VESSEL REVIEW | American Melody – Fourth 175-pax riverboat in series for American Cruise Lines

Photo: American Cruise Lines
Photo: American Cruise Lines

US operator American Cruise Lines (ACL) has taken delivery of a new riverboat from Salisbury, Maryland-based Chesapeake Shipbuilding.

American Melody is the fourth in a planned series of six vessels that have been designed specifically for cruise sailings on the Mississippi River. It has an LOA of 269 feet (82 metres), a beam of 56 feet (17 metres), a draught of 7.2 feet (2.2 metres), and capacity for 175 passengers. The vessel sails at a service speed of just over eight knots and a maximum speed of 12 knots.

The wide selection of onboard facilities includes indoor and outdoor lounges, a fitness centre, a yoga studio, numerous dining rooms including one that provides guests at each table with clear views of the outside, cafes, laundry rooms, a sun deck with a skywalk, a library, and 91 all-balcony staterooms and suites situated across four decks. Access to all five decks is provided by two elevators. Some of the lounges also serve as venues for live entertainment.

<em>Grand suite (Photo: American Cruise Lines)</em>
Grand suite (Photo: American Cruise Lines)

The stateroom spaces range from 250 to 650 square feet (23.22 to 60.38 square metres). The grand suites are the largest suites on board and provide adequate space for guests to host private parties or dinners. These suites each come with a separate bedroom, a private dining area, a living room, and floor-to-ceiling glass windows that provide panoramic views.

The ten single staterooms are the smallest among the vessel's many guest cabins but offer relatively spacious full-size bathrooms for solo travellers. Some staterooms also have access for wheelchair-bound guests.

The ship also boasts a glass atrium that spans four decks and comes equipped with a large domed skylight. This area serves as the central gathering point for the entire ship.

<em>Single stateroom (Photo: American Cruise Lines)</em>
Single stateroom (Photo: American Cruise Lines)

Work on the interior spaces, all of which feature wi-fi connectivity, was provided by Studio DADO.

One of the noteworthy features of the vessel is its opening bow door with a retractable gangway to allow boarding and disembarkation via deck one.

American Melody was handed over to ACL in August 2021, making it the 13th ship in the company's current fleet. The newbuild sailed on its inaugural cruise along the Mississippi River in early September, serving a 22-day itinerary that began and ended at New Orleans.

For its inaugural season, which is ongoing and will end in December 2021, the vessel will serve eight-day cruises on both the Upper and Lower Mississippi. Future sailings will also include the Columbia and Snake Rivers in the Pacific Northwest, where two other sister ships are currently operating.

<em>Photo: Reves</em>
Photo: Reves
American Melody
Type of vessel:River cruise ship
Owner:American Cruise Lines, USA
Operator:American Cruise Lines, USA
Builder:Chesapeake Shipbuilding, USA
Length overall:269 feet (82 metres)
Beam:56 feet (17 metres)
Draught:7.2 feet (2.2 metres)
Maximum speed:12 knots
Cruising speed:8.0 knots
Other equipment installed:Lifts; bow door; retractable gangway
Interior designer:Studio DADO
Accommodation:91 x staterooms; lounges; fitness centre; yoga studio; dining rooms; cafes; laundry rooms; library

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