This Week in Cruise: A Pair of New River Ships

S.S. Sao Gabriel Suite
A suite on the S.S. Sao Gabriel

This week in the cruise industry a pair of major new river vessels moved closer to their respective debuts. 

This past Sunday American Cruise Lines officially launched the American Jazz, five weeks ahead of schedule. Under construction at Chesapeake Shipbuilding, a longtime partner of the river cruise line, the ship will now receive its upper three decks and outfitting before beginning to operate Mississippi River itineraries in the third quarter of 2020. The third of five new ships in the cruise line’s Modern Riverboat series, the new ship has a number of signature Modern Riverboat design elements, including a multi-story glass atrium at the center of the ship, as well as an opening bow and retractable gangway. The ship, which accommodates 194 guests in 100 all-balcony staterooms and suites, also has a casual dining venue called The Back Porch Café; a Grand Dining Room, accommodating all guests; numerous lounges; several open-air and shaded sundecks; a putting green; an exercise room; laundry facilities; and elevator access to all decks. 

The fourth Modern Riverboat, American Melody, is also under construction at Chesapeake Shipbuilding, and will incorporate a number of design changes from the first three ships in the series, American Cruise Lines said. 

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Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection, meanwhile, released a sneak peek at its new Super Ship, the S.S. São Gabriel. Bound for Portugal’s Douro Valley starting April 9, 2020, the design of the new ship is meant to recall that destination with details such as Portuguese tiles. The entire top deck will be comprised entirely of suites with Butler service, giving guests the chance to dine any time they would like.  

One of four Super Ships launching next year as part of the brand’s continued expansion, the new S.S. São Gabriel will join fellow new Super Ships S.S. Sphinx, Mekong Jewel and S.S. La Venezia for the 2020 season. The river cruise line has committed to transforming its entire fleet into Super Ships in the coming years. 

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