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Your Questions About Rivers and River Cruises

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Susan asks…

What is the best river cruise in the US for 1-2 week trip? Cost not so much a factor as great…?

…scenery and overall exp.
I don’t mean a mega-cruise ship; thinking more about itinerary, quality of meals, etc. We have done several ocean cruises and want to try something smaller and closer to home.

John answers:

Susan, since you don’t say where home is, I’ll give you a few options throughout the country.  Please bear in mind that my answer is by no means comprehensive or exhaustive, only illustrative.

On the East Coast, there are small river boat cruises on the Erie Canal, steeped in history and blending beautiful scenery with  small town charm.  You might also consider the Fall foliage river cruises along the Hudson River in New York, offered by American Cruise Line.

If you are planning on taking the river boat cruise next year, American Cruise Line will be inaugurating new 7 night paddle-wheeler service on the Mississippi River.  These river cruises will be the first in about 4 years, and will sail routes similar to those offered by the defunct Delta Steamship Company.  You can channel your inner Mark Twain.

Finally, on the West Coast, both American Cruise Line and American Safari Cruises, among others, offer cruises on the Columbia and Snake Rivers.  Majestic scenery, Native American culture, and the association with the Lewis and Clark Expedition, all contribute to a very popular and highly regarded river boat experience.

I hope that gives you some ideas.

Michael asks…

I saw a sculpture while I was on a cruise of a river on the east coast of the US?

I believe it was either the Hudson or the Delaware. I was on my 8th grade DC trip. I remember being able to see what looked like a sculpture of a giant man who had fallen in something so you could not see all of him. What did I see? I cant find it anywhere?

John answers:

Check if it was this sculpture, called The Awakening:

It’s an impressive sight.  I can understand why the memory lasted.

Linda asks…

Overnight River Cruises in Thailand??


My boyfriend and I will be in Thailand from this Spring.  We’d like to do an overnight cruise to Aruthaya but all the ones we’ve seen are over $200 each! Are there any that are less expensive??

Also any suggestions for Hotels in Bangkok under $30 US would be appreciated.


John answers:

Ayutthaya is only 85 kilometers from Bangkok, so taking an overnight boat there devotes a lot of time to a rather short journey.  You probably won’t find many options lower than the prevailing rate.

There are two other options that you might consider.  There are boats available at the site that will take you around the area.  These can be chartered at several piers, and cost will depend on the length of the trip.

Alternatively, there are packages that combine a bus trip to Ayutthaya with a boat trip back to Bangkok.  Costs can be reasonable.  You’ll get the opportunity to view the sites and the boat trip you’re looking for, without the added cost and exaggerated time consumption.

Finally, there are dinner cruises on the Chao Phraya River in Bangkok, if that interests you.

As for hotels under $30 in Bangkok, sorry.  I don’t know any I could recommend.

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Technorati Tags: American Cruise Line, American Safari Cruises, Columbia and Snake Rivers, Columbia River, Erie Canal, Fall foliage, Hudson River, Lewis and Clark, Mark Twain, Mississippi River, paddle wheeler, Snake River

River Boat Cruising On The Hudson River

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American Cruise Line's Independence

Friday morning was a beautiful day in New York, clear and crisp.  I arrived at the MetroNorth platform at the usual time.  Today, however, we harried commuters had a bit of a treat.  Directly opposite the platform, much closer to the New Jersey coast, was a cruise ship.  At first it didn’t quite register.  My first thought was that it was a very large private vessel, but it really was too large for that.  When I noticed the distinctive red, white and blue funnel, I realized that this was one of the American Cruise Lines’ ships on one of their Fall Foliage cruises up the Hudson to Albany and back.

In years of taking the railroad to work, I have never seen one of these ships on the river.  Our schedules never quite matched up.  Yesterday was a perfect day for my first sighting.  The air was clear, the Palisades were resplendent in their Fall colors of red and orange, and the ship shone in the bright sunshine.  Looking up the itinerary in the office, I learned that the ship had over-nighted in Sleepy Hollow, a charming suburban town made infamous by Washington Irving, just 15 miles upriver from where I stood.  One wonders what Ichabod Crane would have made of the ship.

It occurred to me too late to take a picture with my phone, the thought springing to mind at the same time as the train pulled in to the station.  It also occurred to me, as the doors closed, that it would have been so much nicer to glide down the Hudson to the city on board the ship, an exciting day exploring New York in the offing.  Instead we rumbled inexorably toward Grand Central and our day at work.

Technorati Tags: American Cruise Line, Cruise line, cruise ship, Hudson River, Ichabod Crane, river boat cruises, Sleepy Hollow, Washington Irving

River Boat Cruises Return to The Mississippi After All

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Artist's Rendering of the New Paddlewheeler

For the past week or so, the hopes of a re-birth of overnight river boat cruises on the Mississippi River seemed to have died with the closure of Cruise West.  It was just this past June that Cruise West announced with great fanfare their intention to relocate one of their West Coast-based ships to the Mississippi River in 2011.  Regularly scheduled overnight river boat cruises on the Mississippi River ended in 2008, when the Delta Queen Steamships sailed for the last time.

But now along comes American Cruise Lines, with the welcome news that they will fill the void.  On Tuesday of this week, the following was released to the press:

“American Cruise Lines has announced it is expanding to the Mississippi River system with a brand new sternwheeler, already under construction at Chesapeake Shipbuilding in Salisbury,MD. It plans to operate the new riverboat on routes similar to those formerly run by Delta QueenSteamboat Company, which will include the Mississippi, Ohio, Tennessee, and Cumberland Rivers.

Cruising the Mississippi River on a sternwheeler is a true all-American experience that American CruiseLines is pleased to bring back. The new paddlewheeler will recreate the grandeur of past riverboats while possessing the latest safety, environmental and construction technologies. The ship will have the look of a traditional riverboat along with more amenities, a faster speed, and an unmatched level of comfort. Features include six unique lounges, a library, an elegant dining salon, elevator service to all decks, and the exceptionally large staterooms found on all American Cruise Lines ships. With only 140 passengers, each guest will receive personalized service in the intimate and friendly atmosphere for which American Cruise Lines has become known.

The first cruise is a scheduled to depart August 11, 2012 from New Orleans, Louisiana on a 7-night journey up the Mississippi to Memphis, Tennessee. The ship will then begin a series of 7-night cruises travelling as far north as St. Paul, Minnesota while utilizing its remarkable speed to open up new itinerary possibilities. As on all true riverboats, a stage and bow ramp will give the ship access to the many interesting ports without docking facilities.”

The purpose-built, 5 deck paddlewheeler won’t begin service for almost two years, further delaying the highly anticipated resumption of overnight river boat cruises on the Mississippi River.  It is, however, anticipation delayed, not anticipation dashed.

Technorati Tags: American Cruise Line, Cruise West, Delta Queen, Mississippi River boat cruises, Natchez, New Orleans, paddlewheeler, river boat cruises