If you’ve always wanted to see more of the nation’s scenic landscapes and charming small towns, sure, you could hop in the car and plan an epic cross-country road trip. Or, if you don’t mind flying, you could jet-set from airport to airport, stopping long enough to check some of the major sightseeing attractions off your bucket list.
But for a slower, more leisurely jaunt throughout much of the U.S., why not take a cruise instead? This is now a possibility, thanks to a brand-new itinerary from American Cruise Lines.
The company recently unveiled its “Great United States” journey, which it says is the longest-ever river cruise offered in the U.S. This unparalleled adventure lasts 60 days and visits 20 states in four time zones in the Pacific Northwest, the Rocky Mountains, the Midwest and New England — a literal embodiment of “from sea to shining sea.” The cruise line says it’s launching this lengthy vacation in preparation for the nation’s 250th birthday, or semiquincentennial, which will take place in 2026.
If you opt to book this patriotic excursion, you’ll start the trip in Portland, Oregon, then cruise along the Columbia and Snake rivers onboard the American Jazz. From there, you’ll have a chance to visit three of the most stunning national parks — Grand Teton, Yellowstone and Glacier — before flying down to New Orleans. Once you arrive in the Big Easy, you’ll board the American Symphony and head north on the Mississippi River, sailing nearly 1,400 miles up to St. Paul, Minnesota. Then, you’ll fly over to Portland, Maine, and board the American Independence for a picturesque journey along the Atlantic Coast. When the ship reaches New York City, it will head inland on the Hudson River before turning around and heading back to the Big Apple, where the trip concludes.
Phew, now that’s a lot of cruising! But travelers won’t exactly be roughing it on this journey. On the contrary, they’ll get to experience all the destinations in comfort, whether from their private stateroom or suite, or from the many public spaces on each ship, including lounges, restaurants, decks, and balconies.
The cruise company is now accepting bookings for its inaugural sailing, which will run from Aug. 16 to Oct. 16 — just in time to catch the fall foliage in the Hudson Valley. Prices will vary depending on which type of stateroom you book, but are generally expected to range from $51,000 to $78,000 (which includes tips and gratuities).
Of course, if you don’t have two months to spare, you can always take a much shorter vacation by booking one of the cruise line’s other itineraries. Trips are generally eight days or longer, but if you’re really short on time, there’s even a quick five-day journey on the Mississippi River.
Which trips are you most excited to take this year?