ACL American Legend

Specifications of ACL American Legend

Year of build2024 new ship
BuilderChesapeake Shipbuilding (Salisbury, Maryland USA)
ClassProject Blue/ACL Coastal Cat
Building costUSD 20 million
Speed18 kn / 33 km/h / 21 mph
Length (LOA)74 m / 243 ft
Beam (width)17 m / 56 ft
Decks with cabins4
Sister-shipsAmerican Cruise Lines catamarans
Christened bytba
OwnerAmerican Cruise Lines Inc
OperatorAmerican Cruise Lines

ACL American Legend Review

Review of ACL American Legend

The 2024-built MS American Legend cruise ship is the fourth 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 launched two per year - in 2023 (Eagle/July, Glory/October), 2024 (Liberty/June, Legend), 2025, 2026, 2027, and 2028.

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

The Coastal Cat American Legend is ACL's 19th vessel overall. Its construction started in March 2023, and the boat is currently planned for completion and delivery/inauguration in 2024-Q4.

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).

MS American Legend 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 Legend 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.

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

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).

ACL Coastal Cat ship (restaurant, bar lounges)

The ship has one 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).

Both 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 bow-facing (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 Coastal Cat ship (sundecks)

The list of the American Legend 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).


ACL American Legend itinerary program is currently planned to start in January 2025. Exact details on the inaugural cruise season are expected to be revealed sometime in 2024.

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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