Hansen Designs Contemporary U.S. River Cruise Ship

contemporary American river cruise ship
Knud E. Hansen has a design for a contemporary American river cruise ship (Hansen)

Published Dec 8, 2022 7:23 PM by The Maritime Executive

With the continuing popularity of river cruising, the Knud E. Hansen design firm has developed a concept for a modern river cruise ship suited to U.S. rivers. Following American Cruise Lines and Viking, Hansen also seeks a contemporary design that incorporates the features of cruise ships with the capabilities to maneuver on the Mississippi or other major U.S. rivers.

The concept design is for a cruise vessel that would measure 328 feet in length fully outfitted for cruises up to 14 days in length. The design is for a maximum of 220 passengers that would be offered a full range of amenities. There would be a total of seven decks.

Public spaces in the design include a 200-seat main restaurant along with library and passenger services on deck three. Deck four would feature a bar lounge combination with a panorama view and access to a forward, open observation deck. Other passenger amenities similar to modern cruise ships could range from a sun deck, an outdoor buffet/bar, and a well-equipped fitness center. 


In addition to large open deck spaces, they use solar panels to enhance environmental performance (Hansen)


Accommodations would include cabins on up to four decks ranging in size from 182-square feet for a standard balcony to large, 335-square-foot VIP staterooms. All the staterooms would be outfitted for maximum comfort similar to the latest generations of cruise ships. They would feature large, flat-screen TVs, individually controlled air conditioning and heat, and many of the cabins would have private balconies.

The design of the vessel would also be based on green technology and Hansen says the vessel can be fueled with eFuel and ships systems are designed for zero discharge. The propulsion and maneuvering system would be comprised of two stern azimuth electric thruster units and one pump jet in a bow compartment for improved maneuverability.

The machinery arrangement is a fuel-electric hybrid system, comprising four high-speed diesel generator sets. They would be combined with energy storage, in the form of a battery storage system, providing propulsion power and meeting all remaining electrical load requirements. The environmental performance could also be enhanced with the addition of solar panels.

While the vessel has the look and feel of a small cruise ship, special features are provided for river cruises. This includes passenger embarkation capabilities from both sides of deck 2 or through a telescopic gangway at the bow or bow door.



A further alternative to the design would be the unique capability to accommodate up to 20 passenger cars in a garage on deck 2. Access would be via a hostable or folding ramp on the starboard side of the vessel.

American Cruise Lines launched its new class of contemporary-styled small cruise ships in 2018 and currently plans at least six of the 180-passenger cruise ships. The cruise line is also currently building the first of its new class of coastal catamaran cruise ships. They will accommodate 100 passengers and have the ability to maneuver into locations not accessible to the larger ships. 

Viking, best known for its modern European river cruise ships, also launched into the U.S. market earlier in 2022 with its first contemporary cruise ship sailing in the Mississippi. Viking’s vessel is larger with a length of 450 feet and accommodations for 386 passengers. 

The companies are looking to capitalize on the popularity of river cruising, bringing new standards of luxury and amenities to the American market.