US coastal and inland waterway cruise operator, American Cruise Lines, has revealed details of ‘Project Blue’.
This involves the building of 12 identical sail anywhere cruise ships that will more than double the vast country’s current capacity for domestic coastal cruising.
Featuring a hybrid catamaran design, these new small cruise ships will have near-shore operating versatility. They will operate exclusively in the US, with a focus on small towns and close-to-home adventures.
Charles Robertson, American Cruise Lines President and CEO, said: “Project Blue started as a design challenge to create a boat small enough for New England harbours and stable enough for the Alaska Inside Passage, with a draft shallow enough for the Atlantic Intra-coastal Waterway. These boats can run almost anywhere, and because there will be 12 of them, they will be deployed all over the US.”
This further reinforces the growing interest in small ship experiences and personalised cruising, the company claimed. Similar to all of America Cruise Line’s new ships, the entire fleet will be built by Chesapeake Shipbuilding in Salisbury, MD.
The first two are already under construction and are due for delivery next year. Each vessel will be able to accommodate 109 passengers and 50 crew. They will be 241 ft long, 56 ft wide and feature a hybrid catamaran design that enables both shallow draft access and stable sailing along lakes, rivers, bays, and America’s coastline.
“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 specialised 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 added.
The new fleet will feature modern décor designed by by Studio DADO of Miami, FL. Each ship will be fitted with 56 staterooms—including a range of large standards, suites, and singles—nearly all with private balconies.
Observation and sitting areas will be available at the bow, both inside and outside, and each ship will have an expansive forward lounge with 270 deg views.
At the stern, the ships will have an adventure deck equipped with kayaks, a tender and other activity related options relevant to the itinerary.
They will also feature two dining venues, as well as room service, a rarity for small ships of this size. The first two ships will sail along East Coast itineraries and will be called ‘American Eagle’ and ‘American Glory’, respectively, named after the company’s first two small US -built ships.