In March, American Cruise Lines (ACL) will launch its second paddlewheeler on the Mississippi River, the 150-passenger American Eagle, and those who are eager to spend some serious time on the Mississippi can sail the ship all the way from New Orleans to St. Paul, Minn., on a new, 22-day Complete Mississippi Cruise itinerary.
"With this new offering, we provide a unique opportunity to travel the entire leg of the Mississippi River and experience the complete history of the Western frontier," ACL Vice President Timothy Beebe said in a statement.
Most Mississippi River cruises offered by either ACL or American Queen Steamboat Co., the two lines that have overnight passenger vessels on the Mississippi, are eight- or nine-day sailings on either the Upper or Lower Mississippi. This is the only sailing for 2015 that combines the Mississippi itineraries into one.
The Complete Mississippi Cruise departs on Aug. 8 from New Orleans and stops in 17 towns and cities in 10 states, traversing 1,600 nautical miles. Stops will include Baton Rouge, La.; Natchez, Miss.; Vicksburg, Miss.; Memphis; Columbus, Ky.; Chester, Ill.; Hannibal, Mo.; Dubuque, Iowa; and La Crosse, Wis.
The 22-day cruise starts at $12,550 per person, and goes up to $20,730 per person for the Owner's Suite (cruise only).
The first of four newbuilds
The American Eagle, which will sail its first revenue cruise on March 28, is the first of four new U.S. river vessels ACL plans on launching between 2015 and 2017, according to plans unveiled by the company in December.
Earlier this month, ACL said that the American Eagle is in its final stages of construction at the Chesapeake Shipbuilding yard in Maryland and is slated to be completed six weeks ahead of schedule.
The American Eagle will feature 84 staterooms, 78 of which will have private balconies with sliding glass doors. The cabins will range from 300 to 600 square feet.
The public areas will include the Magnolia Lounge for cocktails and live music; the Sky Lounge for afternoon tea; the Paddlewheel Lounge, a second spot for cocktails; the main restaurant, the Grand Dining Room; and the Mark Twain Library and Chart Room.
An outdoor exercise area and putting green will be located on the sun deck, and elevators will provide access to all five decks.
There will be guest laundry service, complimentary WiFi and complimentary room-service breakfast.
The American Eagle will sail mostly eight-day cruises along the Mississippi. It will join ACL's existing Mississippi paddlewheeler, the 150-passenger Queen of the Mississippi, which launched in August 2012.
The launch of the American Eagle will bring the ACL fleet to a total of seven vessels, including the company's 120-passenger Columbia and Snake rivers paddlewheeler Queen of the West, and several coastal cruises.