American Cruise Lines has announced that on March 18, a bright and sunny Sunday, the Queen of the Mississippi left the pier at Chesapeake Shipbuilding in Salisbury, Maryland, for its first sea trial. The vessel performed perfectly as the huge paddlewheel churned the water and onlookers lined the riverbanks to watch.

“The Queen of the Mississippi sets a new standard in river cruising and raises the bar for grand travel on the Mississippi River,” said Charles A. Robertson, President of American Cruise Lines.  Robertson also revealed that the new riverboat is slightly faster than expected and is now nine weeks ahead of schedule.

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 nearly complete.