U.S. River Line Orders 12 Small Cruise Ships

American Cruise Lines has announced a brand new series of ships for the U.S. market, through a project it’s calling Project Blue.

The line will be launching 12 identical sister ships, which will more than double the United States’ current capacity for domestic coastal cruises. The new fleet will operate exclusively in the U.S., with a focus on small towns and close-to-home adventures.

american cruise lines project blue
(Rendering courtesy of American Cruise Lines)

“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,” said Charles B. Robertson, President & CEO of American Cruise Lines. “These boats can run almost anywhere, and because there will be 12 of them, they will be deployed all over the United States.”

American Cruise Lines’ Project Blue expansion reinforces the growing interest in small ship experiences and personalized cruising. Like all of its new vessels, the entire Project Blue fleet will be built by Chesapeake Shipbuilding in Salisbury, Maryland.

The first two ships are already under construction, and are due for delivery in 2023.

Each boat in the new fleet will accommodate 109 passengers and 50 crew members. They will be 241 feet long, 56 feet wide, and feature a hybrid catamaran design that enables both shallow draft access and stable sailing along lakes, rivers, bays, and America’s coastline. Their go-anywhere agility combines the adventure of an expedition with the luxury of fine river cruises.

restaurant project blue american cruise lines
(Rendering courtesy of American Cruise Lines)

“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 vessels will feature elegant modern décor by Studio DADO of Miami. Each will offer 56 spacious staterooms — including a range of standards, suites, and solo cabins — nearly all with private balconies.

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american cruise lines project blue cabin
(Rendering courtesy of American Cruise Lines)

Observation and sitting areas will be at the bow both indoors and outdoors, and each ship will feature an expansive forward lounge with 270-degree views.

At the stern, the ships will include an adventure deck with kayaks, a tender, and other activity gear relevant to the region where it is sailing.

The Project Blue ships will also offer two dining venues as well as room service, which is rare for small vessels of this size.

american cruise lines project blue aft
(Rendering courtesy of American Cruise Lines)

The first two ships will debut with east coast itineraries, and be named American Eagle and American Glory — namesakes of the company’s first two small U.S.-built ships.

American Cruise Lines has been introducing 100 percent U.S.-built, crewed, and registered ships for over 30 years.

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