American Cruise Lines today revealed the details of Project Blue — a new fleet of go-anywhere ships for the U.S. market. The project calls for the construction of 12 identical sister ships that will more than double the nation’s current capacity for domestic coastal cruises.
ACL said the new 241'x56' 109-passenger boats will feature an innovative hybrid catamaran design that will give the cats "unprecedented near-shore operating versatility."
The new U.S.-built fleet will operate exclusively in the U.S., with a focus on small towns and close-to-home adventures. Charles B. Robertson, president and CEO of ACL, said. “Project Blue started as a design challenge to create a boat small enough for New England harbors and stable enough for the Alaska Inside Passage, with a draft shallow enough for the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway," Robertson said. "These boats can run almost anywhere, and because there will be 12 of them, they will be deployed all over the United States.”
ACL’s Project Blue expansion further reinforces the growing interest in small ship experiences and personalized cruising, ACL said.
Like all of ACL’s new ships, the Project Blue fleet will be built by ACL's Chesapeake Shipbuilding, Salisbury, Md. The first two Project Blue vessels are under construction and due for delivery in 2023.
Each boat in the Project Blue fleet will accommodate 109 passengers and 50 crew. They will feature the hybrid catamaran design that enables both shallow draft access and stable sailing along lakes, rivers, bays, and the U.S. coastline. The "go-anywhere agility" of the new boats "combines the adventure of an expedition with the luxury of the finest river cruises," ACL said.
“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 specialized 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 said.
The new fleet will feature elegant modern décor by Studio DADO, Miami. Each ship will offer 56 spacious 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 showcase an expansive forward lounge with 270-degree views. At the stern, the ships will have a new adventure deck equipped with kayaks, tender, and other activity related options relevant to the itinerary. ACL’s new go-anywhere ships will also feature two dining venues, as well as room service, a rarity for small ships of this size.
The first two ships will debut along East Coast itineraries and will be named American Eagle and American Glory — namesakes of the company’s first two small U.S.-built ships. ACL has been introducing 100% U.S.-built, -crewed, and -registered ships for over 30 years.
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