PHOTO: The new American Cruise Lines domestic riverboat design. (photo courtesy of American Cruise Lines)
With the goal of bringing European styling to American rivers, American Cruise Lines has unveiled its plans for a new vessel class set to begin operation in 2018. The U.S. cruise brand will build a total of five such riverboats.
The company brings its signature comforts to the table with what is calls modern styling, but looking at those round cutouts extending vertically above the angular stern, the new boats will exhibit some fun retro touches as well.
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Aside from the exterior renderings and aforementioned comforts, little else is known about the vessels’ interior at this time, but I will be interviewing the company next week at the annual Seatrade conference to gain some more insight. In the meantime, specifications call for a capacity of 200 guests with a length of 345 feet each, boasting the biggest staterooms in the United States. Modern cabins will feature 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, in a press release. “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.”
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In fact, the first riverboat slated for 2018 launch is already under construction at Chesapeake Shipbuilding in Salisbury, MD. Also at the yard, American Cruise Lines is building two other ships: the 170-passenger American Constellation coming in May 2017 and its 2018 sister-ship. When the next four riverboats will follow the first is still to be announced as are the exact rivers they will all sail.
American Cruise Lines’ endeavors come at a time when Viking River Cruises is pursuing entry into U.S. rivers, the Mississippi to be exact, with its own set of modern riverboats. Viking, however, has yet to secure a specific timeline for its domestic launch besides its ocean ships already beginning to visit American shores. Direct competitors in the meantime will be the likes of American Queen Steamboat Company and UnCruise Adventures.