American Eagle paddlewheeler launches on Mississippi

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Photo Credit: Peter Knego

NEW ORLEANS — In a ceremony held on the bow of American Cruise Linesʼ new American Eagle, Cheryl Landrieu, wife of New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu, smashed a bottle of champagne against the shipʼs rail, formally christening the lineʼs second Mississippi riverboat.

As guests watched from the forward decks of the ship, there were speeches from Mitch Landrieu and American Cruise Line CEO Charles Robertson as well as a patriotic a cappella concert by a local trio called the Victory Belles.

Shortly thereafter, as a downpour drenched the Big Easy, the vessel sailed off on its maiden cruise, a-seven night roundtrip Lower Mississippi voyage calling at Natchez and Vicksburg, Mississippi; and  St. Francisville, Baton Rouge and Vacherie, Louisiana.

Boasting the largest staterooms of any Mississippi riverboat, the American Eagle and its 2012-built sister ship, the Queen Of The Mississippi, have accommodations that range from 200-square-foot cabins with picture windows to 600-square-foot owners’ suites with large private balconies. Of the 84 all-outside staterooms, 78 have balconies that are accessed via sliding glass doors.

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The American Eagle's Sky Lounge. Photo Credit: Peter Knego

The two 150-capacity vessels are the first new paddlewheelers to join Mississippi cruise service since the 436-guest American Queen, now operated by rival American Queen Steamboat Co., was launched in 1995. A third, as yet unnamed vessel with a capacity for 185 guests is expected to join American Cruise Lineʼs Mississippi fleet next year, Robertson revealed.

The American Eagle has five passenger decks and a wide range of facilities, including a showroom; two large, aft-situated lounges; the intimate library, card room and chart room; a putting course; an open-air terrace with exercise machines; open and shaded deck space; a complimentary self-service launderette; three computer terminals; and free WiFi access throughout the ship.

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