American Melody

Specifications of American Melody

Year built2021 new ship
BuilderChesapeake Shipbuilding (Salisbury, Maryland USA)
ClassModern Riverboat
Building costUSD 40 million
OwnerAmerican Cruise Lines Inc
OperatorAmerican Cruise Lines
Speed12 kn / 22 kph / 14 mph
Length (LOA)82 m / 269 ft
Beam (width)18 m / 59 ft
Gross Tonnage2700 gt
Decks with cabins4
Sister-shipsAmerican Harmony, American Jazz, American Song
Christened bytba
ACL-American Cruise Lines Coronavirus update

American Melody Review

Review of American Melody

The 2020-built MS American Melody cruise ship is the sixth newbuild vessel in the ACL-American Cruise Lines fleet. This boat represents the company's "Modern Riverboat Series", with sisterships American Song (2018), American Harmony (2019), American Jazz (2020) plus 1 more boat (still unnamed). These are all 5 similarly designed (modified class) ships, slightly bigger in capacity (195 passengers) in comparison to the 175-passenger sisterships and fleetmates American Constellation (2017) and American Constitution (2018).

History - construction and ownership

The shipowner American Cruise Lines (ACL) is USA's largest river cruise company (headquarters in Guilford Connecticut) operational since 1991. The company specializes in cruise shipping on 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 US-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 with no 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 US 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 ship's cruise itinerary route. The ramp has an innovative design being constructed as retractable gangway (passenger bridge). The technology is often implemented on some of the largest ferries and features an opening bow door.

American Cruise Line ship class Modern Riverboat

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 US-flagged and crewed.

Cruise itinerary program

American Melody itinerary program is to be announced soon.

American Cruise Lines 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).


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

Smallest cabins (including the studios / single-occupancy cabins) sizes start at 250 ft2 (23 m2). Other staterooms range between 305-330 ft2 (28-31 m2). Veranda Suites are 405 ft2 (38 m2). Owner's Suites are 445 ft2 (41 m2). The boat's largest staterooms are the two Grand Suites located aft on deck 3. Each measures 900 ft2 (84 m2) and features 2 walls of floor-ceiling windows, sliding doors (opening to a wrap-around balcony), separate bedroom/lounge area, marble bathroom (double-sink vanity),

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-decks high Vestibule has floor-ceiling windows (portside and starboard) and SkyLight (transparent glass-roof cover) that allows natural light into the ship's interior.

MS American Melody cruise ship

Two Sun Decks (Lower on Deck 4-aft, and Upper on Deck 5) are fitted with sunbathing and shaded seating areas, putting green, deck-game area (shuffleboard). The ship has 5 lounges (2 with large outdoor terraces), Grand Dining Room (complimentary, glass-enclosed restaurant), Chart Room (Library Lounge), fore-located Main Lounge (with central stage for live show- and musical productions and glass-roof cover), aft-located Sky Lounge (with glass-roof cover and direct access to Lower Sundeck), indoor Exercise Room (Gym). The Upper Sun Deck (top-deck) is furnished with comfortable deckchairs and has 3 shaded seating areas plus two SkyLights (glass-roof covers). Two lifts (passenger elevators in the SkyLight-covered Atrium) connect all decks.

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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

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 manoeuvrability 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, vessel's hull is floated-out from drydock into Wicomico River, then it is positioned in 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.

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