American Cruise Lines will grow its fleet to more than 25 small ships.
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The options for small-ship cruising in the U.S. are about to substantially expand in both vessel and destination choices, thanks to American Cruise Lines. The company, which offers river cruises and small-ship coastal sailings only in the U.S., plans to grow its fleet to more than 25 small ships.

The exterior of the Project Blue from American Cruise Lines
Credit: Courtesy of American Cruise Lines

A new class of 12 small ships with accommodations for only 109 guests will begin being built this year. The first two ships in American's Project Blue fleet — American Eagle and American Glory will debut in 2023 and sail fully domestic itineraries along the East Coast. American currently has 15 small ships, including 10 modern riverboats and five coastal cruise ships accommodating 100 to 190 guests. The ships sail more than 35 U.S.-only itineraries in 31 states. All of American's ships are built in the U.S.

The back exterior of the Project Blue from American Cruise Lines
Credit: Courtesy of American Cruise Lines

"We've seen tremendous demand for domestic, small-ship cruising and this brand-new class of 'go-anywhere' ships will help us answer that call," says David Luxeder, director of marketing for American Cruise Lines. "The impressive design will allow us to visit new U.S. destinations, while still providing highly personalized service."

The forward lounge on the Project Blue from American Cruise Lines
Credit: Courtesy of American Cruise Lines

American's fleet expansion will offer U.S. itinerary options well beyond rivers, too. The new vessels boast an environmentally friendly catamaran design for sailing coastal routes and in the shallow waters of rivers, bays, and lakes. Regional expansions will include sailing the full East and West coasts, the Great Lakes, Alaska, and more.

A stateroom on the Project Blue from American Cruise Lines
Credit: Courtesy of American Cruise Lines

Each Project Blue ship will be 241 feet long and 56 feet wide. They will feature only 56 staterooms, including suites and singles, with 85% offering private balconies. Guests will be able to enjoy the ships' swim platforms, kayaks, and tenders designed for small group exploration.

The Restaurant with Window View on the Project Blue from American Cruise Lines
Credit: Courtesy of American Cruise Lines

Other news from the company includes two more modern riverboats making their debut on the Mississippi River in 2022, as well as the remodeling of its four paddle wheelers, which will be ready for the start of the 2022 season in late February. American also launched two modern riverboats in 2021 on the Mississippi.

American focuses on the history and culture of the U.S. on and off the ship. Current itineraries include the Mississippi River, New England, the Hudson River, Chesapeake Bay, the Southeast Coast, Puget Sound, Alaska, and the Columbia and Snake rivers.

For more on American Cruise Lines, visit americancruiselines.com.