ACL American Eagle

Specifications of ACL American Eagle

Year built2023 new ship
BuilderChesapeake Shipbuilding (Salisbury, Maryland USA)
ClassACL Project Blue
Building costUSD 20 million
Speed18 kn / 33 kph / 21 mph
Length (LOA)74 m / 243 ft
Beam (width)17 m / 56 ft
Passengers109
Crew50
Decks5
Cabins56
Decks with cabins4
Sister-shipsAmerican Glory (2023), American Liberty (2024)
Christened bytba
OwnerAmerican Cruise Lines Inc
OperatorAmerican Cruise Lines

ACL American Eagle Review

Review of ACL American Eagle

The 2023-built MS American Eagle cruise ship is the first in a 12-ship series (Project Blue/aka Coastal Cat) of catamaran-design newbuilds in the ACL-American Cruise Lines fleet. From this (new for ACL) class are the same designed catamarans/sisterships American Eagle (2023 July), American Glory (2023 October), plus 10 more units with planned launches (two per year) in 2024 (Liberty, TBN), 2025 (TBN), 2026 (TBN), 2027 (TBN), and 2028 (TBN).

All ACL cruise ships are US-flagged and built by the company-owned Chesapeake Shipbuilding Yard in Salisbury MD (Maryland USA).

Note: The 2023-built vessel (IMO/MMSI numbers tba) is not to be mistaken with the namesake "MS American Eagle" (2000-built paddlewheeler, IMO 8972340, MMSI 367448490).

History - construction and ownership

The shipowner American Cruise Lines (ACL) is the USA's largest river cruise company (headquarters in Guilford Connecticut) operational since 1991. The company specializes in cruise shipping on the USA's largest navigable inland waterways (rivers and lakes) as well as in cruises along the US East Coast, US West Coast, and Florida.

All ACL vessels feature some of the industry's largest passenger cabins with private step-out balconies, spacious lounges and outdoor deck spaces, gourmet cuisine, top-quality enrichment program with many complimentary land tours and excursions, highly-personalized service by all-American staff and crew.

American Cruise Lines catamaran ships (Project Blue)

In January 2022 ACL announced a plan to grow its fleet to 25+ vessels by adding 12 units of a new class (Project Blue), each with max passenger capacity 109 (plus 50 crew/staff), length 241 ft (74 m), beam/width 56 ft (17 m), 56 staterooms (~85% balconies). The first two boats (American Glory and American Eagle) were scheduled for inaugurations in 2023. The current plans are for two units to be launched each year.

MS American Eagle features an innovative catamaran ship design that guarantees smaller capacity (more comfortable and intimate vacation travel experience) along with stable navigation in both inland waterways (rivers and lakes) as well as close-to-coast/expedition-style cruising.

The catamaran hull features an aft activity platform/Marina (at the stern) from where are launched the ship's kayaks. At the stern is also mounted the tender boat which is used for passenger transportation as well as for cruising close to shore and on shallow inland waterways.

Decks and Cabins

ACL American Eagle has 5 passenger decks (4 are accessible via two midship elevators) and a total of 56 staterooms. The number of cabin categories is 6. Most accommodations are balconied (~85% of all), each fitted with a floor-ceiling sliding door opening onto a private step-out veranda. The boat has 3 single cabins, only 1 handicap cabin (wheelchair-accessible ADA stateroom designed for passengers with disabilities) and no connecting rooms.

Only Deck 1 cabins (8x in category AAC) are without balconies. The smallest staterooms (including the studios / single-occupancy cabins) are sized 230 ft2 (21 m2). Standard Balcony cabins (AAM and Veranda) are sized 270-280 ft2 (25-26 m2) including the veranda.

The largest accommodations are located forward on Deck 4 - Sky Suite (425 ft2 / 40 m2) and Grand Suite (550 ft2 / 51 m2), with sizes including their terraces. These staterooms (2x Grand and 4x Sky) are two-room suites with separate living room and bedroom (both with direct terrace access, 2x TVs), dining area, marble bathroom (double-sink vanity).

Shipboard facilities and amenities

The ship's interior design is marked by a 4-story Vestibule (glass-walled Atrium positioned midship on all cabin decks) that allows unobstructed portside and starboard views. Despite the boat's dimensions, all indoor and outdoor areas are spacious and very well designed, all with floor-ceiling windows. Deck 5's SkyLight is a transparent glass-roof that allows natural light into the Vestibule/Atrium.

The Sun Deck (Deck 4-aft) is all-teak and fitted with two sunbathing areas (padded sun loungers, low tables), a shaded seating area (hard roof-covered), a walking lane/track, open-air relaxation areas (2-seat tables, padded deckchairs, garden sofas), live plants for decoration. Also aft on Deck 4 are the funnels (4x smokestacks).

The ship has 1 Restaurant (complimentary, glass-enclosed Main Dining Room with Galley/kitchen), Games Room/Library, Fitness Center (indoor Gym/Exercise Room), Forward Lounge (Deck 2, indoor, bow-facing/with 270-degree views) with a Bow Terrace (4-seat tables, sofas), Sky Lounge (indoor, Deck 3-aft) with a Stern Terrace served by the Cafe (hard-roof covered outdoor lounge with 4-seat tables, cushioned armchairs and sofas).

Top-deck (deck 5) is a crew-only area with a SkyLight (glass-roof cover over the Atrium) and a Helideck.

Borth bar lounges (Forward Lounge and Sky Lounge) feature comfortable furniture (plush sofas, 4-seat round tables, glass-top coffee tables, armchairs), wall-to-wall windows, full Bar service, and direct access to an open-air Terrace (for relaxation and alfresco dining/weather-permitting). Throughout the day, at both venues are served beverages, light snacks, fresh-baked sweets (cookies and pastries). Sky Lounge's glass doors open to the Terrace Cafe (alfresco dining venue) fitted with premium wicker furniture (sofas with low tables and 4-seat tables with armchairs). The lounges' bars serve water, soda, and light snacks throughout the day. The Afternoon Tea service is complimentary and offered between 3:30-4:30 pm. In the evenings, ACL has a complimentary cocktail hour.

The fore-located (on Deck 2) Forward Lounge is the main lounge with large wall-to-wall windows on all its three sides (bow, portside, starboard). This is the boat's show lounge that also serves ACL's onboard enrichment program (port talks, media presentations, lectures, live entertainment, etc). Here are served warm cookies (starting at 10 am) and complimentary Afternoon Tea with fresh pastries (starting at 3:30 pm). The free-drinks cocktail hour is at 5:30 pm. Root beer and ice cream are offered during the evening shows (solo performances, music tributes, themed music, movie trivia, bingo). Lectures are differently-themed (on history, food and wine, literature, etc) and depend on the current cruise itinerary.

ACL American Eagle cruise ship (Project Blue catamaran)

The list of the American Eagle ship's main public venues includes:

  • (Deck 1) AAC Cabins/forward, Vestibule/lobby level, Ship's Office, Powder Room, Laundry Room, Dining Room Restaurant, Galley (Kitchen and Storage Rooms), Staff & Crew Cabins/forward, motorized Rescue Boat/aft
  • (Deck 2) Passenger Cabins/AAM and Single Balcony, Bow Terrace/observation area with seating, Forward Lounge, Fitness Center/aft, Games Room/aft)
  • (Deck 3) Passenger Cabins/Veranda Suites and Single Balcony, Pilothouse/Wheelhouse, Sky Lounge/aft, Terrace Cafe/aft
  • (Deck 4) Passenger Cabins/Grand Suites and Sky Suites, Sun Deck/aft, Funnels/aft
  • (Deck 5) SkyLight, Helideck (helicopter-landing platform used in cases of emergencies)

Two Lifts (passenger elevators in the Atrium/midship) and indoor stairs (forward and midship) connect all cabin decks (1 thru 4). Aft outdoor staircases interconnect decks 3-4 (Sky Lounge's Cafe with Sun Deck).

Itineraries

ACL American Eagle itinerary program is currently planned to start on July 15, 2023, with the 8-day inaugural cruise ("Chesapeake Bay Cruise" itinerary roundtrip from Baltimore MD).

Other itineraries that ACL listed for the American Eagle's maiden season (2023-2024) included:

  • (Maiden Voyage) 8-day / 7-night "Chesapeake Bay Cruise" is a roundtrip from Baltimore MD. Call ports include Yorktown-Williamsburg VA, Crisfield MD (Tangier VA), Cambridge MD (Oxford MD), St Michaels MD, Annapolis MD. Prices started from $6200 (AAC), $6740 (AAM), $6830 (Single), $7500 (Veranda Suite), $8470 (Sky Suite), $10430 (Grand Suite).
  • 8-day / 7-night "The Cape Codder Cruise" (visiting 8 ports) is roundtrip from Boston MA/Charlestown. Call ports include Glouchester MA, Plymouth MA, Martha's Vinyard Island MA, Falmouth MA, New Bedford MA, Provincetown MA. Prices started from $6200 (AAC), $6740 (AAM), $6830 (Single), $7500 (Veranda Suite), $8470 (Sky Suite), $10430 (Grand Suite).
  • 8-day / 7-night "Maine Coast and Harbors Cruise" (visiting 8 ports) is a roundtrip from Portland ME. Call ports include Bar Harbor ME, Belfast ME, Camden ME, Rockland ME, Boothbay Harbor ME, Bath ME. Prices started from $6945 (AAC), $7550 (AAM), $7650 (Single), $8400 (Veranda Suite), $9485 (Sky Suite), $11680 (Grand Suite).
  • 8-day / 7-night "Historic South and Golden Isles Cruise" (visiting 8 ports) is a one-way itinerary operated between homeports Charleston SC and Jacksonville FL (Amelia Island). Call ports include Charleston SC, Beaufort SC, Hilton Head Island SC, Savannah GA, Jekyll Island and St Simons Island (GA), Amelia Island FL (overnight). Prices started from $5455 (AAC), $5930 (AAM), $6010 (Single), $6600 (Veranda Suite), $7455 (Sky Suite), $9180 (Grand Suite).
  • 15-day / 14-night "East Coast Inland Passage Cruise" (visiting 15 ports) is a one-way itinerary operated between homeports Baltimore MD and Jacksonville/Amelia Island FL. Call ports include Baltimore MD, St Michaels MD, Norfolk VA, Kitty Hawk NC, Beaufort NC (Morehead City NC), Wilmington NC, Charleston SC, Beaufort SC, Hilton Head SC, Savannah GA, St Simons Island GA, Jekyll Island GA, Amelia Island FL (Fernandina Beach). Prices started from $10255 (AAC), $11150 (AAM), $11300 (Single), $12300 (Veranda Suite), $13895 (Sky Suite), $17105 (Grand Suite).
  • Note: The above-listed prices are early-booking rates (in USD and per person) with double occupancy, excluding single cabins.

ACL cruise deals are inclusive of a pre-cruise hotel package, all shore excursions (organized daily), cocktail hour (each evening), stateroom, gourmet meals, Afternoon Tea service, room service (Breakfast only), onboard enrichment and live entertainment programs, Wi-Fi (shipwide coverage).

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