Cruise & Ferry Review - Spring/Summer 2022

6 5 Interiors are designed by Studio DADO to provide guests with a comfortable setting for their cruise support local communities and take part in active and educational excursions. “The itineraries for the Project Blue fleet are still under development, but when they debut in 2023, the first two boats will operate on similar cruises to those offered by our current fleet,” says Robertson. “To date, we visit 100 ports around the USA and we think there’s more than 500 potential ports for us to visit, so we see a lot of itinerary expansion potential with the Project Blue fleet. For example, we will visit little lesser-known harbours in Maine or the islands in Alaska.” The onboard experience will also be carefully curated. “Guests can expect two different types of dining experiences onboard, with a classic seated three-course meal and then a more casual cafe located on the top deck,” says Robertson. “The adventure decks on the stern of each boat will hold both a tender to carry guests to shore and kayaks for excursions.” Each ship will accommodate 109 guests and feature interiors designed by Studio DADO, which has also carried out similar work on ACL’s existing fleet. “DADO will bring modern sophistication to our design aesthetic,” says Robertson. “The boats will feature a clean design palette to provide a comfortable setting.” All 12 ships will be powered by ultralow-sulfur diesel so that they meet the US Environmental Protection Agency Tier 3 and Tier 4 emission requirements. “They will have a shallow enough draught for some of the inland waterways that we want to operate on and will also be stable enough to run coastal routes, particularly in Alaska,” says Robertson. “Balancing those factors was one of our biggest challenges, and the catamaran design was how we accomplished that.” ACL has been able to invest in this new project as a result of the increase in domestic cruising. “Guests have really focused on staying in the USA or coming over here, due to the impact of the pandemic, and so bookings have really followed with that,” says Robertson. “Our occupancies continue to be strong and last year, we were one of the only cruise lines in the world to have its full fleet operating. We expect this success to continue in the future.” CFR