American Cruise Lines Reveals Plan to Build 12 New Ships
U.S. river and coastal cruise shipping company American Cruise Lines announced plans for 12 new identical sister ships that will more than double the nation’s current capacity for domestic coastal cruises.
The new U.S.-built fleet, announced as part of ACL's newly revealed Project Blue expansion plan, will operate exclusively in the United States, with a focus on small towns and close-to-home adventures, the company said, adding that the hybrid catamarans have been designed to offer improved near-shore operating versatility.
Charles B. Robertson, president and CEO of American Cruise Lines, explained, “Project Blue started as a design challenge to create a boat small enough for New England harbors and stable enough for the Alaska Inside Passage, with a draft shallow enough for the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway. These boats can run almost anywhere, and because there will be 12 of them, they will be deployed all over the United States.”
Like all of American’s new ships, the entire Project Blue fleet will be built by Chesapeake Shipbuilding in Salisbury, Md.. The first two Project Blue ships are already under construction and are due for delivery in 2023.
Each vessel in the Project Blue fleet will accommodate 109 passengers and 50 crew. They will be 241 feet long, 56 feet wide, and feature the hybrid catamaran design that enables both shallow draft access and stable sailing along lakes, rivers, bays and America’s coastline.
“Together with Chesapeake Shipbuilding, we built the first modern riverboats in the country. Now we are proud to introduce another new ship design for domestic exploration. American has specialized in small ship cruising for over 30 years, and continuing to innovate and expand the possibilities for cruising close to home is central to our mission,” Robertson said.
The new fleet will feature elegant modern décor by Miami-based Studio DADO. Each ship will offer 56 spacious staterooms—including a range of large standards, suites and singles—nearly all with private balconies. Observation and sitting areas will be available at the bow, both inside and outside, and each ship will showcase an expansive forward lounge with 270 degree views. At the stern, the ships will have a new adventure deck equipped with kayaks, tender and other activity related options relevant to the itinerary. American’s new go-anywhere ships will also feature two dining venues, as well as room service, a rarity for small ships of this size.
The first two ships will debut along East Coast itineraries and will be named American Eagle and American Glory—namesakes of the company’s first two small U.S.-built ships.