American Melody

American Melody current position

American Melody current location is at US Inland (coordinates 44.05521 N / -91.63610 W) cruising en route to DUBUQUE. The AIS position was reported 3 hours ago.

Current Position

Specifications of American Melody

Year built2021  /  Age: 1
Flag state USA
BuilderChesapeake Shipbuilding (Salisbury, Maryland USA)
ClassModern Riverboat
Building costUSD 30 million (EUR 25 million)
Speed12 kn / 22 kph / 14 mph
Length (LOA)82 m / 269 ft
Beam (width)17 m / 56 ft
Gross Tonnage5400 gt
Decks with cabins4
Sister-shipsAmerican Symphony, American Serenade
Christened bytba
OwnerAmerican Cruise Lines Inc
OperatorAmerican Cruise Lines

American Melody Review

Review of American Melody

The 2021-built MS American Melody cruise ship is the fourth newbuild in the American Cruise Lines fleet from the company's "Modern Riverboat" series. From this class/with the same design are the sisterships American Symphony (2022) and American Serenade (2022).

Similarly are designed the sisterships American Song (2018), American Harmony (2019), American Jazz (2020).

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 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.

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

Unlike anything seen before along American waterways, the innovative vessel brings a new dimension to river cruising in the United States. American Melody integrates contemporary design without sacrificing the comfort that American Cruise Lines is popular for. Quieter, wider, and faster than any other river ship, it is the most environmentally friendly in the industry.

Traditionally for large-sized USA riverboats, American Melody has a fore-located boarding ramp (bow-location on Deck 1) that allows passengers to go ashore at any place along the ACL's cruisetour itinerary. The ramp has an innovative design being constructed as a retractable gangway (passenger bridge). The technology is often implemented on some of the largest ferries and features an opening bow door.

MS American Melody cruise ship

While other small cruise lines repurpose old casino ships, American Cruise Lines decided to build brand new boats to maintain the company's reputation for premium quality and services. Each of the newbuilds features most innovative design, spacious indoor and outdoor areas. Each vessel is a traditional US built (at Chesapeake Shipbuilding in Salisbury Maryland), as well as American-flagged and crewed.

Decks and Cabins

American Melody staterooms (91 total) are all outside, some of the industry's biggest, all with full-size bathrooms, private step-out balconies, modern hotel amenities.

All staterooms are with step-out balconies. The smallest are the Studios (single-occupancy cabins for solo travelers) sized 250 ft2 (23 m2). Cabin sizes range between 275-315-350-370 ft2 (26-29-33-34 m2), balcony size included. Veranda Suites are sized 405 ft2 (38 m2). The largest accommodations are the Grand Suites (650 ft2 / 60 m2) and feature top-deck locations (forward on Deck 4), separate bedroom/living room, spacious terrace (with alfresco dining area).

The boat has 5 passenger-accessible decks, of which 4 are with cabins.

Shipboard facilities and amenities

MS American Melody features innovative interior design concepts - from the 4-story glass-walled Vestibule (Atrium) to spacious indoor and outdoor lounges, large open-deck spaces, floor-ceiling windows throughout the vessel. The 4-deck Vestibule has floor-ceiling windows (portside and starboard) and a SkyLight (transparent glass-roof cover) that allows natural light into the ship's interior.

American Cruise Lines Modern Riverboat (sundeck)

Two Sun Deck is fitted with sunbathing and shaded seating areas, but unlike the bigger sisterships, it lacks the deck-games area (with Putting Green and Shuffleboard). The ship has 6 lounges (3 with outdoor terraces), Grand Dining Room (complimentary, glass-enclosed restaurant), Chart Room & Library, fore-located Main Lounge (with a central stage for live shows and musical productions, and with a glass-roof cover), aft-located Sky Lounge (with glass-roof cover and access to an alfresco dining terrace/Ellipse Cafe), Fitness Room (indoor Gym), Yog Studio (for group classes and private lessons).

The Sun Deck (top-deck) is furnished with plenty of outdoor furniture - padded sun loungers, padded wicker sofas and deckchairs, 2-seat and 4-seat tables, live plants. The Sundeck has all 3x large-sized shaded seating areas (covered by retractable canopies) and 2x SkyLights (glass roof covers) over the Sky Lounge (aft) and the Atrium/Vestibule (midship-portside).

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

  • (Deck 1) Boarding Ramp/bow, Vestibule/lobby level, Ship's Office, Dining Room Restaurant, Galley/Kitchen & Storage Rooms, Staff & Crew cabins/forward
  • (Deck 2) Bow Terrace/observation area with seating, Lyric Lounge/midship-starboard, wellness facilities/aft (Yoga Studio, Fitness Room/indoor Gym)
  • (Deck 3) River Lounge/forward, with a wraparound terrace, The Study & Library/midship-starboard
  • (Deck 4) Pilothouse/Wheelhouse, High Note Lounge/midship-starboard, Sky Lounge (indoor, aft), Ellipse Cafe (aft, outdoor terrace serving as an alfresco dining venue)
  • (Deck 5) Sun Deck with plenty of outdoor seating (premium patio furniture)

Two Lifts (passenger elevators in the Atrium) connect all decks.

Deck 4's fore-located River Lounge is the main lounge with floor-ceiling windows and glass-roof cover. It also serves as the boat's show lounge with a central stage, grand piano, ample comfortable seating (comfy armchairs and plush sofas). Here are served warm cookies starting at 10 am. The complimentary Afternoon Tea service (with fresh pastries) is at 3:30 pm. The free-drinks cocktail hour is at 5:30 pm. Root beer and ice cream are passed around during the evening show. The evening entertainment includes one show (beginning at 8:15 pm) lasting about 1 hour. The show program could be a live concert, solo performances, music tribute, themed music, movie trivia. The large space for the evening shows is in the room's center. Furniture is daily rearranged (sometimes 2 or 3 times a day) to suit the themed entertainment. This is also the place for the American Cruise Lines' enrichment program, consisting of differently-themed lectures (history, food and wine, literature, etc). Also hosted here are media presentations and the current ACL cruise itinerary and tours-related multimedia presentations and port talks.

Deck 4's aft-located Sky Lounge is an indoor venue with premium furniture, floor-ceiling and wall-to-wall windows (allowing 270-degree views), glass-roof cover (SkyLight) and direct access to an open-air Terrace (Ellipse Cafe). Throughout the day, there are served beverages, snacks, freshly-baked cookies, pastries, beverages. Sky Lounge's opening glass doors allow it to expand by including the furnished Terrace/Ellipse Cafe. Throughout the day, the Cafe's Bar serves complimentary water, soda, light snacks. Complimentary Afternoon Tea service is available between 3:30-4:30 pm. In the evening, there is a cocktail hour with free drinks.

Sky Lounge's Ellipse Cafe's staff serve the entire Sun Deck (relaxation and sunbathing top-deck area) with drinks and snacks.



American Melody itinerary program is based on homeporting in New Orleans for Mississippi River voyages. The new boat started service for ACL on September 3, 2021 (21-day "Complete Mississippi River Cruise" itinerary). Initially, the Maiden Voyage was scheduled for August 27th (8-day roundtrip from New Orleans).

  • The Maiden Voyage (21-Day "Complete Mississippi River Cruise" from New Orleans to St Paul MN) visited ports in the states of Louisiana (Oak Alley Plantation, Houmas House Plantation, Baton Rouge, St Francisville), Mississippi (Natchez, Vicksburg, Greenville), Tennessee (Memphis), Missouri (New Madrid, Cape Girardeau), Illinois (Chester), Missouri (St Louis, Hannibal), Iowa (Fort Madison, Davenport, Dubuque), Wisconsin (La Crosse), and Minnesota (Red Wing, Minneapolis-Saint Paul).
  • Due to Hurricane Ida, the Inaugural Cruise actually started from Natchez (passenger embarkation).

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

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American Melody Wiki

The improved ship design of the Modern Riverboat series allows "bow landings" via a retractable and rotating gangway (passenger bridge) that extends from Main Deck (deck 1) to the dock or directly onto the river bank. This feature is available on all traditional-design US paddlewheel riverboats and provides expanded options for river cruise itineraries unmatched by most newbuild river cruise ships.

American Cruise Lines new ship infographic (Modern Riverboats)

The ship has a modern propulsion system consisting of 2x azimuth thrusters ("Z-drives") manufactured by Veth (Holland). These 360-degree rotating propellers (1x forward, 1x aft) provide the boat with greater maneuverability and berthing flexibility.

The ship is powered by 2x Caterpillar marine engines running on low-sulfur diesel. These modern engines require less fuel and produce fewer emissions (COx, NOx, SOx) and soot particles in comparison to other boats on the US river cruising market.

All American Cruise Line's Modern Riverboats are constructed at the Chesapeake Shipbuilding yard in Salisbury MA. During the launch ceremonies, the vessel's hull is floated out from drydock into Wicomico River, then it is positioned in the shipyard's East Outfitting Basin to receive the superstructure (upper decks) and final outfitting.

American Melody was launched (floated out from drydock) on November 17, 2020.

In mid-June 2021, ACL signed with Chesapeake Shipbuilding the contract for constructing two more units (5th and 6th) of the "Modern Riverboat" series, expanding ACL's fleet to 15 vessels (5x small, 4x paddle-wheelers, 6x modern riverboats). ACL also announced plans to continue building small ships (100-190-passenger) designed for USA coastal itineraries.

American Melody was officially delivered to ACL on August 3, 2021. On the same day were announced the names of Modern Riverboats 5th (American Symphony) and 6th (American Serenade) - being under construction at Chesapeake Shipbuilding- both planned for inauguration in 2022.

Melody's Maiden Voyage was scheduled for August 27, 2021 (roundtrip New Orleans 6-day Mississippi River itinerary).

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