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
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,
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.
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.