Chesapeake Shipbuilding busy with new Mississippi River paddlewheeler
Chesapeake Shipbuilding Corp. is building a new paddlewheeler to help fill the void left several years ago when most overnight passenger vessel operators stopped cruising on the Mississippi River system.
The 260′, 140-passenger vessel will join the fleet of American Cruise Lines (ACL), Guilford, Conn., in August 2012, said spokesman Tim Beebe.
This past June, ACL took delivery of the Independence , a 223′ × 50′ × 8′ overnight coastal cruiser also built at Chesapeake in Salisbury, Md.
Charles Robertson heads up both Chesapeake Shipbuilding and ACL. Last year, he purchased the paddlewheeler Queen of the West from Majestic America Line , a money-losing operation that included the historic Delta Queen . True to her name, Queen of the West is sailing the Columbia and Snake rivers. Robertson has been eyeing the Mississippi but wanted to offer smaller, newer and faster vessels than previous operators.
Other cruise lines are also helping fill the void on the inland waterways.
This includes Blount Small Ship Adventures , which has several cruises scheduled this year and next on the inland waterways and Great Lakes, including Chicago-New Orleans and Chicago-Rhode Island.