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American Cruise Lines plans to place the first of its newbuilds on the Mississippi River, where it currently operates the Queen of the Mississippi. The second newbuild will operate in the Pacific Northwest on the Columbia and Snake Rivers, where the line currently operates the 120-passenger Queen of the West.
Construction of both new riverboats is well underway at Chesapeake Shipbuilding in Salisbury, Maryland.
American’s new Mississippi riverboat will have a similar capacity to Queen of the Mississippi at 150 passengers. It enters service in March 2015. The new Columbia riverboat will enter service later the same year. It will be slightly larger than the company’s other vessels, with a planned capacity of 175 passengers. The riverboats have similar designs and will both feature fully functioning paddlewheels.
The two as-yet-unnamed ships will add capacity and land options in two regions where there is a high degree of interest, according to Timothy Beebe, the line’s vice president.
“Demand on the Mississippi is high, and the Columbia River has not seen a new riverboat in many years,” he said.
Both ships are designed to combine historic ambience with modern amenities. The company claims to have the largest and best-appointed staterooms on the rivers where it operates. Almost all staterooms will have large sliding glass doors offering panoramic views and entirely private balconies.