American Cruise Lines has named its newest riverboat America. It is scheduled to enter service in early 2016 and will be the company’s third newly built paddlewheeler to operate on the Mississippi River system.
The ship is under construction at Chesapeake Shipbuilding in Salisbury, Md., and is expected to launch into the Wicomico River early next month on its way to the yard’s outfitting basin, where the upper decks and interiors will be completed.
Like its fleetmates, the America will fly the U.S. flag with an American crew. It will be the eighth ship for American Cruise Lines, which is based in Guilford, Conn.
The new ship will join the 150-passenger American Eagle and Queen of the Mississippi on the Mississippi River system.
American Cruise Lines didn’t reveal more details about the new ship in a press release, but company President Charles A. Robertson previously told TravelPulse it would be slightly larger and accommodate about 185 passengers.
The company also plans to begin operating another riverboat in 2017, and although it hasn’t been revealed where it will sail, the Pacific Northwest is a possibility. American Cruise Lines also previously indicated that some of its new riverboats would be more modern in design, unlike its Victorian-style paddlewheelers.
The company also operates the 120-passenger Queen of the West in the Pacific Northwest, on the Columbia and Snake rivers. That riverboat was acquired and refurbished before joining the American fleet.
In addition, the cruise company also operates four coastal cruise ships accommodating 49 to 104 passengers. Robertson has said he is planning to build another coastal cruiser for American similar to the Pearl Mist, the 210-passenger ship operated by sister company Pearl Seas Cruises.
The Pearl Mist this summer is operating in the Canadian Maritimes, Saint Lawrence Seaway, and the Great Lakes and will move south for the winter, operating Caribbean and Panama Canal/Costa Rica cruises.
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