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Rollin’ on the river: Decatur, Florence among ports of call for new cruise

HUNTSVILLE – Determined to float your boat, the elegant new American Serenade riverboat concluded its 8-day maiden voyage down the Tennessee River from Chattanooga to Nashville last week, featuring Florence and Decatur as two of its ports of call.

The 180-passenger riverboat was one of two new riverboats built at Chesapeake Shipbuilding in Salisbury, Md., and christened in New Orleans in April.

The American Serenade and the American Jazz join the cruise line’s American Harmony, American Song, American Melody and American Symphony riverboat fleet.

“The two christenings, one in a desert canyon and one on the bayou, show the incredible breadth of river cruise options in the USA,” said Charles Robertson, president and CEO of American Cruise Lines. “They also show the growth of American Cruise Lines and the range of places that we explore.

“We are so grateful to the communities who welcome us and look forward to a strong future together as we cruise the Snake and Mississippi Rivers.”

The 8-day American Serenade cruise begins in Chattanooga and docks in Decatur on day two where passengers can spend the day exploring the Old Decatur Historic District, the Carnegie Visual Arts Center, Cook Museum of Natural Sciences, the Morgan County Archives, Old State Bank and Union Depot.

American Serenade Restaurant (American Cruise Lines contributed)

Travelers can opt to take inland excursions to the U.S. Space & Rocket Center in Huntsville or the historic town of Mooresville.

On day three, the riverboat stops in Florence where passengers can take in 18 holes of golf at the Robert Trent Jones course at the Shoals; or explore the home of W.C. Handy, the “Father of the Blues”; Frank Lloyd Wright’s Rosenbaum House; and the Singing River.

On day four, the ship ports in Savannah, Tenn., where passengers can visit Civil War sites such as Shiloh National Military Park and Gen. Ulysses S. Grant’s headquarters; or spend a day fishing.

Day five lands in Paducah, Ky., at the confluence of the Tennessee and Ohio rivers.

Day six is filled with a full day of cruising Lake Barkley and the Cumberland River.

The last two days land in Nashville, where visitors can attend the Grand Old Opry, the Country Music Hall of Fame, Honky Tonk Row and Andrew Jackson’s home The Hermitage.

American Serenade Grand Stateroom (American Cruise Lines contributed)

The Serenade continues to operate between Chattanooga and Nashville through the end of August year, picking up again next year for a longer season from May through November.

The upcoming Serenade cruise dates are June 15, June 22, June 29, July 6 and July 13.

American Cruise Lines specializes in authentic American experiences and well-curated destination-focused cruises that showcase the unique character and cultures of the regions traveled.

The new five-deck American Serenade features a multi-story glass atrium in the center of the ship, elevators to all passenger decks, single and handicap staterooms, and the largest fitness center on any riverboat with a range of exercise machines and yoga classes.

American Serenade shows our continued commitment to small ships for America’s rivers,” said Robertson. “She has the same spacious features as her five sisterships and a design package that wows everyone who boards.”

The Serenade has the largest staterooms in the industry, featuring all the amenities of a modern hotel, including full-size bathrooms, floor-to-ceiling sliding glass doors and private furnished balconies.

The boat is also technologically advanced with complementary Starlink Wifi and the newest safety and navigation equipment. The fleet is the most environmentally friendly small ships currently cruising U.S. rivers and they meet the highest emissions standards and a tiny carbon footprint.

The all-American cuisine complements the season and the region of the cruise. Every cruise features a festive cocktail hour with hors d’oeuvres each evening, an open-seated dining room where every table offers panoramic views of the passing scenery, as well as private dining balconies, comfortable lounges and outdoor casual cafés. There is also complimentary alternative casual dining, the company said.

American Cruise Lines won more than 20 awards in 2022, including accolades from Travel & Leisure, Condé Nast Traveler, USA Today, and U.S. News & World Report.

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