American Cruise Lines has begun work on Project Blue, its new fleet of domestic coastal cruise ships. The first two ships are currently under construction at Chesapeake Shipbuilding’s yard in Salisbury, Maryland, USA, and will be due for delivery in 2023.
The company aims to double the nation’s current capacity for domestic coastal cruises by building 12 identical hybrid catamaran-style ships, which will have near-shore operating versatility. Due to this, the new fleet will operate near small towns for ‘close-to-home’ adventures.
“Project Blue started as a design challenge to create a boat small enough for New England harbours and stable enough for the Alaska Inside Passage, with a draft shallow enough for the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway,” said Charles B. Robertson, president and CEO of American Cruise Lines. “These boats can run almost anywhere, and because there will be 12 of them, they will be deployed all over the USA.”
Each vessel will be 241 feet long and 56 feet wide and accommodate 109 passengers and 50 crew members. They will also feature a forward lounge with 270-degree views and an adventure deck with equipment for activities such as kayaking.
“Together with Chesapeake Shipbuilding, we built the first modern riverboats in the country,” said Robertson. “Now we are proud to introduce another new ship design for domestic exploration. American has specialised 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.”
The first two ships, which are currently under construction, will debut along the East Coast and will be named American Eagle and American Glory after the cruise line’s first two small US-built ships.