1, 7
Built: 2002 (Glory), Spirit (2005), Star (2007) by Chesapeake Shipbuilding in Salisbury
Staterooms: 31 to 52, some with private balconies
Guest capacity: 49 to 100
Registry: United States
Features/amenities: The cruises highlight nature, history, culture and American heritage with lectures, excursions and activities. While there are no casinos or shows, the ships have libraries, lounges and an observation deck.
Restaurants: The main dining salon seats all passengers at the same time and offers menus that reflect the local region.Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun