American Cruise Lines announced today that its fleet of four classic paddlewheelers will be undergoing a major redesign, refit, and rebranding. The new interior design will bring paddlewheel cruising to the same sophisticated standard already exhibited on American’s newest modern riverboats, while retaining traditional elements true to steamboat history.
The announcement follows the August 2021 unveiling of American Melody and its celebrated new interior design. “American Melody’s extraordinary reception, particularly by our loyalty program members, has inspired us to bring the same new aesthetic to our entire paddlewheel fleet,” said Charles B. Robertson, president & CEO of American Cruise Lines.
As the paddlewheelers rise to American’s newest design standard, their names will be changed to include the American moniker that denotes other ships in the company’s fleet. The paddlewheelers America, Queen of the Mississippi and Queen of the West will be renamed American Splendor, American Heritage, and American West, while American Pride will retain its original name. “Both in designation and design, all four paddlewheelers will meet the sophisticated standard we set for U.S. river cruising,” said Robertson.
The paddlewheel refurbishment will not change the company’s ambitious new-construction timeline. American Cruise Lines has expanded aggressively in the domestic cruise market, doubling the size of their U.S. fleet to 15 small ships, including the notable introduction of six new modern riverboats — the first and only modern riverboats available in the country.
The new paddlewheel redesign project will be completed by Studio DADO of Miami, Florida. Studio DADO was recently commissioned to do the interior design for American Melody. Receiving design industry accolades since its debut in August, American Melody’s interiors reflect Studio DADO’s remarkable talent in delivering modern elegance, while evoking the history and culture of the places explored. Studio DADO will now bring this strategy to American’s paddlewheel fleet, reimagining their interiors while maintaining the nostalgic touches that are iconic to classic American paddlewheelers.
American’s two Mississippi River paddlewheelers, American Splendor and American Heritage, will celebrate the musical genres of the river from jazz and blues to country and rock ‘n roll, as well as historical literary figures, like Mark Twain. The line’s two Columbia and Snake rivers’ paddlewheelers, American Pride and American West, will highlight Western and Native American themes, including the famous Lewis & Clark expedition. From the staterooms and suites to the lounges and dining rooms, each ship will be made-over with completely new color palates, luxurious textiles and linens, new furniture and carpets, and regionally inspired artwork and flourishes.
In 2000, American Cruise Lines pioneered the renaissance of U.S. river cruising by building brand new small ships in the U.S.A.; then furthered the sophistication and elegance of American river cruising in 2018, with the introduction of their revolutionary new modern riverboats, the company said.
The 2022 redesign of the line’s paddlewheel fleet will elevate those classic riverboats to the more cosmopolitan ambiance of American’s newest small ships, while still celebrating the traditional paddlewheel style that is as fundamentally American as the rivers themselves, so says ACL.
The project is slated for completion in early March next year, in time for the beginning of the 2022 cruise season.