Historic South & Golden Isles Cruise



Watch glorious sunsets over the quiet marshes and serene bays of the Intracoastal Waterway. Bask in true Southern charm in Wonderfully preserved Charleston. Step back into anther era along the streets of beautiful Savannah, amid stately mansions, moss-draped oaks and lush, secluded gardens. Marvel at the breathtaking, pristine landscapes of the Golden Isles, nestled along the Georgia coast.

Pricing from
Trip Type
Closer to Home, Group Travel Tour
Departure Dates
Nov 20, 2020 - Nov 28, 2020


ACL Independence
Travel in style and comfort to exciting U.S. seaports on these small, sleek coastal cruise ships. Historians, naturalists and local experts provide on board enrichment throughout the journey. Enjoy delicious, locally sourced cuisine served at one open seating in the glass-enclosed restaurant. Experience gracious service in an intimate lounge atmosphere that includes afternoon tea, nightly entertainment and complimentary cocktail hours. Utilize the sun deck, exercise equipment or putting green while observing the unfolding scenery. Wi-Fi is complimentary.



Historic South map


  • day 1

    Depart gateway city | Charleston, South Carolina

    Arrive at Charleston International Airport. Proceed to the baggage claim area and retrieve your luggage. AHI FlexAir passengers traveling on flights that qualify for the group arrival transfer and Land/Cruise Program passengers who have purchased seats on the group transfer should exit the baggage claim area and proceed to the designated meeting spot, where an AHI Travel representative will meet them. The meeting location will be provided with your final documents.

    Transfer to the Francis Marion Hotel. Please note that if you arrive at the hotel before check-in time, your room may not be immediately available.

    Charleston has much to explore. You may wish to take a ferry to the historic Fort Sumter National Monument in Charleston Harbor, where the first shots of the Civil War rang out in April 1861. Or savor Charleston’s beauty by meandering through magnificent parks like Waterfront Park. The Pineapple Fountain, representing the city’s renowned hospitality, is the perfect spot for a memorable photo!

    Tonight, meet and mingle with your fellow travelers at a Welcome Reception in the hotel.

  • day 2

    Charleston | Embark ship | Beaufort

    Featured Excursion: Charleston. (No sign-up required.) 
    Activity level: Moderate 

    Bask in romantic, genteel Southern charm in the region’s best-preserved city. Founded by English colonists in 1670, Charleston is considered by many to be a living museum — the scene of Revolutionary War naval battles, legendary pirate tales and Civil War sieges. In the historic district, feel as though you’ve stepped into another era, as horse-drawn carriages amble by on cobblestone streets lined with grand antebellum mansions and palmetto trees. With a guide, stroll to see landmarks including the brightly painted Georgian row houses on Rainbow Row and the picturesque Battery promenade. Along your route, visit St. Michael’s Church and tour the Heyward-Washington House, built in 1772, which houses an impressive collection of historic furniture made in Charleston.

    After the tour, embark the ship and enjoy a delicious lunch on board. During the afternoon, get settled in your stateroom and then familiarize yourself with the ship’s layout and amenities as the ship cruises to Beaufort. Begin your journey on the scenic Intracoastal Waterway, a protected network of bays, rivers and canals.

    This evening, gather for the first of the cruise’s nightly cocktail hours and a wonderful dinner filled with the exquisite flavors of the Southeast.

  • day 3


    Relish the rich heritage and laidback character of Beaufort, voted “The South’s Best Small Town” in 2017 by readers of Southern Living. Its history includes European explorers, Native American cultural influences, British settlements and Civil War battles. Today, horse-drawn carriages clatter along the narrow streets of the historic district, past 18th- and 19th-century homes famous for unique Beaufort-style architecture.

    Premium Excursion: Lowcountry Heritage Tour. 
    Activity level: Moderate 

    Take a step back in time as we visit scenic Beaufort, and explore what life was like living on a southern plantation. Depart for Lady’s Island and St. Helena, where you will explore the grounds and main house of a former plantation. Then visit the Penn Center, the site of the former Penn School, one of the first schools for freed slaves, established in 1862.

    Return to the ship for lunch.

    Premium Excursion: Beaufort Carriage Tour.
    Activity level: Mild 

    Embark on a tour of Beaufort’s popular Bay Street from the comfort of a horse-drawn carriage. This narrated journey 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 will have free time to experience Beaufort and its quaint charm on your own.

    Travelers’ Corner: Join your fellow travelers for a casual get-together and enjoy drinks and conversation.

    Later this evening, find a cozy chair in the lounge and enjoy an entertaining performance by a local musician.

  • day 4

    Hilton Head Island

    Hilton Head Island is a first-class resort area known for its championship golf courses and 12 miles of pristine beaches. Sail this morning to Hilton Head and enjoy lunch on board.

    Premium Excursion: Alligator and Wildlife Tour. 
    Activity level: Moderate 

    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 American alligator. Your guide will provide an engaging and educational tour while you enjoy the breathtaking views of the freshwater lake.

    Premium Excursion: Dolphin Cruise. 
    Activity level: Moderate

    Take a cruise to find out how playful, endearing and amazing bottle-nose dolphins truly are. Not long into your tour, someone will catch sight of a pod of dolphins swimming nearby as they come up for air every few seconds. You will witness dolphins riding alongside the boat, or surfing in the wake behind, so be sure to bring your camera for this excellent opportunity to take some great photos. Your knowledgeable guide will share bottle-nose dolphin facts with you, such as how the shallow waters around the island provide the perfect places for dolphins to find food. With this insight, you’ll appreciate these intelligent creatures even more.

    Delight in the evening’s entertainment program while the ship sails to Savannah, where it will overnight.

  • day 5

    Savannah, Georgia

    With its moss-draped oaks, secluded gardens and majestic architecture, the beautiful seaport of Savannah exudes a singular charm that invites exploration. The ship will dock directly in the famous River Street area, known for open-air shopping, world-class restaurants and southern hospitality.

    Premium Excursion: Historic Savannah Trolley. 
    Activity level: Mild

    Take a tour of the most popular attractions including Factor’s Walk, the Cotton Exchange and the various squares that make up the city. After the tour, you can retreat to the boat or continue to explore the city on your own.

    Return to the ship for lunch.

    Premium Excursion: Savannah Walking Exploration. 
    Activity level: Moderate

    Take a narrated walking tour of historic Savannah. Visit key attractions including Savannah’s oldest neighborhood, Colonial Park Cemetery, the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist and a few of Savannah’s 22 squares that provide greenery amid all of the businesses and historic houses. As you explore the various gardens, admire the architecture and learn about city’s history.

    Premium Excursion: The Mighty Eighth Air Force Museum. 
    Activity level: Moderate 

    The Mighty Eighth Air Force Museum houses an impressive collection of WWII aviation memorabilia. Upon entering the museum, you will immediately be awed by the collection of fully restored aircraft that helped serve our brave troops during the war. 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.

    Travelers’ Corner: Join your fellow travelers for a casual get-together and enjoy drinks and conversation.

    The ship will remain in Savannah for the night.

  • day 6

    Cruising the Georgia coast

    As you cruise between ports, expansive wildlife refuges and remote islands stretch out before you, offering an extraordinary view of the wilderness of the South.

    At dusk on board, settle into a rocking chair on the sun deck and watch a glorious sunset over the quiet marshes and serene bays.

    Travelers’ Corner: Join your fellow travelers for a casual get-together and enjoy drinks and conversation.

  • day 7

    Jekyll Island | St. Simons Island

    Today, you’ll encounter the pretty landscapes of the Golden Isles, nestled along the Georgia coast. Discover the compelling history of two of these islands, Jekyll and St. Simons. Jekyll Island boasts “Millionaire’s Village,” 240 acres of extravagant homes and winter cottages, now recognized as a National Historic Landmark. St. Simons Island offers a view of the region’s intriguing heritage, including 18th-century battlefields and sprawling, antebellum plantations.

    Premium Excursion: Sea Turtle Center & Jekyll Island Tour. 
    Activity level: Moderate 

    Aside from its history of wealth and opulence, the geography of Jekyll Island has made it an ideal nesting ground for sea turtles. Your tour begins with a visit to the Georgia Sea Turtle Center where you will view exhibits on sea turtle conservation, rehabilitation and their fascinating journey of life. Following your visit to the center, board a narrated tram tour of Jekyll Island’s Historic District, also called “Millionaire’s Village.” Many of the historic cottages owned by tycoons of the Gilded Age have been restored.

    Return to the ship for lunch.

    Premium Excursion: St. Simons Island Tour. 
    Activity level: Moderate 

    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. Walk through the battlegrounds and learn about the military strategies employed by both sides. Afterward, visit Christ Church, one of St. Simons most treasured landmarks. The magnificent stained-glass art is sure to impress.

    Premium Excursion: Lady Jane Shrimp Boat Tour. 
    Activity level: Moderate

    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 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!

  • day 8

    Fernandina Beach, Florida | Jacksonville

    Relish the natural beauty of Amelia Island with its miles of quartz beaches and rolling sand dunes. Fernandina Beach, the island’s only city, harbors a treasure trove of history, antiques and collectibles.

    Premium Excursion: Amelia Island Seaport Tour. 
    Activity level: Moderate 

    Join a local guide for a leisurely walking tour through the lovely seaport of Fernandina Beach on Amelia Island. Meander past the many charming, restored Victorian-era homes, inns, churches and much more.

    Premium Excursion: Amelia Island River Cruise. 
    Activity level: Mild 

    Take in the view of Florida’s third-oldest city, Fernandina Beach, on a relaxing riverboat tour. A benefit of touring from the water is the increased chance of seeing the unique marine life that inhabits the water surrounding the island. Your tour will also include the island’s main attractions such as Fort Clinch and the Amelia Island Lighthouse.

    Signature Excursion: Cumberland Island & Legacy. 
    Activity level: Moderate 

    Enjoy a private ferry ride to historic Cumberland Island, Georgia’s southernmost barrier island. Designated a National Park and a National Seashore, it delights with unspoiled beaches, broad marshes and unique wildlife. Visit the First African Baptist Church where John F. Kennedy, Jr. was married and Plum Orchard Mansion, a 20,000 square-foot Georgian Revival mansion built in 1898. A boxed lunch is included.
    (Must be booked before your cruise departs. Please refer to the Reservation Form for more details.)

    Return to the ship for lunch.

    Free Time: Explore more of Amelia Island on your own this afternoon.

    Tonight, as your cruise concludes, raise a toast to your exciting journey with newfound friends at a Farewell Reception.

    The ship departs Fernandina Beach this evening for Jacksonville and overnights there.

  • day 9

    Depart for gateway city

    After breakfast, bid farewell to the Historic South and disembark the ship at a port in downtown Jacksonville.

Everything you need to know about the tour

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