Monday, 10 February 2014

ACL newbuilds to ply Mississippi, Pacific Northwest rivers

By Michelle Baran
American Cruise Lines (ACL) will place the first two if its four upcoming new riverboats on the Mississippi River and on the Columbia and Snake rivers.

The company announced in December that it would introduce four new vessels for U.S. river cruising between 2015 and 2017.

Construction has begun on the two riverboats at the Chesapeake Shipbuilding yard in Salisbury, Md. They will join ACL’s existing vessels on the Mississippi and Columbia rivers — the 150-passenger Queen of the Mississippi and the 120-passenger Queen of the West.

The new Mississippi riverboat will have a similar capacity to that of the Queen of the Mississippi and will enter service in March 2015. The new Columbia riverboat will be launched later in 2015 with a planned capacity of 175 passengers. Both will feature functioning paddlewheels.

“Demand on the Mississippi is high, and the Columbia River has not seen a new riverboat in many years,” Timothy Beebe, vice president of American Cruise Lines, said in a statement.

Both riverboats will feature historic accents and large staterooms with sliding glass doors offering passengers views from private balconies. A glass-enclosed dining room and various public lounge venues are planned.

ACL has not revealed names for the ships yet.