American Cruise Lines has announced details for the first of a new class of five riverboats destined for America’s rivers.
The first in the series is scheduled to begin in 2018 and will carry 200 guests. The new riverboat will feature large staterooms, private balconies, and hotel-size bathrooms.
“For over a decade, we have led the way with ship innovation in the United States and we continue to raise the bar with this new class of modern riverboats,” says Timothy Beebe, Vice President of American Cruise Lines.
“American Cruise Lines has consistently pursued its new build program, as it considers refurbished boats unable to meet the modern expectations of today’s river cruise passengers.”
Construction has already begun on the new modern riverboat at Chesapeake Shipbuilding in Salisbury, MD. In addition to the new class of modern riverboats, American is building two additional cruise ships at Chesapeake Shipbuilding.
American Constellation, has a capacity of 170 passengers and is scheduled to begin cruising in May of 2017 and its sister ship will begin cruising in 2018.
American Cruise Lines has four paddlewheel ships out of its total fleet of eight vessels that ply the inland and coastal waterways of North America.
Of these, the venerable Queen of the West is the oldest, having been constructed in 1995 for the now-defunct American West Steamboat Company. As built, she carried nearly 200 guests, but American Cruise Lines ratcheted that down to just 120 guests. She entered service for American Cruise Lines back in 2011 and has been extensively refurbished in the intervening years.
After nearly two decades in service, Queen of the West was finally joined by two fleetmates. American Cruise Lines introduced American Pride back in 2012, which carries 150 guests and was originally named Queen of the Mississippi from 2012 until 2015.
Her direct sister, Queen of the Mississippi, entered service in 2015 under the name American Eagle. It’s not just you: the naming convention is very confusing. American Pride and Queen of the West sail the Columbia and Snake Rivers; the Queen of the Mississippi plies the waters of her namesake river.
The final ship in American Cruise Line’s paddlewheel fleet is America. Representing the latest in cruise ship design, she carries 185 guests on voyages along the historic Mississippi River.
American Cruise Lines is currently building a fifth riverboat, to enter service on the Mississippi River sometime in 2017. When it was announced, the line stated it intended to name this vessel Queen of the Mississippi. Since there is already one of those in the fleet (and since the Great Name Swap of 2015 still causes endless confusion), we’d like to hope that ACL will name her something – anything – else.
Still, with a fleet of four paddlewheel-driven riverboats and another one on the way, nostalgia has never looked more modern than with American Cruise Lines.
Compared to other river cruise ships in the United States and globally, American Cruise Lines has some of the largest staterooms in the industry. Staterooms range in size from 135 to 240 square feet for single cabins and from 175 to 600 square feet for double cabins. The average size measures from 220 to 300 square feet.
All ships have single cabins and most have suites available.
Enjoy exploring the rivers close to home.