Cruise & Ferry Review - Spring/Summer 2022

6 4 INTERV IEW A new way to cruise the USA Charles B. Robertson talks with Alice Chambers about American Cruise Lines’ upcoming Project Blue fleet, which will debut in 2023 American Cruise Lines (ACL) has specialised in providing small-ship cruises in the USA for more than 30 years. This year, it embarked on a project to develop a fleet of 12 identical hybrid catamaran-style vessels that will offer domestic coastal cruises across the country from 2023. The boats will offer an intimate guest experience and will be able to access shallow waters, lakes, rivers, bays and coastlines, combining the best of small-ship and luxury river cruising. The first two vessels are already under construction at Chesapeake Shipbuilding’s yard in Maryland and will be named American Eagle and American Glory after the cruise line’s original two small US-built ships. “It’s really about the smallness of the ships and the local aspect of our cruising,” says Charles B. Robertson, CEO of ACL. “Our goal with the Project Blue fleet is to provide guests with the opportunity to visit small ports and harbours in destinations that offer very enriching experiences.” By building new ships in line with the expansion of the domestic cruise market in the USA, but keeping each new vessel very small, ACL will be able to create unique itineraries that will take guests to less-visited destinations around the country that are overlooked by, or are inaccessible to, ocean cruise lines. Targeted towards the over-55 market, the itineraries will focus on providing enriching experiences, enabling guests to “ The boats will feature a clean design palette to provide a comfortable setting” Each vessel is designed with a hybrid catamaran design to visit smaller ports and harbours