Daytime entertainment onboard American Pride is limited to enrichment lectures on river ecology and history, as well as activities like sing-alongs and kite-flying. The lectures, which were always well attended, are a great way to get to know the area you're sailing and put your trip into a historical perspective. The other activities? For 40-something passengers, they were a little hokey, but many of the older passengers loved them.
Board games are available in two libraries for groups to play in one of the lounges, or you can grab a book and hit the rocking chairs for a relaxing afternoon on deck.
Evening entertainment consists of one show, beginning at 8:15 p.m. and lasting about an hour, after which most passengers retire to their cabins. You might see a banjo player, smooth jazz concert, a Frank Sinatra tribute or a retrospective of 30's through 60's music, or participate in movie trivia night.
The evening show is always in the Deck 2 Magnolia Lounge, a large window-framed space full of comfy couches and chairs. The Gal Friday of lounges, Magnolia is where you'll find many of the lectures, Eagle Society (American Cruise Line's loyalty program) recognition presentations, the afternoon cocktail hour and more. The room rarely looks the same, as furniture is rearranged daily -- sometimes two or three times a day, depending on what's on tap for entertainment.
Other lounges on the boat include the Deck 2 Paddlewheel Lounge, with its dark wood and Tiffanyesque light fixtures, and the Deck 4 Sky Lounge, a much airier space with floor-to-ceiling glass doors and wicker furniture. Both lounges provide soda, water and small snacks -- like granola bars, fruit, pretzels and chips -- all day long.
At every port, American Cruise Line offers one or two shore excursions, with most costing well below $100. With just two exceptions, our excursions consisted of a bus ride to an attraction (typically a museum of some sort), a guided tour and then the bus ride back. Of the eight tours we were offered, only one -- a short hike in a national park -- required any real physical exertion.
The tour options provided by the cruise line were not passengers' only choices. If you didn't like what was on offer, the cruise director was more than happy to do some research for you to find alternatives. For instance, American Cruise Lines offered a standard museum tour at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky. But we wanted to see horses, so the cruise director arranged for us to do a paddock tour. We just had to pay the cost of the tour.
On Deck 5, passengers can sun themselves on the sun deck or hide out under the awning for fresh air without the glaring sun. Also on this deck is a small putting green, as well as four fitness machines, including two elliptical trainers, a recumbent bike and a chest-press. There is no swimming pool, salon or spa.
American Cruise Lines, in general, does not draw a family crowd, and so there are no children's facilities on American Pride. If the crew knows ahead of time that children will be on the ship, they will make arrangements for a handful of child-appropriate activities, but it is not the company's forte.