Warren, R.I.-based Blount Small Ship Adventures will sail its 96-passenger Grand Caribe on six Mississippi and Cumberland river departures in 2012, up from the three it sailed this year.

Blount will operate Nashville-Memphis, Memphis-New Orleans and New Orleans-Nashville cruises.

Prices start at $2,359 for an eight-day cruise.

At 184 feet in length and a draft of 6.5 feet, the long and narrow coastal cruiser Grand Caribe is not at all like the two paddewheelers that will ply the Mississippi next year.

American Cruise Lines’ new 140-passenger ship, Queen of the Mississippi, is slated to enter service in August. The Great American Steamboat Co.’s 400-passenger American Queen will relaunch in April.

The Grande Caribe was built in 1997 and was renovated in 2009.

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