American Cruise Lines plans to build 12 identical sister ships to more than double the capacity for US domestic coastal cruises.
The hybrid catamaran design vessels will have “unprecedented” near-shore operating versatility, according to the company.
Each ship in the ‘Project Blue’ fleet will accommodate 109 passengers and 50 crew.
They will be 241 feet long, 56 feet wide, designed to enable both shallow draft access and stable sailing along lakes, rivers, bays, and the US coastline.
“Their go-anywhere agility combines the adventure of an expedition with the luxury of the finest river cruises,” according to the operator.
The first two are due to make their debut in 2023 on east coast itineraries and will be named American Eagle and American Glory, namesakes of the company’s first two small US-built ships.
Each will offer 56 cabins, 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 feature a forward lounge with 270 degree views.
An adventure deck at the stern will be equipped with kayaks, tender and other activity related options relevant to the itinerary.
The ships will have two dining venues, as well as room service, a rarity for small vessels of this size.
The line currently operates 15 ships, all accommodating 100-190 passengers, which cruise more than 35 itineraries in 31 US states.
American Cruise Lines president Charles Robertson said: “Project Blue started as a design challenge to create a boat small enough for New England harbours and stable enough for the Alaska Inside Passage, with a draft shallow enough for the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway.
“These boats can run almost anywhere, and because there will be 12 of them, they will be deployed all over the United States.”