American Cruise Lines , announced today a significant milestone in the construction of its brand new 150 passenger sternwheeler, Queen of the Mississippi, currently being built in Salisbury, Maryland, and ahead of schedule for its summer 2012 inaugural season. Weighing at approximately 500 tons apiece, both halves of the hull have been moved from the fabrication buildings to the launchway where they were joined last week, making way for the next important steps in the construction including the completion of sections of the fourth and fifth decks.

At nine weeks ahead of schedule, the construction progress is giving shape to the first riverboat built for the Mississippi River in nearly 20 years, and also the grandest ever.  It will boast oversized staterooms larger than those of any former Mississippi riverboats, with private balconies and all of the amenities today’s travelers expect, while maintaining the traditional style and feel of the Victorian riverboats of the past.

“We have magnificent plans for this ship. From the inside out, Queen of the Mississippi will exemplify the highest level of quality,” said Timothy Beebe, Vice President, American Cruise Lines. “Building a riverboat of this class is no easy task, but we are fortunate to have a dedicated team of experts who know how to build with meticulous attention to detail.”