A River Cruise From Nashville:
American Serenade - July 2023

My sixth cruise with American Cruise Lines allowed me to
explore the rivers of Tennessee, Kentucky, and Alabama

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American Serenade



The best way to get the full story of this cruise is to watch the videos I made about it.
Instead of doing one long video about the entire cruise, I broke it up in to shorter episodes.
Here's episode #1:

To start the video playing, click the triangle in the middle of the video screen
To make the video fill the screen (recommended) click the little symbol in the lower right corner of the video player


Here's episode #2, which covers what we did in Paducah, Kentucky... 


In episode #3 I explore the small town of Savannah, Tennessee
and tour three legendary recording studios in Alabama :



Episode #4 covers the final two days of the trip where we visit
the U.S. Space & Rocket center in Alabama and the Tennessee Aquarium in Chattanooga:



Now a few still photos from this trip.
The first one is from an excursion we took to the NASA facility in Huntsville, Alabama.
It's the home of Space Camp (for kids) but they also have a great museum for the rest of us.
Here's Kellyn pretending to be an astronaut...

Kellyn Zimmerlin as an astronaut


One of the things I like about a cruise with American Cruise Lines is that you can dress very casually.  There are no formal nights.
Here's a photo of Kellyn dressed for dinner...

Kellyn Zimmerlin - July 2023


And this is me dressed for dinner...

Jim Zimmerlin - July 2023




I captured this photo during a particularly gorgeous sunset as we cruised on a lake...

Sunset over a lake



When the ship is docked somewhere, you can get a tour of the pilothouse...

American Serenade Pilothouse


Here's the ship docked in Chattanooga, Tennessee.
Those two buildings you see behind the ship are the Tennessee Aquarium, which is world-class.

American Serenade in Chattanooga


In Chattanooga, we found a very good BBQ restaurant.
Kellyn and I shared one of their samplers, which featured chicken, brisket, pulled pork, and ribs.

Pucketts BBQ in Chattanooga


You would think that after a big meal like that, we wouldn't have room for dessert, but we did...

Coldstone Creamery strawberry ice cream



This is our ship docked in Savannah, Tennessee.
Isn't it interesting how the bow opens up and a gangway extends out from it?
Also, they don't need a dock.  They just intentionally run the ship aground and use lines to tie up trees near the shoreline.

American Serenade in Savannah


Most meals are eaten in the main restaurant on the ship,
but there's also an alternative lunch venue that serves pizza and burgers.

pizza on American Cruise Lines


The highlight of the cruise was seeing a show at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville.
That's Scotty McCreery (of American Idol fame) performing on stage.
I loved the show at the Grand Ole Opry and want to go back to Nashville for a longer visit sometime.

Scotty McCreery at the Grand Ole Opry


This was a funny sign we spotted outside a bar in Nashville...

funny sign in Nashville


Music has always been a big deal to me.
So, a highlight of the trip for me was visiting three different recording studios in Alabama
that are associated with the "Muscle Shoals" sound of the 1960s and 70s.
This is what's known as the FAME studios, where the Percy Sledge hit "When A Man Loves A Woman" was recorded.

FAME recording studios in Alabama


There was a group of studio musicians that were basically responsible for the soulful Muscle Shoals style.
Unhappy with the deal they were getting from the owners of the FAME studios,
they struck out on their own and built their own recording studio.
Many famous artists from the Rolling Stones to Linda Ronstadt recorded here...

Muscle Shoals Recording Studio in Alabama


After much success at the small recording studio they had built,
they had enough money to build the recording studio of their dreams at a different location a few miles away.
Here's the control room of the studio they built once they had the money to do it right...

Control room for Muscle Shoals recording studio


The best thing about all the cruises I've done with American Cruise Lines is that I didn't have to pay for any of them!  I get to cruise with them at their expense because they like the publicity they get from all the YouTube videos I make about the cruises.  They even pay for my airfare to get there and back.  (But not Kellyn's.)  Part of our agreement is that I send them a copy of all the photos and videos I shoot during the trip, and they can use them however they want to.  It's really a thrill for me when they do actually use my photos or videos in their marketing.  For example, here's a photo I shot on a previous cruise that they ended up putting on the front cover of one of their brochures!

American Cruise Lines brochure


Need A Travel Agent?

Booking a cruise can be confusing, especially if you haven't been on many cruises before.  There are lots of first-time cruiser mistakes that a travel agent can keep you from making.  Also, the call centers of some of the big cruise lines are severely understaffed these days...  creating extremely long wait times to talk to a customer service representative.  When you book a cruise through a travel agent, you'll never have to get stuck on hold with the cruise line...  your travel agent does all that kind of stuff for you.

If you're interested in booking a cruise with any cruise line...  please feel free to use the services of my travel agent, Caitlin Gallagher.  She's extremely pleasant to deal with, easy to talk to since she lives in the United States and speaks without any kind of an accent, and quite experienced and knowledgeable about different types of cruising.  Caitlin is the owner of Ambren Travel.  Visit her web site, check out the Ambren Travel Facebook page, or contact her using the information below.

Other Cruise Ships I've Been On

If you've enjoyed this page, you would probably also enjoy reading my web pages about:

My first river cruise: American Harmony
My second river cruise:  American Melody
Viking's new Expedition Ship:  Viking Octantis
July 2021 Iceland Cruise on Viking Sky
January 2020 Carnival Panorama
December 2019 cruise in The Haven on Norwegian Joy
May 2019 Carnival Horizon cruise
April 2019 Norwegian Breakaway cruise
January 2019 Caribbean cruise on the Viking Sea
December 2018 country music cruise on the Norwegian Getaway
May 2018 Panama Canal cruise on the Norwegian Bliss
January 2018 cruise on MSC Seaside in a suite with a private Jacuzzi
September 2017 Carnival Vista cruise in a Havana Suite
October 2017 Norwegian Sky cruise in the owner's suite
The $1600 per night owners suite:  January 2017 Norwegian Pearl
An Un-crowded Small Ship Experience:  Viking Star
One Of The Best Waterslides At Sea:  Liberty Of The Seas
Quite Possibly The Best Cruise Ship In The World:  Anthem Of The Seas
January 2017 Allure Of The Seas
One of the best cruise ships we've ever experienced: The Norwegian Escape
2015 Carnival Breeze back-to-back cruises
Back-to-back cruises on Independence Of The Seas
World's largest cruise ship: Allure Of The Seas
2015 Carnival Freedom repositioning cruise
Our first VIP cruise in The Haven: The Norwegian Getaway
Our June 2014 Alaska cruisetour with Princess
Our first cruise with Princess!  January 2014 Sapphire Princess
2014 back-to-back eastern/western Caribbean cruises on the Carnival Glory
The completely refurbished Carnival Sunshine
One of Carnival's best ships, the Carnival Breeze
A sister ship to the Breeze, the Carnival Magic
Our 2013 cruise on the Carnival Conquest
One of the oldest ships in the fleet, the Carnival Inspiration
Our first Caribbean cruise:  the Carnival Glory
Our many cruises on the Carnival Spirit
Our February 2010 cruise on the Carnival Splendor
Our January 2008 cruise on the Carnival Elation
Our April 2008 cruise on the Norwegian Star
Our first cruise!  1996 on Carnival Cruise Line's MS Holiday

Click here to see the complete chronology of all the cruises we've ever taken.

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