Breaking Travel News

Breaking Travel News interview: Alexa Paolella, public relations manager, American Cruise Lines

Breaking Travel News interview: Alexa Paolella, public relations manager, American Cruise Lines

American Cruise Lines operates the largest fleet of riverboats and small coastal ships in the United Sates.

All the vessels are built, crewed and registered in America and can accommodate 100-200 passengers. 

With over 35 itineraries in 25 states, including many theme and holiday cruises, the company offers river and coastal cruising along the waterways across the country.

As American prepares to return to operation following the Covid-19 shutdown, Breaking Travel News finds out more.

Breaking Travel News: American Cruise Lines is preparing to relaunch operations in the coming weeks following a brief pause in operations as the result of Covid-19. Where do we stand with that process?


Alexa Paolella: American Cruise Lines was the first American line to voluntarily pause cruises earlier this year and was one of the first lines to develop and implement extensive Covid-19 protocols.

These can be read in full detail on our website.

American only operates a fleet of small, new river and coastal ships, all 100-190 passenger, which are designed and built here in the United States of America at our affiliated shipyard in Maryland.

The designs of our ships are inherently advantageous, and enable us to be ready to get back out on the water sooner than others.

Our ships are already super spacious, offering 350 square feet per passenger at full capacity, so new social distancing measures are not an issue.

And all staterooms and interior spaces on American’s ships are already equipped with independent HVAC air systems with no shared duct work.

Our small ships and riverboats are purposely designed with our guest’s preferences in mind, so the ships have no casinos, huge theatres or big swimming pools.

Instead, we offer huge staterooms with sliding glass doors leading to private balconies - no interior cabins on any ships in our fleet - more indoor and outdoor lounges throughout, as well as huge sundecks, and both outdoor and indoor dining options.

American’s ships offer unparalleled space and comfort for relaxing and taking in the gorgeous river and coastal views, along our culturally-curated destination-focused cruises.

BTN: While larger, ocean-going cruise ships continue to battle the fallout from the pandemic, river cruising is considered a somewhat safer proposition. What measures have you taken to protect returning guests?

AP: American has spent months planning and implementing extensive safety protocols – and we have been 100 per cent transparent about all the plans.

Even though our ships already offer huge spaces, we will add to that cushion by cruising at 75 per cent capacity for initial 2020 sailings when we are back on the water.

We have partnered with Vikand Solutions and will have medical professionals and testing available on board all cruises and have enhanced all our sanitisation practices.

We have extensive plans in place to ensure that from booking-to-boarding, we are offering the safest process possible and reducing touch points wherever possible as well. 

We are mailing PPE packages to all our guests in advance of travel, as well as providing it on board of course.

We have all private transportation from airports to ships and on shore to all activities.

Our complimentary pre-cruise nights have been moved on board for now as well (normally they are offered in hotels).

We really have tried to think of everything both big and small.

Our ships offer plenty of space to easily spread out dining, and many ships offer outdoor cafes too - but we will even serve all meals in a guest’s stateroom, to accommodate them, if they prefer that now.

Across the board, we are in great shape and very ready to return to cruising.

BTN: America Cruise Lines has continued to develop its fleet in recent years – what new vessels can we expect to see in 2020?

American is 100 per cent United States-built, flagged, crewed and owned.

We are uniquely able to build and design all our ships with the tastes and preferences of our guests in mind, and to consider the design most suited to the destinations and small ports we travel to.

We have built and added five new ships since 2017, growing the fleet to 13 small ships.

We also introduced the first ever modern style riverboats to United States river cruising, beginning in 2018 with American Song, then added American Harmony in 2019.

In 2020, our building program continues with a third new modern riverboat, American Jazz, joining the fleet, and then in 2021, American Melody, our fourth modern riverboat will debut.

The demand for cultural small ship river and coastal cruising is growing here in the United States and we are able to build new boats and add new itineraries in so many places each year, because we control the product.

American is the only United States cruise line that offers three unique styles of small ships and riverboats: small coastal ships, classic paddlewhelers and the first and only modern riverboats in the country.

BTN: Charles B. Robertson took over from his father as chief executive of the company earlier this year – can we expect a change of direction under the new leadership?

AP: Our new president and chief executive, Charles B. Robertson, has been with American for over 20 years.

His late father, Charles A. Robertson, founded American Cruise Lines and was a pioneer of the small-ship American river and coastal cruise industry.

Charles B. has continued his father’s vision and penchant for innovation; leading American Cruise Lines to introduce the first modern riverboats in United States history and doubling our fleet in just the past few years.

Under his direction, American has also refined and enhanced our guests’ experience both on board and on shore, and across our fleet.

In just the past year, we have added over 50 new shore excursions, all private shore side transportation including new American luxury cruise coaches, complimentary pre-cruise packages from all river cruise departure ports, and so much more. 

And the best part is, that American’s guests can move seamlessly between our river cruise product and our coastal cruise product, enjoying the same small ship experience, inclusions, and personalised service along all our cruises - whether you are visiting Alaska or the Mississippi River.

BTN: American Cruise Lines has been honoured with the title of World’s Leading River Cruise Company at the World Travel Awards for the past seven years – what do these accolades mean to the company?

AP: American Cruise Lines is very honoured to have received the recognition from the World Travel Awards these past many years.

The domestic United States river cruise industry has really expanded and taken off, especially in the past decade, so we consider the World Travel Awards a great indicator of our consistent and ongoing commitment to delivering both extraordinary new small ships and exceptional cruise experiences year after year.

World Travel Awards

American Cruise Lines is currently in the running for the title of North America’s Leading River Cruise Company at the World Travel Awards.

Passengers can vote here until September 24th.

More Information

American Cruise Lines delivers culture, history and enlightenment, without the distractions of buffets, casinos and wave pools.

Every itinerary is a unique experience and a delight for the senses.

Find out more about the company on the official website.