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American Cruise Lines Expands Coastal Cruising with New Class of Ships

American Cruise Lines
American Cruise Lines is building two 125-passenger ships for coastal cruising (ACL)

Published Apr 12, 2024 2:38 PM by The Maritime Executive

 

American Cruise Lines released additional details on its newest class of coastal cruise ships due to enter service in 2025. The US-based company, which operates coastal and river cruising, is continuing its expansion highlighting that with these newest ships, it will reach 21 vessels. In 2023, the company operates 17 ships each accommodating between 90 and 180 passengers.

Known as the Patriot Class, the two newest vessels are designed to expand the company’s coastal itineraries. They will be slightly larger than the Coastal Cats that the company began introducing in 2023 branded as “go-anywhere ships,” due to their hybrid catamaran design. The Patriot Class will be built with a traditional bow construction and a slightly deeper draft with full stabilization for a broader reach of coastal capabilities. 

The American Patriot due to enter service in June 2025 and the American Pioneer due to enter service in November 2025 will be built at the company’s affiliated shipyard, Chesapeake Shipbuilding in Maryland. They will each have a capacity of 125 passengers. The cabins, which will each have a private balcony, will range in size from 420 to 620 square feet and include both large suites and accommodations for solo travelers.

 

Rendering of the lounge aboard the new ships

 

The ships will also feature a main lounge, restaurant, a 360-degree walking track, a Sky Lounge, an outside sun deck, and an outdoor café. There will also be a bow terrace and lounge, and a fitness center.

The ships are the next step in the company’s Project Blue first announced in 2022 which calls for the construction of a dozen coastal cruise ships. The first two Costal Cats entered service in 2023 and two more are currently under construction to enter service in 2024. They are smaller ships with a capacity of 100 passengers and a shallow draft to permit unique itineraries such as cruising on the Hudson River or the Intracoastal Waterway of the Southeast.

American Cruise Lines traces its roots back to 1972 when shipbuilder Charles A. Robertson started the cruise operations. In recent years they have expanded with the introduction of what they called the Modern Riverboats. The company has operations along the coast in the Northeast and Southeast as well as the Mississippi River System, Pacific Northwest, and Alaska.

The company recently agreed to acquire four river paddlewheel cruise ships from bankrupt American Queen Voyages. Plans for the river ships will be announced after the acquisition is completed under the supervision of the bankruptcy court which is overseeing the reorganization of Hornblower which includes the dissolution of American Queen which was Hornblower’s only overnight cruise operation.

 

Rendering of the main dining room

 

The ships will have 56 passenger cabins each with a private balcony