American Cruise Lines today confirmed it will be placing the first of four upcoming newbuilds on the Mississippi River, where it currently operates its newest riverboat, Queen of the Mississippi. The second newbuild will operate in the Pacific Northwest on the Columbia and Snake Rivers, where the line is operating the 120-passenger Queen of the West. Construction of both new riverboats is well underway at Chesapeake Shipbuilding in Salisbury, MD.
The new Mississippi riverboat will have a similar capacity to Queen of the Mississippi at150 passengers, and will enter service in March of 2015. The new Columbia riverboat will follow later that same year. It will be slightly larger than American Cruise Lines’ other riverboats, with a planned capacity of 175 passengers. Similar in design, both will feature fully functioning paddlewheels.
The two new ships, as of yet unnamed, will enable American Cruise Lines to offer expanded itineraries on the Mississippi River System and the Columbia and Snake Rivers, adding new cruise options for those looking to experience these unique regions. The line currently runs numerous eight-day cruises on both rivers, offering various themes from wine and jazz music, to Mark Twain and the Lewis and Clark expedition.
“Demand on the Mississippi is high, and the Columbia River has not seen a new riverboat in many years,” said Timothy Beebe, Vice President of American Cruise Lines. “The new riverboats will offer the finest experience available in these regions, while maintaining the historic feel and authenticity of historic American river cruising.”
Both riverboats will feature historic accents and modern conveniences, as well as the latest safety technologies. They will feature the largest, most well-appointed staterooms on the rivers, and almost all will have large sliding glass doors offering panoramic views and entirely private balconies. A glass-enclosed dining room and various spacious lounge venues are also planned. During the cruise, guests will learn about the region’s history and culture, while enjoying personalized service and the comforts of the finest riverboats in North America.