Two-floor loft suites will be among the features on a new US river cruise vessel to be built by American Queen Steamboat Company.

The 166-passenger American Duchess is due to join the fleet in June 2017 as the Memphis-based line’s third ship.

The company claims the all-suite American Duchess will be the first purpose-built boutique paddlewheeler, featuring the largest suites in every category.

The vessel will sail on the Mississippi and its tributaries offering new overnight stays in destinations such as Nashville as well as shorter itineraries from New Orleans. Departures from Chicago will also be available for the first time.

The American Duchess will feature a generous space ratio showcased by three 550 sq. ft. Owners’ Suites, and in an US riverboat first,

Accommodation will include four 550 sq. ft. duplex-style, two floor, two bathroom loft suites.

The company’s chief operating officer, Ted Sykes, said: “The American Queen Steamboat Company has led the way in a rebirth of US river cruising as thousands discover our heartland and the Pacific Northwest, served by an award-winning, all-American crew.

“Demand for more capacity on the Mississippi River has been overwhelming the past two seasons and we look forward to delivering a new boutique, all-suite experience and the flexibility of two riverboats sailing between New Orleans and St. Paul.”

Rupert Thomson, American Queen Steamboat Company’s UK representative, added: “The UK travel trade and consumer have embraced US river cruising, it really is a very different experience from European river cruising.

“The travel trade has been very supportive and enthusiastic, both cruise specialist agents and the number of tour operators signed up to include the American Queen Steamboat Company riverboats in their programmes.

“We need more capacity and the American Duchess will offer a new dimension with its boutique style, spacious suites, whilst retaining the distinctive American Queen quality the company is renowned for.”