About Historic South and Golden Isles Cruise

The Intracoastal Waterway is a protected network of bays, rivers, and canals which is home to the most beautiful historic cities in America, including Savannah, Charleston, Jekyll Island, and Beaufort. Your cruise will take you to the heart of each unique place.

As you cruise between ports, expansive wildlife refuges and remote islands stretch out before you, offering an extraordinary view into the wilderness and wildlife of the South. This is a region of history, legend, grace, and beauty that will leave you inspired.

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Cruise Itinerary

Day
Ports of Call
1
Charleston to Beaufort, SC
2
Beaufort, SC
3
Hilton Head Island, SC
4
Savannah, GA
5
Sapelo Island, GA
6
St. Simons Island / Jekyll Island, GA
7
Cruising to Amelia Island, FL
8
Jacksonville, FL Area (Amelia Island)

Historic South and Golden Isles Cruise

A truly historic cruise, this itinerary includes stops along some of the East Coast's best locales. Learn about the incredible pasts of Beaufort, Hilton Head, and much more.

Ports of Call

  • Charleston to Beaufort, SC
  • Beaufort, SC
  • Hilton Head Island, SC
  • Savannah, GA
  • Sapelo Island, GA
  • St. Simons Island / Jekyll Island, GA
  • Jacksonville, FL Area (Amelia Island)

Day by Day


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Day  1
Charleston to Beaufort, SC

The scene of Revolutionary War naval battles, legendary pirate tales, and Civil War sieges, Charleston is alive with history. Visit historic Fort Sumter National Monument, experience the African-American influences of the area and stroll through magnificent parks and gardens. Warm Southern breezes, gas-lit lamps and cobblestone streets welcome you to the city that is best known as the site where the Civil War began.

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Charleston City Tour

The city of Charleston is as exquisitely preserved and aesthetically pleasing as any city in the United States.  The blend of antebellum architecture, cobblestone streets, flickering lanterns, and historic landmarks are a treat for the eye to behold.  Tour the city with a knowledgeable guide who will take you to explore sights such as the colorful Rainbow Row, Catfish Row, the famous Battery, and more.  Should you want to experience more of what Charleston has to offer, American Cruise Lines also offers a “hop on, hop off” shuttle which can bring you to any of your favorite attractions. 

*Tour only offered on cruises ending in Charleston, SC

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Day  2
Beaufort, SC

Beaufort’s history features European explorers, Native American cultural influences, British settlements and Civil War battles. Today, horse-drawn carriages clatter along the narrow streets of this historic district, past 18th and 19th century homes famous for unique Beaufort-style architecture. View historic forts and elegant homes to discover why Beaufort was once heralded as the “Newport of the South".

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Beaufort Carriage Tour

After a Southern inspired luncheon, you’ll embark on a tour of Beaufort’s popular Bay Street from the comfort of a horse-drawn carriage. This narrated experience follows the historic tree-lined streets of Beaufort as you make your way to visit the area’s antebellum homes, parks, and shops. Many of the local buildings remain untouched and are preserved as they were originally constructed after being used as hospitals, offices, and commander’s quarters during the Civil War. At the conclusion of the tour, you’ll have free time to experience Beaufort and its Southern charm on your own.

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Low Country Heritage Tour

Take a step back in time as we visit scenic Beaufort, and explore what life was like living on a Southern plantation. The experience begins the moment we dock when you’ll be introduced to our resident expert, Evelyn. She’ll greet you warmly in her period-specific hoop-skirt and with a welcoming smile. Evelyn will remain with as your guide as we depart for Lady’s Island, St. Helena where you’ll walk the grounds of a former plantation. You’ll explore the main plantation house, manicured grounds, and as a special treat, you’ll receive a live performance that highlights some of the soulful plantation-life songs. In the evening, Evelyn will return to the ship to perform a memorable private onboard concert for everyone to enjoy.

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Other Beaufort Activities

The Parris Island Museum
This free museum is perfect for the military buffs in your travel group. A large collection of artifacts and exhibits help you learn about the history of the United States Marine Corps.

Hunting Island State Park
See why Hunting Island is South Carolina’s most popular state park by visiting its beaches, forests, marshes and other natural elements. Plan on taking a long walk around this park’s 5000 acres.

Port Royal
At the center of this city is a beautiful boardwalk, a favorite among visitors to the area. Even a short trip to Port Royal will illuminate its wonderfully bold and eccentric atmosphere.

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Day  3
Hilton Head Island, SC

Hilton Head is a first class resort known for its championship golf courses and miles of scenic beaches. A boat tour of The Sea Pines Forest Preserve gives you a close-up view of Hilton Head's indigenous plant and animal life, including the American Alligator.

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Alligator & Wildlife Tour

We will anchor in Hilton Head and tender into shore, where we will be greeted by our local guide for one of our most popular shore excursions in the area.  You’ll embark on a private boat tour of the Sea Pines Resort Forest Preserve. This 600-acre preserve features some of Hilton Head’s many indigenous plants and animal species, including the native American alligator. Your guide will provide an engaging and educational tour while you enjoy the breathtaking views of the freshwater lake. In the afternoon, you’ll have ample time to explore Hilton Head’s popular shopping district or relax back on board before the evening’s entertainment.

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Day  4
Savannah, GA

Recognized as the country’s first planned city, Savannah is still a bustling seaport with renowned historic districts that preserve its phenomenal 19th century wealth and opulence. Join a narrated tour of Savannah’s “Historic and Victorian Districts," brave an evening Ghost Walk, or explore the area's magnificent shops.

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Mighty Eighth Air Force Museum

The Mighty Eighth Air Force Museum houses an impressive collection of WWII aviation memorabilia. Upon entering the museum, you’ll immediately be awed by the breathtaking collection of fully restored aircraft that helped serve our brave troops during the war. You’ll be welcomed by a tour guide who will provide the group with an overview of the museum and a brief history lesson regarding the famed Eighth Air Force Division. After introductions, you are welcome to either experience the museum on a self-guided tour or stay with your guide to be personally escorted around the museum grounds. Your visit includes an educational film, engaging World War II exhibits, airman memorials, and the rare collection of planes that served the Mighty Eighth men and women.

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Trolley Tour of Savannah

Our ship will dock directly in the famous River St. area, which is full of open-air shopping, world-class restaurants, and Southern hospitality. On the dock, you’ll meet directly with your guide, who will provide you with a personalized city tour. This highly acclaimed experience visits many of the important city attractions including Factor’s Walk, the Cotton Exchange, along with the various squares that make up the city. After the tour, you can retreat back to the boat or continue to explore the city on your own. As part of the trolley tour experience, you can continue to use the trolley system throughout the remainder of the day. Trolleys run all day and meet at designated spots within the city limits.

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Guided Walking Tour

Amid the bustling River St. section of Savannah, you will meet with our local guide who will lead the group on a narrated walking tour of historic Savannah. Here, you’ll visit key attractions which include Savannah’s oldest neighborhood, Colonial Park Cemetery, Savannah’s squares, and a visit to the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist. Your guide will highlight the various gardens, architecture, city history, and tailor the tour based on your interests.

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Day  5
Sapelo Island, GA

Experience the forested uplands, salt marshes, and beach dune systems that make up Sapelo Island. Take a narrated island tour to visit the top attractions of Sapelo's Hog Hammock Community, the local lighthouse, and the mansion of the islands' last millionaire owner, R.J. Reynolds.

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Narrated Island Tour

As you tender in from just offshore, you will have a grand view of the Sapelo Island Lighthouse while on your way to meet up with J.R.,your private local guide for the day. Once you arrive, J.R. will take you on a tour of the island, including a stop at the famous R.J. Reynolds mansion. After your tour of the 29 bedroom estate, partake in a delicious oyster roast before tendering back to the ship.

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Day  6
St. Simons Island / Jekyll Island, GA

Discover the compelling history of Jekyll Island and St. Simons Island. Today, Jekyll Island is part of Georgia’s Sea Isles and boasts “Millionaire’s Village”, 240-acres of extravagant homes and winter cottages, now recognized as a National Historic Landmark. St. Simons Island offers guests a vivid past of momentous 18th century battlefields and sprawling, antebellum plantations.

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St. Simons Island Tour

St. Simons Island is the largest of the Golden Isles and has a deep-rooted history spanning over four centuries. Nowhere is the island’s rich history better told or preserved than the Bloody Marsh Battle Site or Christ Church. Our lively private tour guide, Bunny, will take you through the battlegrounds and explain the military strategies employed by both sides. Afterwards, visit Christ Church, one of St. Simons most treasured landmarks. The magnificent stained glass art is sure to leave you in awe.

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Lady Jane Shrimp Boat Tour

After a hearty breakfast, meet your skipper for the day at the gangway of the ship before making your way to the Lady Jane. Relax while the refreshing scent of salt water fills the air as you sail to your captain’s favorite shrimping grounds. As the retired shrimping vessel makes its way through the scenic Marshes of Glynn south of St. Simons Sound, be sure to be on the lookout for wildlife such as dolphins and pelicans. Once you arrive at your captain’s favorite spot, you will have the opportunity to pull in your very own catch!

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Jekyll Island Tour

Aside from its renowned history of wealth and opulence, the geography of Jekyll Island has made it an ideal nesting ground for sea turtles.  Your daily adventure will begin with a self-guided tour of the Georgia Sea Turtle Center, where you see firsthand the hardships of a young sea turtle as it grows from an egg to adulthood. Afterward, take a tram tour of the Jekyll Island Historic District and learn all about the Jekyll Island Club, once named “the richest, most inaccessible club in the world,” and even tour one of the famed mansions on the island.

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Other Jekyll Island Attractions

Biking
For self-guided exploration of the island, many visitors choose to travel by bicycle. Jekyll Island features more than 20 miles of paved trails that allow for exploration of a broad range of scenery, from beaches to forests to Jekyll Island’s own Historic Landmark District and campgrounds. Free trail maps are available at the Jekyll Island Welcome Center.
 
Horseback Riding 
You might want to saddle up and experience Jekyll Island on horseback. Guided tours originate from the Clam Creek picnic area and make way though maritime forests and along the salt marshes, returning at beautiful Driftwood Beach. Reservations are required and can be made Monday through Saturday at Victoria’s Carriages and Trail Rides.

Kayaking & Canoeing 
Jekyll Island’s natural beauty is meant to be explored. One of the best ways to experience its intriguing ecosystem is by kayak or canoe. The Tidelands Nature Center offers a three-hour guided tour along Jekyll Creek, where an experienced naturalist leads visitors through the island’s salt marshes. For self-guided exploration of Rixen Pond, canoe rentals are available at the Tidelands Nature Center. Rentals, instruction and guided tours are also available. 

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Day  7
Cruising to Amelia Island, FL

Discover the natural beauty of Amelia Island, with its miles of quartz beaches and rolling sand dunes. Fernandina Beach, the island's only city, now harbors a treasure trove of history, antiques, and collectibles. Join a walking tour of Centre Street's Historic District, with 50 blocks of restored 19th century Victorian homes and shops.

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Amelia Island River Cruise

Take in the view of Florida’s third oldest city, beautiful Fernandina Beach, from the water on a relaxing river boat tour.  A benefit of touring the island from the water is the increased chance of seeing the unique marine life that inhabits the islands surrounding waters. In addition, your tour will include the island’s main attractions such as Fort Clinch and the Amelia Island Lighthouse.  

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Historic Walking Tour

Join us for a walking tour through the Victorian seaport of Fernandina Beach. You will stroll through the town's historic Centre Street, past the Florida House, and into the Silk Stocking District. While on the tour, you will be introduced to many great historical figures that influenced the architecture and business of Fernandina Beach.

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Other Amelia Island Attractions

The Great Florida Birding Trail
The Great Florida Birding Trail begins at Fort Clinch. The trail makes it easy for all birders to find new birding sites throughout the state. Guides detailing what species to expect at each site and the best times for viewing can be obtained at the Chamber of Commerce Welcome Centers, Fort Clinch, and Little Talbot State Park.

Old Towne Carriage Company
Take a narrated horse-drawn carriage ride through Amelia Island's historic district lasting 30 minutes. Enjoy the ride as you see the landmarks of the 50-block downtown district, which is listed on the National Registry of Historic Places. All of the tours include a guide who describes the landmarks and the history of the area.

Bird Emergency Aid and Kare Sanctuary
The Bird Emergency Aid and Kare Sanctuary is located on Big Talbot Island and specializes in caring for Florida's wild birds. Peacocks, pelicans, owls, eagles, ostriches, vultures and emus in various stages of rehab are nursed back to health.

Kelly Seahorse Ranch
Kelly Seahorse Ranch offers one of a few beach-riding opportunities in the nation. Through Kelly Seahorse Ranch, enjoy the scenery of Amelia's fantastic, white-sand beaches and the beauty of the ocean by horseback.

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Day  8
Jacksonville, FL Area (Amelia Island)

Take in the beautiful weather of northern Florida as you disembark from your tour of the South. Jacksonville offers a number of wonderful activities, including a tour of Cummer Art Museum, which houses an exclusive collection of art, including rare porcelain.

Independence

The Independence is equipped with the largest staterooms in the industry with most suites featuring private balconies. Featuring the latest in navigation and safety technology, the Independence is fully stabilized, allowing American Cruise Lines to reach even more fascinating destinations in smooth comfort. Complete with an exercise area and putting green, the Independence offers guests a relaxed and casual atmosphere.


Click a Category

Owner's Suite (Private Balcony)

Deckplan

At 350 sq. ft. the Owner’s Suite is an oversized room for guests looking to enjoy complete comfort in their own private sanctuary. Featuring a large sitting area you’ll enjoy the passing scenery from your private walk-out balcony. This suite also features a full hotel-sized bathroom, generous closest space and a writing desk.

AAC (Private Balcony)

Deckplan

These staterooms are centrally located on the top deck which provides stunning panoramic views. Enjoy 283 sq. ft. of comfortable living space, comparable to fine hotel rooms. These staterooms also offer private walk-out balconies and a generously sized bathroom.

AAL (Private Balcony)

Deckplan

The AAL staterooms are designed to offer the most space and modern amenities. With 263 sq. ft. of living space, these rooms offer a private walk-out balcony to enjoy the passing scenery, writing desk and full hotel-sized bathroom.

A

Deckplan

These comfortable staterooms located on the main deck offer 258 sq. ft. of living space and are a perfect place to unwind after a day of exploration. They feature hotel size bathroom, interior entrances, and large opening picture windows for scenic views.

Single (Private Balcony)

Deckplan

Single staterooms offer the solo traveler a quiet enclave to rest and relax. Our single suites feature Twin sized beds, spacious bathrooms and your very own private balcony.

Single

Deckplan

Located on the main deck, our single staterooms offer guests 207 sq. ft. of space with premium beds, spacious bathrooms, and an opening picture window with private views.

Independence Deck Plan

Deck

American Star

The American Star will offer guests the same style of cruising that has become the hallmark of American Cruise Lines. From charming small towns to gracious ports, the American Star will bring guests to places of historic interest and magnificent beauty. Onboard, each guest will be able to unwind in the friendly and accommodating atmosphere, which is serviced by attentive all—American staff.


Click a Category

Owner's Suite (Private Balcony)

Deckplan

At 350 sq. ft., the Owner’s Suite is an oversized room offering complete comfort in a spacious private sanctuary. The room has a large sitting area and a private balcony offering expansive views from a stunning vantage point.

AAC (Private Balcony)

Deckplan

These 283 sq. ft. staterooms are located on the top deck which provides privacy and great panoramic views. The living space is comparable to that of a fine hotel room and offers a writing desk, a closet, a full-size bathroom and a private balcony.

AAL (Private Balcony)

Deckplan

AAL staterooms are a spacious retreat with all the amenities a modern traveler expects. Each room offers 263 sq. ft. of space encompassing a hotel size bathroom, a private balcony, and a large opening picture window.

AA

Deckplan

AA Category staterooms are the perfect place to unwind after a day of exploration. Each 258 sq. ft. room has a large opening picture window with views of the passing scenery. The rooms also offer hotel-size bathrooms and plenty of closet space.

A

Deckplan

A category rooms are a quiet enclave for total relaxation. They come equipped with a full assortment of modern amenities and a large opening picture window. Each room is 258 sq. ft. and is ideal for cruising the inland waterways of the East Coast.

Single (Private Balcony)

Deckplan

The intimate atmosphere of each single stateroom is ideal for the solo traveler. At 248 sq. ft. each room has a twin bed, a full bathroom, a private balcony, and plenty of room to spread out and make yourself at home.

American Star Deck Plan

Deck

American Constellation

American Constellation is the latest cruise ship from American Cruise Lines. Uniquely designed to navigate the inland waterways of the East Coast, American Constellation brings guests to beautiful ports the larger ships can't access. In the intimate atmosphere onboard, guests will find the largest staterooms in the industry, spacious lounges and observation decks and private balconies that offer spectacular views of the passing landscapes.


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Owner's Suite (Private Balcony)

Deckplan

At over 450 sq. ft. the American Constellation Owner's Suites are both spacious and elegantly appointed. Located on a private deck, each secluded suite offers our distinguished travelers amazing views from the private walk-out balcony. The well-furnished suites come fully equipped and offer a sitting area, writer’s desk, sliding glass door and full hotel-sized bathroom.

Veranda Suite (Private Balcony)

Deckplan

With a generous 450 sq. ft. of relaxing space, each Veranda suite includes a private walk-out balcony to enjoy the panoramic views. Considered one of the finest staterooms on any cruise ship, guests will enjoy full hotel-sized bathrooms and large living area with sliding glass door.

AAM (Private Balcony)

Deckplan

Our AAM staterooms are designed to offer the privacy you desire while cruising. Located on the fourth deck, these spacious staterooms are elegantly furnished and feature floor to ceiling sliding glass doors that lead to a private walk-out balcony where the grandness of the Northeast, Hudson, and Southeast scenery can be enjoyed.

AAC (Private Balcony)

Deckplan

Featuring the most modern amenities, our spacious AAC staterooms offer the perfect retreat for travelers. With over 350 sq. ft., each stateroom offers all of the comforts of a fine hotel and is configured to maximize the interior living space. These stateroom also feature full sliding glass doors and a private walk-out balcony which provides spectacular panoramic views of the surrounding scenery.

AAL (Private Balcony)

Deckplan

Our AAL staterooms offer all the comforts of home and amazing panoramic views. At 350 sq. ft. each room includes an interior entrance, expansive private walk-out balcony, and a large sitting area. These staterooms are the perfect sanctuary to relax in after a day of exploration.

AA

Deckplan

Centrally located, these 302 sq. ft. staterooms offer amazing views and easy access to the lounge areas. You’ll enjoy the expansive views out of your own large opening picture window. Each room comes equipped with a large closet and hotel-size bathrooms.

A

Deckplan

The class A stateroom offer guests quiet and comfort during their cruise. Featuring a desk, satellite TV, large oversized picture window and a spacious living area at 260 sq. ft., these relaxing staterooms are ideal for coastal cruising.

Single (Private Balcony)

Deckplan

Solo travelers will find relaxing comfort in our single staterooms complete with a walk-out private balcony. Enjoy one of the largest single staterooms in the industry at 250 sq. ft., featuring a comfortable Twin bed, large sliding glass door, and spacious full-sized bathrooms.

Single

Deckplan

Find modern amenities and relaxing comfort in our 226 sq. ft. single staterooms. With a large picture window, Twin size beds and sizable bathrooms, these single staterooms are perfect for solo travelers.

American Constellation Deck Plan

Deck

Historic South Civil War Cruise


Delve deep into the history of the American Civil War by exploring the battlefields, monuments and museums of this pivotal event. Our captivating onboard program emphasizes the personalities and strategies of both sides of The War Between the States.  

150 years after the last salvo was fired, the American Civil War continues to intrigue those fascinated by American history. Join us as we explore the Western and Eastern Theaters of the Civil War. Delve into these two important regions that take you to the battlefields, monuments and museums that echo the stories of this defining time in American History.

Visit historical sites including Vicksburg Military Park, the Louisiana State Museum, Charleston and Beaufort to gain better insight into the circumstances that led to war. The onboard program is perfectly tailored to the itinerary, emphasizing the personalities and strategies of the Confederate and Union generals as well as the incredible sacrifice made by millions of Americans.

 

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Reserve Cruise

Eagle Society Cruise


Step back in time on this historically rich tour where you’ll experience everything from horse-drawn carriage rides and renowned seaports to salt marshes known for active wildlife. Eagle Society members will enjoy the abundance of natural beauty, regional cuisines, and architectural treasures from plantation homes to centuries-old towns.

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Thanksgiving Cruise


Celebrate Thanksgiving with American Cruise Lines. This year we invite you to join us as we cruise the Historic South from Jacksonville to Charleston and celebrate the Thanksgiving season.

Enjoy festive decorations aboard the ship, a holiday inspired cocktail reception and revel in the holiday spirit of each community we visit along the way. Our culinary team has prepared a traditional Thanksgiving feast with roast turkey, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce and stuffing. They have every detail handled precisely for a memorable holiday meal.

American Cruise Lines will continue its annual "Give-Back" program this holiday season. For each ticket sold on our Thanksgiving cruises, we donate $50 to the Connecticut Food Bank. Last year we raised over $10,000 to help alleviate hunger.

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Christmas Cruise


Join us for joyful celebrations aboard our holiday cruises. Enjoy cruising the warm waters of the Intercostal waterway on our ship adorned with festive decor. Dine on traditional favorites with regional flair, partake in local customs and enjoy classic holiday music. Each holiday cruise celebration includes a complimentary night aboard the ship before your cruise with a specially planned dinner ashore at a highly regarded local restaurant.

Enjoy festive holiday-themed shore excursions including a tour of the renowned Amelia Island Gingerbread Display at the Ritz-Carlton, Charleston's Festival of Lights and a private dockside Oyster Roast on Sapelo Island.

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New Years Cruises


Let American Cruise Lines help you ring in the new year as we explore Charleston to Jacksonville. Your ship will be decked out in holiday decor, special menu and musical entertainment throughout the cruise. We will also host a unique Southern Style themed New Year’s Eve Gala. On this special cruise, we’re allowing guests to board a night early for a complimentary stay and have a special dinner planned at the historic High Cotton restaurant.

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* Prices displayed are per person based on double occupancy.

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