American Cruise Lines announced September 28 that its fleet of four classic paddlewheelers will be undergoing a major redesign, refit and rebranding. The company said in a press release that its new interior design “will bring paddlewheel cruising to the same sophisticated standard already exhibited on American’s newest modern riverboats, while retaining traditional elements true to steamboat history.”
The announcement follows the August 2021 unveiling of the American Melody and its new interior design.
“American Melody’s extraordinary reception, particularly by our loyalty program members, has inspired us to bring the same new aesthetic to our entire paddlewheel fleet,” said Charles B. Robertson, president and CEO of American Cruise Lines.
As the paddlewheelers are upgraded to the new design standard, their names will be changed to include the “American” moniker that denotes other ships in the company’s fleet. The paddlewheelers America, Queen of the Mississippi and Queen of the West will be renamed American Splendor, American Heritage, and American West, while the American Pride will retain its original name. “Both in designation and design, all four paddlewheelers will meet the sophisticated standard we set for U.S. river cruising,” Robertson said.
The paddlewheel refurbishment will not change the company’s new-construction timeline. American Cruise Lines has expanded aggressively in the domestic cruise market, doubling the size of its U.S. fleet to 15 small ships, including the introduction of six new modern riverboats.
The new paddlewheel redesign project will be completed by Studio DADO of Miami, Fla. Studio DADO was recently commissioned to do the interior design for American Melody. Studio DADO will now bring a similar strategy to American’s paddlewheel fleet, reimagining their interiors while maintaining the nostalgic touches that are iconic to classic American paddlewheelers.
American’s two Mississippi River paddlewheelers, American Splendor and American Heritage, will celebrate the musical genres of the river from jazz and blues to country and rock ‘n roll, as well as historical literary figures like Mark Twain. The line’s two Columbia and Snake paddlewheelers, American Pride and American West, will highlight Western and Native American themes, including the famous Lewis and Clark expedition. From the staterooms and suites to the lounges and dining rooms, each ship will be made over with completely new color palates, luxurious textiles and linens, new furniture and carpets and regionally inspired artwork and flourishes.
The project is slated for completion in early March next year, in time for the beginning of the 2022 cruise season.
Caption for photo: The Queen of the Mississippi will get a new interior design and a new name: American Heritage. (Photo courtesy of American Cruise Lines)