New ships take American Cruise Lines beyond river cruises: Travel Weekly

Nicole Edenedo

When it comes to the simple luxury of river cruising and the adventurous spirit of expedition cruising, the best of both worlds may soon not be too hard to find aboard a new fleet of American Cruise ships. Lines.

So says the luxury cruise line about its planned collection of 12 catamaran-style ships currently under construction, including the first it plans to unveil next year.

Designed to navigate both river cruises and the inland coastlines or bays that take passengers where larger ships can’t go, American Cruise Lines said its Project Blue hybrid ships will offer river cruise faithful a improved experience on the water – and new reasons for travel advisors to sell local.

“Right now, the two trips we offer in the Chesapeake Bay are round-trip from Baltimore,” Charles Robertson, the line’s president, said of its current U.S. coverage area, which will also serve inspiration for the new routes of the inaugural year. hybrid river vessels.

“We could do a round trip from Washington, D.C. which would spend more time in the Potomac River and then explore more of the Carolinas and Virginia tides. We’re already in all the major operating geographies in the country and c So it’s just a deeper expansion into areas where we’re already going.”

• Related: An overview of Project Blue

And if there’s one trick travel counselors have learned to keep their sleeves up in pandemic-era travel, it’s the options for national holidays — no passports or re-entry requirements necessary. .

A rendering of a large suite on an American Cruise Lines Project Blue ship.  The new ships are expected to debut in 2023.

A rendering of a large suite on an American Cruise Lines Project Blue ship. The new ships are expected to debut in 2023. Photo credit: American Cruise Lines

The new ships could also impact popular Mississippi River routes. While a typical river cruise may start in the Mississippi and end long before reaching the Gulf of Mexico, the new ships will allow American Cruise Lines to travel beyond New Orleans and transform into a different kind cruising, Robertson said, thanks to the way these new ships are built.

“These Project Blue ships will give us tremendous versatility to easily transition from rivers to oceans, protected coastlines and inland waterways/bays, in addition to lakes,” Robertson said, being careful to point out that these hybrids will never leave. the sight of landing on these future river-ocean connections.

• Analysis: Demand for Domestic Cruises Drives New Fleet of Unique Ships

Beyond the dual-action performance of these vessels on the water, Robertson also said there’s a kind of river cruiser elegance that these Project Blue hybrids will also be able to capture for river cruise enthusiasts onboard. .

“The smallness of the ship, the space you have when you’re actually on board, and the customization are the real elements of that authentic, luxurious sophistication,” Robertson said. “You can navigate your way. You have plenty of tour options. If one of them isn’t exactly what you’re interested in, we can really pick something just for you and help you put something else together. You have a lot of flexibility on board. We can respond very effectively to individual requests.”

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