American Cruise Lines Building Capacity with 12 New Ships

Charles B. Robertson

Project Blue, American Cruise Lines’ top secret newbuild concept, is now a reality as the company is expanding with the addition of 12 new 109-guest catamaran vessels.

"We are seeing so much interest in small ships and cruising close to home that we’d rather build a lot of smaller boats than a few big ones,” said Charlies Robertson, CEO.

he American Eagle and American Glory debut next year, and after that, the company is planning to add three new Project Blue ships annually, plus more modern riverboats matching the 175-guest American Melody.

Project Blue Rendering

"We had a pretty successful operating year in 2021. We are seeing strong occupancy and demand heading into next year and believe in our product more now than ever,” Robertson told Cruise Industry News.

The Project Blue ships are the smallest the company has built in 15 years, and feature a shallow draft.

“Right now, we go to about 100 ports. With these boats, we can get into more than 500. It unlocks itinerary potential all over the country,” said Robertson.

Capacity

With 109 berths, the new ship design features a handful of single cabins, while most accommodations have a spacious suite and balcony.

“109 was not a magic number, we wanted to be between 100 and 125, allowing good public spaces and viewing platforms,” Robertson said. “We could have built more staterooms on the fourth deck going aft, but wanted that to be an open sundeck.”

The product is somewhere between river and small ship, he said.

 “It’s the luxury and sophistication of river cruising … with the itineraries and potential for expedition or the traditional small ship segment.”

The passengers are primarily Americans that want to see what is “right here at home,” Robertson said.

"The pandemic has been telling for us,” he explained, noting domestic cruising is very in demand.

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