Construction of American Cruise Lines’ new paddlewheeler Queen of the Mississippi is nine weeks ahead of schedule at Chesapeake Shipbuilding, Salisbury, Md.
The 150-passenger riverboat’s inaugural season on the Mississippi River is due to start in the summer of 2012.
The yard’s on track to beat the original delivery date because of “efficiencies achieved from upgraded facilities, including new fabrication buildings and cranes, and more semiautomated and automated equipment, as well as a larger labor force,” said Charles Robertson, owner of the shipyard and of Guilford, Conn.-based ACL.
In late June, the 500-ton halves of the hull were joined on the launchway in preparation for the next construction phases, including completion of sections of the fourth and fifth decks, ACL said.
The 260’x53’x8’ steel boat will have five decks, and will be outfitted with two Caterpillar C-32 engines that put out 1,600 hp each, three Cat C-18 generators (400 kw each), two Z drives, and two 250 hp bowthrusters. It will have a 30,000-gal. fuel capacity.
The boat will have a maximum speed of 14 knots versus other riverboats which average 7-10 knots, thus increasing itinerary options. “A little bit of speed makes a huge difference,” Robertson told WorkBoat.