Two American Cruise Lines Ships Christened in the U.S.

New ships galore are setting sail in 2023, and not all are in far-flung, foreign locations: Some are sailing on waters closer-to-home with no need for complex international air travel.

Case in point? Alongside a bayou in Louisiana and within a canyon at the Idaho border, two nearly identical American Cruise Lines small ships were just christened—the new, 180-passenger American Serenade and sister American Jazz. Sailing the Mississippi and Columbia/Snake Rivers, respectively, those ships are among six in the line’s popular American Riverboat series.

The christenings “show the incredible breadth of river cruise options in the U.S.A.,” says Charles B. Robertson, president and CEO, American Cruise Lines. “They also show the growth of American Cruise Lines and the range of places that we explore. We are so grateful to the communities who welcome us and look forward to a strong future together as we cruise the Snake and Mississippi Rivers.”

American Serenade

In Vidalia, MS, godmother Julia Letlow, U.S. Representative for Louisiana’s fifth Congressional district, recently christened the new American Serenade.  

The bottle breaks to christen American Serenade. Godmother doing the honors was Julia Letow, U.S. Representative for Louisiana’s 5th Congressional district.
Godmother Julia Letlow, U.S. Representative for Louisiana's fifth Congressional District, christens American Serenade. (Photo by American Cruise Lines)

She was joined by American Cruise Lines’ guests, crew and executives, as well as state and local officials. Among them, for example, was Dan Gibson, the mayor of Natchez, MS. He's a strong supporter of cruise operations in his city, which is a popular cruise ship port of call.

American Serenade offers guests spacious staterooms, multiple dining and lounge options, a sun deck, lecture room and other public spaces. Reflecting similar architectural detail that's present on other American Riverboat series ships, the ship also has a four-story glass atrium.

American Jazz

American Jazz' godmother Stacia L. Morfin, CEO of Nez Perce Tourism, and a citizen of the Nimíipuu Nation.
American Jazz' godmother Stacia Morfin (Photo by American Cruise Lines)

Since sister ship American Jazz arrived during the pandemic and began service when the nation’s COVID-19 situation improved, the ship never had a formal christening. Earlier this week, though, that happened on the Snake River in Clarkston, WA

Doing the godmother honors to christen the ship was Stacia Morfin, CEO of Nez Perce Tourism and a citizen of the Nimíipuu Nation.

What's new for U.S. river cruisers? This is American Jazz’s first season operating on the Pacific Northwest’s Columbia and Snake Rivers. In March 2023, it also sailed new California/Napa Valley river cruises, the first on the California Delta in 80 years. Those will return in 2024, too. Previously, the ship had operated on the Mississippi River.

More on the Horizon

All six American Riverboats now operating for American Cruise Lines were built at Chesapeake Shipbuilding in Salisbury, MD. Established in 1980, the shipyard is located along Maryland’s Wicomico River and builds commercial vessels of up to 450 feet in length.

Now offering more than 50 domestic itineraries that touch 35 U.S. states, American Cruise Lines has four additional ships under construction at the shipyard. Two of those will debut later this year.

American Jazz was officially christened on the Snake River earlier this week.
The newly christened American Jazz is among 17 ships that will operate this year for American Cruise Lines in the U.S. (Photo by American Cruise Lines)

In total this year, the company will operate 17 American-flagged small ships in U.S. waters, each accommodating 90 to 180 guests.

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