(2 p.m. EDT) US-based river cruise line American Cruise Lines has announced a “major overhaul, refit and rebranding” of four classic paddle steamers that operate on the Mississippi & Columbia Rivers & Snake.
The new design will update paddlewheel ships – America, Queen of the Mississippi, Queen of the West, and American Pride – to be more in tune with the company’s latest contemporary ship, the 175-passenger American Melody. The line intends, however, to retain traditional elements of the steamship, officials said.
American Melody, which launched in August, has been a hit with line passengers, said Charles B. Robertson, president and CEO of American Cruise Lines. “The tremendous reception from American Melody, especially from members of our loyalty program, has inspired us to bring the same new aesthetic to our entire paddle wheel fleet,” said Robertson.
As part of the remake, three of the paddle steamers will be renamed. America will become American Splendor, Queen of the Mississippi will become American Heritage, and Queen of the West will become American West. American Pride will retain its current name.
Miami-based studio DADO, which did the interior design work for American Melody, was tasked with the four-ship refurbishment project. As with American Melody, the emphasis will be on “modern elegance”.
The Mississippi ships, American Splendor and American Heritage, are redesigned to celebrate the musical genres of the river – jazz, blues, country and rock ‘n’ roll – while paying homage to Mark Twain and other literary figures.
Western ships, American Pride and American West, will feature Western and Native American themes while embracing the legacy of the Lewis & Clark Expedition.
The refurbishment of the ships will include cabins and suites, lounges and dining areas. Each ship will feature new color palettes, luxury textiles, furniture and rugs. There will also be new, regionally inspired works of art.
The overhaul of the four ships is expected to be completed by March 2022.