American Cruise Lines announced today the latest development in the construction of its brand new authentic 150-passenger paddlewheeler, the Queen of the Mississippi, as it nears completion at Chesapeake Shipbuilding in Maryland. Last week, the massive 23-ton, 28 foot-wide paddlewheel built specially for the new riverboat was lifted and installed. A short video documenting the construction milestone can be viewed here.

“This marks an important step in the creation of this authentic riverboat,” said Timothy Beebe, Vice President of American Cruise Lines. “The paddlewheel is one of the most important elements of classic riverboats, and this one isn’t just cosmetic – it’s fully functioning.”

The Queen of the Mississippi will be completed in May, with its inaugural cruise scheduled for August 11, 2012 from New Orleans to Memphis. Currently, the interior is well underway with carpeting being installed throughout the ship and furniture beginning to go onboard. All sliding glass doors leading to the private balconies are in place and painting is just about complete. Wood work trim and antique-style accessories are bringing the period interior to life. Sea trials are scheduled to begin later on this month.