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American Cruise Lines is a small cruise company run out of Haddam, Connecticut. They currently run two ships, the American Eagle and the American Glory. Both ships have four decks, the top deck being open. The American Glory is slightly larger and is approximately one hundred sixty-eight feet long. The ships have about twenty-seven staterooms, most of which are designed to accommodate two guests. Several of the rooms have their own private verandas, and all rooms have a tiny private bathroom. Although the rooms are smaller than say, an average hotel room, they are far from the sardine cans common in larger cruise liners.

The ships only have about a six foot under draft so that they may cruise up the smooth river waters of the East Coast. On the high seas, however, the vessels do not cruise so nicely. The ships are very top-heavy, so any waves taller two or three feet really get the boat rockin' and rollin'. Passengers that are prone to motion sickness are very uncomfortable while the ship is underway in the open ocean, which is never more than a few hours at a time. The ships' power comes from generators, which are switched over periodically causing a few seconds without power, which can be frightening if you're in the shower. Fresh Water is taken in through a hose at every port, and the water in the toilets is actually seawater. In especially shallow water, sometimes sand and shells get sucked through the filter and end up in the toilets on the lower decks, which is either amusing or confusing depending on who you are.

Most cruises are seven days and six nights. The cruises cost an arm and a leg, but all meals and drinks are included. Depending on the time of year, the ships are on different ends of the east coast. During the summer, the ships are further north, and in fall and spring, they are down south. The following is a list in no particular order of the cruises I know something about:

New England Islands- Run out of New London, Connecticut and visits Nantucket, Martha's Vineyard, Block Island, New Bedford, Massachusettes, Fall River, Massachusettes and Newport, Rhode Island I've done this one nine times, and it's one of their most popular cruises. Block Island is a blast, as is the vineyard. Fall River and New Bedford are sort of boring and ugly and ports.

Historic Antebellum South- Starts in Charleston, South Carolina and goes to Beaufort, South Carolina, Hilton Head Island, Savannah, Georgia, Saint Simons Island, Georgia, Jekyll Island, Georgia and ends in Jacksonville, Florida Everyone I know that has done this cruise just raves about Savannah and Hilton Head.

Maine Coast Harbors- Runs out of Bangor, Maine and visits Bar Harbor, Maine, Rockland, Maine, Castine, Maine and Camden, Maine. I only did this one once, but the mosquitoes were so terrible that I would never like to go again. Also, there was no cell phone service for some of the ports, which was really annoying. Bar Harbor is a supposedly really fun, but I didn't get out to explore.

Chesapeake Bay- Begins in Baltimore, Maryland and goes to Yorktown, Virginia, Tangier Island, Virginia, Cambridge, Maryland, Oxford, Maryland, Saint Michaels, Maryland, Annapolis, Maryland I don't think I've ever heard anything nice about this cruise, but I've never been. I guess if Maryland is your thing, it might be cool.

Hudson River Starts in New London, Connecticut and goes to , West Point, New York, Albany, New York, Kingston, New York, Sleepy Hollow, New York, New York City, New York and Greenport, New York. I did this cruise only once, and we docked on the Chelsea Pier on Gay Pride Day, so that fun to see. Sleepy Hollow was surprisingly scary, and I was afraid to go out alone at night. This cruise is popular during autumn because of foliage, but I did it in the middle of the summer and still thought it was beautiful!

The rest of the cruises I haven't been on, or heard much about, they run during the winter months of the year:

Mid-Atlantic Passage- Runs from Baltimore to Charleston.
Great Rivers of Florida -Starts in Jacksonville and travels through Lake George and the Tolomato River.
Okeechobee & Southern Waterways- Starts in Jacksonville and ends in Fort Myers, Florida.
East Coast Inland Passage- Runs from Baltimore to Jacksonville and is fifteen days long.

Each port of call has a tour that usually has some educational value. Most places have a museum or a walking tour explaining the historical significance of the city. As a result, the cruises attract a rather mature crowd. In fact, the average age for the passengers is over sixty years.

The crew on the ships consists of about five deckhands who clean, dock and steer the vessel, five stewards, who serve meals and clean rooms and one galley steward, which is just boat terminology for the dishwasher. College students usually fill these positions during the summer, I'd say the average age for these crew members is from eighteen- twenty-five years. In the galley, there are two chefs, a sous chef and a head chef. In charge of the hotel department is the hotel manager and the cruise director- again these positions are filled by younger people usually around the age of twenty-three-twenty-seven. The officers are the captain and the first mate, who are in charge of the deckhands. The hotel manager, cruise director, head chef, and officers all live in rooms in the hotel part of the ship. The captain's room is directly behind the bridge, so he can be called in case of emergency. All stewards, deckhands and sometimes the sous chef live in the crew quarters (think bunk beds and lockers). The ladies quarters is on the third deck aft. The boys live under the first deck in the belly of the ship, and they affectionately call their quarters the dungeon. In my experience with the company, the crew works too hard and parties even harder, but it's a great summer job. They wages are decent and it's a free ride to some of the most gorgeous ports on the eastern United States.

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