American Cruise Lines announced that, on March 18, the Queen of the Mississippi left the pier at Chesapeake Shipbuilding in Salisbury, Maryland, for its first sea trial. The vessel performed perfectly, as the huge paddlewheel churned the water and onlookers lined the riverbanks to watch.
“The Queen of the Mississippi sets a new standard in river cruising and raises the bar for grand travel on the Mississippi River,” said Charles A. Robertson, President of American Cruise Lines.
Robertson also revealed that the new riverboat is slightly faster than expected and is now nine weeks ahead of schedule.
The Queen of the Mississippi will be completed in May with its inaugural cruise scheduled for August 11, 2012, from New Orleans to Memphis. Currently, the interior is well underway with carpeting being installed throughout the ship and furniture beginning to go onboard. All sliding glass doors leading to the private balconies are in place, and painting is nearly complete.
The Queen of the Mississippi carries 150 guests in spacious staterooms, many of which are twice the size of those on any other Mississippi riverboat. Staterooms feature large private balconies with sliding glass doors and all of the amenities today’s travelers expect, while maintaining the elegance of classic late 1800s Mississippi riverboats.
American Cruise Lines will operate the authentic paddlewheeler over the entire Mississippi River System, including the Ohio and Cumberland Rivers. The Queen of the Mississippi will also be able to travel at significantly higher speeds than all other Mississippi riverboats, minimizing night travel and making more itineraries possible with longer visits to the river towns. A number of unique riverboat journeys are planned, which take passengers as far north as St. Paul, Minnesota, on the Mississippi River and as far east as Pittsburgh on the Ohio River.