Chesapeake to build fleet of 12 catamarans for American Cruise Lines

(GUILFORD, Conn.) — American Cruise Lines has revealed details of Project Blue, a new fleet of go-anywhere ships for the U.S. market. The company announced plans for 12 identical sister ships that will more than double the nation’s current capacity for domestic coastal cruises.

Featuring an innovative hybrid catamaran design, these boats will have unprecedented near-shore operating versatility, according to the company. The new U.S.-built fleet will operate exclusively in the United States, with a focus on small towns and close-to-home adventures.

“Project Blue started as a design challenge to create a boat small enough for New England harbors 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 United States.”

American Cruise Lines rendering

American’s Project Blue expansion further reinforces the growing interest in small ship experiences and personalized cruising. Like all of American’s new ships, the entire Project Blue fleet will be built by Chesapeake Shipbuilding in Salisbury, Md. The first two Project Blue ships are already under construction and are due for delivery in 2023.

Each boat in the Project Blue fleet will accommodate 109 passengers and 50 crew. They will be 241 feet long, 56 feet wide and feature the hybrid catamaran design that enables both shallow draft access and stable sailing along lakes, rivers, bays and America’s coastline.

“Together with Chesapeake Shipbuilding, we built the first modern riverboats in the country,” Robertson said. “Now we are proud to introduce another new ship design for domestic exploration. American has specialized 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 new fleet will feature elegant modern decor by Studio DADO of Miami, Fla. Each ship will offer 56 staterooms — including a range of large standards, suites and singles — nearly all with private balconies.

Observation and sitting areas will be available at the bow, both inside and outside, and each ship will showcase an expansive forward lounge with 270-degree views. At the stern, the ships will have a new adventure deck equipped with kayaks, tender, and other activity related options relevant to the itinerary.

American’s new ships will also feature two dining venues, as well as room service, a rarity for small ships of this size.

The first two ships will debut along East Coast itineraries and will be named American Eagle and American Glory — namesakes of the company’s first two small U.S.-built ships.

– American Cruise Lines

By Rich Miller