American Cruise Lines Orders New Riverboats for the Mississippi and Columbia Rivers

Two new riverboats will be rolling on the rivers in 2015.

Move over, Europe. River cruises in America are going to grab some of your glory. American Cruise Lines, the largest U.S. cruise company with the newest fleet of riverboats and small cruise ships, is on the move.

With four riverboats on order, two are scheduled for a 2015 delivery. Their first new riverboat will cruise the Mississippi River and its tributaries, while the second newbuild will ply the Columbia and Snake Rivers in the rugged Pacific Northwest. Building has already begun on both riverboats at Chesapeake Shipbuilding in Salisbury, MD.

Old-fashioned bow ramp lets the Captain make landings where there isn't a dock.
Old-fashioned bow ramp lets the riverboat make landings where there isn’t a dock.

Similar to the Queen of the Mississippi which entered service in 2012, the new Mississippi riverboat will also carry about 150 passengers and feature a working bright-red paddlewheel, mostly private balcony staterooms and a glass-enclosed dining room with panoramic views. The second new riverboat, for the Columbia and Snake Rivers, will carry 175 guests vs. the current Queen of the West with 120 passengers. Both of the new riverboats will be designed with historic accents, modern conveniences and safety features.

“Demand on the Mississippi is high, and the Columbia River has not seen a new riverboat in many years,” said Timothy Beebe, Vice President of American Cruise Lines. “The new riverboats will offer the finest experience available in these regions, while maintaining the historic feel and authenticity of historic American river cruising.”

Docked in Stevenson, Washington.
Queen of the West docked in Stevenson, Washington.

During every cruise, guest speakers are onboard to share their knowledge about the region’s history and culture. Fans of Mark Twain and Lewis and Clark will be totally entertained by these presentations. Interesting and fascinating points of interest are announced in the public areas so passengers can learn even more about the history along these rivers.

Here’s my Queen of the West review.

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